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Oct 19, 2011 08:56 AM

London Itinerary

Making my third visit to London over Christmas week (with an overnight trip to Paris in the middle).
I've done a bit of research and feel good about my list, but thought it'd be wise to solicit some comments on my dining itinerary.

Here's what I've got:

Monday (arrival)
Lunch:Terroirs (2nd visit)
Dinner: Harwood Arms (2nd visit)

Lunch: Texture
Dinner: Roganic

Dinner: The Ledbury (2nd visit)

Thursday- Paris (and Le Cinq)

Dinner: Bocca Di Lupo

Saturday and Sunday- Christmas Eve and Christmas Day- Room service and maybe lunch at Koffmann's on Chistmas eve if they don't offer a "special" menu (special meaning limited and overpriced).

The one meal I'm really still debating is the Texture lunch. I'm considering switching to Koffmann's (if the X-mas Eve lunch is out) or taking advantage the lunch deal at ADAD, but considering the already ambitious eating plan, I'm thinking the lighter cuisine of Texture would be both necessary and a good idea.

Plan to hit some of the well known cocktail spots as well on this trip: Dukes, Connaught, Rules, Berkley Blue Bar, etc.

Any thoughts?

Will definitely report back with the results and thoughts of this trip.

Koffmann's Restaurant
Wilton Pl, London, England SW1X 8, GB

127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

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  1. Everyone has their opinion but you've obviously done your research and it seems like an excellent eclectic list.
    I wouldn't strain too hard to get to ADAD, especially if it's to be followed by 10 courses at Roganic and if you'll be at Le Cinq within 48 hours. It has three stars but it's not a must for a London trip - I'd stick to Texture. It's worth noting that Sverisson and Simon Rogan aren't a million miles apart in their culinary philosophies but I think the differences on the plate would be enough to enjoy both in a day.
    Personally I can't give Roganic enough praise, it is incredible.

    Hope you enjoy your trip and do report back.

    1. And on cocktails - the ones you've mentioned are all very West End/Mayfair and very classy. The newer kids on the block are the Experimental Cocktail Club behind a blank door in Chinatown, Purl in Marylebone and Nightjar at Old Street. You can see whether any of them take your fancy but all merit booking if you do decide to go.

      9 Replies
      1. re: ManInTransit

        Thank you for your comments. Your thoughts on Texture vs. Roganic vs. ADAD were very much in line with what I was thinking and I feel better having my impressions confirmed by someone else.

        Thank you also for the additional mention of other cocktail places. My list thus far is very much built on convenience as these will mostly be pre/post dinner or theater stops. I'll definitely look into your suggestions though to try to get some more diversity in my bar list.

        1. re: michaelstl

          Before reading ManInTransit's post, I was going to post a similar comment regarding Texture and Roganic. I enjoyed an excellent fish tasting dinner at Texture. The flavors and preparations were solid. It's not a "heavy" meal, so it would be a nice prelude to Roganic, which, is a spectacular place. I'm envious of this combination (as I am of your dinner at The Ledbury, which is my favorite in London).

          127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

          1. re: Nancy S.

            It is a very similar list to my targets as we're in Paris then London over Christmas, Le Cinq and the Ledbury booked starting to add in a few others, Maybe Bull & last rather than the Harwood (can't give Brett all my cash). I am tossing up Hedone, Roganic, and Dinner, tending to discount Hedone due to some recent reviews as i can only fit in one other top meal, but not certain to go for the food (Roganic) vs experience (Dinner)....?

            PS - did other read that Mikael (Hedone) was stabbed and Aurelie (FOH) was battered when a gang attacked the restaurant on Friday - they reopened OK on Saturday. Good luck to them.

            127 Ledbury Rd, Kensington, England W2 5, GB

              1. re: zuriga1

                Made me feel horrible hearing about Mikael's attack, he picked up a bravery award at the London Restaurant Awards a couple of days later with the stitches still in. They also had problems during the riots I believe.

