With all the new restaurants popping up around Kings Cross since the redevelopment, Elldrew had previously had a lovely meal at Camino Spanish restaurant, so we were looking for somewhere to dine in the area again when we came across Karpo. Actually located on Euston Road opposite the station, away from all the new restaurants, we’re not sure how old the restaurant is, but reading great reviews we simply had to try it.
Regular readers will know that Elldrew like to escape the London rat race, so with the Christmas madness behind us and Ell’s birthday ahead we booked a weekend at Bishopstrow House in Wiltshire. Having done several country house weekends in the UK our favourite, by far, was a few years back when we stayed at Cowley Manor (pre-blog setup, before you go searching). Since then we’ve tried to find a good reason to go back, but being amongst the top in its class it also carries a certain premium price tag. For this trip we wanted somewhere that wouldn’t break the bank, a 3-night long weekend not too far from London.
After such an exquisite meal at the soft launch we thought Ballarò would be the perfect place to take an Australian visitor so they could experience beautiful and fresh Sicilian food, without having to make a detour via Italy, and with an extra mouth we could taste more dishes on the menu (see our first review here).
For awhile now we had been wondering what would become of the old Haverstock Arms pub, on Haverstock Hill (its claim to fame is that its landlord was the on-screen barmen in the 90’s hit talk show “TFI Friday” and it’s where producer Danny Baker and then radio DJ Chris Evans came up with the show concept, and, of course, not forgetting its history as a local watering hole to the non and famous NW3 set)! One becomes complacent when the hoarding has been erected for so long, and although we were secretly hoping for a new local gastro pub or even better still a nice wine bar, we were at first a little deflated to hear the premises would be occupied by a new restaurant – wasn’t there enough in the local area already?
“What time’s the restaurant booked for?” Elldrew enquiry.
“One o’clock, it’s about 15 mins drive away” comes a reply from a busy kitchen, kids hair frantically being brushed.
“But it’s 12.55pm now!” shrieks the ever prompt Ronnie.
“Don’t worry, no one ever arrives on time in France” informs our host.
BORDEAUX TO ROQUÉPINE
Toulouse-Lautrec was all I could think about as the captain announced our descent. We were descending into Bordeaux, not Toulouse, so Monsieur Lautrec didn’t have much relevance but nevertheless I thought of him…perhaps it was because Elldrew were about to embark on a weekend of gastronomy in Gascony and our route would take us south towards Toulouse.
Continuing on from our Lilianfels Blue Mountains adventure, we mentioned that we had dined in the Fine Dining restaurant ‘Darleys’, located about 20 feet away from the main hotel. As the original homestead of this famous property, the recent refurbishment has preserved the original features that are the soul of the house (open ornate fireplaces, leadlight windows, crystal chandeliers) and combined them with plush furnishings, artwork and rich wallpaper prints to create an enchanting atmosphere. You sort of feel like you have stepped back in time, as if accepting an invitation to dine by Sir Darley himself!