I’ve recently been in London and after a considerable amount of research I’ve found some great restaurants.
Berners Street is in the heart of West London, off Oxford Street. For me the word “tavern” conjures up a pub with the focus on drinking rather than eating but this sophisticated restaurant is far from a tavern.
Under the direction of Michelin starred, executive chef, Jason Atherton he’s added a twist to British food with all the food sourced from the UK.
There are some old favourites on the menu including pork pie, Dover sole and even fish and chips. It might sound mundane but its anything but.
Starters range from £10-15 and mains from £22- 28 although beef and lobster are £30 plus.
The interior is large, with a stud about two and a half stories high with an exquisite and elaborate ceiling, chandeliers and art covered walls.
It attracts a high calibre of clientele and I’d go back in a heart-beat, but a reservation is necessary often weeks in advance. Don’t be surprised if they take your credit card details as a deposit for ‘no shows’ can cost you £100.
Granger & Co
Bill Granger has been around for a while having with his first restaurant opening in Sydney back in 1993. He has continued his refreshingly, simple food and that’s exactly what we got.
I enjoyed the pepperoni, mozzarella, courgette, lemon and rocket pizzettas, larger than expected but our guests helped out.
This was followed by the sticky chilli belly-pork, roasted peanuts and spring onion salad. It’s good to see fusion flavors we have become so accustomed to ‘down under’ are making their way to the other side of the world.
The meals were honest in size and price with small plates around £8 and big plates around £16-18.
There are three Granger & Co restaurants in London, all with the same menu. We chose the Clerkenwell restaurant as you can book.
The Modern Pantry has two restaurants in London, Clerkenwell and Finsbury Square.
The Clerkenwell restaurant has a modern and casual decor with interesting food with unlikely combinations. The menu is detailed, listing a multitude of ingredients for each dish, reflected in the presentation … messy. However, the food was extremely tasty.
To give you an example,
Roast pork belly, umeboshi & Urfa chilli mash, green beans, marinated feta, nectarine relish.
Prices were reasonable with starters about £9 and mains ranging from £16-19.
I’ve had some outstanding meals at Nobu in New York so was keen to try one of their London restaurants. While the highlight of the meal was the crab and tuna tacos it wasn’t as good as I remembered in New York but I’m possibly being a little picky with all the great meals we’ve had this week. Or maybe it was the lack of ambience as we were seated at a table in the middle of the room.
However, value for money… it doesn’t compare to the other three restaurants. It was expensive.
Chiltern Firehouse – The hottest place in London.
I was desperate to go to this restaurant as it’s hip and one of the latest hangouts, but I left my run to late and couldn’t get a table until after 1030 pm, so they said… but the real reason is, I’m not a celeb.
Like the Berner Tavern you can’t make a reservation without giving them your credit card. Their cancellation policy is 48 hours in advance of the booking, or a charge £50 per person.
The contemporary food, under the guise of Michelin starred chef, Nuno Mendes focuses on ‘reimaged classics’ with an emphasis on seasonality and healthy eating. No wonder it is so popular with the celebs!
Reading an article in The Telegraph, it described some of the typical dishes – “char grilled iberico pork, blackened salmon with sea kale and trout roe and the Firehouse Caesar, a classic salad with chunks of crispy chicken skin,” although I can’t imagine this being a hit with some of the slimmer celebs!
Tom Parker Bowles, food writer and critic, said in The Daily Mail,
“The place is hotter than the surface of the Sun. I reckon even God would have to wait for a table,” so it is no wonder I didn’t get in. Next time I’ll try for lunch.
It’s expensive but not ridiculous – mains are about £25
Other places to try
On a recent Seabourn cruise we befriended a delightfully skilled waitress, Anastasia, who’s background was waiting in London’s Michelin starred restaurants. She shared with us her pick of London restaurants. If you are looking for inspiration, take a look.
- The Social Eating House
- Pollen Street Social
- The Ledbury
- Galvin at Windows
- Texture Restaurant
- Wild Honey
- Bibendum Restaurant
- Hospital Road – Gordon Ramsay
- Dinner by Heston Blumenthal