              2. re: PhilD

                Hedone and Dinner were under consideration as well. The menu at Dinner just doesn't appeal enough to make me want to skip another place and Hedone is very meat centric which would not please my vegetarian wife. I had read the reports about what happened at Hedone and was very happy to hear it wasn't as bad as it could've been.

                Have a good time on your trip as well.

                1. re: PhilD

                  As much as I enjoyed Hedone, Roganic is better. As much as I love Brett and Harwood Arms, Bull & Last is better. Personally, I would put Dinner on the bottom of this list.

                  1. re: Nancy S.

                    Nancy - that is the way I am leaning so good to have confirmation. I also don't really want to head out west despite Hedone being almost next to my old flat.

              3. re: michaelstl

                Yes I thought the cocktail places you'd mentinoed were probably grouped together for a reason but on the off chance you were an aficionado I thought I'd mention the others. Purl isn't too far north of say the Connaught but if you're looking for classy after-dinner drinks then stick with your list as these other places are cocktail driven.

                Enjoy the trip, I'm very envious of your hitting so many great restaurants in such a short space of time.

            1. Agree with everything that has been said before and you've got some fantastic meals lined up. One thing that I would add is that I was advised off going to Texture lunch deal by a food writer friend of mine. It wasn't that they didn't rate the food but simply that the lunch menu is not representative of style of food that Texture has received such acclaim for. I therefore have not been for lunch or dinner so cannot confirm if this is the case but others may be abble to add!

              1 Reply
              1. re: AWaiting

                I'll keep that in mind. I planned to order from the a la carte menu rather than the discounted lunch menu so perhaps that will help limit the risk that lunch isn't on the same level as dinner at Texture. Texture's style of Nordic/Icelandic food just isn't available where I'm from so trying that style is very appealing. We'll see how it goes. Either way, Texture has enough champagne on its list to ensure a good time.

              2. Just returned from my trip to London and wanted to report back on our meals. Overall, another great trip to London with great eating and we were very sad to leave.

                Day 1
                Lunch at Terroirs- a favorite and a place I’ll plan to go to on every visit to London. Love the wine list (had an interesting and excellent aged Savennieres). Kept the food to a reasonable amount and had a rich pumpkin soup and grilled sea bream- both simple and well executed. They fixed something off-menu for my wife who’s a vegetarian and she was very pleased. Service couldn’t have been more friendly or helpful. Definitely recommend.

                Dinner at Harwoods Arms- my wife and I haved established that on the first night of any trip to London, we’ll have dinner here. Once again, perfect for what it is. The place was packed with large parties and the atmosphere was full of the boisterous, holiday spirit. The servers were literally running around trying to keep up, but still managed to be attentive and friendly. Had the scotch egg, a hare starter, a main of the pheasant Kiev special and cinnamon dessert. The food walked the line perfectly between rustic and refined and this was probably my most satisfying meal of the trip. From a sheer pleasure standpoint, the scotch egg was probably the dish of the trip.

                Day 2
                Lunch at Texture- the surprise meal of the trip. Of all the places I had planned to dine, this was the one I was most unsure of and had considered switching to other places many times. I was glad I stuck with the plan as lunch was wonderful. Started off with champagne in the bar/lounge and then ordered ALC and got the pigeon for my starter, the fallow venison for my main and the white chocolate dessert. The pigeon was tender, perfectly cooked rare and with the desired gamey flavor while not being overwhelming. The venison main took the gamey factor up a notch and was also perfectly cooked. Dessert was light and refreshing, a perfect end to the lunch. I also had some red Burgundy off the by the glass list that was great pairing with my meal.

                Dinner at Roganic- while not bad by any means, this was the least memorable meal of the trip. I blame this partially due to the fact that the 10-course menu wasn’t available due to “lack of supplies” as it was the last week of service before the holiday break. I ended up having 7 courses and all were good, but not great. The famous vintage potatoes dish was very good and I thoroughly enjoyed a duck dish as my final savory course. The creativity and skill in the kitchen was evident and service was friendly and effective, but for some reason, this meal didn’t resonate with either of us. I don’t regret choosing this restaurant, but I doubt I’d make sure to include on any future itineraries (if it even still exists when I get back to London due to its “pop-up” status.

