Quite how the team at The Handbook aren’t morbidly obese never ceases to amaze, because during May we did a pretty decent job of eating our way through some of the best restaurants in London. Welcome to our ‘What we ate last month’ roundup, just don’t think of the calories.
Great view (of you doing a poo)
Emily’s been globetrotting again, this time on a romantic mini-break to New York with her boyf. And it was no Travel lodge affair, but the fancy surroundings of W New York Times Square. The sleek hotel is noted for its central location, art deco and neon bar and two restaurants. Apart from being traumatised by the prices of drinks (and the leaves-nothing-to-the-imagination glass-walled ensuite loos) she had a blast. Presumably she’d’ve given it more coverage on her socials if only they gave customers free wifi…
Deep fried mozzarella anyone?
Every time I say ‘Cicchetti’ I think I’m saying something very rude, but thankfully Charlotte managed to offend nobody when she visited the Covent Garden Italian tapas restaurant (is it still tapas if it’s Italian?). Not exactly a resounding review, but moderately positive. And they do deep fry mozzarella, so swings and roundabouts.
Boulud and clear
As I write this the Mandarin Oriental is on actual fire, so this may not be the perfect moment to recommend heading to Bar Boulud, but Emily enjoyed it so much that maybe it’s worth getting scorched for. With the feel of a wine cellar Bar Boulud strikes a different tone to the opulent hotel above, but is no less enjoyable for it. And by all accounts it was jolly good too, not mind-blowing, but jolly good.
Where: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London, Knightsbridge, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: Knightsbridge (0.1 miles)
Cure Your Post Veganuary Blues
Heading into the belly of the (presumably hungry) beast, Charlotte visited vegan ground-zero, Camden, to check out Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner. And it sounds like it was a junk food heaven that even a carnivore like me would have absolutely loved. Sounds as good to eat as it is difficult to find on Google Maps (so I’m guessing impossible on Apple Maps). I’m sold.
To say I was a little jealous when Emily wafted out of the office casually saying she was off to review Simpson’s in the Strand would be putting it mildly. Another of my ‘bucket list’ restaurants, I secretly hoped it would be lousy, hairs in soup and the sort of prawns that give you the squits. But while I sat at home inserting pins into a Simpson’s poppet, it seems like Emily was having a divine time and it lived up to all the hype I’d hoped. The new refurb sounds like a success and the food excellent. Damn Emily, pass me the poppet again…
I’ve been to Sartoria a few times and could never quite get onboard with it, but perhaps this is because I wasn’t eating their brunch. Emily headed down to check out all things Saturday brunch and was bowled away by it. Apart from being wonderfully gluttonous, the whole meal sounds like a feast and I will most definitely be giving Sartoria another chance.
Murder She Wrote Here
Emily always seems to be raving about Flemings, probably because it’s got some connection to Agatha Christie, and so it was no surprise to find that she’d gone and randomly spent the night there a couple weeks back. I also get why she was such a fan, it looks great. Classy. It’s also got Shaun Rankin’s Ormer. I’ve been to the Jersey version or Ormer and it’s brill, and by all accounts (not least Emily’s) Ormer Mayfair is just excellent too.
A good sport
Ah, this one was me. I went to Broadleaf, a sports bar in The City and didn’t watch sport. Didn’t even see any. Which is why I loved it so much! Don’t get me wrong, if you want to lout around Walkabout then be my guest, but not when I’m trying to eat a croquette trio. The food was lovely, the staff attentive and I think I can safely say this is the nicest sports bar in the country (they did call after the review to say that there normally is more sport on, so if you’re a sports fan then don’t despair).
Leicester Square yet not trashy
Another one I went to. Maison du Mezzé is a right on Leicester Square, which would normally set alarm bells ringing. But somehow they totally pull it off. Yes, it’s got a bit of a ‘themed restaurant’ vibe going down, but the Lebanese food more than makes up for it. And the waiters all dress up in cute national dress, so it’s all thumbs up.
Another reason to go vegan
It’s probably unfair to say that the French aren’t exactly down with vegetarians, but Charlotte does and she’s right. Either way, over at Galvin La Chapelle they are totally across the vegan thing to the extent that Charlotte was able to pour seven full courses of vegetarian and vegan food down her throat without even thinking. Yet another reason to become a vegan.
Golden Age Of Travel
You can’t keep Emily out of hotel rooms, it seems. This time she was up to Edinburgh and stayed at The Principal. Sister to the new London hotel, it’s as swanky as you’d expect. Only recently under Principal control, it’s been revamped and the rooms are meant to celebrate the golden age of travel, which plays straight to Emily’s weaknesses. Once again in the centre of an Agatha Christie novel, this was only ever going to be a rave review, especially when twinned with all the delights of Edinburgh (and a couple-y boyfriend getaway).
I’ve always been a little bit obsessed by Battersea Power Station and was surprised at how emotionally invested I was in the redevelopment. So far I’m not sure it’s lived up to potential (like, what’s with all that glass?) but I am liking that the area is opening to restaurants and shops, not least Wright Brothers. Emily went down to check out brunch at the new opening and found herself enjoying it, eating her first omelette since university and the end here suggests she was kicked out early?
Eaten In Chelsea
Personally I find the name ‘Tell Your Friends’ just a little too bumptious to be cute, and when you load on the fact that it’s the creation of a Made In Chelsea character I already hate it. But according to Charlotte we shouldn’t, and I’m willing to be persuaded. The decor is actually kinda cool, but apparently the food is some of the best vegan cuisine in London. Charlotte is a tough crowd to please, and if she likes it then it’s probably actually worth visiting. I stand corrected.
A nice, normal, tea
Emily and I agree on this: there are some crazy-ass afternoon teas out there. I mean, you don’t know the half of it, everyone is falling over themselves to come up with a more whacky or tangential theme. Some don’t work (scroll down) and others do, but it feels kinda strained. Well step forward The Corinthia who have actually just decided to do something classic and simple.
Call me a red blooded male (two undeniable facts) but I love a steak. Doesn’t everyone? (well, not Charlotte given she’s veggie) This is the perfect place for you, head down to Gillray’s now. Everything about it was tip-top, can’t really say more. Read the review.
Where: Gillray's Steakhouse & Bar, Westminster Bridge Road, London, United Kingdom
Nearest station: London Waterloo (0.3 miles)
Single To Market Hall Fulham
The former ticket office at Fulham Broadway never seems to quite get off the ground. I’m pretty sure there was a Wholefoods rip-off here that didn’t work out, was there once some kind of TGI Fridays type joint in this spot that disappeared? Well now it’s regenerated as Market Hall Fulham and Emily thinks this one might be the one. Let’s see.
Afternoon Raw Fish
Sushi? For afternoon tea? Count me out…
Short on ingredients, long on creativity
When we first heard about Plates it sounded a little… extreme; a menu without meat, fish, gluten, dairy or refined sugar. Right… But actually Charlotte explains that there is so much more to it than that. The menu reflects chef Kirk Haworth’s struggle with Lyme Disease, but more importantly his Michelin level training and background. Probably one of the most interesting restaurants in London right now.
Right Up Emily's Street
If you ask me it looks like Fulham’s latest opening, Little Blue Door, tries just a bit too hard. But the bar, which is meant to be someone’s house party, does look sort of fun I’ll grudgingly admit. Emily, however, was all over it; probably not least because it’s opened at the end of her road.
And that’s all for this month, folks, check in next month to find out exactly how we stuffed our faces in June!