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we'll probably also hit North Sea for fish and chips (or perhaps some place else on the "Time Out" list
A couple of Londan based friends have pointed me towards Fryer's Delight (which is on the "Time Out" list). They cook the fish and chips in beef tallow, which is the way I used to get them when I lived in Scotland. I plan to hit it when I am there in May.
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Due to an early arrival (6:30 a.m) with alcohol induced sleep, my body clock is all jacked.  It’s 1 a.m. now but I just woke up up after a 4 hour nap.  I was soooo tired but why can’t I sleep thru the

We went to the original Ottolenghi, which was delicious.  It's kind of cramped so if you want luxury/space and a newer feel go to Nopi which we walked by and is nice in a white/gold theme.  I kind of

I was TOTALLY going to suggest Wagamama. If you get tired of yer fancy gourmet what-what, and you just want to sit at a long table covered with butcher paper and slurp awesome noodles, Wagamama's your

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And breakfast at the Fox & Anchor in Smithfield. Get there early as it closes at like 9:30.
This is from the Fox and Anchor web site, and it does not look promising:
Clerkenwell’s legendary Fox and Anchor pub will be infused with some Malmaison and Hotel du Vin magic in 2007.

This charming establishment has been serving traditional English ales and scrumptious food since 1898. Its proud new owners bring their fine dining pedigree, renowned wines and old fashioned hospitality, and plan to create London’s classiest gastro-pub.

Located in Charterhouse Street, the Fox and Anchor neighbours Malmaison London and is just a stone’s throw from Smithfield meat market. Once opened, it will offer six luxury bedrooms, a fully restored Edwardian interior and the finest food and wine in Clarkenwell!

We look forward to welcoming you later in 2007!

From what I have seen of Malmaisson I doubt that what led you to recommend Fox and Anchor will no longer be evident once they "infuse some...magic" into it.

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St. John was inspirationally hardass. Decor so Spartan, it makes the Spartans look Rococo, and uncompromising food.
We just booked a flight for London this fall and we're taking the kids. I can't wait to see how they like St. John, especially Ian (AKA Mr. "I don't like that"). :blink:

I'll be interested in any kid-friendly recommendations.

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The various Belgos encourage kids, and are pretty good/moderately priced. There are Pizza Express locations all over; they're good, reasonably quick, and as I recall don't dumb down their kid's offerings.

If you're over around the Eye, the Globe, and the Tate Modern, and need to stop before or after venturing over to Borough Market, the Founders Arms has entirely acceptable pub grub, Young's on tap (mmmm, Waggledance - or if you're there late enough in the fall, Winter Warmer!), and a great view up and down the river.

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I'd forgotten about Alounak, which is in Bayswater. Iranian food, with some more unique stuff for adults and then the kebabs would be a reasonably safe choice for the kids.

And I love the name, and the variation is quite nice... S&M Cafe, which stands for sausages and mash. They have one in Portabello.

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I just returned from a long weekend in London. Looking for our first meal after we arrived on Thursday, we ventured down the culinary wasteland of New Oxford Street. When food was available it was only from chains, and how is it that Subway became so popular in London? So we continued to walk, and I noticed that we were heading towards Theobald’s road, the home of Fryer’s Delight, a chippy I was interested in trying. It was a long walk from the corner of Park and Old Park where our hotel was located, so we were famished and ready for a plate of fried goodness. The batter was a bit tougher than I like, but flavorful, and it held the perfectly cooked cod intact. The chips, fried in beef tallow as is everything else here, were decent, but could have stood another minute in the oil to crisp them up a little more.

Later we ventured to top floor of Providores for dinner. I found that the menu was tough to sort out because of the fussiness of the descriptions. The food is purported to be New Zealand influenced, but it seemed rather convoluted. To give an example, my wife had:

Roast Gressingham duck breast on new potato, green bean, shallot and shiitake salad with a crispy spiced foie gras pastille and pomegranate cumin dressing.
The duck was quite good, as were all of the components, it just that after reading this and trying the dish, I am still not sure what the theme of the dish was.

My entrée was no less complicated, it was

Roast Elwy Valley lamb chump on Thai basil and piquillo pepper Puy lentils with crispy sweetbreads, wild garlic leaves and Three Flavour sauce.

