Tag Archives: London

Duende – Covent Garden Tapas

IMG_20160411_205013A lot of romance has been written surrounding the spirit of the word “duende” – a Spanish concept for which there is no direct English translation – relating to “having soul” (thus perpetuating that great stereotype that us Anglophones are inferior to the fiery Latins when it comes to this department)…

Well… Covent Garden is not usually where I go to “find soul” or even Latin passion (although a few Margaritas at Benito’s Hat Mexican has claimed a few souls for sure) – and sadly both of these are a tad lacking at newly opened Duende. Small, suitably dark and ever so slightly cold, the few high chairs facing the bar offer diners a spanking shiny copper top from which to eat whilst a scatter of black wood tables line the opposite side of the very tight room. It is slick and chic, rather than quaint and rustic – and I picture City suits rather than trendy, creative Madrileños. Continue reading


A Taste of WTM – World Travel Market Food

Gingerbread-making at the Poland stand

World Travel Market has come to a close. Another year, another day hot-footing round the stands, clutching at brochures, shaking hands, networking a gogo, soaking up the social media masterclasses and pitching to the press. Thank god then, for the array of tasty treats on offer – for those on a budget (me!) who see every event as an opportunity to soak up a country’s flavours! Continue reading

Picante Mexican Grill – Jolly Jalepenos

Yarriba yarriba!

A yellow flyer is thrust into my hand outside Victoria tube station as I trip over the fifth “Stylist” distributor and shuttle past the ninth Pret a Manger on the one road. Picante Mexican Grill it reads. A happy “Mexican Day of the Dead” skull smiles up at me, full of the promise of fresh and tasty burritos, chilli-laced tacos and and silky green guacamole. “HURRAH!” I sing – “There is a God!” And he is clearly as sick of bloody Pret as I am! Continue reading

Dinky Dim Sum at Jen Cafe

Dumpling Heaven...

A bright green corner caff on Newport Place just before the entrance to Gerrard Street, Chinatown, Jen Cafe is an unassuming dumpling bar with formica tables huddled together, a less-than-salubrious looking steamy micro-kitchen at the back end and a counter top for loners to sit at. Continue reading

“I am your Father (Cafe) Luc.”

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

Moustache-less at The Botanist

The Botanist - Sitting proudly on Sloane Square

In case you’ve been on planet zog for the last month, you’ll know that this is “Movember” – up and down the country, teenagers with smelly socks disguised with Lynx have been trying desperately to grow a bit of chin fluff for charity, and older generations have relished the thought of finally finding out exactly how they’d look with a Hercule Poirot ‘tache. Everyone, that is, except Neil of superb whisky blog CaskStrength who in a defiant mood shaved OFF his legendary groomed moustachio and faced this chilly month with nary a protective bristle for his upper lip.

Which is how we met him at The Botanist – under the thin pretense of a press lunch, I was here to sample to goods and see if it lived up to the hype I had created for myself. Continue reading

St. Martini at Dishoom – Zoom Zoom…

Get on your Bombay bicycle and head over now!

Dishoom is tapas Bombay style, or something along those lines. Wee plates of spicy goodness which my Indian co-diner insisted were highly authentic. So far so good then. And that’s before I discovered the chilli-infused heaven that is a St. Martini.

Dishoom, a stone’s throw from Seven Dials and next door to Jamie’s Italian, is a bright and breezy large bar, kitchen and dining room festooned in kitsch Bollywood memorabilia and 50s diner aesthetics. The open plan kitchen is fun to watch without invading the room, with the most entertaining chef (the one who whirls the Roti about above his head) is rightfully given the most prominence. Continue reading