L’Escargot Bleu – Edinburgh

edinburgh 1The temperature dropped at about 3pm, when the first pretty flurries of sparkly flakes descended on Broughton Street. Minutes later, the gale force winds whipped up and what had been a “London flurry” became a horizontal wall of snow bobsleighing down the road with the force of a steam truck. Thank goodness then, we were stranded in a pleasant cosy corner of La Douce France – L’Escargot Bleu, with a smashing bottle of Seigneurie de Peyrat Pinot Noir to warm our locally-sourced cockles. Continue reading


Wild Pigs in Amsterdam – Wilde Zwijnen


Credit – The All-Day Kitchen

The perks of working in the restaurant industry is that it’s often a free meal ticket. Then sometimes one meal comes along that blows the others into the water. The standout meal. The game changer.

This turn was for Wilde Zwijnen in Amsterdam. An unprepossessing, tucked away little gaff, cutesy in a Germanic hideaway sort of guise, covered in sprawling ivy and lit by fairy lights in the less-than-exciting neighbourhood of Amsterdam’s Eastern Docklands.

The premise is simple. Modern Dutch cuisine. Local produce. Young, exciting chefs not restrained by culinary tradition, revisiting pure flavours on the plate sourced from their own flatlands and soft sea waters. The interiors are as welcoming as an M&S Christmas advert. Which is apt given the time of year. Continue reading

Salt + Pickle, Crystal Palace

IMG_20170629_080550_284If you live in Crystal Palace and are a daughter of the gentrified masses such as I am, you will probably at some point have bought some fine cheese or charcuterie at wonder-deli Good Taste Food & Drink on Westow Hill, winner of a coveted 2015 Time Out Love London Award. So it is only better news that Good Taste owner Manish Utton Mishra, local legend and purveyor of all things delicious has now opened Salt + Pickle, a cosy, welcoming restaurant across the road showcasing some of their best products, alongside home-cured and pickled treats and a tidy list of craft beers and wines. Continue reading

#meatporn at Temper


Perfect, perfect Elwy Valley lamb.

*Vegan spoiler alert – y’ain’t gunna like this*

Meat. Oh Meat! Oh bloody, dripping, dirty, dirty meat – she cries! Steak me up, throw me wantonly in the direction of the hog roast, slather me with bacon and sacrifice me on the alter of the Filet Mignon. Good things may come and go, but NOTHING remains as constant and perfect as wonderful, wonderful meat. Enter Temper – the latest beefy-brawny venture by the ‘Geek of Meat’ Neil Rankin, he of Pitt Cue Co and Smokehouse fame. Secreted away in an unlikely looking basement on Soho’s media agency-crammed Broadwick Street, overseen by a centrally placed, temple-sized charcoal barbecue, Temper is what the saliva in your mouth was made for drooling over.

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London for Wine Lovers

Gordon's Wine Bar - creative commonsI am a self-confessed wine snob, slave to the humble grape, worshipper of the vine. Yes, I can knock back a cheap party plonk like the best of them, but probably one of my favourite things to do in the Big Smoke is curl up in the corner of a cosy wine bar, slurp my way through exquisite tipples and people watch. Here are the first in a series of my preferred London spots for combining both these activities – excellent wine drinking, and the not-so-subtle observation of the human condition… Continue reading

Brasserie Zédel – An Itinerant Favourite

20170423_185815“Ah, l’odeur inconfondable du garlic!” Entering Brasserie Zédel is like being smacked in the face by a baguette-wielding, breton jumper-wearing stereotype hawking garlic around the Tour de France. It’s Art Deco, it’s bustling, it’s as close to Paris as you can feel without setting foot on Eurostar. It serves celeriac remoulade and grated carrot salads as starters – this is retro like you haven’t seen since spam fritters made a gourmet comeback.

I have been coming here regularly since it opened. A go-to, ever excellent wow factor venue. In fact, this review has been sitting in my drafts since my first visit in 2012. I was spurred by Grace Dent’s homage penned just after the Westminster attack praising the Zédel for its perpetual fun factor. Yes. Zédel is tons of fun. Stepping down the staircase into the atrium, all smokey travertine, art deco columns and marble and big, bold chandeliers and light fittings you feel like breaking into a Singing in the Rain routine in shimmering velvet. Continue reading

161 Food + Drink, Sydenham


Photo credit to Drink Up London

“This place looks a bit like a mini Toasted in Dulwich” – I exclaimed upon perching on my stool beneath two groaning shelves of French natural wines in the teeny, tiny, ultra-cosy 161 Food + Drink, Sydenham. Cue owner Alex flying right over to justify my observation. Indeed, there is a connection – he formally worked at Toasted with then Chef Matt Osborne, who also worked at my other favourite, Terroirs in Covent Garden. Part of London’s clearly incestuous natural wine scene, which is expanding at a rate of knots into these leafy South London suburbs, 161 Food + Drink is like your friend’s cost front room, packed to the rafters with wine and a book case upon which rests an Italian charcuterie slicer.  Continue reading