Unlike Fat Duck, d inner comes without a fixed menu. In order words, unless you order the tasting menu ahead, you get to explore your options. This also means a greater likelihood of potential revisits. The most impressive dish is easily the meat fruit. Playing with the idea of food as an optical illusion, it just goes to show that not everything is what it seems. The “mandarin” jelly skin itself is delicate, cut open to reveal a deliciously rich and indulgent foie gras. For dessert, I would highly recommend the Tipsy cake.
I was pretty excited for this Two Star Michelin restaurant because I absolutely loved the elaborate dining experience at Heston Blumenthal’s other world-renowned restaurant, Fat Duck. This one being reputedly toned down, I expected to enjoy the taste more than presentation this time round. The interior is very elegant, with glass windows that allow diners a view of Hyde Park during the day. The menu is a bit of a History lesson, which is interesting, educating diners on the origin of ketchup and afternoon tea amongst other things. The delightfully cream-filled brioche soaked in alcohol with a slice of roasted pineapple on the side was heavenly.
£100 (2 people)
66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA
From the playground hopscotch design greeting at the entrance to the futuristic bathrooms, when it comes to interior design, Sketch is a tough beat. The Gallery, designed by British Visual Artist, David Shrigley, is pretty in pink with a bold, comical twist. The Glade on the other hand is of an enchanted forest-type setting, whilst it is the Lecture Room & Library that has been prestigiously awarded Two Michelin Stars.
Breakfast is served in The Parlour, the first room on the right after the entrance. The colours are vibrant, like that of candy, with Louis XV seating and the crockery are simply the cutest down to the tiniest details! You have a little man daydreaming, butterflies at the bottom of a teacup and a milk jug in the form of a cow. As if it could not possibly get any more fairytale-esque, the lemon meringue tart comes with a sprinkle of glitter. Sweet pastries may compliment the ambience but eggs and smoked salmon are available too.
£24 (2 people)
9 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1S 2XG
Perhaps somewhat reflecting its “sustainable” dishes, furniture is subtly assembled to create a charming warehouse effect. Located in a casual cool industrial building that can be found just over Regent’s Canal, next to Central Saint Martins at Granary Square, Grain Store serves innovative yet amazing food. Schooled in French tradition but not one to shy away from international-influences, Bordeaux-born Chef Bruno Loubet from France, co-owns this venture with Michael Benyan and Mark Sainsbury, and is evidently not afraid to experiment with imagination. From the pumpkin raviolis to the intriguing ice-cream flavours (Chamomile!), dinner was quite the palate party. Vegetarian-friendly, it is not just the meat dishes that get the spotlight.
On the brunch menu too is a veg-centric mix of innovation that remains different from your standard brunch joint. After a hearty Saturday brunch consisting of the Potato pancake with sour cream leeks, poached duck egg & Tobiko wasabi caviar, and Seeded scone, vegemite whipped butter, herb fromage frais, smoked salmon & scrambled eggs dish, we ordered desserts despite having almost run out of stomach room. A plate of warm chocolate & red bean pudding and toasted oat & buttermilk panna cotta later, we had no regrets.
£35 (2 people)
Granary Square, 1-3 Stable Street, Kings Cross, London N1C 4AB
Having previously heard of this great study space on Old Street, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a second branch in Seven Dials. Walking in, it is your typical café set-up, with seats by the bar window, facing passing pedestrians. In the basement is a comfortable lounge environment – an eclectic mix of chairs and couches as well as tables, some lower in height and tinier in size tha n others. When I dropped by on a Tuesday afternoon for a cup of matcha latte and to revise for an upcoming French exam, I found it a relaxing work environment, given that other people were on their laptops too.
Food and beverages are served on trays made up of wooden planks. Whilst I cannot say that I think much about their coffee, I really liked their relatively healthy selection of sandwiches and baked goods, which included beetroot sandwiches and slices of zucchini cakes. There was also the intriguing goat’s cheese popcorn, which I initially found to be a tad pricey for popcorn (3GBP for a tiny cup of it) but eventually gave in to my curiosity. It was good.
£30 (2 persons)
61-67 Old Street, EC1V 9HW
Last Sunday, I had the most ridiculously priced but wonderfully Christmassy lovely crepe and champagne experience at a Covent Garden alpine-inspired pop-up store. I adored the set-up and immediately made a reservation. I’m not going to lie though. As I made the reservation, all I could think of was ‘this had better blow my mind’, and texted my friends, asking if we were completely mad for doing this. So what is ‘Krug Kreperie’? During the first week of December, three enormous festive present-like champagne crates popped up on the East Piazza overnight, in the spirit of Christmas. This collaboration between the Krug champagne house and French chef Pierre Koffman (Berkeley Hotel) brings diners a selection of six sweet and savoury crepes. The crepe of your choice is complemented with a glass of Krug Grande Cuvee. Cosy sheepskin rugs, heated seats on wooden logs, tables made out of timber with Baccarat crystal chandeliers hovering above and street musicians nearby could not have made the ambience any more perfect.Although the pop-up experience only lasted the first week of December, the menu will be at The Berkeley Hotel for a month from now, till mid-January.
£70 for crepe & champagne (2 people)
Covent Garden piazza (at time of post)
Red wine for breakfast? Why not if it comes in Greek yoghurt accompanied by Manuka honey and a poached tamarillo in the middle. Its contemporary minimalistic decor the ideal background for Instagram addicts, the two story brick walled building in St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, consists of a Ground Floor cafe and First Floor restaurant. Modern is the word, even on the menu, noting the Globalized Indonesian/Malaysian touches of Sambal, a chilli mix, with prawn omelette and Rendang mince on toast, giving spicy twists to the usual brunch favourites. The raspberry and ricotta pancakes served with berry and liquorice compote, creme fraiche is sinfully delicious and the place provides a fantastic ambience for catch-up sessions. Brunch in white with a spoonful of ‘je ne sais quoi’.
£23 (2 people)
47-48 St John’s Square, Clerkenwell, London, EC1V 4JJ
You have got your Burger and Lobster, Duck and Waffle, and well, Bubbledog, which as the name suggests, serves champagne and hotdogs. Having read that someone mentioned the place during an interview at Topshop HQ, I was intrigued by its name and thought it would be a good idea to check it out. You know, in case I would like to work at Topshop someday and said woman interviews me.
After promising my sister that it would not break her vegetarian regime, given that there is a vegetarian option in addition to beef or pork, we made our way one Tuesday afternoon. Next to Gaucho on Charlotte Street is this trendy little pub with cheeky sausage puppy dog illustrations on its walls. To go with our hotdogs, we ordered tots and sweet potato fries on the side. The tots were included out of curiosity to see what mini hash browns would taste like and were not particularly exciting. The sweet potato fries however were a pleasant surprise. Ordering champagne is optional but give it a go if you have ever wondered what hotdogs tasted like without coke, and champagne without caviar. I thought that was what the name was for.
£25 (2 people)
70 Charlotte St, London, W1T 4QG