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...]

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 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...]

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...]

Have your cake and eat it

Aprés Food Co have been on the right hand side about half of the way up St John St for a couple of years now and I’m ashamed to say that we never even noticed them.  The place looks like a coffee shop, and even has a name like a coffee shop, so that’s my excuse.  But what a travesty!  My ignorance has denied you the shiniest little gem!  Before now, they have been a breakfast and lunch venue, but now they are open for dinners, too. In a nutshell, Aprés Food Co is all about eating nutritionally well in order to improve your life.  I know it sounds like a motivational teleshopping ‘time to … [Read more...]

Around the corner to Gascony

Monsieur le Duck has arrived in Clerkenwell fresh from success in their temporary home in Spitalfields.  On the left hand side of Clerkenwell Road heading west, just a little past the high walls of the back of the Charterhouse, the orange awning shouts out a warm welcome - serving fresh breakfast pastries from 8.30, brunch from 10, smaller plates from the bar and the full menu from 12 noon. With trademark duck and other ingredients coming all the way from farms in Gascony in the south-west of France, Monsieur le Duck gives us authentic quality.  There are also options for vegetarians and a … [Read more...]

Street food burger transition in Shoreditch

It’s a bit of a stroll from the Barbican, but you’ll enjoy your burger all the more, Burger & Beyond is true street food turned restaurant.  Created by Craig Povoas and Tom Stock, the beef comes from their own farm in Essex so they can choose their own cuts for their famous burgers.  After three and a half years on the street, formerly in Soho, and now in Camden’s Assembly, Camden Market and at Woolwich’s Street Feast Public, their first bricks and mortar site is on Shoreditch High Street just south of St Leonard's Church on the other side of the road. Burger & Beyond’s Instagram … [Read more...]

Great New St. John Street wine bar

Le Cellar, St John Street’s newly opened wine bar is definitely worth frequenting. Antonin Charlier, co-owner/managing partner is a wine expert with impressive credentials, including former buyer and bar manager for Pascal Aussignac at the Michelin starred Club Gascon restaurant and sister bar in West Smithfield as well as Bulgari Hotel & Residences. Antonin and childhood friend and entrepreneur/TV producer/yoga teacher Simon Maniora have finally realised a long-held ambition to open their own wine bar/restaurant. Le Cellar interior Le Cellar is a relatively short walk from the … [Read more...]

Helix/Iris – Searcy’s Gherkin flagship with great views

Our principal Barbican Centre restaurant (now Osteria) used to be, arguably, the original signature venue in Searcy’s portfolio of restaurants.  Their new Helix on level 39 of the Gherkin, coupled with the Iris bar on level 40) elevates both the cuisine and the view.  It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a view of the Barbican’s Towers from the restaurant but you do get a magnificent skyline spectacle around the remaining 270 degrees. And we had to make do with a spectacular view down to Tower Bridge!  Helix is yet another great dining venue with spectacular views in the City’s plethora of high … [Read more...]

New Bottles in Old Spitalfields

Bottles launched in early July 2018 in the remarkable Old Spitalfields Market as a new Italian wine bar.  This is a partnership between the co-founders of Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano, Franco Mancini and Daniele Marano, and the pop-up restaurant concept, SOOD Family.  The focus is definitely on the wine here and the food (albeit delicious) is almost a mere accompaniment. Entrance on Brushfield Street With entrances on both Brushfield Street and from inside Old Spitalfields Market, this is a convenient spot with enough space for about 50 diners. The Market entrance is … [Read more...]