The sweetbreads were unbelievable, and on their own would rank among some of the best that I have ever had, but they were not integral to the dish. But my biggest complaint about this dish is my complaint with getting lamb at most restaurants is that actually cooking a piece of lamb seems to be a lost art. I asked for it to be Medium, and it came out raw in the center. I have a feeling that no matter how I asked for it, it was going to come out this way. Lamb has too much sinew to be left raw. The wine selection is very New Zealand centric, with some interesting wines by the glass. My wife had a very nice Momo Pinot Noir, while I had an uninspiring and out of balance blend called Ram Paddock.

The food improved with dessert, I had a trio of ice creams. My favorite of the trio was an interesting blend of tamarind, date and sherry. My wife ordered a Banana pecan loaf and lime custard charlotte. This was a marvelous dish, I would not think to make this match, but it worked perfectly.

Friday we started late, and decided to have lunch at Harvey Nichols. The Steak tartare is the best that I have ever had, by the looks of it, it was freshly prepared, and was brimming with beef and cornishcon flavors, and topped with a duck egg yolk. My wife had a lobster salad, which was a shelled butter poached lobster sitting atop an artichoke and potato salad, and topped with arugula. The lobster was only lightly cooked, keeping it very delicate in flavor and texture. A nice way to start a day of shopping.

That evening, we headed to Chelsea and had an amazing meal at Raso Vineet Bhatia. We arrived an hour after they opened, and were the first guests to arrive. By the time we left, all but a handful of tables had been filled. We opted for the tasting menu, and I believe that my feelings about the meal are best described by Michael Winner of The Sunday Times when he wrote “Everything was so sensational, I just kept eating---This meal was , without doubt one of the great food experiences, even though I was so stuffed I could hardly walk.’’ I am not sure what to say was a standout on the menu since it was all spectacular. The crab and lentil soup with a crispy crab cake, or the korma might have been the best two dishes, but the scallop, or the roasted lobster could have also been placed in that category. The sommelier recommended that we have an Alsatian Muscat to go with all but the last savory dish. This dry but fruity wine was a perfect match for all of the spice in the dishes. I would recommend anyone who loves great food and enjoys unique use of spice to make this a must visit for any trip to London.

Our last day in London found us still full from the dinner before, and we walked around Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens enjoying some meats and cheeses from Fortnum and Mason. Our dinner was at Locanda Locatelli, a very good Italian restaurant not far from the culinary hell of New Oxford Street. I started with a selection of cured meats, and my wife had the raw artichoke salad. The flavorful cured meats were served in generous portions on a wooden cutting board and a sheet of butchers paper. The raw artichoke salad was simply spectacular. It was a slices of raw baby artichokes that had been tossed in a light vinegrette, topped with arugula, and strips of Parmesan. For pasta dishes we went with a scampi spaghetti, and the nettle risotto. The Dublin Bay prawns were perfectly cooked, and the entire dish would have risen to that level if they had left out the bland hothouse tomato slices which detracted from what was otherwise a perfect dish. The risotto was a little sweet for my taste, and would have been vastly improved by a sprinkling of cheese which was later offered to another table that ordered the dish, but not to ours.

For mains I ordered braised sweetbreads that were served with creamed sunchokes. The dish was a gelatinous delight. The sweetbreads were flavorful, and served with a beautiful veal stock reduction. The sunchokes, not one of my favorite vegetables, were well cooked and flavorful. My wife had ordered the fillet of veal with artichokes and potatoes. The veal was flavorful and perfectly cooked, however, the artichokes were a disaster. The leaves and stems were overcooked, and the hearts were undercooked. All in all an edible dish, but for my artichoke worshipping wife, it was a disappointment. The wine list has a nice selection of wines from all over Italy, not just the usual areas. The sommelier recommended a wonderful bottle of Fattoria Mancini Blu Marche Rosso. It went very well with both of our entrees and did not over-power any of the other dishes we had with our meal.

We did not only eat while we were in London, but also explored some wonderful cocktail centric bars. We had mixed results at the Met Bar. Some of the cocktails were out of this world, others nothing special. Our favorite spot was the bar at Maze (make sure to get Thomas). These were some of the most drinkable cocktails I have ever had, the standouts were the DNA, Sloe Gin Fizz, Damson French 75, and the Breakfast Martini. Plus, the bartender and bar manager were very generous in offering us tastes of some of the liquors that we do not have in the US, including Maker’s Black Label (only sold in the Asian market), and several types of gin (including a delightful new offering form Beefeater). The most disappointing bar we visited was Claridges. I liked the room, as it reminds me of Town and Country in the Mayflower, but the drinks selections were mediocre, and the bartender did not know how to make an Aviation, which is what I really wanted the evening of our visit.

