In now time honoured style, here’s all the places that we went to in April, and what we thought! You’ll also note that we’re putting more travel reviews out, which is because we’re now covering travel as well as food and drink. So double whammy for you all!
Mixed feelings from Emily
Emily spent boat race weekend in Cambridge the one weekend that all the super-bright students will have been down in London lining the banks of The Thames playing human pooh sticks. After giving some likely story about why she didn’t get into Cambridge (only a mystery illness on interview day separates her from Stephen Hawking) she reviews the hotel and seems to have liked it, albeit with a couple of grumbles: Mattress good (she was staying with her boyfriend…), view bad and restaurant a bit of a mixed bunch.
Where: 27-29 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2FB
Go with an adult!
I have literally always wanted to go to the restaurant at Oxo Tower so only half concealed my miffedness when I heard Charlotte had landed a review at the iconic venue. And it sounds like it didn’t disappoint. The new spring menu is apparently something of a triumph, Charlotte raved about the broccoli, though her ‘go with a paying adult’ advice was a word of warning if you’re on a budget.
Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House St, South Bank, SE1 9PH
Emily hits the road again
You can’t keep Emily away from the open road, it seems, because she’s been jaunting off again, this time to boutique country hotel Stoke Place. A sort of poorer sibling to the imposing Stoke Park, it still looks pretty impressive. She was a bit sniffy about the breakfast and service, but things hotted up in the evening after Emily and her boyf had roadtested the four-poster “passed full marks in my testing” and had a a slap up dinner and she seems to have left with a smile on her face.
Where: Stoke Green, Slough, SL2 4HT
I remember Kettners was always a slightly dowdy affair, sat on the edge of Soho and just a little threadbare. Well no more: Soho House have bought it, done it all up and sprinkled a bit of their signature magic. Emily went to check it out and was impressed by the new look, the friendly staff and the general thriftiness (£30 all in!).
Where: 29 Romilly Street, Soho, W1D 5HP
Head Straight For The Wine List
Somerset House has a new restaurant in the form of Bryn Williams’ new veg centric opening. Reading between the lines I get the impression Emily would have liked to just write ‘meh’ 300 times. But there were highlights including the cauliflower steak and a very tasty bottle of Chateau de la Roche Sauvignon Blanc.
Where: Bryn Williams at Somerset House, Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA
Wolfgang Puck Doesn't Disappoint
Legendary American chef Wolfgang Puck has one European restaurant, CUT at 45 Park Lane, and Emily was there to chomp her way through the menu. We think this is the first time she mentions her boyfriend in print, so, y’know, a big moment. And it sounds like a big meal too, Mac’n’Cheese and Steak. Low point was getting mustard in her eye, the rest sounds like it was the high point. Result!
Where: 45 Park Lane, Mayfair, W1K 1PN
The Big Easy is one of the most reassuring restaurants in London, always there and always the same. But there is a change, they’ve made their bottomless brunch not bottomless any more, which is a shame. That aside, it sounds like Emily’s visit was pretty much as standard, lots of food, BBQ’d and fun.
Where: Canary Wharf, Covent Garden and King's Road
I’m not one for immersive experiences, but Emily is all over this kind of stuff. Give her a dressing up box and she’s happy for the rest of the day, so it’s no surprise that she was all over Evans & Peel Detective Agency, the speakeasy themed bar where the staff dress up as 1920s detectives. As an avid Agatha Christie fan she was always going to go dippy for all this detective nonsense and went full on. In between playing make-believe she also made pretty short work of the brisket.
Where: 310c Earls Court Road, Earls Court, SW5 9BA
Let's Get Physic-al
Emily got her teeth into some afternoon tea at Four Seasons Park Lane who have partnered with Chelsea Physic Garden and based their latest tea around the flora and fauna found there. Amazingly it didn’t come across as gimmicky and she thought it was genuinely good. So thumbs up.
Where: Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London, W1J 7DR, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Hyde Park Corner (0.2 miles)
How do you cook toast in the jungle? Pop it under the gorilla… There are eight restaurants at The Ned and Emily is slowly eating her way through them all and this time is was the turn of Lutyens Grill (hence the entirely tenuous gorilla joke, you’ve got to spice these review-of-reviews pieces up somehow as it’s starting to drag a bit, don’t you think?). The classic grill restaurant was, until recently, the preserve of Soho House members only, but now it’s been opened up to the plebs and so only appropriate that Emily should get her teeth around some meat, as it were. And very good it was too.
Where: 27 Poultry, EC2R 8AJ
Mediterranean In Pimlico
If you’re sick to the back teeth of hearing about all Emily’s amazing dinners, here’s some light relief; Fenella went to Omar’s Place. Brainchild of restaurateur Omar Shabaan, the Mediterranean restaurant in Pimlico is awash with colour and flavour. Fenella’s normally rather a harsh critic, but this time she had only praise (except for a cocktail that ‘tasted like medicine’). So we should probably all head down to Omar’s Place immediately.
She Literally Rolled Home!
She did well to bag this one, Fenella went to the all new Cinnamon Kitchen by Battersea Power Station and loved it. The food appears to have been incredible, in her words “I had to accept I would be rolling out of the restaurant rather than walking”. Somehow in her modest frame she found room for appetisers, grills, sides, naans, mains AND pudding!
Where: Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea, 4 Arches Lane, SW11 8AB
Sporty Fun Abroad
You may have noticed, or maybe you’ve not, but we’ve got an all-new travel section at The Handbook. It’s rather nifty, and it also means that we get to go to nice places (hurrah!) and it was Charlotte’s turn to head to sunnier climes, specifically to Portugal’s Quinta do Lago, a massive sports resort on The Algarve. It looks incredible and (a DVD extra for you that’s not in the piece) Tim Henman’s brother gave her a tennis racket. Actual Tim Henman (‘s brother).
Where: The Algarve, Portugal