Category Archives: French

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

Eating out in Se19, The French House, Crystal Palace

img_20170205_165004_052Hey hep cats, word is out, I have moved back to my favourite neighbourhood! The old Crystal Palace once again enjoys the patronage of Itinerant Epicure (and boy she does love it so..)

The good news is, in the 2 years during which I have been exploring other pastures, there has been a crop of exciting new openings, and none I can rave more about than The French House. The original cafe/brunch/all day eatery opened in West Dulwich and has now found space for a second wave on Westow triangle.

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Toasted, Wine Shop and Restaurant – East Dulwich

Wine Vats

Wine Vats

The lovely Toasted opened to rave reviews from the likes of Fay Maschler and blogger Cheese & Biscuits back in 2013. Chef Michael Hazelwood was previously in the kitchens at emminently, consistently high quality French Man and Green Horn and Soif restaurants – both rustic, cosy temples to French wines and seasonal small plates, with a heavy penchant for the organic and biodynamic. Manager Alex Thorpe still answers the phone for reservations and bustles around the tables fussing over diners – like a proper host should. Together, they have brought a real gastronomic Christmas stocking heaving with lip-smacking treats to this little corner of East Dulwich’s vibrant Lordship Lane. Continue reading

Koffman’s at The Berkeley

Koffman's at The Berkeley

Koffman’s at The Berkeley

Dining at Koffman’s is a bit like eating in the ante-chamber of a giant billiards room in a London gent’s townhouse (because I’d know all about that, you see). The edgy feeling that behind one of the doors, is a bustling, incredibly fun dining establishment bursting with vim, vigour and gluttonous diners throwing claret down their gullets by the carafe-load. Continue reading

Upstairs in Brixton. Hidden Gem of SW2.

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

Bistro du Vin – “Divin” – SOHO

Natty patty.

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

Les Deux Salons. Bon mais “bof”.

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