                Day 3
                Dinner at The Ledbury- We dined here on our last trip to London and had a world class meal. We were very curious to see how the restaurant had changed since soon after our last visit, it received its second star and became the darling of the London restaurant scene. Other than being much more busy and loud than our last visit, we could tell immediately that The Ledbury was as good, if not better, than our first visit. Service was correct while friendly (probably my favorite service team anywhere). We both went with the tasting menu and the food was solid throughout. Highlights were the Hampshire Buffalo Milk Curd with Saint-Nectaire, Truffle Toast and a Broth of Grilled Onions, a woodcock special as my final savory course and the brown sugar tart. Just awesome food and a great evening out. Was lucky to get to chat with Chef Graham after dinner and his humbleness and attitude about his restaurant and success was refreshingly down-to-earth. Can’t recommend The Ledbury enough.

                Day 4- Went to Paris and dined at Le Cinq. I’ll eventually write up this meal on the France board.

                Day 5
                Dinner at Bocca di Lupo- Dined here before heading to Donmar Warehouse and had a solid meal. Had the radish, celeriac salad and a mozzarella/tomato salad to start. Both were a nice, light way to start the meal. We then shared 3 pasta courses- spaghettini with sea urchin, Orecchiette with 'nduja, red onion, tomato & rocket and Cappellacci of pumpkin & amaretti with sage & butter. All good, but not great. Had some gelato for dessert. This is a place I’d enjoy returning to as there’s so many ways to create a meal here with the different menu options. Service was good and it’s a place I’d recommend for a casual night out.

                Day 6
                Dinner at Arbutus- This was our Christmas Eve dinner and miraculously Arbutus was serving its normal ALC menu (which was why we reserved here). Had the crispy pigs head, a rabbit main and a lemon tart. This was our third visit to Arbutus and it’s always been reliably solid. It’s not a spectacular place, but it does what it sets out to do well and I’d recommend it for a bistro-ish meal out.

                Made it to a few hotel bars of note- Dukes, Egerton House Hotel (where we stayed), the Connaught Bar and the Berkeley Blue Bar. Highly recommend Egerton and Dukes for their martinis. The atmosphere of the Connaught Bar wasn’t what we were in the mood for the night we went (perhaps should’ve checked out the Coburg bar instead), but the cocktails were fine. The service we received at the Berkeley Bar was some of the best we had during our entire trip. The bartenders and servers were friendly, helpful and went the extra mile to make sure we had a nice night. We capped off Christmas Eve here and it was a highlight of the trip (It also helped that we had some ridiculously good champagne and cocktails that evening). We definitely plan to make it back to the Berkeley Bar on future trips.
                Can’t wait for our next opportunity to visit and dine in London.

                4 Replies
                1. re: michaelstl

                  I'm glad to here about the meals at Harwood Arms, Texture and Ledbury -- all three are in my must visits each holiday. I'm sorry, though, to hear about your disappointment at Roganic. We were there during its opening week and our dinner was excellent (also exciting, given its "newness").

                  1. re: michaelstl

                    Excellent report Michael, appreciate you coming back to tell us about it.

                    It's a shame about Roganic, sounds like they might have been in holiday mode. Just shows how much is about personal taste and opinion and that 'X is better than Y' is rarely a statement one should make.

                    Really glad you enjoyed your visit.

                    1. re: ManInTransit

                      Hope I wasn't too harsh on Roganic as it was a good meal. It was likely more of a case where my wife and I weren't in the right mindset to enjoy it as we were still talking about our lunch at Texture and had put in a long day already. I can see how why everyone praises it, but we didn't connect with the meal/restaurant on our visit. I would say that if I lived in London, I'd definitely return.

                      1. re: michaelstl

                        michael - wonderful itinerary.

                        staying on a texture / roganic tip, next time you should try viajante or get on a train and head to sat bains in nottingham. both are worth it for inventive degustation experiences.

                        happy new year!

                  2. Great report. Loved hearing about the cocktail spots.