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  1. I would say that naebody has nailed it. I haven't been in quite a while but I used to work across the road and visited regularly due to the dearth of alternatives in the area. Stuck to the trattoria unless I was spending someone else's money. Have a nice time with your mum. Your meal will probably be fine but it will also be one of most expensive you've had in a while for the quality. Just relax, remember it's for charity and because your mum wants to go. You don't have to go back if you don't want to! Janice
  2. Highbury / Canonbury for the ace combination of Steve Hatt fishmongers, Frank Godfrey butchers, La Fromagerie and a perfectly acceptable greengrocer or two. Spares you the pain of the supermarket and the crowds at Borough market...
  3. My 2p... In such a small world it's never going to be possible to have an entirely blind tasting, but recent experience suggests that William Curley does indeed have the edge on Paul Young at least. Janice
  4. Thanks for a great review and fantastic photos. I'm a big fan of Monachyle Mhor, but sadly don't get up there often enough. Just to add that they have refurbished most of not all of the rooms recently making it a stunning place to stay. The breakfast is top notch too - creamy porridge, perfectly poached smoked haddock and the like. Make sure to stop for a pie from the Scotch Oven in Callander on the way home though...
  5. Definitely some odd choices even given the categories -- e.g. The Marquess - I've been there twice and liked it, but hardly the best gastropub in London... Janice
  6. My boyfriend and I stayed at Hotel Chilo for a couple of nights in September two years ago. We ate at the hotel both nights and enjoyed the food, which was very competently prepared and made good use of local ingredients - I still have fond memories of an outstanding raspberry tart. The room we had was not luxurious, but was very comfortable and notable for the shutters which blacked it out completely. This combined with the very quiet surroundings lead us to refer to it as 'the incredible sleeping room'. A couple of warnings: don't be surprised if there aren't very many other customers if you're there mid-week. We arrived on a Sunday and there was only one elderly French couple and us for dinner. The restaurant wasn't open to non-guests and there was a limited choice menu which was fine. The other warning is to beware the amount of food that is offered on the five course menu - although if you're hiking maybe you'll be better prepared for it than we were! I don't have any other recommendations in the immediate area, but if you're heading in that direction I could suggest a couple of places in St Jean Pied de Port or St Etienne de Baigorry. Have a great trip Janice
  7. I'm sorry to say that I have another disappointing meal to report from Lindsey House. The menu was similar to what Pweaver had in May and similarly failed to sparkle. There were also a few actual problems with both the service and the food. We had to ask for the wine list twice with the consequence that we didn't receive our wine until halfway through our starters. Unfortunately things went downhill from there. Only one of the cheeses was close to peak condition and there was no explanation of what we were being offered. There was an 'accident' with our souffle and although they handled this problem with some charm and an extra pre-dessert, unfortunately the end result wasn't worth waiting for with poor texture and indifferent flavour. We enjoyed the evening but left with the impression that the restaurant was not performing as it should and with little inclination to return with so many more reliable options available. May be partly our fault for going on a Monday evening but even so... Shame.
  8. Now, I admit that I am fortunate to live and work in areas with good local butchers, greengrocers, farmers markets, etc, but I find the following approach works well for me - I live alone. 1.) Ocado for bulky and storecupboard items on a monthly basis or even less frequently 2.) A small mixed box from Abel and Cole once a fortnight to stock up on fruit and veg 3.) Magic stay-fresh bags from Lakeland to keep these in good condition in case I don't get a chance to eat them quickly 4.) Top-up shop from butchers, greengrocers, farmers' markets or Budgens for storecupboard items, when I decide what I want to eat for dinner (or forgot to order from Ocado). One thought - what about stocking your freezer with quality meat and fish once a month? So long as you don't leave it in there for months it could still be preferable to inferior fresh meat. Janice
  9. How about St John? There's plenty of discussion of it in this forum. It is a definitely not a 'jacket and tie' place, but few in London are, especially in late June. Janice
  10. Thanks very much for both recommendations - they sound great. Will get on the phone to Casa Marcelo asap. I assume the other place would not require reservations? I'm very excited about this trip gastronomically, if annoyed that I have been able to plan more thoroughly. Janice
  11. We are off to Santiago de Compostela for 4 nights next Wednesday. I've been a bit slow in doing my research due to work and various other annoyances. Does anyone have an updates on the suggestions here? We will have a hire car so we can get to some of the places out in the countryside as well as in Santiago itself. Thanks in advance for any suggestions. Janice
  12. Agree completely. I was there just before Christmas and was similarly underwhelmed by the crab lasagne which was a bit 'bouncy' and didn't live up to expectations. Incidently, I recently had a much better version at Morgan M. This was crab cannelloni - light, tender and delicious with extra goodies in the form of scallops and cockles. Overall, I liked Galvin and although it wasn't good enough to make me cross town for it, I might be tempted if I was in the area. Janice
  13. Is there any definitive source of cost comparison for the supermarkets online? I'm having a huge row with my wife at the moment because I favour Ocado, which appears to be the only decent home delivery service. She's somehow convinced that, because it's from Waitrose, our weekly shop is about three times the price as when I drag my sorry tripes all the way to the bedlam that is Camden Sainsbury's. (Before you ask - no, neither of us actually knows the price of a loaf. Who reads receipts?) ← I believe this gives the definitive answer wrt Waitrose - in short, Waitrose price matches but Ocado doesn't. JLP pricing policy Personally I think Ocado is worth every penny if it means I can avoid the trip to Sainsburys...
  14. If you haven't actually shopped at Waitrose before then I would strongly recommend that you give it a go and compare the prices. When a colleague of mine broke his collarbone he and his wife did their shopping using a taxi at Waitrose instead of Tesco because the Waitrose was nearer and were pleased to discover that it was more or less the same total price. We see them in Waitrose most weeks, so they are clearly still convinced that it is good value. Obviously it will depend on what you buy, but it's most definitely worth investigating. ← My understanding is that Waitrose price-matches on branded groceries in the same way that John Lewis does, making it as good value as anywhere for those items. Of course the problem is that there are so many more temptations in Waitrose that you end up spending more regardless. In this vein, one of my friends has some very tasty cured goose breast from the one on Finchley Road recently...
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