Thursday, August 9, 2012

London Fashion Geek: Restaurant Round-up

A quick spin through the eats on my British holiday.

Burger & Lobster
My colleague Jimmy recommended this joint near Greene Park which opened last December and boasts no ressies, a two-hour wait for a table, and only three menu options. Doesn't matter. Since it didn't seem like there was anything else to do in the area, we parked our butts by the bar and they seated us half an hour later. We were given the choice of three mains -- burger, lobster or lobster roll, and elected the two which came with bread. I'm a Boston gal, so I miss me some lobster roll. The burger was ridiculous good, and though the lobster roll didn't live up to the Beantown originals, it was still good enough to wrap up and take home for breakfast the next morning. As we walked out of the restaurant, the host told us he'd just called us to tell us our table was ready. So definitely, definitely wait by the bar because it seems you get priority preference.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
The only meal that we actually booked before going to London was Dinner by Heston. I was dying, dying, DYING to try that meat fruit. I almost can't describe it here because that piece of fluffy whipped chicken liver was so smooth, so flavourful, I'm going to cry just trying to remember and describe it. A lot of people imagine this venue to be super fancy and pricey; it's actually not. Designed sort of like a high-end pub, it has a menu based on classic British delicacies from centuries ago. Prices are under 20 pounds for entrees, 35 or so for mains and under 10 for dessert. Just watch it with the wine. Also memorable from this experience was the short rib main, which was the daily special; get it if you can. Desserts weren't bad, just not as good as the rest of the experience.

Four Seasons
Probably anyone who lived in London knows about Four Seasons' crazy boneless roast duck. Someone checked me in on Facebook at the restaurant and my wall pretty much exploded with envious comments. At first I was a bit like... why are we eating Chinese food in London? When the duck arrived I was more like... OMG sfdajfalsjfk (sounds of me making yummy noises with my mouth full). I think the quality of duck in the UK is probably higher, resulting in the juiciest duck I have ever had the pleasure of putting into my mouth.

Riding House Cafe
We checked out this cute TimeOut recommendation for breakfast; I was seduced by the mention of chorizo hash browns with poached eggs. The smoothies were adorable, served in hefty glass milk jars -- I got the berry, which I was told is the most popular, but if I were to go back I'd try the peanut butter, just because. The chorizo hash was honestly quite awesome, even if the poached eggs were sort of hit or miss (mine were fine, someone else's weren't very runny...) Worth it for the cute atmosphere, but I also really want to check out Kopapa next time I get a chance to grab brekky in London.

Alright, the chief selling point of this place is clearly the fact that you can get as many flavours of ice-cream as you want, all in one cup. That's how I ended up with five flavours in a "small". There are also something like 10 flavours of hot chocolate -- I went for orange chocolate. Calorically speaking, I think this is the equivalent of two meals. But it's very much worth it. Loved the cherry, caramel and milk-less chocolate...

Spice Market
Now, strictly speaking, I didn't dine AT Jean George Vongrichten's Spice Market, but since I was staying at the W London, I did order room service and select from the Spice Market section of the menu. None of it was authentic, all of it was quite good. So I couldn't understand why, when it was all but impossible to get a booking at Pollen Street Social, Spice Market was empty every time we walked by it, every day. The bar on the 1st floor, on the other hand, was constantly full (and by the way, if you swing by, the Clover Club cocktail is highly recommended).

Wright Brothers
This oyster bar on Kingly Street is exactly the mid-day pick-me-up needed after a mini shopping spree at Liberty. Just order oysters, don't bother with anything else (well, don't bother with the mussels, which were exceedingly average... but then again it was the day after we'd left Brussels, so maybe our standards were slightly elevated). Oysters, however, thumbs up.

Super cute Italian communal-slash-cafeteria-style dining on Wardour. Peer into the glass case and point to whatever you want, which is then passed down on a tray which you pay for at the end of the counter and take to these long dining tables. (I think there's table service as well, actually.) Since we went for breakfast, we just grabbed a couple of pastries -- milk bread = yummy goodness.

Most of you already know about this joint, home of piri-piri chicken and the hottest hot sauce ever. If not... go, get the chicken. Add the hot sauce. Eat. Flame. Melt. And then eat more.

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