Please help with London visit
We will be coming to London for a week in early September, staying at the Marylebone Hotel on Welbeck Street.
I would very much appreciate your suggestions for
1) A pleasant restaurant for the evening we arrive. We don’t have to stay in the neighborhood of our hotel, we can take a bus or the tube.
2) Places that are close to our hotel or to Wigmore Hall, for the times we finish our event at 6pm.
3) Someplace near the New London Theatre on Drury Lane, for before a 7:30 performance.
4) Someplace for after a matinee at the National Theatre. We can stay in that area, come back across the river, or anywhere else.
5) Anyplace to get a quick meal near Royal Albert Hall.
Are there good places for about or under £20 to £30 per person? A couple of years ago, we found some lovely prix-fixe dinners, but I don’t know if they still exist. One was Garvin on Baker Street; I don’t know if that is still offered.
I would also appreciate any thoughts on these recommendations: Alloro, Arbutus, L’Escargot, St. Alban, Wild Honey, Incogniko, Maze, J. Sheekey
Prefer not to have Indian or Asian, since we have great places at home for that. We might do one Chinese dinner; I seem to remember a very good restaurant on Baker Street that was walking distance.
Thanks in advance.
Sylvia in Philadelphia
You hotel is very near Manchester Square, which has the Wallace Collection on it. The atrium restaurant is beautiful and open till 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays (last orders 4.30pm other days). I meet friends there for scones and tea every so often and it's gorgeous place to eat - especially if you're feeling a bit frazzled after a long day. The museum attached isn't bad, either ;)
On the South Bank near the National is a collection of very ordinary chain restaurants. The best of the bunch is probably Canteen, behind the Royal Festival Hall. If you walk along the South Bank towards Blackfriars Bridge (away from Westminster), you'll soon hit the Riverfront Bar and Kitchen. It's attached to the BFI cinema and is directly under Waterloo Bridge. It's pretty casual and the service has mixed reviews, but I've always been treated well and the fish pie and buttered greens were delicious (people ordering the chicken nuggets seem to find them disappointing, but, well, they are chicken nuggets). The apple crumble and custard is one of the tastiest things I've eaten this year. You could go there just for that.
Benugo, inside the BFi itself, is the Riverfront's grown up sister restaurants. It's kind of swish and trendy, although it can get noisy because there is absolutely nothing to soak up the sound (oh, for restaurants with carpets). A bit more sedate is RSJ on Coin Street. They have a £20 fixed price menu and a staggering wine list. I used to work there, so I can vouch for their passion and commitment and the yumminess of the bread.
If you're looking for a pub, btw, the Hole in the Wall on Mepham Street (entrance is opposite the main entrance to Waterloo Station). It has shabby plush red seats, bad art, and a big selection of ales. Sit in the front bar (back bar is not nearly as nice) and you can hear the trains rattle in to the station and watch all the people waiting for trains come in for a pint. I once sat in there with 30 Klingons. Happy memories.
Thanks so much for your responses. They are really helpful. And Time Out is a good source for ratings, hours, prices, etc.
It looks like both Maze and Wild Honey would be walking distance from Wigmore Hall or our hotel. And I will reserve Arbutus for pre-theatre - a bit of a walk, but should be okay.
Question about Maze: is it very expensive? And is it very noisy? Which should I be reserving, Maze or Maze Grill?
I am asking about noise because lately we have a problem with some of the good places in Philly. The noise level, with loud music in the background, has become impossible; you can't even talk to the person next to you. We have never had that trouble overseas, and I hope London hasn't copied that.
I found one more place that looked interesting. L'Autre Pied, on Blandford Street, has a reasonably priced set menu during the week. Anyone been there?
Again, thanks for your help.
If you are considering Maze - reservations are a must and really should be made as soon as possible. Check out the sample menus on-line (also for Maze Grill). By the way, why not glance at Time Out London for other dining suggestions (by food type,price, location, etc.)
On another note, the play you are going to see at the New London Theatre - "War Horse" is, to say the least, excellent. I attended a performance last month when I was in London and thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully you will too!
If you like a nice steak, Relais de l'entrecote is close by on marylebone lane. Always good value, but you do have to queue for a table.
If Lebanese appeals, then take a short walk to Edgware road, you'll find a multitude of options, the nicest (and most expensive) is Maroush Gardens, but I find any of them to be excellent food, it really only matters on your opinion of the surroundings. (I honestly like Abu Ali the best- but you really have to close your eyes and pretend to be somewhere else, it does not look too good.)
Arbutus and L'escargot I love, however J Sheekey I found overpriced and under tasty!!
I think someone already mentioned toptable, otherwise try 5pm.co.uk which sometimes has interesting offers...
I love Arbutus and Wild Honey - had a great lunch at Arbutus a couple of weeks ago and everything was fantastic - and pretty good value as well. You will find a lot of the top places have very good lunch specials on at the moment, and have a look at Toptable.com for other offers.
I love Maze. I don't think there's anything quite like it in Phila. except for perhaps Tinto. It's the same tapas idea with small offerings, but in London the food at Maze is French inspired to a certain degree and of course is not the delicious Basque cuisine.
Enjoy the trip!
June (Who grew up in Phila. but now lives near London)