Casa do Frango: Memories of the Algarve

Around 30 years ago (how time flies) I have fond memories of a very pleasant summer holiday based at Carvoeiro on Portugal’s Algarve, but I only have retained two food memories thereof – magnificent, and enormous,  freshly caught sardines cooked and eaten on the dockside at Portimão and piri piri chicken from close by where we were staying.  The sardines were easily the best I have ever tasted and the piri piri chicken I had been unable to match – until now at the Shoreditch branch of Casa do Frango, which opened in December. The light and airy restaurant on the first floor The … [Read more...]

Berkmann does wine tasting

While this is not exactly restaurant news, Berkmann Wine Cellars reckons to be the largest family-owned and family-run wine importer in the UK. The company has been selling wine to restaurants since 1964 and its expertise has grown along with its portfolio. Today, the company is headed up by second-generation family member Rupert Berkmann. The wineries it represents are said to also be progressive and fiercely independent.  Thus an invitation to attend its hugely impressive annual wine tasting experience – particularly given it was held at The Brewery on Chiswell Street, only a stone’s throw … [Read more...]

The Ivy City Garden

With this review, we had the opportunity to enjoy one of those experiences we all cherish as new City dwellers: the discovery of a backwater route and haven tucked away off Old Broad Street which we never knew existed.  Of course, I’d passed the church before, but I never realised that the St Botolph without Bishopsgate gardens also host tennis and netball courts (if you are interested, you can book with the church). The Ivy extended its branches this way into East London a few years ago and is part of The Ivy Collection of 36 (and counting) restaurants and cafes which are firmly planted in … [Read more...]

A great new casual Barbican restaurant

Well it’s not technically within the Barbican Estate itself but lies almost directly beneath the new Barbican highwalk just behind Salters Hall, but the new Barbie Green bar/restaurant/coffee shop is perhaps even closer to some Barbican flats than the restaurants within the Barbican Centre itself.  It is located in London Wall Place just to the south of the re-sited Minotaur sculpture and its big picture windows on its east side look out directly at the old ruins of St. Alphage Church. Barbie Green is located opposite the ruins of the old St. Alphage Church and almost underneath the new … [Read more...]

A Rooftop Bar to Savour

Savage Garden rooftop bar is a good choice for a weekday lunch. We visited on a Monday following a river walk. Savage Garden rooftop bar It’s just off Trinity Square, near the Thames, on the 12th floor of Hilton’s Doubletree hotel. The bar itself has great views through floor to ceiling windows on three sides - Tower Bridge and the Tower of London directly in front, spanning out to Canary Wharf to the east and the Shard to the west. Seating in this part of the venue is high bar tables and chairs. There is a cosier more colourful bistro-style space to the back/side of the bar area, … [Read more...]

France wins oyster tasting competition

We do receive the occasional hugely self-indulgent treat from running this website and Barbican Life magazine and this week we were invited to participate in a GB/French oyster tasting competition hosted at Boisdale of Bishopsgate and sponsored by Boisdale, Wright Brothers and the City of London distillery.  Oysters are not to everyone’s taste, but they are to the writer’s, who participated with gusto. After an hour or so of judging and almost 1,000 oysters shucked, the results from this, the fourth Boisdale & Wright Brothers Oyster Championship 2019, a blind tasting was held to … [Read more...]

Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House

This Christmas, botanically brewed drinks makers, Fentimans, will be bringing sugar, spice and all things iced to the rooftops of London. The life-size Pink Gingerbread House celebrates the brands recently launched Pink Ginger soft drink, a contemporary twist on the much-loved traditional Ginger Beer. The Fentimans Pink Gingerbread House will be the season’s most instagrammable installation, where Londoners can visit for festive ginger cocktails and sweet treats in a magical fairy-tale environment unlike no other in London. Situated on the 9th floor of Skylight, one of London’s most popular … [Read more...]

Bottomless Beef and Bottle at Gaucho Smithfield

Good news from our neighbours at Gaucho Smithfield. Earlier this year the Gaucho restaurants (first of which opened in 1976) successfully completed a significant organisational restructure and are now owned and run by the same group which operates the M restaurants chain.  There are two Gauchos close at hand - Gaucho Smithfield and Gaucho Broadgate and this review covers the Smithfield restaurant on Charterhouse Street, only a stone’s throw from the western end of the Barbican complex. Traditional dishes and emphasis on quality continue – big juicy, tender Argentine steaks from … [Read more...]

Hidden restaurant gem off Bishopsgate with live jazz

Boisdale Bishopsgate must be doing something right.  If you didn’t know it was there it would be tough to find – and it certainly won’t get any passing trade – yet it is long established in its location down a narrow dead-end alley (Swedeland Court) off Bishopsgate and behind Dirty Dick’s pub, almost opposite Liverpool Street Station.  Many years ago I ate there when it was Mr Bill Bentley’s seafood restaurant, but it has now been a Boisdale for nigh on 20 years.  It is obviously a popular venue for local business lunches, and offers live jazz most evenings. Boisdale styles itself as a … [Read more...]

Update on the The Ivy Asia, St Paul’s

Opening Monday 18th November (0203 971 2600 for reservations) In celebration of the opening, two performers carried out an array of acrobatic routines at sunrise from Millenium Bridge, whilst in further celebration, a parade of sixty Samurai Warriors took to the streets surrounding One New Change, handing out origami flowers to passers-by and those working in the area. Open seven days a week, the brand-new Asian concept restaurant and bar will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. On arrival, diners will be met with a show-stopping fluorescent pink onyx floor, impressive panelled … [Read more...]