Some places in Marylebone, London
• The Golden Hind
Light, batter, with the faintest hint of puffiness. Fresh hot oil, equally fresh haddock. Nice crispy chips. A heart warming bread and butter pudding.
• Stara Polska
A homey sour sweet beetroot soup, evocative pepper, with good dumplings, soft but not mushy, and a pleasant bit of meat within. The goulash with potato pancakes is good not great -- I liked the greasy potato pancakes with its crunchy crust. The goulash is nice but that's about it. Charming little salad on the side. The crepe I actually liked for its honest -- lots of sugar, melted cheese within and cinnmon I believe. Likely whipped cream from a spray can, raisins and appropriately, tinned fruit.
• Caffe Caldesi
A milky burrata, almost gushing with cream as I cut it. Amazingly clean flavour. Good parma ham, but the cheese takes centre stage.
Excellent gnocchi, tender and soft but not pasty. One could taste the sweetness of carrots beneath the earthy wild boar and the tomato in the ragu.
With their al dente trofie, the broad bean puree with pecorino cheese is elemental in its own way, although not as powerful as the gnocchi.
Delightfully wobbly panna cotta with berries and a good amount of vanilla. A tiramisu that is a little over the top, sitting in a crispy shell, cut into a circle. A gorgeous dessert, but I would have left all those accessories behind, and gone straight for the moist and rich combination of mascapone and cake, with a whisper of booze. A serious espresso.
• Marylebone Creperie
Very thin, crisp buckwheat crepe -- filled with perhaps too much cheese and just the right amomunt of mushrooms. An impressive crepe nevertheless, even if the filling is ordinary. The dessert crepe spread with a floral, honeyed layer of creme de marron/chestnut cream, is great.
Lots more to try...
Have been meaning to try the Creperie -- will now do it! Thanks.
I have always found Caffe Caldesi perfect for what it is -- Italian food made simply, well, and authentically -- the kind of place where the ingredients sing out, and of course where the folks in the kitchen (not to mention the outside staff and many customers) are Italian.
Just to round out your review of the area, I was at The Providores Tapa Room last night. I found what I've come to expect: fusion food that is inventive, inspired, and actually tastes good! I've truly never had a bad meal here. At the same time, the other constant is bad service, every time. Sometimes the front staff are rude, but this time a friend who was with me managed to use her considerable charms to avoid that obstacle. Sometimes the waiters are rude. This time they kept on wanting me to move when I was waiting for the table. The place is admittedly crowded, but everywhere I could stand was apparently an essential access point. Finally, the waiter himself was pleasant enough but a bit disjointed. "These people are hipsters," my friend commented. "Not waiters." Having noted all these negatives about the service, I keep going back because I do really like the food.