We have realised we’ve been to Berners Tavern twice now and have not said a word about it – shame on us. It’s absolutely brilliant!
Berners Tavern is the restaurant in The London Edition that opened in 2013, the first in a new luxury range of hotels from the Marriott Group, breathing new life into the former ‘Berners Hotel’. The property was originally built as a group of townhouses in 1835 and became a hotel in 1908 – famous for its grade II listed richly decorated ceilings in its marble-clad lobby and restaurant, which have been lovingly restored by its new owners. The restaurant that is Berners Tavern features walled framed pictures, a floor to ceiling bar, stunning overhead antique lighting with the marble ceiling dimly lit to create a uber luxurious dining atmosphere. “We needed to draw the eye down, we couldn’t have everyone sitting looking up at the ceiling” we were told by management.
We first came across Matera, in Puglia, southern Italy (near the boot heel) when we learnt of the Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita hotel (a stunning cave hotel which we quickly added to our bucket list and just as quickly planned a visit to). I had mentioned to my Italian hairdresser (from Naples) that Elldrew were heading there for 4 days and all he asked was “Why?” I explained to him about the hotel and he seemed a little bemused, whilst having heard of the city he hadn’t realised that it had, in fact, reached international tourist status. After some rather extensive research prior to booking the hotel (we didn’t want to be stuck in a place that couldn’t keep us amused for days, especially when our travel dates were dictated by a very limited flight schedule), we actually began to look forward to exploring the delights of this ancient city.
Miss Bun can’t be having fun stuck in the corner of what seems to be the smallest restaurant space on the planet. A sink to her left, a small portable electric cooker in front of her – one pot with boiling water, the other a frying pan. Add in a fridge and warming oven down the side of the room, a small bench for taking orders and holding chopsticks/napkins. Bench seating around the front window and side of cooking area, with just enough space to squeeze in six stools. Welcome to Miss Bun in Kentish Town (NW5).
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?