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Eh, well, Oxford Street's essentially an open-air mall, and the food offerings on the street (except for the chestnut roaster outside Debenhams in the fall) are basically no better than you'd find in your average mall food court. You've got to get a block or two off Oxford St. either side before you find anywhere worth eating.

Subway's only been in the UK for a year or so, so the new hasn't worn off yet. They'll get over it. :blink:

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I just returned from London, where my 1yo son and I joined my husband and 50 college students on a music tour. Fortunately, this was a tour where there was lots of down time for exploring. Double fortunately, one of the performances was at Southwark Cathedral--which is right next to the Borough Market! We ended up lunching there two different days, grazing our way through Parma ham, Basque salamis, buffalo mozzarella, hard cider, raw milk cheddar, apple strudel with hand-pulled dough, a venison burger, and a massive salt-beef sandwich on spinach-flecked bread with mango mustard and aioli. Burp. Very child-friendly sort of place if your child likes throngs of people like mine does. Stay away on Saturday mornings if you are crowd-phobic, it was twice as crazy as during the week. The ladies who run the little French shop hawking cassoulet are particularly friendly and helpful; too bad I was already full-up on tinned foie gras. (They sell the fresh stuff too, but I was kitchenless and didn't think the USDA would be amused if I brought it home.)

Due to the baby factor, I was only able to whimper outside the more fabulous London dining destinations. Things are extraordinarily expensive in London right now, which made me long for the halcyon days when I honeymooned there and the exchange rate was closer to 1.3 pounds to the dollar. You can stretch your travel dollars and please just about anybody's appetite at the Borough Market, though--I'm so glad I'd read up on it here before heading over. The courtyard at the cathedral is a handy place to carry your booty for picnicing.

One other culinary note: we found a small cookbook shop off Portobello Road in the Notting Hill neighborhood that seemed very well-stocked. Their staff was very knowledgeable, directing me towards some books on British puddings and sweets that I wanted to bring back. I think they are simply called Books for Cooks and there is a small cafe in the rear. They carry many of the major and newer US cookbook titles, just in case you find yourself in London suffering a desperate need for Michel Richard's new cookbook.

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Maze

I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned more. Had a fantastic meal there last night. Details are on the blog (am too tired to cut and paste them here).

Today, snacked at Borough Market (if only I had a kitchen!), lunched at Tayyab, and had dinner at a family friend's Japanese restaurant in Soho. Details on these to come ...

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Maze

I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned more. Had a fantastic meal there last night. Details are on the blog (am too tired to cut and paste them here).

The bar was mentioned just two posts up. Some of the best cocktails I have ever had, and a great bartending team added to the fun.
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The bar was mentioned just two posts up. Some of the best cocktails I have ever had, and a great bartending team added to the fun.

I know. Still surprised it wasn't mentioned more, that's all!

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I have friends in London this week (attending a family funeral) and they are in desperate need of a romantic dinner. They're looking for modern english, but not Gordon Ramsay prices.....and a place that will help them forget the reason why they're in London this week. Any suggestions?

thanks!

~erin

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I have friends in London this week (attending a family funeral) and they are in desperate need of a romantic dinner. They're looking for modern english, but not Gordon Ramsay prices.....and a place that will help them forget the reason why they're in London this week. Any suggestions?

thanks!

~erin

The Evening Standard did a writeup of their "top 10 cosy corners" last week, which included Richard Corrigan at Lindsay House in Soho - the reviews in addition to that one are great, the current menu looks good, and while I haven't personally eaten there, I have tried some of Corrigan's recipes and can certainly vouch for them. And, at 56 pounds for the dinner menu it's significantly less expensive than the Ramsay outposts.
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As much as I adore St John, romantic is not the first description that leaps to mind. :(
My wife would certainly agree with you about it not being romantic, but tomorrow when it starts to sleet and snow the marrow with parsley salad would sure hit the spot.

