Canadians visiting London
My wife and I will be in London for 6 days, starting June 30th. I'm busily researching where we will eat, so wanted to see what London Chowhounders think of our ideas. My wife and i are adventurous eaters, and have a wide range of things we enjoy. We live in Toronto, where we have cuisine from all over the world. When we travel, I love to seek out unique places, but they don't need to be fancy - in fact, I tend to dislike the super-expensive splurge places. That's why Gordon Ramsay isn't on my list.
Our first night, I know I will be so jet-lagged, that I want to eat casual. We are staying in Kensington, so I was wondering about a gastropub, like Angel and Crown, or even the pub attached to our hotel: we are staying at Sanctuary House hotel, which is on top of a Fuller's pub.
My cousin, an expat living in London, will be our guide for dinner our second night. But that leaves 4 more dinners.
For July 2nd, I was thinking of Randall and Aubin. I know they don't take reservations, but we won't be in any rush.
On July 3rd, I was considering Clarke's, as I heard about Sally Clarke, and this sounds like a great place, and we wanted to walk around Notting Hill. (For that matter, would Notting Hill be worth strolling around after dinner, or will everything be closed? Are we better off walking around Notting Hill before dinner?)
The next night, we have 730 pm tickets to War Horse, so I was thinking of Dishoom for a pre-theatre dinner. We love Indian food, and since London is known for that, I figured it would be a good thing to try while we are there.
For our last night, I was thinking of trying Spanish tapas at either Iberica or Salt Yard.
Any thoughts on these choices?
I like Dishoom... sort of 'snacky' food and very close to War Horse. If you want a more upscale, Indian meal, I'd suggest trying somewhere else for that. Since you have probably had lots of that cuisine in Toronto, I'd try something a bit different.. The Cinnamon Club. The room is beautiful and the food is too - more modern than traditional.
Toronto doesn't have the upscale Indian restaurants like we have in London so I'd definitely recommend trying one. There are various opinions on the board about which are best but I really like Benares (my sis had her wedding there so am slightly biased), Quilon, or something like Amaya. Even the sorts of places like Tayaabs (cheap pakistani BBQ) aren't that common in Central Toronto I believe (sorry, there might be ethnic enclaves I haven't been to). Do a search for Tayaabs and read Limster or Howlers suggestions -- they are sort of the resident authorities on Indian.
Randall and Aubin isn't really a 'good' restaurant -- its a french place in sort of a shitty/sleazy part of soho which is nice, but nothing really memorable. For a slightly more upscale French bistro nearby I'd try Les Deux Salons because it is awesome. The food is very good, but the room and atmosphere are terrific. It's sort of on par with Balthazar in NY, though perhaps slightly less scene-y.
I haven't ever been to Clarkes, but I'd been to their store next door and if their chocolate chip cookies are anything to go by I'd certainly recommend it (and many many people have told me they love it). Notting Hill (like most anywhere in London) is better day-time strolling than night-time. The Churchill Arms near Clarkes is a nice pub with loads of English crap hanging from every nook and cranny (in an endearing way) -- I really love that place. If you like antiques, there are terrific stores nearby (there are some amazing pieces at Sinai and Sons on Ken Church Street right now if you're in the market for really expensive desiderata).
I went to Dishoom for the first time the other day and thought it was a bit hit or miss. The samosas were very good, the lamb chops were slightly burnt, the lentil soup was almost prohibitively salty. Overall, I wasn't a huge fan but my wife and sister were quite keen.
If you want a very British meal you could try Maggie Jones or Launceston Place in Kensington. Haven't tried either but both are recommended (Launceston Place more than MJ).
-Yet Another Fresser
I'd consider that hotel to be more of a Westminster location. If your willing to get to the Angel and Crown for the pub experience a place recommended alot on this board is the Anchor & Hope pub near waterloo station which is an equal distance but would involve a nice stroll along the river.
Personally i'd be too tired after a long flight and would reserve a table at the Harwood Arms (michelin star pub) and taxi there and back to the hotel.
Dishoom is a good spot, have a look at the thread on here to make the most of your menu choices.
Not sure what would be of interest in Notting Hill on a weekday evening unless your looking for something of a particular interest. Portobello market which runs off it is less crowded on Fridays.
I'd recommend Hereford Road in Notting Hill - had a great lunch there a few weeks ago, really great British produce/cooking. For a walk around, depends what you want to see I suppose! Most shops etc will shut around 7pm depending on which night of the week you are there.
Salt Yard is an old favourite of mine, or you could try their sister restaurant Opera Tavern in Covent Garden.
I haven't been to Randall and Aubin for years - it still seems to draw the crowds so they still must be doing something right. There are plenty of other new-ish openings around which you could give a go - 10 Greek St, Duck Soup, Spuntino, Mishkins or the Delauney could be good options for you.