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Help me pick in London

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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

      http://majbros.blogspot.com/2006/10/l...

      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

      http://majbros.blogspot.com/2006/03/l...

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

      http://majbros.blogspot.com/2006/06/a...

      Hope this helps

      S

      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. A bit expensive, no?

          1. I think so

            1 Reply
            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.

            2. Chez Bruce was excellent in terms of value. The tasting menu was terrfic. Classis french. Wonderful wines and very warm. Ambiance was also wonderful. It is a long cab ride though which adds about 40 pounds to the whole venture.

              1. Chez Bruce was really good when we visited for a Sunday lunch in May. Great service, great food & good value. Sommelier made good suggestions as well. The lunch deal is a real deal. Go via train to Wandsworth Common but one can also tube to Clapham South.

                I was totally underwhelmed by the River Cafe when we went about 2 years ago. Seems grossly overpriced for what we got, but that was then.

                Fifteen is worth considering if you haven't been.