Then again, I am not really sure what Modern English is (other than a post new wave band from the 80’s who I assume had tragic haircuts), if I were looking for a romantic dinner reasonable London prices, I would go upscale Indian. In which case Raso Vineet Bhatia would be my recommendation, far more romantic than Zaika, and I liked the food more than Amaya. I have heard good things about Tamarind as well.

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going to be in london next weekend, and have a pretty good grasp of the more well known restaurants that i will be trying out.....but here is what i am after, the great hole-in-the-wall dives with amazing food. particularly some great indian.

We had very good curry at New Tayyab's a few months back and excellent indian at the Brillian Restaurant. My buddy who lives in London and loves indian swears by La Porte des Indes as well.

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We had very good curry at New Tayyab's a few months back and excellent indian at the Brillian Restaurant. My buddy who lives in London and loves indian swears by La Porte des Indes as well.

I didn't really like New Tayyab, that much. The tandoori meat was kind of dry when it should have been moister. Also, the masala was bland and not complex at all.

Actually Bombay Bistro in Fairfax does a better job!

There are so many curry places in London, don't think it was worth the trip to East London. However, it was a kick to come out of the Churchgate tube stop and feel like you were walking thru India with hawkers selling the latest cheap copy of a Bollywood film.

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Had a wonderful meal at La Genova in Mayfair. It is an Northern Italian resturant that features cuisine from the Liguria region, known for its emphasis on pesto sauce and seafood.

http://www.lagenovarestaurant.com/

It has an unassuming storefront, a well-appointed dining room, and perhaps the most engaging staff of any restaurant I have ever been in. The owner, Rinaldo Pierini, is a fixture on the floor and stopped by our table several times to chat, as did the floor manager, all of the waiters, and ultimately, the chef.

They have a printed menu, but you want to focus on the cart they wheel around that has all of the specials for the evening on display. You choose what you want that they go off to cook it. We basically asked them to prepare a sampling of everything and they were happy to oblige.

One of the highlights was a seafood salad, served cold, which featured squid which was almost buttery soft. The pasta course featured salmon stuffed ravioli, as well as plain homemade pasta with pesto. For the main course, we had the oven cooked seabream with a light lemon sauce, tomatoes, sprinkled with pine nuts, and a braised veal dish in a rich brown sauce with mushrooms that they had wheeled by earlier in a large serving dish. The owner was particularly proud of this dish and insisted we try it.

La Genova is not far from the Marble Arch in Hyde Park. Stop by and say hi to Rinaldo. Don't forget to ask him what restaurant is Tony Bennett's favorite in all of London, and then let him show you the pictures. :P

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Does anyone have any experience with solo dining at lunch at Hakkassan?

mtpleasanteater please forgive me but Vineet Bhatia is arguably the best Indian chef in the world. He has two Michelin stars and his restaurant is an extraordinary experience: http://www.vineetbhatia.com/ If you have the opportunity and can get in, it is just far beyond anything available here. Or, frankly, there!!!

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Joe- You are forgiven!! But the link that you gave me doesn't seem to be working, and I although I found a website for Rasoi restaurant, which is where it looks like he is now, I can't get it to show me a menu or prices. If you can get the menu to appear on your browser PM it to me. I'm kind of topped out at the high end already but I'll think about it, especially if I can find a menu. Thanks though, I do love Indian food. Have you been to Devi near Union Square? It's easily the best I've had, but I don't really think I've had Indian anywhere really notable. I prefer it to anyplace I've been in DC, and I think I've been to all the good ones except Spice X-ing.

Anyone else know about solo dining at Hakkassan?

Also I get the impression that a la carte is the way to go at Sketch & tasting is best at the Fat Duck. Any thoughts?

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Is anyone aware of anyone in London doing things like Komi? By that I mean a small, intimate place, that is all about the food and execution and not about any sort of scene. Any cuisine, just want a small, intimate restaurant, with great service, and great food. If anyone has been to Salts in Boston, that would be a similar type of vibe I am looking for. Thoughts?

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At the moment, I'd say either one of the pair of Wild Honey or Arbutus (the two restaurants share an exec. chef and ownership) would be most similar to Komi food- and atmosphere-wise. Wild Honey is the newer of the two, and has gotten slightly better reviews, but the cooking styles and pricing are basically the same at both. As you'll see from the linked reviews, they're considered the "foodie's choice" restaurants rather than having any sort of see-and-be-seen allure. They're also pretty reasonably priced for the level of cooking, which is a nice bonus.

