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Need London suggestions, please

s
sylviag Aug 21, 2007 06:04 AM

We will be coming to London for a week on August 31 and staying at the Jury's Clifton Ford on Wellbeck St., near Oxford St. I would love to have suggestions for moderate priced dinners that would be walking distance: Marylebone High Sts., Marble Arch, Oxford St., etc.

Unfortunately, I don't care for Indian food, which I know rules out many good places. But anything else is fine. I thought we would go one evening for the prix-fixe at Garvin; any comments? It's probably a bit pricey, even with the prix-fixe.

Also, we will be going out for breakfast, or at least for coffee and a roll. I remember there were good little places on or near Marylebone High St. though it would be nice to have a real breakfast once or twice. Any suggestions?

All help is appreciated!

Sylvia in Philadelphia

  1. bombaybeauty Aug 27, 2007 02:55 PM

    I've joined this thread a bit late, but hope I can help. This area is my specialty, albeit given my own tastes.
    Marylebone High Street offers many fine options, none cheap but some reasonably priced:
    - someone suggested patisseries, namely Paul (a French chain, but in fact pretty good) and Valerie (more for pastries, but not a bad choice).
    - Not to be forgotten, though possibly disdained, is Le Pain Quotidien. Like all chains this place his its detractors, including me, but for overall predictable quality and value you'll do well. Good coffee. Reasonable pastries (though trumped by Paul in the croissant department for sure), good salads. The menu is identical to the branches in other countries, which I suppose is a bit disappointing.
    - Recent opened is a grocery store/ cafe whose name I'm forgotten (Natural Kitchen? Almost next door to LPQ). Haven't tried the cafe but the grocery store is pricey but high quality.
    - Someone suggested Providores - this is a great suggestion - fantastic place albeit often surly service - one weekends it gets busy with Americans nostalgic for brunch (and why not indeed).
    - And the real rabbit from the cap, I would claim, is Villandry on Great Portland Street. There is a bar, cafe, and restaurant, and usually the first two have reasonable prices.

    I know de gustibus non est disputandum and whatnot, but I must say that other than dietary restrictions there is no cuisine in the world I personally would simply write off as a matter of taste. Saying you don't like Indian is culinarily like saying you don't like European -- the statement has no meaning (1.2 billion people, 15 languages, and at least 20+ distinct cuisines). Having lodged this complaint, I can understand what you mean. A lot of the Indian you would get in Philly or for that matter NY is not worth the trouble.

    Cheers,

    BB

    3 Replies
    1. re: bombaybeauty
      howler Aug 27, 2007 05:03 PM

      "Saying you don't like Indian is culinarily like saying you don't like European -- the statement has no meaning (1.2 billion people, 15 languages, and at least 20+ distinct cuisines)."

      hey that sounds familiar (grin). fyi: the language count is 22 for a million and above speakers. and of course there are enormous regional differences within each state - my aunt and uncle still quarrel, at 70+, which is the best way to make the simple wangya cha bharit: the deshast way, the kokanansth way or the konkani way.

      1. re: howler
        bombaybeauty Aug 28, 2007 01:39 AM

        Thanks for the language update. Indeed I'm amazing and impressed in Maharashtra how the cuisine varies from the coast, to the coastal hills, to the interior. My mother is Maharashtrian and though hybridized with other regions (Guju -- predictable given my insane passion for food), I love the flavors of this region. Any hope of a Maharashtrian restaurant in London? Cheers, BB

        1. re: bombaybeauty
          howler Aug 28, 2007 05:46 AM

          sadly, no

    2. b
      Bradbury Aug 23, 2007 03:51 AM

      For breakfast on Marylebone High St., I'd most recommend Providores & Tapas Room. The kitchen there is very good at walking the fine line between 'creative' and 'comfort food', and it's a nice place to relax with the morning paper. Another breakfast suggestion (a bit further, but maybe a pleasant morning stroll south through Mayfair to get there) is Inn the Park, in St. James Park. Great menu and scenery.

      Also, if you're there on a Sunday morning, there's a neat little farmer's market in a car park just off the High St., with quite a few goodies on offer that won't require a kitchen to enjoy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bradbury
        kristainlondon Aug 24, 2007 08:31 AM

        I'll second the recommendation for The Providores...a nice break after shopping or sightseeing! You can drop in for a glass of wine or a full meal. It doesn't matter. (But timing does matter--I believe the kitchen is closed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.)

