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Feb 24, 2013 02:09 PM

London (and beyond) with Sydneysiders

Hi all,

Long time since I last posted, reading frequently and inputting occasionally, but not much in way of asking, so...

Friends (fellow foodies) arriving from Sydney for a week or so in London at start of april, hoping to show them all the great stuff we have to offer them, but, with them coming from such a great food and culturally rich city, where do I take them to interest/wow them? Am thinking little point in Asian or Middle East to show them, or Italian for that matter, so maybe Spanish, British (whatever that means these days) and Indian, but where?

Thoughts so far

St John (probably B&W)
Tayyabs (Bombay brasserie brunch)
Sportsman (if can get out east)
Dinner (if can afford/get booking)
Burger Joint (maybe MeatLiquor, Patty and Bun, Codrington)
Bull and Last/Ten Bells


The Sampler
Prufrock/Tapped and Packed (Show how we borrowed from Aussie coffee and made it ours, and better)
Brewdog Camden
Craft Beer Company

Then after leaving London, entertain with the delight of Winchester and head west to the countrys best fish (in my eyes) and show them cheese and cider.

Any thoughts thoughts, misses, etc, please point them out


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  1. As a Sydneysider here what I would enjoy:

    A visit to Brett Graham at the Ledbury to see how the local boy is doing. Agree with St John, Bristish and quirky.

    A good trophy restaurant like Dinner plays well and friends who visited recently loved it for the name dropping - always good to have a TV chef on the list! (Note Jamie's is in Sydney now, and Rick Stein has a place on the coast).

    Good British pub food like the Bull & Last or the Harwood. I would be careful about trendy burgers, fried chicken etc as its it's also the trend in Sydney. Ten Bells type foodie pubs are also quite good in Sydney with The Four in Hand.

    I agree with the Sportsman, I loved its sense of place and the great ingredients. What about Hedone?

    I think Sydney does Indian better than London as a general rule of thumb. We even have our version of Tayabs in Newtown. That said Tayabs is very much London of today and has a unique atmosphere so would make my list. A really posh curry could also work - more about the sense of place rather than food.

    Spanish is a good bet, Sydney now has Movida which is very San Sebastián in style and would give many in London a good run, but maybe Jose or the Opera Tavern or Barafina (there is also a Barafina in Sydney but not related) could give a broader view.

    Middle Easten may be a go. Turkish is definately rare in Sydney with only one really great place. Australia has lots of good Lebanese so I would avoid that unless you go to a really good place (the more upmarket ones in Sydney went out of fashion a few years back).

    I would avoid all Asian as Aus is pretty strong here especially Thai.

    For drinks avoid cocktail bars, we now have a rash of small bar openings in the back lanes of the city as the licensing laws changed a few years ago. Australia also has a lot of craft beer bars but nothing beats a solid English pub, something like The Holly Bush in Hampstead.

    Finally make certain you have all the decent coffee places mapped - we get cranky with the average usual high street brands. But what about a posh afternoon tea, quintessentially English.

    And good scrumpy is always a good way to finish off the innocent.......!

    1 Reply
    1. re: PhilD

      Just the person I was hoping for! Didn't want the subject to be "A question for PhilD", but thought the phrasing may bring you in.

      Thanks for this, much appreciated, always enjoyed your thoughts and posts, so very much thankful for this full and useful response. Just need to check the bank now and see how many I can squeeze in and if some (read Sportsman) are logisitcally doable I am travelling from Winchester so...

    2. I'm a former sydneysider living in London, so I can list what impressed me after moving, and what I'd miss if I went back:

      Caribbean food is more-or-less non-existent in Sydney, so I'd make a real effort to get proper smoked jerk chicken, plantains, etc. Perhaps somewhere in Brixton?

      My limited experience with Sydney's laneway bars is that they don't really replicate London's high-end cocktail scene. I would absolutely go to 69 Colebrook Row, perhaps also nightjar or happiness forgets and one of the hotel bars.

      Unless the visitors are also going to France I would favour French bistro-style food over anything Italian, which Sydney does fairly well. Even relatively commonplace french dishes are not done as well or as often in Sydney.

      I would consider Lupita for authentic mexican, but I wouldn't make it a must-see. Likewise the mod-peruvian places like Ceviche and Lima.

      I've taken friends to the Maltby Street markets and they've really enjoyed that, and Brewdog is a great choice. The old brewery in Greenwich also has a great range, tends to be less full and is a lovely location.

      Mod-scandinavian is also unobtainable in Sydney, and done very well at Texture and North Road. The latter is cheap and well located, and could be combined with a trip to Vinoteca, who have some hard-to-find wines.

      I would skip Dinner, even given the obvious name-dropping appeal. The atmosphere is very hotel-restaurant and the pricing very expense account. I think you can do better fine-dining for the money - I'd do Roganic, perhaps.

      2 Replies
      1. re: lacemaker

        I thought North Road had gone into liquidation? Is it back?

        1. re: ManInTransit

          Oh dear, I hadn't heard that. I last went last June, and it does appear to have disappeared from the web in the interim. That's really very disappointing, it was one of my favourite places in London, and certainly the best value of the top-tier restaurants I've been too. Too good value, I suppose.

          Thanks for the heads up.

      2. Great list.

        I'd say worth doing Ten Bell and the Bull & Last. Ten Bells is a seriously good restaurant with very interesting and different cooking and just happens to be above a pub - it's not pub food at all.

        If wine's on the agenda why not Vinoteca.

        Somewhere like Rules for traditional British as well would be good fun.

        Sportsman is sensational and can be party of a lovely day out.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ManInTransit

          I was so disappointed with our return to the Sportsman last summer. Maybe we just hit a bad day, and it doesn't mean I wouldn't try it again. Nothing stood out or had the glory of our previous meal there. I hope someone gets there soon and tells us how things seem at present.

        2. i lived in sydney before i came here so i thought i'd chime in as well. i like all of those options, the friends that we've had visiting have definitely enjoyed most of those places.

          unlike phild i think a burger place would still be a good option, when i was back in sydney at the beginning of last year there were definitely some more places that had opened but they werent the same style of fast food/ diner still burger. maybe its changed now tho?

          for beer - i'd recommend southampton arms (esp if you go to the bull & last which is nearby) or the jolly butchers or the cock tavern over brewdog camden but thats because i dislike both brewdog & camden (to each their own)

          1 Reply
          1. re: t_g

            Burgers are an interesting question. When in Sydney recently I definately had "Meatliquer" (which is fun to visit) quality and style burgers, but then Rickpool has done a pretty mean wagyu burger for a few years, and Paul's on Tom Ugly's Bridge has been churning out great burgers since the'50's so maybe Sydney has gone its own way.

            MT's suggestion of "Rules" is perfect, it's been low on my list for a few years but the Guardian review on Saturday has sealed the deal for me and will be on the list next time.

            Also agree with Lacemaker on Caribbean food and Nordic - although Nordic is starting to creep into the top end with my recent meal at Attica having dustinct influences.

            I feel I need to defend the Dinner recommendation - it was based entirely on a Sydney foodie friend who stopped here in HK on his way home from London, it was clearly a "trophy" restaurant. So maybe good to ask if they have any preconceived faves. Living in HK I get the same from visitors who want to eat at Tim Ho Wan as its the one thy have heard of as the cheapest Michein in the world.