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Oct 6, 2011 07:21 AM

One Long, Edible Weekend in London: Please critique and suggest!

First, a thank you--This board took such good care of my husband and me last time we went to London. We were actually shocked, I'm sorry to say, at how well we ate. Granted, we are horrible food-snobs, having grown up in New Orleans and living now in NYC, but, my goodness is British cooking is better than it sounds!

Anyway, last time we enjoyed St. John Bread and Wine, Hereford Road, Tayyabs, and The Wolseley, and I had an excessive number of lonely teas looking out from the top of the National Portrait Gallery.

This time, our concierge scored us a table at Dinner Friday night, then we were planning to return to Hereford Road Saturday (perhaps it was because we got caught in the rain on the way there, but we couldn't have had a lovelier meal), then Sunday is a question mark, then Monday either Harwood Arms or the real St. John (reservations at both to be safe, but I promise I practice strict catch and release restaurant fishery, unless I'm REALLY hungry). I sense that we are falling into a pattern... Is this too redundant? Any advice on Sunday dinner (or lunch or can I drag my reluctant husband to fabulous high tea somewhere?)--more Indian might be good (or again, too redundant?) but my impression is that Tayyab's is the best around. Am I wrong?

Also, when he's at work Tuesday and Wednesday, I planned to go to the theater. Perhaps grazing through Borough Market is in order for a single girl's early dinner? What else would you recommend--I'm actually rather happy eating alone as long as I have a book and the waiters aren't mean to me.

Hereford Road
3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

St. John
26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY, GB

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
66 Knightsbridge, London, England SW3 1, GB

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  1. One more thing: There was a sadistic article in Saveur last month about the butchers of Louth, Lincolnshire, that made me half-desperate for a pork pie and a Lincolnshire sausage. Where would I find such things in the great city of London?

    5 Replies
    1. re: LostBread

      The Ginger Pig at Borough Market or in Marylebone has some good pork pies (and their sausage rolls are to die for). They use Yorkshire piggies but it's kind of close to Lincolnshire!

      you could try one of the higher end Indian places if you have already done Tayaabs (I actually think Needoo around the corner is better). Quilon is rated very highly and will give you a very different experience to the Pakistani grill of Tayaabs.

      Another place I love is Arbutus, and its sister restaurants Les Deux Salons and Wild Honey - you could try them on Sunday evening.

      Just note that Borough Market only has limited stores open on Tuesday and Wednesday, although you could drop in to Brindisa and happily eat at the bar for an early dinner. What theatre are you going to, as some places (like Arbutus etc mentioned above) have some excellent value pre-theatre deals, and lovely places to eat at the bar if you are on you own.

      41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

      1. re: pj26

        How about Ishbilia? I have never got past the mezes, of which there is a large and delicous selection.

        If you're planning on going to the National Theatre, I think Mezzanine (in the theatre) is pretty good, though I haven't eaten there for a while. If it's the West End, Terroirs is excellent. I prefer it for lunch rather than dinner - although their wine list is really good (I don't generally drink at lunchtime).

      2. re: LostBread

        Just to rub it in, last time I was in Lincoln I bought a pork pie. It was 8in diameter and it weighed nearly 2kg, seriously.

        Anyway I don't know where you can get them in London but maybe you could get something posted to your hotel from Lincs.

        1. re: LostBread

          Ha! I love the idea of having a pork pie posted to the hotel! But I think I'll try Ginger Pig instead :-)

          I'm going to see The Veil at the National Theatre Tuesday and Saved at the Lyric Hammersmith Wednesday. I guess either Mezzanine or Terroirs could work for the NT, unless it's unreasonable to think I can just walk across Waterloo Bridge after a drink and some tapas at the latter. Would I need a reservation at either? As for Hammersmith, I'm tempted just to gorge myself at tea unless someone has a good idea for that neighborhood. Would it be awkward for me to have cream tea at, say, Palm Court at the Langham, alone?

          Now, I'm torn between Quilon and one of the Arbutus places (we overdo it on hummus on a weekly basis due to the Lebanese in our neighborhood in Brooklyn). The Wild Honey sample menu looks the most interesting of the three Arbutus places--does that hold true in reality or am I overly swayed by the warning about shot in the game meats?

