For years Elldrew’s ‘local’ pub in Kentish Town NW5 was less than 100 metres away, but we never dared enter in fear that we might not make it out alive. You see, The Grafton was a run down pub that attracted the wrong crowd, and as far as we knew, it was kept afloat via behind-the-scenes criminal activity (if it wasn’t then it sure did a great impression that it did).
A traditional cornerstone pub in an upcoming area of Kentish Town on the borders of eclectic Camden (well Elldrew did live there after all), it was only a matter of time before someone threw some love (and a bucket of paint) at the old girl, taking on board the current gastro pub ‘style’ and ‘etiquette’ that we have all become accustomed to, so that The Grafton could re-open and breath new life through her doors.
It’s been a busy eating week for Elldrew; we’ve lunched at old favourite ‘The Wolseley’, suppered at Bruno Loubet’s ‘Grain Store’ and last night we had the pleasure of dining at the newly reopened Quaglino’s. And despite The Wolseley retaining its crown as Elldrew’s favourite dining spot, it’s Quaglino’s that gets the honour of our attention and review.
Quaglino’s has to be one of the grande dames of the London dining scene. Currently celebrating her 85th birthday, she’s been “in” and “out” so many times that she’s rather like one of Soho’s less salubrious residents, and Elldrew remembers Quaglino’s well, from her last revival and hey-day in the nineties. Back then she was an airline hangar of a room; the jewel in Conran’s fledgling restaurant group. She was white and bright, vast and opulent, and symbolised all the decadence of the early nineties and optimism of the approaching millennium. But she withered and floundered, struggling to attract the crowds in the noughties as the new hip, young and trendy joints around the London restaurant scene emerged – like every elegant lady of a certain age she long ago needed a little bit of, errm, “cosmetic maintenance”. Fortunately for Lady Quaglino, D&D Group came to her rescue and treated her to a full workout and makeover, reopening mere weeks ago with a fierce new look and a drinks and food menu to boot!
We have a dear Argentinian friend who has never dragged us to an Argentine restaurant so, after visiting La Patagonia, we have come to the conclusion that she has wanted to keep this delicious cuisine to herself!
We naturally are huge fans of Argentine Malbec wines, and had heard that the steak is some of the best in the world, so during an Autumn downpour that saw us held-up under the shelter of a local tube station awning till it eased, we made a dash through the doors of La Patagonia and straight away were greeted by the welcoming aromas of the restaurant, and of course the friendly smiles of the staff.
So our first visit to Chotto Matte was a love/hate relationship. Yes, you will mingle with the hip, the trendy and of course the glamorous at this London Soho restaurant, and you will eat superb food – Chotto Matte combines the best of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine – but at a price (and we don’t just mean the bill).
Looking for a delicious schnitzel & spritz this weekend in central London? We recommend you head to Boopshi’s for the great taste of Austrian cuisine. A trendy little restaurant with a fantastic vibe serving delicious cocktails, schnitzels, sausages and of course traditional sides. Perfect for a catch-up with friends or just to satisfy your carnivore cravings, lunch or dinner.
Elldrew adopted this Japanese restaurant as our local after the Hi-Sushi in Hampstead changed it’s menu and went a bit wacky…yes, even we frown at ourselves for sometimes eating the same food every time we go to a local favourite. But, in all fairness, we do tend to try most dishes on a menu then work out which dishes we liked the best, ordering a selection of these each visit, depending on our mood. Elldrew are more into sampling a variety of dishes vs one main meal so Spanish Tapas, Japanese, etc are the restaurants we will frequent most.
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.