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London...best places near Hyde Park

j
Jenn Jun 9, 2006 02:24 PM

NYC chowhounds traveling to London next weekend and staying at the Mandarin Oriental near Hyde Park for 3 nights. What are the best places within walking distance for coffee/breakfast; afternoon tea; nice (but not outrageously expensive) dinners?

Thanks!

  1. z
    zuriga Jun 9, 2006 03:42 PM

    Do you really just want to stay within walking distance of your hotel? To some, walking distance is 3 miles.. to some it's a few blocks. Maybe you need to be a bit more specific so people can help you out. Hyde Park is very large and it's bordered by a lot of different areas.

    9 Replies
    1. re: zuriga
      t
      Tony Finch Jun 10, 2006 06:38 AM

      Well if you want to fall out of bed and into a restaurant, Foliage is located in the hotel and is a very good "fine dining" restaurant with a Michelin Star.

      Opposite is The Capital and across the road in the Sheraton is One O One which many rate as the best fish cooking in London.

      A five minute walk down the road will bring you to Racine,which is cheaper but still very good French brasserie type restaurant. A nearby Indian restaurant is Haandi which is solid.

      1. re: Tony Finch
        h
        howler Jun 10, 2006 10:15 AM

        oh i'd agree haandi is 'solid', but perhaps disgaree what the solid is.

        importing indian cooks from nairobi, what a concept.

        1. re: howler
          t
          Tony Finch Jun 10, 2006 12:00 PM

          There are plenty of Asians living in Nairobi. Why is it beyond the realm of possibility that some of them might be able to cook?

          1. re: Tony Finch
            h
            howler Jun 10, 2006 01:08 PM

            oh i'm sure there are excellent cooks of various indian cuisines in nairobi.

            but i'll wager any sum you like that there are lots more of those cooks in india. better too.

            call it a wild hunch.

            in any case, haandi is an attempt to cash in on the whole balti thing. any minute now theres going to be a restaurant called 'kadahi', with cooks from mauritius. reviewers will rave over the authentic mulligatawny soup that 'properly' contains two varieties of fish.

            actual indians will yawn and eat another splendid meal at home that can't be found in any of the myriad restaurants. no, wait, they'll go to rasoi vineet bhatia and spend 200 quid on a meal that can't match up to flawless idli sambhar chutney. or paratha and pickle. or chapattis with masur aamti, gobi bhaji and farasbi. or mutton dhansaak. or katti daal chawal ...

            1. re: howler
              t
              Tony Finch Jun 12, 2006 08:37 AM

              So there are more good cooks of Indian food in India than there are in Nairobi?.....Er.....and?

              Haandi is a perfectly acceptable Indian restaurant which is part of a chain with branches in Nairobi, Kampala and....um.....Edgware, as well as Knightsbridge. The original Nairobi branch (there are now two there) is rated as one of the best Indian restaurants in East Africa. The Knightsbridge branch is a cut above most of the Indian restaurants in London, without being as good as the best.

              1. re: Tony Finch
                h
                howler Jun 12, 2006 12:30 PM

                oh dear.

                i'd understand it if the cooks from nairobi were offering up local takes on punjabi standards, or local takes on indian anything. but to take the trouble to import cooks from nairobi to produce the same old boring punjabi/mughlai fare seems completely pointless to me - are indian cooks for this cuisine sooooo rare that we need to get them from nairobi?

                tony, i'm perfectly happy to try and help you discover the treasures of my country - and believe me, they aren't to be found at rasoi vineet bhatia - but lets get away from this 'perfectly acceptable' sort of recommendation. it doesn't mean much other than 'i like it'.

                if you want to eat reasonable punjabi/mughlai fare in central london, about the only places are a) bombay brasserie (lunch buffet) b) moti mahal (queen anne street) and c) gaylords (mortimer street)

                here's an objective way for you to rate an indian restuarant: since indians are mainly vegetarians, and since vegetables require true skill to prepare, see how the cook handles vegetable dishes. for instance, phool gobi at moti mahal is excellent. the vegetables at new tayyab - oh god. now perhaps you CAN get some decent kebabs and roti at new tayyab, but so what? its not terribly hard to make them.

                ok?

                1. re: howler
                  t
                  Tony Finch Jun 12, 2006 01:44 PM

                  The request was for places "near Hyde Park" and the Mandarin Oriental.

                  Haandi is near Hyde Park and the Mandarin Oriental

                  Geddit?

                  1. re: Tony Finch
                    h
                    howler Jun 12, 2006 02:46 PM

                    not really. bombay brasserie is less than a mile and a quarter from knightsbridge.

                    i guess you have to live around here to realise that.

      2. re: zuriga
        j
        Jenn Jun 12, 2006 12:43 PM

        I'm perfectly willing to explore areas besides Hyde Park -- I was just looking for conveniently located places for a quick bite etc. Being a New Yorker, I consider walking distance within about 20 blocks (1 mile).

      3. h
        howler Jun 9, 2006 04:27 PM

        you are well located:

        top pick for lunch/dinner: ishbilya (lebanese) on william street, practically opposite.

        for fun, grab a coffee at the top of harvey nichols. try the lunch menu at capital for fancy french. try the langham hotel for tea (its got a cover of 20 quid i think).

        you are also not terribly far from all the italians in the elizabeth street area - you might want to try il convivio (bit pricey) or oliveto (reasonable and fun).

        some of the best meat i've eaten in london is at the cheyne walk brasserie - its a good neighborhood place right in the heart of discreetly wealthy london - 10 minutes away by cab.

        1. e
          Elzoe Jun 11, 2006 11:36 AM

          Although not inexpensive, Wilton's, one of the oldest restaurants in London, remains one of my favorites. The menu, although "traditional",is wonderful. And if you like Dover sole, they prepare it in a variety of ways, all of them fabulous. Wilton's is a handsome place with a somewhat clubby air but the restaurant is by no means stuffy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Elzoe
            b
            balex Jun 12, 2006 01:58 PM

            Wilton's was refurbished and "updated" a bit a couple of years ago, and they have semi-ruined it. Still worth a visit in game season.

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