          41 Buckingham Gate, London, Greater London SW1E 6, GB

          Palm Court
          1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London W1B 1JA, GB

          1. re: LostBread

            I would make reservations for anywhere you eat at the National. They seem to get very busy. We once ate at the Terrace Restaurant there (tapas style menu and pretty tasty), and it was bursting at the seams.

        2. Strongly recommend Trinity in Clapham for modern British/European cooking.

          Brixton Village and Brixton market for grazing.

          In Hammersmith, Indian Zing is definitely worth trying.

          Chez Lilane is worth going out of the way for -- superb French technique underlying the fusiony Mauritian influenced cooking.

          1. Okay. Here's the modified eating calendar:
            Friday - noshing on pork pies at Borough Hall / Wild Honey for supper (I was mistaken about Dinner, it's Sunday)
            Saturday - Hereford Road
            Sunday - Dinner
            Monday - Harwood Arms
            Tuesday - pre-theatre tapas at Terroirs or Mezzanine
            Wednesday - big solo cream tea

            Thinking we'll do Indian for lunch one day, unless we find we've had an ample sufficincy of British food before that--right now all these game birds and meat pies are sounding too delicious. Do let me know, please, if we're making any mistakes!

            Hereford Road
            3 Hereford Road, London W2 4AB, GB

            8 Replies
            1. re: LostBread

              Personally, I would add The Bull & Last. It's simply excellent. As much as I am a fan of The Harwood Arms, especially since it's owned in part by Brett Graham of The Ledbury (my favorite restaurant in London), I think The Bull & Last is much better. Or, if possible, I would have dinner at Roganic -- simply spectacular in terms of creativity, product and service, and there's nothing even remotely comparable in New York now.

              127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

              1. re: Nancy S.

                Oh, dear! Now I want to extend my trip by three days to get the rest of these in. The Bull and Last will definitely work for lunch when we go up to see the Freud Museum and Keat's house. The plating at Roganic reminds me of Daniel Humm's at Eleven Madison Park here, but there was no chicken salt on the fish when we went. There was, however, a malted, local-milk egg cream, but that cherry soda looks equally good.

                1. re: LostBread

                  The style of Roganic may appear similar to Eleven Madison Park, but the substance is quite different. The sourcing of the products is perfection, and the preparations are more complicated but surprisingly unified. Also, the atmosphere at Roganic is genuinely fabulous and friendly (although I appreciate EMP's style, it's a bit to "Disney-like" for me).

              2. re: LostBread

                Looks pretty good to me - I'm envious!
                Following up your earlier question about booking, you wouldn't need to book at Terroirs pre-theatre but you would if you decide to eat at Mezzanine. And I don't think it would be awkward at all to have afternoon tea on your own, just take a good book or be happy people watching!

                1. re: pj26

                  Well, I'd definitely book at Terroirs if I were you.

                2. re: LostBread

                  There's no doubt this is a brilliant list. I've been to all three of the Arbutus/Wild Honey/Les Deux Salons stable and I would probably suggest Wild Honey was the best food but they are fairly similar. Les Deux Salons has the best setting - it's a beautiful building. Only note of caution - the service can be pretty shaky but the rabbit I've eaten on recent visits has been incredible. In fact every dish I've eaten at any of them has been brilliant going back at least a year.

                  On your Indian - some of the good ones do excellent lunch menus like Moti Mahal perhaps.

                  Final point - I must side with Nancy here. Wild Honey-Hereford Road-Dinner-Harwood Arms is an awesome four days but personally, if you can fit Roganic in on Friday, Saturday or Monday I would. It's so different to the others but it is simply stunning, the most interesting and innovative food in London at the moment in my opinion along with what Nuno Mendes is doing.

                  Moti Mahal
                  45 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA, GB

                    1. re: ManInTransit

                      Thanks for the vote of confidence! Roganic does look delicious; I'll see if we can get in....

                  1. Forgot to mention, if you're grazing at Borough Market -- do not miss the Cornish Crab at Wright Bros.