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I'll be in London for the near future, let's call it the next four months or so. Any ideas of places to eat? I've gotten some great suggestions for "nice" restaurants from this thread that I'll definitely follow up on. What I'm really looking for are every day kinds of places that nevertheless are notable, or at least decent. Work is near the Totenham Court Tube (one stop east of Oxford Circus). At nights I'm currently across from Green Park (just wish I had a view of Buckingham Palace!) but soon will be staying just north of the east end of Hyde Park though certainly willing to travel about the city as long as its reasonably convenient.

Pret and Eat have been good for lunch so far but would like to branch out a bit. There appears to be a Wagamama near work, so I'll almost certainly hit that up in a couple days for lunch. Any other ideas or general places to hit up?

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I'll be in London for the near future, let's call it the next four months or so. Any ideas of places to eat? I've gotten some great suggestions for "nice" restaurants from this thread that I'll definitely follow up on. What I'm really looking for are every day kinds of places that nevertheless are notable, or at least decent. Work is near the Totenham Court Tube (one stop east of Oxford Circus). At nights I'm currently across from Green Park (just wish I had a view of Buckingham Palace!) but soon will be staying just north of the east end of Hyde Park though certainly willing to travel about the city as long as its reasonably convenient.

Pret and Eat have been good for lunch so far but would like to branch out a bit. There appears to be a Wagamama near work, so I'll almost certainly hit that up in a couple days for lunch. Any other ideas or general places to hit up?

We were in london a few months ago and had lunch at The Golden Hind, which was kind of near Covent Garden. Really good fish and chips in a casual (but not grimy) setting. We were there on a Friday afternoon and it seemed like a popular lunch joint. We also had relly good tapas at Dehesa, which was on the west end of Soho. Maybe not a lunch spot, but certainly a good place for a quick bite in the evening. It too seemed fairly popular. Enjoy.

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I've always been a big fan of Marks and Spencer's sandwiches and other prepared items. I know M&S actually has some sandwich shops that are specifically just the takeaway items and not the clothes, etc. Though pretty much any of the grocery stores (Sainsburys, Waitrose) always have an excellent takeaway section - though I'd be less likely to get stuff from Tesco. And this is more of a grocery item, but I always love the Mueller corner yogurts, which are infinitely more tasty than the yogurts in the States. I enjoyed some of the Cornish pasties from the stand on the west side of the Covent Garden Market. You're not incredibly far from Monmouth Coffee Company, which is my favorite coffee place in the world. Wong Kei in Chinatown known for its rude service is cheap and pretty good. It's been years since I've been in the area, so I'm not sure how great all these recommendations are anymore.

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Wong Kei in Chinatown known for its rude service is cheap and pretty good. It's been years since I've been in the area, so I'm not sure how great all these recommendations are anymore.
Wong Kei is legendary, and I don't think it's changed in years :rolleyes: but yes, it's decent food, cheap, and fast. New World, a block or so away in Gerrard Place, is good for dim sum (which I'm pretty sure you can get anytime) and also reasonable. Busaba Eathai is a few doors down from Wong Kei in Wardour St., and regularly shows up on the best cheap eats lists. If you just want to grab a pub lunch, De Hem's in Macclesfield St. is a great little Dutch pub that has some interesting stuff on the menu.

Over in Oxford Street, besides the fabulousness that is the M&S food section (try the onion bhajis!), John Lewis and Selfridges both have big food halls that are great places to pick up lunch, or groceries after work for that matter.

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Okay, how about suggestions more on the upscale side? My wife is coming into town for a bit under a week so we want to go out. I'm checking out Wild Honey and Arbutus suggested upthread and they look interesting, but looking for a few more options. I'm staying in the Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Trafalgar Square area but most things Tube accessible are fair game. Most of the ideas on the thread are a couple years old so not sure how applicable they are.

I'll do what I can to fill up the thread with updates over the next couple months :rolleyes:

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We were in london a few months ago and had lunch at The Golden Hind, which was kind of near Covent Garden. Really good fish and chips in a casual (but not grimy) setting. We were there on a Friday afternoon and it seemed like a popular lunch joint.

I'll echo the recommendation for The Golden Hind - stumbled upon it and thoroughly enjoyed our meal there.

