Spoon HQ

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Must visit restaurants 2010

This posting is an online aide-memoire. This is a running list of restaurants that I really, really want to visit next year. It'll start short but I intend to add to it, then tick them off. All suggestions welcome. I'm looking for great food, love on a plate:

Barrica - Googe Street
Recommended twice on the day I revisted Salt Yard

Indian Zing - Hammersmith
whether I score a seat with Dos Hermanos or not.
January 2010 - Tick!

Ros-Ana - Twickenham
Which Neil Davey whose taste buds I trust has urged me to try

More to follow....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A late night London bite

Last night as fat flakes of rudely wet snow covered me head to toe I received a call from an inbound chef asking me where he could get a decent bite to eat in London should his plane from Madrid ever make it off the ground (and back down on to it again). Off the top of my head these were my post 10 pm suggestions:

1. Hakkasan

Bocca di Lupo - in Soho

Le Cafe Anglais - in Bayswater

Zuma - in Knightsbridge

Pizza East - in Shoreditch

I'm still waiting to hear if he made it.

Nahm Note - The inbound chef originally had a booking at Nahm however in an honourable display of concern for their staff the Halkin Hotel asked the restaurant to close at 9pm last night so that they all had a good shot at battling home over the ice and through the snow.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A manageable walk to a decent meal

There's a pitiful shortage of good restaurants within stumbling distance of Spoon HQ and even when I'm feeling energised and willing to take on a decent hike there's a lamentable paucity of gastronomic delights where dishes are served up with love. To my mind, addled as it is, the only restaurants currently worthy of mention and repeated visits in my loosely defined Spoon neighbourhood are:

The River Cafe, Hammersmith
If only it didn't make quite such a noise on my credit card statement I'd be booking in much more frequently. Still, the last time I went, on a Monday night in the midst of the worst recession in my lifetime, it was packed to the rafters. They wouldn't miss me if I swore never to return, which is quite the opposite of what I intend to do.

The only reason that I don't visit more often is not the absence of love on the plate but love on the floor. May be if I paid them more attention ..... ?

Lola Roja, Wandsworth Bridge Road
I haven't been for a couple of months, my favourite waitress (manageress) seems to have departed and the staff who are currently serving don't appear to understand when I ask after her ... or perhaps their silence is a foil for something more sinister. The room's hardly endearing but the tapas and paella are always welcoming.

Any recommendations for additions to this list gratefully and hopefully also gracefully received.

In the meantime, I'll torture myself with dreams of international restaurants that I wish I could tumble into at a moment's notice:

Bill's (should be possible in 2010 so I can stop winging about this one)

These are simply the restaurants that I dream to see materialise, as if by magic, on my doorstep.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Throwing open their doors in London this year....

I was recently asked by an international editor to recommend some new London restaurants to visit on his next, lightning-fast trip to the capital. I thought I might be worth making an online note of my reply...

"You might like to check out POLPO - Venetian "tapas":

Orange is a new Gastro Pub but I didn't think it was anything special - certainly not worth crossing London for.

The guys from Soho House have opened DEAN STREET TOWNHOUSE - serving seasonal British Food. I haven't tried it yet but it got a good review in the Evening Standard last week:

One of the places with the biggest buzz is another Nick Jones / Soho House venture - PIZZA EAST:

Another place on my "just opened must visit" hit list of London restaurants is - GALVIN LA CHAPPELLE:

On the same site there's also the more casual - GALVIN CAFÉ DE LUXE:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Gastro Therapy with Laura Santtini - her first session

A few snaps from Laura Santtini's first Gastro Therapy session in Selfridges' Food Hall this evening where she dispensed sage advice on all matter of Gastro-dilemmas....

Old fashioned Christmas spirit

Last night as I walked towards Petersham Nurseries the heavens opened. My make-up ran down my neck and into my wellies, my muddy but still handsome wool-lined Ilse Jacobsen's. The tree was up, the lights were on, the flares down the lane were flickering; but would anyone brave the rain and straddle the puddles to join us at the first of Petersham Nurseries two annual Christmas Markets (the next one will take place on Wednesday 9 December).

The Ripeno choir resplendent in their red woollen scarves + one member in lilac (?) took up their position amongst the fragrant plants and beautiful antiques. The kitchen, Skye Gyngell's kitchen, sent out freshly made Cox's toffee apples, brandy butter topped mince pies, steaming jugs of organic spiced apple juice and heart-stoppingly rich hot chocolate .....

Happily there were many, many braver souls than me. And as the choir's voices soared, the greenhouses bustled .....

And as a slightly quirky aside Petersham Nurseries' chef Tito sampled cheese and mostada at the same time...

As I mentioned above they'll be another Christmas Market with the Ripeno choir at Petersham Nurseries on Wednesday 9th November. For details click here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Gastro Therapy with Laura Santtini

Got a gastro-dilemma? Don't hit the panic button just yet!

On Thursday 3 December between the hours of 5 - 7 pm, Laura Santtini, SELFRIDGES' first Gastro Therapist will be stationed in the heart of the Food Hall, prepped and primed to dispense handy tips, sparkling ideas and good ol' common sense advice.

As Waitrose Food Illustrated’s former culinary agony aunt, Laura Santtini, the creator of transformational scratch cooking range EASY TASTY MAGIC and author of EASY TASTY ITALIAN is well equipped to dish out sage advice.

Seek her out .....in her bright yellow therapist's jacket she'll be easy to spot.


Place: Selfridges' Food Hall, Oxford Street, London

Date: Thursday 3 December 2009

Time: 5 - 7 pm

And if you can't make it to Selfridges' at this time then do hit the panic button .... there's a big red one with a hot line to Laura at www.laurasanttini.com

From bread and dripping to balti chicken

This sounds interesting ......

From Bread and Dripping to Balti Chicken: Cookbooks, Restaurants and the Ethnicisation of Food in Britain
A talk by Professor Panikos Panayi, DeMontfort University

6.30-8.00pm, Thursday 3 December 2009, Safra Theatre, Strand Campus

The UK has an apparently insatiable appetite for food and lifestyle media, with Nigella, Jamie and Gordon still topping the TV ratings and producing bestselling cookbooks. But how much do we really know about the food that we eat? In this special Cultural and Creative Industries event, Dr. Panikos Panayi, one of the leading scholars on food history and culture, will explore the emergence of our current multicultural eating habits via the history of cookbooks, restaurants and marketing in Britain, from the 19th-century to the present day, focussing especially on the changes that occurred in UK cuisine with the arrival of immigrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in the post-World War II period.

Panikos Panayi, Professor of European History at De Montfort University in Leicester, is the author of numerous books and articles including the widely acclaimed Spicing Up Britain: The Multicultural History of British Food, which will appear in paperback in 2010, together with a new volume entitled An Immigration History of Britain: Multicultural Racism Since c1800.

This event will be hosted by Dr. Harvey G. Cohen, and is presented by the Centre for Cultural, Media and Creative Industries Research and the MA programme in Cultural and Creative Industries.

The event takes place 6:30-8.00pm, Thursday 3 December 2009, Safra Theatre, Strand Building. Booking not required.