Posts Tagged ‘Cafe’

Resto 8 The National Café, Trafalgar Square

March 3, 2018

I’ve reviewed the restaurant on this site before but it’s had a reboot under a different management since then so it does count as a new restaurant. Out has gone the dark wood and red leather banquettes. In comes a more Scandi vibe with pale furnishings and sleek cutlery. They can’t do anything about the windows (obvs) but it does make for a sunnier feeling room even on one of the coldest days of the year.

They’ve also increased the bar area making this a good place to meet if you want somewhere peaceful and reasonably priced on a Friday evening in the West End. I had a glass of wine before looking at the Degas and Murillo exhibs (both free, both excellent) and then returning for dinner in the restaurant.

The restaurant is still a bit ghostly of an evening, there were a few other parties but they were dotted across the room. Queen’s greatest hits on the sound track (the whole evening, I was fortunate enough to catch Another One Bites the Dust twice), while a marginal improvement on U2 and Eddie Reader, was definitely surplus to requirements.

A pre-theatre menu of two courses for 17 quid seemed a bargain. Beetroot salad to start was excellent, with a good lashing of goat’s cheese and plenty of veg. Main of pheasant* was a good portion of leg with yummy crispy skin and a slather of pumpkin for moisture. However, that was it. I should have twigged that anything beyond what was described on the menu was going to have to come from the sides (at £5 a pop) but it wouldn’t have done any harm for the waitress to have asked if we wanted any stodge. A bottle of viño verdhe was very good – in fact the wine list was the star of the show and I wanted to try any number of them – but for carbs I had to pick up some crisps on the way home, which I guess saved me four quid. But I would have preferred my spuds on a plate and daintily boiled and buttered.

* Apparently it was actually guinea fowl. How unreliable I turn out to be on the edibles. But not the music.

7/10 (again)

#Food #London #Art

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Resto 61 Strada Café, Paris

November 8, 2017


Waiting for the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature to open I needed coffee and I knew where to get it. Strada Café is an old friend but I’ve never dined there. Not having eaten anything since the Phil Collins Anguish I was quite peckish.

I asked for toast, jam and a noisette and was informed that I should get the set breakfast for €10.50. Quite pricy you might say but this is the hipstier end of the Marais and that’s the way things roll around here. The portion was generous – 4 slices of excellent grilled bread with some figgy jam and a stodge bonus of a dinky croissant. The juice was freshly squeezed and a powerful hangover suppressant. The coffee, as always here, was as good as it gets.

The room is pleasant and the clientèle upscale locals and well-heeled visitors. I felt a lot better when I came out than I did when I went in, and that’s worth a few euros premium on the average Parisian caff. I can’t remember the music so it obviously wasn’t too traumatic or loud.

Oh, and the Sophie Calle exhibition at the MdlCeN is a must-see if you’re in Paris. Witty, sometimes profound and occasionally creepy. Just like the museum itself.

#food #Paris

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016/7 check out my GoogleMap

Resto 56 Estorick Café, Highbury

October 10, 2017

I nearly forgot my visit to the Estorick (more of which in another post) as it was a bit of a pit stop but since they brought me the bill I should add it for completism’s sake. And also because the service and food is always excellent.

On this occasion I just stopped by after the exhibition (Arte Povera, recommended) for a quick coffee. So I got an espresso and then was tempted into having a custard tart by the very cheerful waiter. It was too cold to sit outside but now that they have a conservatory style fitting it feels like you’re in the garden anyway. Even if you’re not visiting the collection it’s worth having a pop in to do the crossword or chat with a friend.

Though why you wouldn’t want to look at the art as well I don’t know. It’s one of my favourite places in London.


#coffee #London

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016/7 check out my GoogleMap

Resto 53 La Timbale, Paris

September 9, 2017

Time to leave Paris and head back to reality in London but not before a quick bite with the old boy near G du N. I’d intended to go to Tra-la-li Tra-la-la up the road but it was still shut at 4 o’clock. Fortunately La Timbale provided an excellent fall back option.