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Okay, how about suggestions more on the upscale side? My wife is coming into town for a bit under a week so we want to go out. I'm checking out Wild Honey and Arbutus suggested upthread and they look interesting, but looking for a few more options. I'm staying in the Covent Garden, Tottenham Court Road, Trafalgar Square area but most things Tube accessible are fair game. Most of the ideas on the thread are a couple years old so not sure how applicable they are.

I'll do what I can to fill up the thread with updates over the next couple months :rolleyes:

We also ate at Wild Honey when were there in May. It is pretty good. Prices were decent, but I wasn't really blown away by any of the dishes. We also ate at Amaya which I found to be a bit overpriced for basically upscale Indian tapas. We are really into small plates, tapas, etc, but for some reason the Indian style tapas missed the mark. However, the service was very good and the space is quite nice.

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A few places of interest, in no particular order:

Salt Yard - Fitzrovia - Stumbling across this place as it is very near my work and thought it looked interesting. Didn't get around to trying it until I was reading elsewhere someone pointing out that whenever they get to London they make sure to go to Salt Yard. Interesting. Went a couple of nights ago to try it out. Basically a combination charcuterie/tapas place. Don't have a huge selection of either, but what they have is good quality. Have a Spanish selection and an Italian selection of both charcuterie (as well as a number of individual hams) and cheese, as well as 10 or so tapas and 5 or so entrees to choose from. I was having dinner later with friends so just got some charcuterie (I went with the Spanish) and a glass of wine. The wine list had a good selection as well. The space is fairly small so I definitely won't be there on the weekend as a weekday evening was packed enough.

Dehesa - Soho - Basically the same thing as Salt Yard. Owned by the same people. Fairly similar menu if I remember correctly.

Terroirs - Fairly new (opened sometime last year I believe) wine bar near Trafalgar and Leicester Squares. I had the steak tartare, duck rilletes (served without bread... though you do get toasted bread for the table). Incredibly popular evidently (I stopped by at 9pm and there was nothing available, wandered around the city a bit and came back at 10pm and took the last table; there was a line when I left around 11) , and I'm pretty sure I can see why. What I had was quite tasty and also had a wide variety of wine to choose from (probably 150 or so bottles offered, around 15-20 by the glass).

Cote - Mini-chain (maybe 10 locations in and around London). Won't knock your socks off, but it is decently executed French fare that is reasonably priced. As I'm on the edge of Theatreland (i.e. the part of Soho with all the theatres are) many of the restaurants have pre-theatre menus. If I get off work in time to take advantage (most end around 7) Cote is a good option. One of the few places that I've eaten that supplies free water without asking.

L'Escargot - Soho - A Marco Pierre White restaurant. Ate hear as another pre-theatre deal as I'm not sure I would pay the prices normally. Pre-theatre is £18 for three courses or £15 for two courses. I had mushroom soup with creme fraiche, leg of lamb steak, and orange tart. All were executed well, though not superbly. The mushroom soup seemed a frothier than I'd like rather than creamy and earthy and the leg of lamb steak was a bit overcooked. For £18 it wasn't bad. For £25-£30 or so (what it probably would have run without the pre-theatre deal) I'm not so sure.

L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon - Soho - Very literally next door to my flat. The side of the road is full of Mercedes, Audis, and the like with their drivers waiting in them most evenings, particularly the weekends. I haven't been, but really want to. A bit on the pricy side... The web site states the pre-theatre menu is £25 for 3 courses, but I've seen other websites that state it is £44... not sure which is correct as outside they only have the degustation menu posted which is £105 (a bit outside my price range at the moment). I'm sure I'll give in at some point at try it.

Tayyab - East London - Supposedly the best Indian in London. Should be going next week so we shall see.

I haven't mentioned any pubs, though I've eaten in numerous. Honestly for the most part they've all been pretty similar. You can't tell it from the outside (unless you know exactly what to look for) but a number of the pubs are actually owned by the same 2-3 groups, each group of which has the same menu. For the most part I've started avoiding these; not because they are bad, which they are not, but rather because they are all fairly similar and thus since I've tried them a couple times I don't need to again.

Let's face it, English fare is mostly pub fare, which is fairly similar :( Fish and chips, bangers and mash, meat pies, gammon and eggs... I probably just covered 80% of the menu :P Some of the independent pubs branch out into other areas, but since I work (and stay) in a fairly touristy part of London there aren't a very large number of independent pubs in this part of town.

