The bone marrow pudding

Native restaurant (is there a mole on the menu?)

Tasting menu dilemma: was course four an actual mole? Or Mexican mole? Native serves “the country’s best wild food.” We just didn’t know. I’ve had squirrel casserole before – how different could mole be? After much discussion, three of the four Lardy Ladies were up for mole, of either kind. Alex not so much: “No […]

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Chengdu jiaozi

BaoziInn (dumpling delectation in Soho)

BaoziInn, housed in a converted Soho townhouse, was a haven of colour and light on a cold January night. As I entered from the pouring rain, customers were clustered around small tables in a room dominated by tall windows, with splashes of red from the scattered cushions, flickering tea lights, and carved wood. But not for me: […]

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Interior of Casa do Frango

Casa do Frango (My simple neighbourhood favourite for grilled chicken, cauliflower, chorizo and chips)

When Casa do Frango opened, on the top floor of a long-boarded up old building at the end of my road, I was entirely distracted by its better-known new downstairs neighbour, Native. But Native was first horribly booked up, and then when my reservation finally came around, closed by a power cut. Harrumph.  In the meantime, […]

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paneer, kebabs and aubergine

Chai Ki (“modern Indian soul food”, even worth a trip to soulless Canary Wharf)

Canary Wharf is just the worst. Corporate. Soulless. Impossible to navigate. Even with the experience of 16 months working there (very unhappily, and thankfully not since 2014), I still can’t get out of the shopping mall of doom without asking directions. But my friends were skating at the Canary Wharf rink, so the location was […]

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Rao Deli (Vietnamese food joy, but where are the other customers?)

I’d assumed booking wasn’t necessary. The absence of a single other customer proved me right. This was my second meal at Rao Deli and it was as empty on a Friday night as for the late Sunday lunch slot. I fear having a good Vietnamese cafe on my doorstep may be a short-lived joy. But […]

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Gymkhana, Mayfair (“I’m dying from the heat … I keep going back for more!”)

“What excellent value at such a fancy restaurant”, I thought.  “Just £24 for a bottle of Portuguese red”. When I came to order it, though, it turned out to be £24 per glass. My shocked response – “Jesus Christ!” – caused the sommelier to run away. I felt better about this interaction for the fact […]

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Isabel (Mayfair glamour and crazy loos)

The usual clientele of Isabel do not arrive clutching their ‘proper’ shoes in a Lidl bag and attempt a surreptitious switch just outside. The doorman pretended not to notice such infra dig behaviour, even when repeated by Liz ten minutes later (minus carrier bag). Our seat in the window afforded the opportunity to see the […]

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Lupins (draughty bar seats, but oh, the food!)

A bomb-site isn’t a good spot for dinner. And so, surveying the ruins of my former kitchen, I rapidly started making dinner plans for the week ahead. Calling Lupins (at the edge of Flat Iron Square) to book, I was told the upstairs dining room was full, but there were two free seats at the […]

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St John Maltby (mackerel, marriage and awol pigs’ ears)

Kris came for the pigs’ ears. Imagine, then, her distress to discover the menu had changed. No porcine cartilage. Not a single piggy item on the menu. She was sufficiently distracted and distressed to miss the news of Christy and Philip’s engagement; while Christy and I merrily clinked glasses, the confused question came – “I’m […]

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Edwin’s (a neighbourhood gem in Borough… if you can find the staircase)

Picture your living room at its best. But better decorated, more elegant, and with a touch of vintage glamour. Add teal paint, leaded windows, big mirrors, and a fireplace. And you have the dining room at Edwin’s, a surprisingly unsung gem of a restaurant, perched at the top of a steep, almost hidden staircase over […]

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