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  1. Went to Paramount when it first opened. Food was fine; nothing special. Views excellent (better from the bar iirc). It was quite a 'bridge and tunnel' crowd. Security to get in is pretty heavy, as you'd expect.
  2. They *are* right about the Bleeding Heart though.
  3. The Holborn branch closed a few years ago after fire damage. There's a Korean resto there now.
  4. Belated thanks to everyone for your replies. Excitingly, today the Manoir called and said they'd had a cancellation so we are in for dinner on Feb 17th! So see you there Tim! Will probably play it by ear for the rest of our stay - will definitely visit the Ashmolean so may do lunch there Saturday or the Perch if the weather's up to a walk. Funny to see that the Magdalen Arms is now known for food - my first college digs were on Iffley Rd so spent a few nights in there although as you'd expect the emphasis wasn't really on food.
  5. Any recent recommendations for a celebratory meal in Oxford? We are staying at The Old Bank Hotel in late February for our 20 year anniversary. Anyone tried Gees recently, or the Ashmolean?
  6. You're right Gary, Needoo's isn't five years old, we had a few years in the middle going to East is East on Commercial St (which has now closed ). Front table upstairs in the window of Needoos is fine - wouldn't go if I had to sit downstairs.
  7. Have been to Needoo once about 5 years after giving up on Tayyabs as being too busy. Was good although not quite as good as Tayyabs, or at least my memories of it which may be elevated. For those that don't know, Needoo was set up by an ex-Tayyab chap (Ali, iirc) and is just around the corner in New Road.
  8. Just speculation, but do concierge-type companies charge an uplift for getting tables in places like the Ivy?
  9. Went there for annual lads lunch yesterday - shared a few oysters to start then had a classic pea & ham soup, scrumptious pheasant and trotter pie and a disappointing blackberry ice cream. Drank beer, a good value Picpoul de Pinet (£22), decent 2006 Bandol (£50) and an unusual dessert wine aged in cognac barrels. £75 inc. a good tip. I like St John because it's not just full of suits, it serves unusual food and they have an ideology. It's not in the Michelin mode and deliberately so - I guess they were given a star in recognition for the influence they have had on London dining - it's the motherlode for a style of cooking that is now common (and arguably better done elsewhere) but it has never compromised on its style and I applaud it for that.
  10. I was there the same night as Gary (sat down at 8pm) and had a slightly better experience I think - potted shrimp and mackerel to start was OK - needed a bit more seasoning and the French toast was too thin (yes I know that's the USP - perhaps I'm just not a fan) but was tasty despite that and the cucumber salad was a good match. Main for me was Hare Royale with onion raviolo, pumpkin and dried mandarin purée - an extremely rich dish - very satisfying. My mate had the wood pigeon which seemed to go down well. Puds were the Valhrona chocolate tart for me - did what it said on the tin - and sorbets. Wines - nondescript glass of white for starter; bottle of Frankland River cab sauv (about £40) with the mains and a glass of good old Stanton & Killen muscat with the tart. Disappointingly the bottle we wanted (a 2001 Vacqueras) wasn't available - not sure why in a newly opened restaurant. Bill for two came to about £140 inc. service which was friendly and eager. The room was pretty much full and very buzzy for a Tuesday night in Clerkenwell - I guess that's the Loubet effect. Whether it can maintain the same buzz once the fuss dies down time will tell, but it's a nice addition to the area and certainly somewhere I can see myself returning to (if only for its proximity to the Jerusalem Tavern).
  11. She's giving Mail readers exactly what they want, as with her Stephen Gately article.
  12. I have been once and was very impressed. A special place. Great sommelier, of the young unstuffy enthusiast variety. Going again end-Feb.
  13. I've only been to Pattersons once, 4/5 years ago. The cooking was spot on, very good quality ingredients but slightly old-fashioned from memory and the atmosphere a bit staid. For your lone diner meal there are a number of decent places where you can eat alone at the bar - Arbutus, Bocco di Lupo or one of the seafood places (Bentleys/Sheekeys).
  14. I was going to suggest plugging the date into toptable.com... but having just had a play on it and being surprised to see spaces at the Ledbury, I then found it was lying so clearly the software is a bit crap. Nevertheless, Pied a Terre seems to have space so might be worth a try if you are prepared to spend that much. ... Just tried opentable.com and seems better - you could try Pattersons on Mill St. Have a play around.
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