It had been a generally crap day until I discovered what eventually turned out to be the most exciting dinner since, I think, Joel Robuchon, or the trio of Foie Gras I guzzled in Toulouse. The delightful JoJo dragged me down the still ever-so-slightly dodgy Acre Lane, past Tesco, past the seemingly ever-empty if intriguing Bamboula, past Lidl and in fact, we almost walked past Upstairs itself. Tucked down a sideroad, on the corner where Opus cafe stands, is a wee doorbell. Past that door, is the stairway to foodie heaven.
Owner Philippe Castaing is the brains behind Brixton Green – championing the SW2 neighbourhood as a “silicon valley” for green business in Britain. Oh, and he’s also catered for Elton and Gordon Ramsey. Needless to say, as a pet project, Upstairs comes with a pedigree. Continue reading
I was a Bistro du Vin/Hotel du Vin novice until a week ago, however I knew my Wednesday night could only be looking up if I was to be rolling into a temple devoted to wine, Anglo-Gallic grub and oodles of cheese. I am a simple girl, the words “bistro”, “vin” and a temperature-controlled larder humming with the faint feety odour of a smorgasbord of French fromages is enough to get my pulse racing and my tastebuds breakdancing. Continue reading
Posted in British, French, London Restaurants, Wine bar
Tagged Bistro du Vin, French restaurants in London, Hotel du Vin, La Cave a Fromage, Restaurants in London, Soho, Steak, Wine bars in London, Wine Dispenser
Ma’s birthday came around, I thought I’d treat the spring chicken to a posh meal in t’town. Covent Garden is conveniently located for them and I’d yet to visit any of the Anthony Demètre trio of Wild Honey, Arbutus or Les Deux Salons, so here was my occasion.
I love French bistro food. I love it, there’s no getting round it. Fling me the deglazed foie gras and snails. Serve me up a steaming bouillabaisse or salade de gésiers! Mmmm for lemon tart… Continue reading
Saucy little number.
Industrialist Henry Ford must have felt pretty chuffed with himself knowing his Assembly Line production method would lead to the consumerist revolution and propel the States into the stratosphere. The concept of Fordist assembly line production is simple enough: The motion of workers is minimized to the greatest extent possible. Each worker typically performs one simple operation. In the case of Le Relais de Venise, that simple operation appears to consist of drowning a perfectly innocent steak in a tidal wave of pigeon poo-coloured “special sauce”. Continue reading
A brief sojourn to the South West of the motherland, where my own weight in duck parts was consumed.
Joy for €2.50
STEAK! STEAK! STEAK! A. is finally revealed...
The decision to eat at Café Luc was the result of a Twitter question on “where to go for a dinner à deux?”. Having been regailed endlessly in 140 characters about the joys of their Steak Tartare (possibly my favourite French dish) I felt an insurpassable urge to try it out. Well, despite the rave reviews – which I admit came largely from their PR Agency (hey, it’s what we do!), I came away a tad disappointed. Suffice to say, the steak tartare was good. That’s it. OK, nice looking, tasty enough, but unmoving in any way. And lacking slightly in seasoning. Continue reading
Voulez vous pâté avec moi?
There’s nothing like arriving at work on a Monday morning in freezing London rain with no coat (lost), no phone (stolen), 3 hours sleep, a face like the end of the world and clutching two cans of pâté. Continue reading
Posted in French
Tagged Breizh, Bretagne, Breton, Brittany, Finistère, France, French, French food, French produce, Pâté, Pâté Hénaff
£7 worth of food porn!
As a pre-Halloween treat, I went for lunch with A. at South Bank. Naturally, as I do every time I tootle down to the NFT, I end up poking my nose into the second-hand book market and spend ridiculous amounts of money on something I shouldn’t. Which is how I wound up meeting A. carrying a 5-kilo giant edition of the well-known “A Taste of France” by Robert Freson, which I admit I bought entirely on the strength of a double-page spread image of Alsatian choucroute royale. Food porn indeed. Continue reading
Posted in French, Recipes
Tagged A., apple tart, apples, filet de porc, filet mignon, French, moutarde à l'ancienne, mustard, Normandy, pork fillet, tarte aux pommes
Al Bric just off of Campo dei Fiori in Rome is an enoteca I have walked past for four years of my life longing to go in, lured perhaps by the fantabulous selection of ultra-mature oozy French cheeses, crumbly Italian “stagionati”, the dusty collection of prize vintage wines vying for position in the window from Pétrus and Mouton Rothschild to some Amarone that would knock your socks and feet off… I had never actually set foot in the place though until this week when I finally convinced Francesco that spending €15 for a glass of wine was just plain intelligent. Continue reading
Posted in Eating in Italy, French, Italian, Rome, Wine
Tagged Al Bric, Campo dei Fiori, cheese, cheeseboard, enoteca, French wine, Italian wine, Italy, Rome, Wine bar
I took a few folk from the Rendez-Vous Francais de Londres to a wine-tasting at my favourite Frenchy hangout in central London, La Trouvaille… This particular wine-club evening was themed on biodynamic wines from the Côtes du Rhône, showcasing specifically a selection from a small domaine by the name of Les Aphillanthes, run by husband and wife duo Daniel and Helène Boulle who got into biodynamic viticulture after discovering that their son suffered strong allergies which this kind of vine growing could prevent.
Posted in French, London Restaurants, Wine, Wine bar
Tagged Cotes du Rhone, French Restaurant, La Trouvaille, London, Restaurant Français, Soho, Wine, Wine bar, wine tasting