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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LASSCO bar & dining (brunch, and the art of peak hipster)

Brunch. In an architectural salvage warehouse in Bermondsey. Yes, I’m laughing at how pretentious I am too. But while Maltby Street at 11am on Sunday was already teeming with bleary-eyed souls in search of epic cheese toasties and giant vats of tartiflette … …LASSCO bar & dining was empty. What a find! (Literally in fact […]

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Roti King (roti, noodles and nostalgia in north London)

Settling into a cramped seat in the back corner, after 40 minutes in a queue snaking down the stairs, my mother announced “I feel a bit tearful”. In a good way it transpired, thankfully. She lived in Alor Setar in the ’60s and was experiencing a rush of nostalgia. My sister, Tara, too – on […]

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Beef fat satay, washed down with charcoal coffee (a Yogyakarta street food extravaganza)

I’ve never been so surprised by food as I was in Yogyakarta. Full credit goes to our guide Hario, who opened the eyes and filled the bellies of the three enthusiastic eaters on his afternoon street food tour. We began, at 4pm, with the iconic dish of Yogyakarta, gudeg, in one of a row of […]

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