Osteria Francescana, Modena

I’ve been working front of house for nearly a year now. I’ve written about eating in restaurants for yonks but never before considered the difficulty involved in the day to day running of one. It’s been a steep and fascinating learning curve. Shortly after employing me, Oisín Rogers, general manager of the Guinea Grill, gave me Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table. In this book the … Continue reading Osteria Francescana, Modena

Bob Bob Cité

The pairing for this new restaurant inside London’s Cheesegrater, or Leadenhall Building as it’s officially known, is my dream team. It brings together the restaurateur behind Bob Bob Ricard; that ultra glitz, all-booth Soho stalwart, and Eric Chavot, whose French food I fell in love with at the now-closed Brasserie Chavot. Lovers of Bob Bob’s pomp will wet their undies when they step inside this … Continue reading Bob Bob Cité

Hakkasan Hanway Place

This is the original Hakkasan, based, you guessed it, in Hanway Place, which is a piddle-riddled alley just behind Tottenham Court Road. The Hakkasan restaurant empire has grown to 12 restaurants worldwide but this one has been here since 2001. On one of the hottest days of the year, there is no finer place to have lunch than in Hakkasan’s air conditioned basement. Outside it’s … Continue reading Hakkasan Hanway Place

Le Meurice – Alain Ducasse, Paris

Le Meurice, part of the Dorchester Collection, is just a short walk from the Louvre museum in Paris. The hotel houses a two Michelin starred restaurant by Alain Ducasse in one of the most beautiful and opulent dining rooms I’ve ever encountered. It is simply stunning. It’s a jacket and ‘tie preferred’ kind of place yet it doesn’t feel stuffy; service is friendly and relaxed … Continue reading Le Meurice – Alain Ducasse, Paris

Kutir, Chelsea

London’s doing well for fancy Indian restaurants right now. There’s Chutney Mary, which has settled well into its new St James’s home, Gymkhana and Trishna from the always-reliable JKS group and recently-refurbished Tamarind in Mayfair. Another one for your posh popadom list is Kutir in Chelsea. It replaces Vineet Bhatia London, which I liked, with new owner Rohit Ghai keeping a similar dinner-at-someone’s-house vibe. The … Continue reading Kutir, Chelsea

The Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden

Ex MasterChef: The Professionals contestant, Adam Handling, has grown quite the restaurant empire. There’s The Frog in Covent Garden, The Frog in Hoxton Square, his zero-waste coffee shop, Bean and Wheat, just next door and most recently Restaurant Adam Handling at Belmond Cadogan Hotel in Chelsea. This visit is to Covent Garden to try his new menu. But first, we head to the basement for … Continue reading The Frog by Adam Handling, Covent Garden

The Hind’s Head, Bray

Apart from a thoroughly decent Easter chocolate range at Waitrose (that chocolate teapot was lush) Heston Blumenthal’s been a bit quiet as of late. He’s had no UK openings for some time. What he has got is a collection of great restaurants that have been consistently-so for a while. One of those is his Michelin starred pub in Bray, Berkshire, just a few doors down … Continue reading The Hind’s Head, Bray

Tamarind Mayfair

Tamarind has recently undergone a ravishing, multimillion pound makeover. There are now two dining options when visiting this Mayfair Indian stalwart; upstairs for lunch or downstairs for dinner. Up (where we go) is a rather bright and airy affair with views of the neighbouring rooftops. In the basement it’s more sexy with an open kitchen for added drama. We’re prepared a mini tasting of highlights from … Continue reading Tamarind Mayfair

Roe, Brixton

Pop Brixton has been home to a good few restaurants now. It’s where Kricket rose to fame and Smoke & Salt has gone from strength to strength. A new edition to this shipping container village, just behind Brixton station, is Roe. Given its location, don’t expect hyper luxury. The long, narrow space is well utilised though with two communal tables and a kitchen at the … Continue reading Roe, Brixton

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Chelsea

Sticks ‘n’ Sushi is one of those small chain restaurants where the quality hasn’t dropped since expanding. I’ve been to all of them now, from Copenhagen to Covent Garden, and for decent sushi, friendly service and a gorgeous room, you can’t beat it. Their newest opening is in Chelsea. It’s their biggest yet, sprawled over three floors. In the basement there’s a private dining room, … Continue reading Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, Chelsea

Burger & Beyond, Shoreditch

Followers of my Instagram know I’m partial to a burger. Many a time have I visited Burger & Beyond’s Camden Market stall in the pissing rain just to eat their aged beef patties topped with American cheeses and smokey mayo. Fabu news it was when I heard owners Tom and Craig, a handsome pair, were opening their first restaurant in Shoreditch, just opposite the Ace … Continue reading Burger & Beyond, Shoreditch

Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland

Our visit to Parkers Arms starts with a stunningly beautiful drive from Cumbria to a small village called Newton-In-Bowland in Lancashire. The views are breathtaking. An ordinary looking pub on the outside it may be, but inside, next to the open fire, it’s cosy and quaint. We feel at home. Service is as warm and the surrounds. Two young chaps, efficient and switched-on, and AJ … Continue reading Parkers Arms, Newton-In-Bowland

LINO, Smithfield Market

You’ll get lost finding LINO. We sure did. This new restaurant and bar is hidden round the back of Smithfield Market in an old Lino warehouse in a maze of new developments which aren’t quite finished. It’s worth finding though. It’s warehouse chic but there’s an authenticity about it. Taking up the centre of this huge, lofty space is a clover leaf-shaped bar. The music … Continue reading LINO, Smithfield Market