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Nov 6, 2006 06:16 PM

Help me pick in London

A London relative has suggested we try any of seven places during a trip in February:
Arbutus, Chez Bruce, Comptoir Gascon, La Gavroche, Locandra Locatelli, River Cafe, The Ivy. I don't know much about any of them, but I am intriqued by what I have learned about Arbutus, Gascon, and Bruce. Please help me pick, say, for lunches or dinners. Anybody know The Merchant House (Ludlow, Shropshire)?

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  1. I know Le Gavroche and it is an experience not to be missed. Go for the set lunch. You will not be disappointed.

    1. I am a fan of Comptoir and really recommend starting with the plate of "piggie treats" followed by one of their plates of foie followed by cassoulet. All washed down with a bottle of madiran. There are few nicer ways to pass a cold evening

      Also, I treated myself to a long lunch at Locanda the other day. My first visit in some time and very good it was too. Not least because I blew the budget on a plate of tagliatelle with truffles

      Both worth visiting. As indeed is Gavroche. The set lunch is £46 which includes 1/2 bottle of wine, mineral water and coffee & petits. Service remains the best in London and the food at lunch, while differing from their evening menu, is still excellent. be warned though, once you add a glass of champagne and, perhaps a little something after, the bill does easily top $100

      Arbutus was hugely underwhelming and I really don't get what all the fuss was about.

      Hope this helps


      1. Merchant House in Ludlow closed last year. There is no successor restaurant - it reverted to a residential dwelling.

        The town now has just a single two* - Hibiscus. We very much enjoyed the nine course tasting menu a few weeks ago. But it took about four hours to get through.

        Ludlow is at least three hours by car from London and a bit more by train. The weather in February is guaranteed to be vile so a jaunt from London is for the committed only.

            1. re: Foodantic

              Depends on how you define expensive.

              Bill for two was about £240 to include two decent bottles of wine. It struck me as reasonable value for money but I'm a Londoner and thus inured to paying high prices for most things.