I'm contessa1 from London. I've been Qyping since 05-11-2009
"Everything in moderation including moderation"
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119 Sydney Street, London SW3 6NR
If there is a prettier garden in which to sit and dine in London I certainly haven't seen it.
Il Giardino, set in fabulous Sydney Street Chelsea is a very pretty restaurant indeed both inside the light, airy, conservatory style dining room or al fresco in the gorgeous garden which is large enough so the tables are styled for comfort rather than crammed in. I felt quite spoilt from the moment I walked in.
Where ever you choose the sit the food is excellent..... from the antipasto followed by an amazing Prawn Tempura and then on to the truly historic (a nod to Mr. Winner there) home made spinach and ricotta ravioli that seriously rival my mother's which has been hitherto unheard of. The lamb was delicious, perfectly cooked and rested enough to be meltingly tender. I also sampled Bottarga for the first time with more amazing home made pasta and it was a party in my mouth. Despite being very sated I couldn't resist trying the cheesecake, it was perfect.
Being Italian people always ask me where they can get 'real' Italian food in London. The word 'real' invoking memories of startlit dinners and languourous lunches eaten under a Tuscan sun. In future......I'll be sending them to Il Giardino.
It's a real taste of Italian Summer in a beautiful English Garden.
Cockfosters Road, Hadley Wood, London EN4 0PY
Reviewed using iPhone. Get the app
Worst mothers day lunch ever last year. They packed them in then couldn't keep up with service or food quantities and ran out of everything. Stupidly expensive too. Avoid.
Cockfosters Road, London EN4 0BX
Reviewed using iPhone. Get the app
Great place with good and plentiful standard cafe dishes. Everything from all day breakfast to sandwiches to steaks Great for brunch at weekends. Always busy. Not posh but always clean and welcoming. Avoid the curly fries.
6 Glendower Place, South Kensington, Chelsea , London SW7 3DP
Revisiting our past haunts can sometimes be fraught with disappointment and make us wish we’d left the past where it was….not the case when I revisited Da Spago after a long long absence on Friday evening.
I had spent a lot of time, money and no inconsiderable effort having a ball in this particular restaurant for most of the 90’s (I’m definitely getting old) and have extremely fond memories of it. It's a hidden gem of place then owned by a very handsome Italian man……. rumour has it he enjoyed himself even more than we did, perhaps a little too much more and he, and his restaurant went into slow decline (wine, women and song will do that to a guy) until he sold it to another, it has to be said, very handsome Italian man, Gio. Buy this one has is eye very firmly on ball and we got a very warm welcome indeed.
We started a with glass of Champagne, always a good idea for a gossipy dinner with your best friend and a classic but simple antipasto to share whilst we chatted. The raison d’être of any antipasto in all its magnificent simplicity is tip top ingredients, this one comprised of soft, sweet Parma Ham, what I think was Culatello, a rare find in antipasto plates this side of Parma, roasted artichoke hearts, beautifully soft salame, a selection of olives and other bits and pieces which completed one the nicest antipasti I have eaten in the UK for a long time. We also ordered a Pizza Rossa to go with it, a crispy thin dough base smothered in the kind of Italian sauce you know has bubbled on the hob for 5 or so hours to give it that unctuous, melting sweet taste. Being a chilli head I asked for fresh chopped chilli on the side and it arrived in seconds. Yum.
It took us nearly an hour between chatting to demolish the antipasto and our Pasta main courses (one vongole, one lobster) when they arrived, showed no sign of being kept waiting, clearly the kitchen cooks to order, our pasta was perfectly al dente and generously dressed, with large chunks of fresh juicy lobster throughout and a good hunk of lobster in it’s shell, amazing value for £12.50 (and I hasten to add the most expensive pasta dish on the menu) My friends pasta vongole must have been as good as mine cos we both actually stopped talking for while and chomped our way through it in contented silence.
The wine list is comprehensive and not pricy at all….we ordered a wine we hadn’t tried before as the list recommended it with the Spaghetti Vongole and it was delicious….I can’t remember the name but it starts with F and the staff will know it, highly recommended.
The restaurant itself is very pretty with tables nicely spaced. I recommend booking as, little wonder, they get rammed in the evenings. The staff were lovely and when they all sat down at the end of the night to share and joke and drink with Gio the owner I really wanted to join them….they all genuinely looked as though they were enjoying themselves and cared about the diners and the restaurant.
The last time I was this impressed with an Italian in London was Polpo which has now become a ‘must try’ on the London restaurant scene. I believe that Da Spago will soon be equally as feted, the food stands head and shoulders above most other Italian restaurants in London and this Italian girl will certainly be getting back to her roots again and again.
It’s rather like getting back together with an ex boyfriend to find not only is he as good looking as you remember him, he’s become a lot nicer.