For chains, I've enjoyed Pizza Express, Nandos, and Wagamama quite a bit. Pizza Express is (obviously) pizza, but much more Italian than US pizza. Still doesn't touch actual Italian pizza, but good for what it is. Nandos is Portuguese chicken (even though the company is actually South African). What can I say, its on my way home and its an easy choice to make. Wagamama is a great way to warm up when its a bit chilly outside. Mostly a noodles-in-broth place that is all over the place. I didn't realize it but both Wagamama and Nandos have DC locations...

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Wahaca - Covent Garden / Trafalgar Square - Mexican street food (in basically a tapas-style format) as well as larger dishes, about 50/50 for each on the menu. As it was my first time there and I wanted to try a couple of different things, I went with the street food. Tried frijoles with cheese and crema, huitlacoche and feta taquitos, and chorizo and potato enchiladas. Washed it down with a tamarind margarita and a Del Maguey Minero. Plates are brought out separately as they are ready. Oddly enough my frijoles came out last, which you'd think would be the easiest thing in the world to prepare since they have to be cooked ahead of time any way. That was really the only miss of the evening.

I'm not much with descriptions of food, but everything was very good. Flavors melded together well, but I could still pick out each layer and what it added. Really quite good. The tamarind margarita was probably the worst of the items I ordered as it was merely pretty good. I think I'm just not a huge fan of tamarind really. I can't remember the last time I saw Del Maguey mezcal at a restaurant. At £6 a 25ml pour it isn't cheap, but oh-so-good. The total bill came to £22 before service, so not a cheap meal but certainly not an expensive one, especially in London terms.

The one downside is that the place is wildly popular. The fact that the chef is Tommi Miers (winner of the 2005 Masterchef competition) and has been reviewed very well certainly doesn't help things. Both Friday and Saturday night I stopped by the see about eating and the wait was a minimum of 90 minutes both times around 8pm. My flat is nearby so it isn't a huge deal to me since I can just walk over any other night (like on Sunday, which I did tonight) but its something to keep in mind as they also don't take reservations.

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For chains, I've enjoyed Pizza Express, Nandos, and Wagamama quite a bit. Pizza Express is (obviously) pizza, but much more Italian than US pizza. Still doesn't touch actual Italian pizza, but good for what it is. Nandos is Portuguese chicken (even though the company is actually South African). What can I say, its on my way home and its an easy choice to make. Wagamama is a great way to warm up when its a bit chilly outside. Mostly a noodles-in-broth place that is all over the place. I didn't realize it but both Wagamama and Nandos have DC locations...

Wagamama is teasing us, the location has not opened yet. When I was walking through Trafalgar Square a couple of weeks ago I walked past the Pizza Hut and noticed that the pizza looked very different than what they serve here, it looked like the kind of pizza one would actually want to eat, I didn't so I cannot say if it tasted as good as it looked.

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Wagamama is teasing us, the location has not opened yet. When I was walking through Trafalgar Square a couple of weeks ago I walked past the Pizza Hut and noticed that the pizza looked very different than what they serve here, it looked like the kind of pizza one would actually want to eat, I didn't so I cannot say if it tasted as good as it looked.

Have you seen the pizzas with sweetcorn on them. I don't really understand the British fascination with putting sweetcorn in everything - tuna sandwiches and the like.
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Have you seen the pizzas with sweetcorn on them. I don't really understand the British fascination with putting sweetcorn in everything - tuna sandwiches and the like.

I did not notice it on this past trip, but I first saw and had the misfortune of trying sweet corn on pizza on June 21, 1976 - that day I was cast into a culinary abyss where I wallowed for three years suffering through way too many boiled meats, turnips, and chicken that was reared on fish meal.

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Wagamama is teasing us, the location has not opened yet. When I was walking through Trafalgar Square a couple of weeks ago I walked past the Pizza Hut and noticed that the pizza looked very different than what they serve here, it looked like the kind of pizza one would actually want to eat, I didn't so I cannot say if it tasted as good as it looked.

My flat is a couple floors above a Pizza Hut (just a few minutes walk up Charring Cross Rd from that one...); I still haven't eaten at it. Chicken Tikka pizza is also quite popular here (Chicken Tikka being the most popular in London after all). Don't know what I think about that one either.

