This is one of those “London is full of surprises” moments. In the relatively subdued and in-betweeny neighbourhood of St. James’s Park, which on this particular Saturday was prey to a marching black and white army of anti-Badger Cullers, sits the shiny newly refursbished, very smart and elegant St Ermin’s Hotel – once a notorious meeting place of secret agents and spies, now the third aquisition by Marriot’s “Autograph Collection” of independent, upscale hotels. James Bond meets interior design – my kind of den, really. And within this dazzling den, quietly ticking away, is the absolutely delightful Caxton Bar and Grill.
Sunday brain teasers
I do have a soft spot for this quirky hotel brand where I have also overnighted. No fear of being the sad sack brunching alone and needing to play mobile Angry Birds for company here on a Sunday, the Mal Brasserie menu provides a nifty word search and Sudoku on its back page to entertain those enjoying oeufs-for-one. Continue reading
There’s nothing fishy about this kitchen!
Part of the delightful Llawnroc hotel in the pretty hamlet of Gorran Haven, South Cornwall, The Gwineas Bar & Bistro makes the most of the light, space and restfulness afforded by its wall of floor-to-ceiling windows and glorious sea view beyond. Continue reading
Somewhere in between the monsoon, the hailstorms of Hades and the third Ice Age of 2012, there were a few minutes of sun. Thank heavens then that at that particular moment I happened to find myself in good company and minutes from The Paxton, Gipsy Hill. Continue reading
Crystal Palace, Baby!
Westow House in Crystal Palace is the living embodiment of everything a pub should be. Like the glory days of the village tavern where crusty hobbits would gather for flagons of ale as it was the only building around with a roaring fire on heathenous medieval nights, Westow House is a pub for actually living in, as they were meant to be. An ale-filled extension of your home. Continue reading
The Hare & Hounds, Lingfield, is a charming, powder blue pub, sitting unassumingly along the slip road outside the quaint, Midsommer Murders-esque village of Lingfield, famed for its racecourse. Inside is a colourful explosion of mismatched furniture, oriental flourishes and borderline kitsch-tacky details which somehow coalesce to produce something like the sitting room of my dreams -all of this arranged neatly around a large log fire. Continue reading