76-77 South Parade, Chiswick, London W4 5LG
I visited Le Vacherin for dinner last Wednesday and my oh my was I ever impressed. The restaurant was very nearly full but despite not having a reservation we were made to feel immediately welcome and seated instantly....bread and two kinds of butter were served immediately and our fellow diners had that smug look about them that only people 'in the know' about a great neighbourhood place have. We ordered a very good, very reasonably priced Sauvingon Blanc (under £20) and sat back to peruse the menu.
We had actually come in to sample their France for under a Tenner promotion which offers steak frites and a glass of good red for £9.95 having heard great things about it but couldn't resist ordering a starter so kicked off with the Foie Gras with baked fig which was every bit as lovely as it sounded, caramelised Foie and a perfectly juicy fig...heaven. We then had the steak frites which was really good and given the price tag exceptional value for money a thick cut juicy piece of beef and hand made double cooked chips, crisp on the outside and fluffy in the middle.... but I have to say that looking round at what other people were having next time I'm going a la carte at £35 for three courses for this standard of cooking it's the best deal in town.....everyone looked so damn happy, the lighting was perfect, the service unobtusvie whilst remaining attentive and what really tickled my friend was that the lack of annoying music in the restaurant, a particular pet peeve of hers, was evident in the ladies loo which was a lovely touch, she felt that on a date she should waft back to the table on a cloud after having been seranaded with french love songs as she powedered her nose..each to their own...but....it's this attention to detail plus the warmth of the welcome and the great food that makes Le Vacherin such a great and rare find in London.
76 South Parade, Chiswick, London W4 5LF
A fabulous neighbourhood restaurant in the heart of Chiswick. The food is seriously good with all the classics such as souffles, escargots, rillets etc as well as a few surprises. I recently went and had their France for a Tenner promo lunch/dinner offer and had the best steak frites i've had in a long time with a glass red for £9.95....best value in town. I've never had a bad meal here....the attention to detail makes the place special without being too formal..the lunch time £16.95 prixe fixe lunch is brilliant too....if you live in the area consider yourself lucky.
47 Kensington Court, London W8 5DA
I have eaten at Cote four times in total, always at the one in Covent Garden and each time it has been very good indeed. The menu is carefully thought out....the food authentic and the portions excellent value for money. I recommend the steaks, excellent well hung meat, cooked perfectly as ordered.
The staff are a joy and its got a great buzz about the place. Can't fault it.
Stamford Brook, London W6 0XA
This pub is just plain strange but absolutely wonderful....it's directly opposite Stamford Brook Tube, from the outside looks very small but inside goes a long way back with a big telly for sports.
I've have had a few after work/pre going out drinks here and it never fails to throw up an incredible character or two....the bar staff are pretty grumpy in the way that only travelling New Zealanders who are missing the South Island can be but when required can be friendly and even amusing....it's the clientele that makes this place....if ever you're in the area pop in for a pint....I promise you won't be disappointed....its a throw back to another age....they do food...quite a nice menu but have never eaten here.
94-96 Commercial Street, London E1 6LZ
What can I say.....I'd heard about it....read about it.....talked about it.....dammit....I felt like I'd eaten in this restaurant at least 100 times given the amount of air time it had sucked out of my life but in truth.....I'd never quite managed to get there.......so I was delighted to finally make it through the portals of the infamous 'nose to tail' gastronomic temple that is St. John with BB who seems to inspire me to roam a little further than I ordinarily would.
There were four of us, all wannabe foodies (BB and I had met our dining companions for the first time a few days earlier at a secret supper club and had such a great time we decided to make it a regular thing to meet up and eat ‘unusual’) we were keen to try everything they had to throw at us no matter how peculiar, wacky or downright revolting it sounded….we wanted the full on experience….guts, snouts, trotters and all manner of assorted organs. The restaurant itself is minimalist in that stark but warm way that screams of attention to detail without with being overly fussy….white walls, wooden tables, nicely spaced but close enough to let you eyeball other peoples food to help you decide what you’re going to order….though the fact is you’ll want to order everything….we pretty much did.
I’d heard so much about the bone marrow on toast starter that I didn’t think it could possibly live up to expectations….it did. Roasted bones oozing fresh, jellyfied marrow served on a large warmed platter by a smiling chef who looked just a little smug and frankly who can blame him with food this good….The bone marrow arrives with a pile of the most amazing toasted sour dough bread on which you must spread it then sprinkle with salt crystals and cram into waiting salivating mouths as quickly as possible before it goes cold….gorgeous and served with a wonderfully simple parsley, shallot and I think lemon salad….we also ordered the pork and offal Terrine…fabulous, chunky yet smooth with each component tasting exactly of itself….and we couldn’t resist (who could) a veritable slab of Welsh Rarebit….forget cheese on toast…this was something other worldly….I have no idea how they did it but I suspect very good cheese, mustard, eggs yolks and judicious seasoning were all present and blissfully correct.
