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...]

Our own Half Cup has arrived

This is the second Half Cup in London.  The first, in Kings Cross, opened in 2014 and is very popular. I’ve popped in a couple of time when I’ve been waiting for a train because it is only a very short walk from the station but a million miles away from the concourse congestion. Our new Half Cup is in the new Bartholomew Square development (down to the Doctors’ and keep on walking past the bend), triangulated by LINO and Stem+Glory.  The area is becoming a pleasant eating-out destination, virtually devoid of traffic. Outside My only lament is that we couldn’t sit outside.  The … [Read more...]

‘it’s a bit like a jamboree in your mouth’

This place is up there with my favourites. Head up Bunhill Row past Bunhill Fields and you’ll find Flamboree on Old St on the site of the original Bovril factory. Exterior Seating 75, the interior is vibrant industrial fun. Interior Flamboree focuses on tarte flambée, a speciality of the region of Alsace in eastern France and south west Germany - where it is called flammekueche (translates as ‘flame pastry’).  It originates from the process of baking bread when a thin slice of pastry would be used to test the heat of the ovens. Bringing us this deliciously different menu is … [Read more...]

Classy Italian dining in the Barbican Centre

Barbican residents are pretty well served with places to eat across the price spectrum without even having to leave the complex.  There are three licensed restaurants within the Arts Complex itself which all do particularly well, when there are performances on in the theatre and concert hall, but which deserve better at other times given the generally high quality of the food and the facilities on offer. Pride of place among these is Osteria on Level 2 (the library level), which is the complex’s flagship restaurant run by Searcy's, a group which offers high quality private catering … [Read more...]

Innovative all-day-dining bar and canteen

Out of the Barbican from the North West Blake Tower exit, up Goswell Road past our precious City Hardware, turn right into Old Street and just over the road on the North side is the new Fare Bar/Restaurant which opened in November last year.  This is the latest creation from Michael Sager and Marcis Dzelzainis, who created the popular Bethnal Green Sager + Wilde, specialising in lesser known wines, and also revamped the Bassoon Bar at the Corinthia. The massive conservatory windows try and convince you that this is a small bar, but it also has a decent sized downstairs restaurant and … [Read more...]

Vegan delights near the Barbican

Louise Palmer-Masterson is a crowd-funding winner, with her London branch of Stem + Glory, blossoming from the parent restaurant in Cambridge, which opened at the beginning of this year to coincide with Veganuary.  The funding round was achieved within 6 hours of opening the page to the public.  London Stem + Glory is perfectly placed, both morally and price-wise, and (as we reported in the December issue) a long-awaited prayer answered for our veggie and vegan loving residents. The second of our new restaurant openings in the Bart’s Square area, Stem + Glory is less … [Read more...]

All-Day Eating at LINO

On the newly redeveloped Bartholomew Close, by Barts Hospital and at the end of the road round the bend after the Neaman Practice, you will find LINO, a new all-day every day restaurant in the Barts Square zone.  The name of the restaurant was chosen because the building used to be an old linoleum and carpet warehouse.  The new interior has fondly kept the warehouse feel with original brown glazed tiles and 12-foot high double doors. The whole of this area, as you may know, has been gutted or rebuilt, so it is a credit to the designers that they have salvaged some of the décor for the … [Read more...]

The Grill at Smiths – Steaking a claim

Smiths’ bar + café (ground floor), cocktail bar (1st), grill (2nd) and restaurant and terrace (3rd) have a busy but spacious home in a recently refurbished Grade II listed warehouse sprawling from 67 to 77 Charterhouse Street opposite the main Smithfield meat market on the north side.  The long established restaurant complex was acquired by Youngs a year ago and has since undergone some extensive refurbishment and menu changes. This is a massive venue with huge open plan rooms (which makes it feel spacious) and each floor has a different flavour, whether you are meeting a friend for coffee, … [Read more...]

Barbican on Fire

Barbican ON FIRE Casual dining in the Barbican Centre On the mid level in the Barbican Centre (below the Library level but above the Lakeside level) you will find Bonfire.  You’ve probably noticed it.  You may even have visited it.  We used to take our kids there for burgers when they were in their teens, but it never seemed anything out of the ordinary and so it never became a regular haunt for us as a family.  Indeed, when it first opened there was much criticism of the fare and its presentation. But a couple of recent visits were very positive – not obviously for gourmet fare, but for … [Read more...]

Bib Gourmand Restaurant on Charterhouse Street

Comptoir Gascon, north side of Smithfield, is a long-time Barbican gourmet bistro neighbour (opened in 2001). It is also one of Michelin starred Pascal Aussignac’s Gascony eateries and has held a Michelin Bib Gourmand since 2008 (‘Bibs’ are awarded for simple yet skilful cooking under £28). With so many new bars and restaurants opening around us it’s easy to be distracted from established classics such as this. Highest quality ingredients are sustainably sourced from small Gascony producers. Poultry is “Le Comité Renaissance” certified (highest standards for ethics and … [Read more...]