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Jun 23, 2007 12:55 PM

London Next Friday

Will be arriving in London next week from LA and going to stay for a day or two before heading off up north. We're thinking about good places to go for Lunch and dinner on Friday and wonder if you could give us a few pointers or recommendations. Staying in Fitzrovia so West End based destinations will be preferred tho we're also going to spend some time around Shoreditch/Spitalfields. We're young (early 20s) so nothing too formal or overly stuffy thanx!

First off we'll probably wake early and have a cheap breakfast at a cafe somewhere before shopping for a bit. Any recommendations for a good espresso early in the morning (around 7-8?)

For lunch we are thinking of going somewhere upscale, seeing as some top restaurants have affordable and accessible set lunch menus. Perhaps one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants such as Maze? i am also wondering what the dress code is at these places for lunch and if it is ok to wear trainers or not. Also looking at Arbutus for lunch but it looks a bit too traditionally "british" while we're looking for something a bit lighter. budget of around £80 for two for food, with perhaps more for wine. We'd go somewhere cheaper if we decide to spend more at dinner, so suggestions in a lower price bracket would also be appreciated.

For dinner we might do something a bit more informal, Canteen springs to mind (which is why we wouldn't want to specifically do british food during the day). alternatively i am wondering if the tasting menu at Bacchus is worth to splurge, tho if we go there in the evening we'd want to do something cheaper for lunch. also thinking about that Tapas place in Soho, Barrafina, somewhere we could order lots of little dishes and vary our drinks, tho the reported wait puts me off. we may do that at lunch instead, or the night before if we are not jet lagged.

in the afternoon if we feel we can fit it in we might want to have some tea/coffee and cakes. Leaning towards tea, Teasmith on shoreditch high street looks good but i'm not sure how their food would be. is Peyton and Byrne on Tot Court Rd as nice as it looks? i think that is take away only tho, and we'd prefer somewhere we could linger.

Thanks in Advance!

Mr Holmes

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  1. If you are going to be in the Shoreditch area, then you should try Magdalen which is a short bus journey/walk away on the south side on London Bridge

    I have never had a bad meal there and it is certainly different from anything you will have tried in the US

    If you go on a Friday, it is close to Borough Market which is less hatefully busy than it is on a Saturday.

    Barrafina is not cheap. You can easily find yourself coming out of there £100 poorer and, I don't thnk their tapa are all that great.

    I don't get the hype about Arbutus. Two visits, two blah meals. Same with Canteen. In fact, my last visit was actively noxious. They have just opened a branch on the South Bank but I have not tried it.

    I don't drink coffee, but If you are in Fitzrovia, then there is a little place called Dino ( I think) on Charlotte Place just off Goodge St which, I am told does some of the best espresso in town.

    Also, if you are in Shoreditch/Spitalsfield area and are in the mood for good, reasonably priced cocktails, then you have two of the best options in the city

    Hawksmoor, is run by Nick Strangeway, the godfather of London Cocktail making and Jorge & Lukas who work there make exemplary drinks many of which come from prohibition recipes. It is on Commercial St about 2 mins from Spitalfields

    The other, is the newly opened Pinchito on Featherstone St ( just by Old St Station) They serve standard but well made tapa and Tobias, the mixer, was recently in the final for bartender of the year. He makes a splendid Pincho Martini using fino sherry in place of Vermouth. A good place to start a night out

    Hope any of this helps


    1 Reply
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      thanks, your post really helped. I'm going to try booking Magdalen for lunch on friday, and Dino is literally next door to our hotel so we will make use of it i'm sure. Also keen on sipping a few cocktails at Hawksmoor so will probably have dinner in the vicinity.

      as i said earlier i'd be interested in something more informal during the evening so Tapas would be a good option. What would be the best alternative to Barrafina?

      Re: Canteen, i've only been once, and only had starters as they were out of something like 5 dishes that my friend and I tried to order. This was a late Sunday afternoon, which might perhaps excuse the pitiful performance, but it's the sort of place, serving the sort of food, that should be at its best on a Sunday of all days. Still, the food we had there was good, the potted duck delicious, and the diners next to us ate pies that looked nice enough.

      mr holmes

    2. Peyton & Byrne are good.
      Big fan of the pies and cupcakes. They also have an area in the National Portrait Gallery where you can linger.