Main courses ranged from a spectacular Ox cheek Pie for two…(these cheeks had been tweaked, patted and dusted with seasoning in much the same way a lady would powder her nose and allowed to cook in their own juices for a very long time) topped with a pastry that had clearly been made by the pastry angels that don’t, I assure you, frequent the chiller cabinet of your local supermarket….sublime in every way with a tiny marrow bone placed in the middle to allow the steam to escape…a nice touch. I had the saddle of rabbit which was tender and juicy and BB who had to outdo us all in the ‘nose to tail thing’ had the Ox heart……I really didn’t know what to expect other than a pulsating cupid type arrangement on a plate but instead it was cut and cooked very much like calves liver….it was nice….but I have to admit to not being overly fond….I clung limpet like to my rabbit and dipped into the pie whenever possible. The vegetables were faultless, steamed russet potatoes and barely cooked cabbage leaves served in a big bowl ‘family style’ and the most incredible chips that tasted as if they had been double cooked in goose fat. The wine flowed the conversation was sparkling and we slowly chomped our way through everything on our and each others plates.
You’d think at this point that given the sheer volume of fat, cholesterol, bread and potatoes we’d consumed we’d shy away from pudding……but no…not a bit of it…we were ready for more…. The brave American man ordered a bread pudding type thing that I’m sure is illegal in most countries which was served piping hot and…. I kid you not I fell in love…it was ridiculously good, plump sultanas oozing rum nestled in soft light dark sponge….good in a way that you could only dream about…go and taste it….even if you don’t like pudding…you will adore this. BB ordered a chocolate confection that made all chocolate desserts he had ever eaten before pale by comparison and thus a new bench mark for chocolate was set. The girls with a nod to healthy eating (ha ha ha ha ha ha) ordered the apple and vodka sorbet…It looked fairly innocuous until the very first bite exploded in an apple led firework display on our tongue….with the vodka poured over the top it sang….once again incredible.
The service was friendly, efficient, knowledgeable and warm and I loved that as each member of the kitchen brigade left to go home genuine hugs were exchanged between all the members of staff.
We had three bottles of wine, two bottles of water and all the food described and the bill came to 226 pounds….with no service charge added for the house to glean their last sheckle from….you tip the staff not the restaurant….how refreshing and given what we ate excellent value for money….I cannot praise it enough….incredible….my only complaint…I literally couldn’t eat for 24 hours as I was absolutely stuffed. xxx
34 D'Arblay Street, Soho, London W1F 8EX
So, as an avid foodie, food writer and long term Londoner I like to think I know of most, (if not all) of the "hidden gems" in Soho.....I used to practically live there though of late will admit to having slowed down just a touch but even then.....it's my job to know what's out there. BB is an expat....he's been here about a year and I have to admit I derive a certain amount of pleasure from the one upmanship that comes with knowing all the 'good places' to eat in London....so when he suggesgted a trip to Thai Cottage I nodded and smiled in what was probably a somewhat patronising manner..... hmmmmmmmm.
Thai Cottage is rather like sitting in the living room of a Thai household in the suburbs of Bangkok....no frills, no fuss....formica tables, net curtains, those paper napkins that spread things around rather than mop anything up and a noisy large old fashioned a/c unit hanging over the diners heads. It's owned and run and managed by 'The Mum' and 'her family' husband, grandfather, cousins, daughters and anyone else who can lend a hand which makes for a lovely warm atmosphere thought at times I would imagine a little heated.
The food was good, not spectacular but good solid home cooking out of a tiny kitchen which was dishing out great Som Tum (albeit with white cabbage not papaya, we were warned and it made a great substitute) piping hot starters, spicy fresh Tom Yum, a truly fantastic beef salad, an average pad thai but extraordinary red curry and perfectly passable stirfries oh and great coconut rice. We ate very well and it was excellent value for money... the family are happy to chat for hours and a general feeling of well being pervades the restaurant...the niight we went it was packed with everyone from students to well heeled 'meedja' types...If you're looking for a Thai restaurant that carves vegetables and serves 'pretty' food this isn't it but if your looking for a no nonense, well cooked, fresh, home cooked thai meal.....look no further...BB was very pleased with himself....some would say smug.....I now need to pull a rabbit out of the hat, all suggestions welcome.
- Soho, London 8 reviews
- Hammersmith, London 6 reviews
- Chiswick, London 5 reviews
- St. James's, London 3 reviews
- Mayfair, London 2 reviews
- City of London, London 2 reviews
- Victoria, London 1 review
- Bray, Maidenhead 1 review
- Gunnersbury, London 1 review
- Totteridge, London 1 review
- Ladbroke Grove, London 1 review
- Southwark, London 1 review
- Fitzrovia, London 1 review
- Blackfriars, London 1 review
- Hatch End, London 1 review
- Covent Garden, London 1 review
- Primrose Hill, London 1 review
- Hatfield 1 review
- St. Johns Wood, London 1 review
- Kensington, London 1 review
- South Kensington, London 1 review
- Cockfosters, London 1 review
- New Barnet, London 1 review
- Chelsea, London 1 review