        There's a Turkish place I had a really nice meal at a month or two back..Ishtar on Crawford Street. Not too expensive, friendly service, nice food.

      2. s
        sylviag Aug 22, 2007 02:21 PM

        Thank you for these helpful responses. Sorry about the spelling of Welbeck - I really know better!
        SpikeyD, where is Moxon St.? I couldn't find it in my London plan book.
        Anyway, I am printing everything out and can't wait to explore!

        3 Replies
        1. re: sylviag
          b
          brendastarlet Aug 22, 2007 02:27 PM

          Do try Frankie's Italian Bar and Grill, in the basement of Selfridge's Department store. It's fun for lunch, they have excellent pastas and salads, and even a good-looking burger if you need a burger fix. It's got trendy decor and very nice staff. You won't feel you're in a big store. I think I paid 20 pounds all in with salad, a pasta, coffee and a mineral water.

          Selfridges has some great little eatng spots, too, although they get crowded, but for a snack you might enjoy Yo! Sushi, which is a kaiten sushi bar (on a conveyor belt.) And also, head straight for the food hall in Marks & Spencer in Oxford Street for anything you'd like to have for your stay. Excellent quality.

          1. re: brendastarlet
            oonth Aug 23, 2007 06:59 AM

            Couldn't ever bring myself to recommend Yo Sushi. Much better option for a sushi snack in the vicinity is Atari-ya on James Street.

          2. re: sylviag
            s
            SpikeyD Aug 23, 2007 03:58 AM

            Moxon St is off Marylebone High St on the left, going north. http://www.multimap.com/maps/#t=l&...

            The M&S suggestion for prepared foods is a good one - I'd be a bit wary of Selfridges though, these days - I find it expensive and unappealing. If you head down to Wigmore St (bottom of Welbeck St), you'll come to St Christopher's Place. Some reasonable eateries down there (Turkish, couple of Italians etc). And I forgot from my original post that on Wigmore St itself is Wagamama for noodles. Have fun exploring.

          3. d
            D Hound Aug 22, 2007 08:16 AM

            I recommend the area around Bayswater. Some great food at very reasonable prices. And trust me, reasonable prices in London are hard to come by. My recs: Alounak (top Persian), Four Seasons (best roasted duck ever). A bit more expensive but still reasonable in the Soho area: Bar Shu (Szechuan).

            1. s
              SpikeyD Aug 22, 2007 05:16 AM

              Marylebone's become pretty expensive for eating in recent years. Both walkable and reliable would be places like Royal China (some of the best dim sum in town - avoid the main dishes which are quite expensive), Ping Pong's for ok dim sum, and the Orrery, which has a surprisingly reasonable prix fixe menu (well, for the standard of food and luxurious space). You might want to peruse the Conor Don pub for some very traditional pub food in a wonderfully scruffy dining room. Not sure how expensive it's got these days, though. Very good Guinness :) Oh, and Strada, which has actually pretty good, and good value pizzas.

              Otherwise I'd second the Golden Hinde and Patisserie Valerie. The very best value. though. and assuming the weather decides to give us Londoners some sunshine ever again, is to grab a picnic of cold meats and pies from the Ginger Pig, and next door buy some of the best cheeses in London, if not the country, from La Fromagerie. Both are in Moxon St, and there's a quiet little park just at the end of the street to eat it all in. Get your bread and drinks from the Waitrose in the High St. Time Out's Cheap Eats guide is pretty good if you want to explore other areas.

              1. s
                smartie Aug 21, 2007 12:49 PM

                btw it's Welbeck Street with one L. You may have trouble finding it in the A-Z otherwise. Some lovely places in Marylebone High Street and not a long walk into Soho, also Charlotte Street which has a lot of Greek restaurants.

                1. zuriga1 Aug 21, 2007 06:59 AM

                  I haven't been in that area for awhile, but there are quite a few reliable chains there that would be fine for breakfast - Paul's (French patisserie), Patisserie Valerie and a Pain Quotidien. All three are on Marylebone High St. The ever-famous Golden Hinde for fish and chips is also in that neighborhood. Don't be afraid to travel around London for a good dinner. It's a small city and one can get almost anywhere very quickly on the Tube.

                  June (Who Grew Up In Philadelphia)

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