A Month In The Shoes Of A Food Critic: All Of August’s Reviews
We sent out our one-man all-you-can-eat contest, Lottie (who is also our new features writer), to chew her way through London this month. Enjoy her musings on her munchings, as well as cameos by yours truly, Charlotte and Emily.
Smoke & Salt
What: Small space for Emily's big appetite...
Why: Chefs Aaron Webster and Remi Williams met working in The Shed and now they’re working in a shipping container. Editor Emily headed down to check out what the fuss is about and despite the whole thing existing in a space smaller than the average bedsit, the result sounds like a success. If, like Emily, you think it’s normal to have steak for breakfast at least.
Where: Pop Brixton, 49 Brixton Station Road, Brixton, SW9 8PQ
Tom's Kitchen Chelsea
South Kensington (0.6 miles)
What: It's hotting up in Tom's kitchen...
Why: Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery; so I was touched that Lottie went to Tom’s kitchen just a month after I’d pulled a similar stunt. However, rather than sampling the dinner menu, Lottie made it all about the brunch with the curious combo of gazpacho, avocado curd and cold crab. I think I won on the food front, but I’m not at all surprised she loved it; the re-opened Tom’s Kitchen is excellent.
Where: Tom's Kitchen, Chelsea, London, United Kingdom
What: Emily's got crabs...
Why: I’ve been a little fascinated by Claw since it opened last year, not least because it’s made the jump from supper club to grown-up restaurant so neatly. So was rather jealous that Emily managed to bag a review at the ‘Carnaby’ (calling the area East of Regent Street ‘Carnaby’ will never stop grating my ears) restaurant. Her irritation at drinking wine out of a stumpy beaker (she went on about this, at considerable length, in the office) made it into the review, but so did her admission that their mac n cheese was excellent.
Where: 21 Kingly Street, Soho, London W1B 5QA
What: Tie my steaming brew down, sport...
Why: Lottie’s been down under, not to Oz but to Covent Garden and the not-snappily named Abuelo. The antipodean cafe is a new opening and celebrates the land of the Vegemite sandwich, although with a rather classier selection of cakes and delicious sounding sharing plates. So good that Lottie dashed up the 173 Covent Garden tube station stairs for it.
Where: 26 Southampton Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 7RS
Banh, Banh Brixton
What: Banh, Banh, brunch in Brixton...
Why: I can’t see Banh, Banh Brixton written down without singing it in the style of Nancy Sinatra. Thankfully Lottie is a little less childish and headed down to this Brixton restaurant that looks suspiciously like it was decorated after an Ikea binge. Following on the heels of their Peckham opening Vietnamese Banh, Banh has come to Brixton and Lottie loved it. Best brunch ever territory.
Where: 326 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, SW9 8QH
What: Hop along to Galvin...
Why: I mean, how busy has Lottie been? This time she’s been gallivanting round Spitalfields and to Galvin HOP in Spitalfields where she celebrated end of work drinks with dishes specially designed to compliment this very English type of alcoholism. Galvin La Chapelle’s cheaper sister restaurant, Galvin HOP, was a hit even if they did serve wine on-tap (a pet peeve of Lottie’s).
Where: 35 Spital Square, E1 6DY
51 Buckingham Gate
St. James's Park (0.3 miles)
What: Poppin to 51 Buckingham Gate...
Why: Charlotte displayed a surprisingly whimsical side by going to a Mary Poppins tea. In celebration of the (oddly cast) Emily Blunt revival, apparently hitting cinemas later this year, 51 Buckingham Gate have created a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (eye roll) tea. My impression is that it was very good, but that Charlotte might not have entirely gotten into the Poppins swing of things.
Where: 51 Buckingham Gate, London, SW1E 6AF, United Kingdom
What: Another posh Indian hits London...
Why: Blast-from-the-past Fran came back on a one review only basis by sampling the delights of Trishna. I’ve got a thing about the rise of London’s posh Indians and Marylebone’s Trishna was one of the places that kicked this off. And earned a Michelin star for it. Fran enjoyed scoffing her face with seven courses of the finest Indian fare and washing it down with gin. So fair to say that it got a thumbs up.
Where: 15-17 Blandford Street, Marylebone, W1U 3DG
The Chesterfield Mayfair
Green Park (0.3 miles)
What: The sweetest thing...
Why: Lottie not only went to The Chesterfield’s sweets-based afternoon tea, she took props. Namely three little children who look like they got good and sugar-high just in time to return to their parents. The trip may have been a success, but Lottie seems to think the tea itself was too.
Where: The Chesterfield, Charles Street, London, UK
What: Coz Ossobuco
Why: With London seemingly running low on restaurants that Lottie hasn’t yet reviewed, our intrepid eater hit Ossobuco. Partly because its on her namesake street, Charlotte Street (sounds like a spurious reason to me), and probably rather more because of the authentic Milanese cuisine. Which was great, by the way.
Where: 33 Charlotte Street, London, UK
Library Bar at The Ned
What: Book in at The Library...
Why: Emily’s down at The Ned more than she’s in the office right now, and with good reason; Soho House’s mega restaurantropolis down at Bank has about six thousand restaurants and every time it looks like she’s gotten to the last one, they open another. So only right that Emily, a gastronomic Sisyphus, just had to get to the Library Bar. She bills it as “all the glamour of the 1930s with the fun of The Ned” and that’s high praise indeed, it was only a freak of nature that meant Emily wasn’t born in time for the 1930s. Ideally as a detective.
Where: The Ned, 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
What: It's how they JK Rowling...
Why: The refined surroundings of Scarfe’s, the Rosewood’s bar reminiscent of a St James’s club, is not the sort of place you expect to hear Ali G’s name bandied about. But given the bar celebrates another famed satirist, Gerald Scarfe, perhaps it makes sense after all? Either way Emily went down to try and Ali G cocktail, as well as a David Bowie and a JK Rowling. Each cocktail is named a political, social or cultural event from each year from each year since 2001 (why not 2000?).
Where: 252 High Holborn, WC1V 7EN