On the whole, the Michelin guide is a safe place to consult when looking for somewhere to eat out. For a consistently good meal, forget twos and threes, and stick with the cheaper, humbler one star. Undoubtedly, the ‘little red book’ gives preference to European food, so when South West Indian seafood specialist Trishna gained a star (and subsequent blog appeal) in October 2012 for its foodie fireworks, I felt I ought to give it a try. Continue reading
A simple space on the first floor of the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green gives little away, but look a little closer and it becomes apparent that someone has a sense of humour: a spiral staircase leading nowhere; lamps hung at spectacularly varying heights; no external telephone. The place is unassuming. The menu is the same. Three ingredients are listed for each dish, with no indication as to how they’re to be prepared or served. Portuguese chef, Nuno Mendes – who trained at El Bulli – is best known for working his magic at Michelin-starred Viajante, downstairs, so as you settle into your seats at Corner Room you feel like you might just be in for a treat. And you’re not wrong there.
In late 2009, mid economic crisis, Russell Norman bravely opened his first bacaro (a Venetian wine bar to you or me) just off Carnaby Street. Three years later and Norman has four more successful restaurants to his name. He’s done well. Very well. And why wouldn’t he have? The concept is instantly likeable: fairly-priced food to share, served in a hip venue. Throw in enough booze and everyone will love it. And indeed they do; it’s very difficult to find a bad word against Polpo anywhere. Until now. Not much feeling up to the scrum that is undoubtedly their evening ‘no reservations’ policy, I set on a Monday afternoon to see what all the fuss was about. Everything that goes through the door seems to have been ‘distressed': the walls, the menus, the waiters’ jeans. Me too.
If it’s fine dining that you’re looking for without the pretence or hefty price tag head to Arbutus in Soho. Having been before I knew what to expect. Superb produce served by knowledgeable staff in a relaxed, contemporary setting. Modern European all over. This place has been on the scene for around six years now so I went back with my other half to see if its sparkle was still there. Little had changed in the few years since my last visit. Think creams and dark chocolates, mirrors and right angles. A diabetic engineer’s heaven. It might sound a little safe, but the decoration does in fact suit the U-shaped restaurant. However, with all that hard wood and bare wall, voices are always a little strained. A few soft touches here and there still wouldn’t go amiss. Bring back the tablecloth I say. Continue reading