The hip vibe of the young waiting staff and excellently selected choons (80s synth, Fela Kuti, hip hop, French pop) is offset by a more old school head of front of house and chef. Free wi-fi was a plus and I settled in to wait for my dining companion with a cold glass of Stella. On his arrival we opted for a mixed planche. This was a generous amount of meat ‘n’ cheese with cornichons, salad and bread. A bit of flair on presentation meant that slices of Emmenthal were presented as pickle filled cheese cones (James’s phrase). It was all very good and just what was wanted. We managed a swift one in Supercoin before the quick trip back under the Channel. Big up to the guy in Supercoin who let me secure some quality train beers.


Supercoin, presided over by an avuncular Jacque Chirac, is a good place.


#Food #Paris

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016/7 check out my GoogleMap

Review #98 Gitane, Fitzrovia

November 19, 2016


Having scuttled from the execrable Vapiano we fell back on a reliable old friend, Gitane on Great Titchfield Street. The coffee is excellent in Gitane – as good as Kaffeine up the road but with a more relaxed, less twattish vibe in the room. The food is veggie friendly and entirely scoffable. I went for a green herby quiche with a beetroot salad. The quiche was juicy and the salad packed with flavour. We had a seat in the window and spent a very pleasant half an hour watching the world go by and gossiping.


#London #Food

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Review #96 MI+ME, St Pancras

November 16, 2016

Scouting out a walk for Belgian clients I arrived at St Pancras ravenous. Options in St P are becoming fairly limited towards the end of the year so I gave MI+ME a go. Given its name I was half expecting some Marcel Marceau action from the waiting staff. Alas, no. The name remains irritating without the mitigation of Baptiste on duty.*

A short café-style menu but a grand view of WH Barlow’s magnificently restored roof is worth the price of entry alone. Especially if you can sit with your back to Paul Day’s execrable Meeting Place.** So the ambiance is good. The service was also swift and friendly.

A tomato soup was rich and peppery with a generous hunk of break and butter. A Rioja on the side helped to keep the chill at bay. And while I was eating an unexpected tableau took place at the platform entrance to the Booking Office.The pleasure to be taken in observing a succession of people negotiating their way through an awkward door is not to be underestimated.


*That’s a little in-joke for the Carné fans.

**This man was also responsible for the Queen Mother Memorial in St James’s Park (which to be fair is the only public statue in Westminster that provides genuine, if unintentional, belly laughs) and the even worse Bomber Command piece next to Green Park. Frankly the man is an artistic menace with a mysteriously well-connected client list. When Anthony Gormley said of public art, ‘There’s a lot of crap out there’ I think he was speaking almost solely of Day’s output.

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Review #17 Le Manoir, Boulevard Haussmann

February 20, 2016

A brief review for a brief stay. Post-ballet munchies we were looking for a quick half of wine and some meat’n’bread to go with it. Le Manoir seemed the ideal solution (a home from home you might say). Wine was 50cl of boozy goodness at a reasonable price. Big plate of charcuterie and bread on demand. A welcoming room and friendly staff, what’s not to like? Only their mysteriously early closing time.


To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

Review #5 As U Like It, Petts Wood

January 14, 2016

On the way to do some filming (!) I found myself in a strange town. Petts Wood. Deepest London ‘burbs and somewhat reminiscent of the Southchurch Road of my Sarfend youth. A good thing.

So I could have gone to a local branch of McDo or got a sandwich from the supermarket. But instead I went to a caff. As U Like It – so old school it doesn’t even appear on GoogleMaps. Sitting at table I thought to myself, ‘What would Terry McCann order?’ Well, a fry up obviously but in the post-festivities régime that wasn’t an option. So I went for a ham sandwich with English mustard and a cup of tea.

The sandwich was on good bread with the salad on the side. Liked it. Tea in a big mug. What’s not to like? The art in the room not to my taste (I remember selling such stuff in Darlo market in the 90s) but inoffensive and the clientèle a good smattering of mums, grans and tots. The perfect refuge from a chilly January day when you’ve half an hour to kill.



To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

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