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Two additional places to try:

- The Golden Hind - Fish and Chips - Batter is light and crispy, not overdone like so many places. Fish is perfectly cooked so its nice and flaky but not dry. The chips are decent, but the fish is what its about. Offer Cod, Haddock, Plaice, and Skate. Also had the best Feta Fritters I've had (the owners are Greek). The seating area won't win any awards as there is room for about 15 comfortably and they jam about 20-25 in there but they do offer takeaway.

- Le Relais de Venice 'L'entrecote' - Steak - They have one menu item, steak frites. If you don't like steak frites... you're going to be hungry. Luckily they have a very good steak frites. The steak was perfectly cooked rare, with a lovely sirloin flavor, tender (much more tender than I'd have expected really), with a herb-butter sauce (a secret recipe, so I'm not certain of all that goes into it), and frites. I assume the frites were cooked quite well as the crunched and tasted like other frites I've had that people said were quite good. Personally I prefer my fried potatoes cut a bit thicker, more along the lines of English chips, but you can't really order steak and chips ;) They have a dessert list with 10 or so options, of which I had the profiteroles, which were admirably done, though nothing out-of-this-world. One odd thing they do is to serve half the steak at first, holding back half at the buffet on a warming tray. After you've finished the first serving, they bring the rest by, with more sauce and more frites. Interesting idea.

The steak frites (with salad) is £20, total bill including a glass of wine, a glass of dessert wine, the profiteroles, and service charge was around £35-40. The place is quite busy. I had noticed the place a couple of days earlier (when eating at the Golden Hind) and happened to be close by again today around the time they opened (6pm). 5 minutes after 6 every table was full. When I left at 7 (service is quick, lingering probably isn't the thing to do) there was a line of about 10 people waiting. When I was by during the week a couple days ago there was a line of probably 25-30 people or so around 8pm.

Both restaurants are in Marylebone, a block off Marylebone High St, across the street from each other. I don't know that I'd go far out of my way for either (though evidently people do go quite a bit out of their way for both upon doing a bit of research), but if you're in the area I'd definitely check them out.

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St. John

...

All of the above for the best in what is British food. Fantastic stuff.

I have been far more impressed by what Tom Pemberton (one of Henderson's protégés) is doing at Hereford Road, than anything I have had at St. John's - actually the whole experience is better from the lack of pretention to the quality of the food set before me. I would also recommend Roast in the Borough Market and the ever wonderful Rules for classic Britishness and wonderful food.

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I have been far more impressed by what Tom Pemberton (one of Henderson's protégés) is doing at Hereford Road, than anything I have had at St. John's - actually the whole experience is better from the lack of pretention to the quality of the food set before me. I would also recommend Roast in the Borough Market and the ever wonderful Rules for classic Britishness and wonderful food.

Pemberton is doing great stuff. Should have added that. Also should have added that we feel that the bar is the way to do st. John. Incredible value and unpretentious. Ever been to launceton place? Now that's pretentious.

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St. John

Anchor and Hope

Harwood Arms

All of the above for the best in what is British food. Fantastic stuff.

Taza on Queensway for Falafel

And Bill Oglethorpe's sandwich at Borough Market - if you've made it to the Market, you have to try it.

I was there recently with family, so I did not always get my preferred choices for dinner. St. John was amazing though. The single best thing I had on the whole trip was this small piece of grilled bread that they smeared the unctuous almost black smear of deliciousness on (made from the liver and heart in to a glorious thick pate/pudding) and sprinkled with a bit of salt and pepper. The heart and liver came from the grouse I had as my main. Really, really good stuff.

Albion Caff was really enjoyable as well (steak and kidney pie, fish pie, fish and chips, barnesley chop, oh and the desserts! bread and butter pudding, warm chocolate mousse, steamed pudding...). Kind of modern rustic and very laid back.

La Smorfia in West Hampstead was pretty darn good, as well, particularly their pizzas. Also in West Hamstead, I'd also suggest trying the Wet fish Cafe -- really quite good.

Even the Asian fusion 'chain', Wagamama, was good.

The Brits certainly do know their sweets, by the way. I was quite taken aback by their desserts, but also in reference to the food overall. British food ain't as bad as everyone's said. That said, my wife and I need to get back so we can properly crawl our way around all of the food places. I mean, we didn't get a chance to have a proper curry. Oy!

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