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Canadian visiting England: London, Cambridge, Exeter and Penzance


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Trying to plan 3 lunches and 3 dinners in London:

Right now, I'm hoping to visit:

for lunch:

a set lunch at Quilon- which vegetable and fish dishes?

lunch at J Sheekey- any dishes you'd recommend the most?

possible lunch at Scandinavian Kitchen

for dinner:

a dinner at Nopi- what dishes have you liked the most?

What other lunches and dinners would you recommend? I'm hoping to keep lunches to less than 30 GPB per person. Might splurge on dinner, haven't decided yet.

In London, I'd be most interested in seafood, Modern British, contemporary continental, Turkish, Spanish, Indian, Middle Eastern and Moroccan foods, and not as interested in classical French or Italian foods. Which restaurants would you recommend for Dover sole or Dorset crab dishes?

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In Cambridge, looks like we'll have 2 lunches and 2 dinners. Which are the best restaurants these days?

I'm hoping to try Alimentum, and would appreciate any other suggestions.

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Where would you dine in Exeter?

We hope to try the Michael Caines at the ABode. Would appreciate any suggestions for bakeries.

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Where would you dine in Penzance? We plan to try the Bay restaurant. Are there any bakeries you'd recommend?

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For middle eastern in London, I'd suggest one of the Noura places. Upscale Lebanese. For somewhere which manages to bridge the Straits of Gibraltar for the cooking of both Spain and Morocco, it'd have to be Moro.

Can't really help with the modern British/Euro as it's not a cuisine I'm really looking for when I visit the capital. For "deals", often lunch, you could do worse than scount round TopTable to make your reservation - you can search the site for current offers.

As for Exeter, ABode is the only place listed in the Good Food Guide. A reasonably good bet based on experience of my local one.

John Hartley

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In London, I'd be most interested in seafood, Modern British, contemporary continental, Turkish, Spanish, Indian, Middle Eastern and Moroccan foods, and not as interested in classical French or Italian foods. Which restaurants would you recommend for Dover sole or Dorset crab dishes?

Yes to visiting sheekeys, would recommend also stopping by the oyster bar at Scotts as well - lovely at lucnhtime and always a nice atmosphere (not cheap though) Spanish - brave the queues at barrafina in Soho - 23 seater no reservations tapas bar based on Cal Pep - outstanding food, i have never been disappointed there. Second Noura for good upmarket lebanese - moro was also an old favourite too - maybe more of a lunch place than dinner though. Ottolenghi for breakfast is outstanding. If you like morroccan, stop by the mo cafe and tearooms on heddon street for some mezze at lunch and a nice glass of rose or in the evening for cocktails/snacks. Cafe Anglais is just perfection for British cooking at its best - not sure i would call it modern though - check out the menu, i love it there. Have a great trip and dont forget to report back!

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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Which restaurants would you recommend for Dover sole or Dorset crab dishes

You answered that yourself

J Sheekey
but the Dover sole will take you over your £30 budget at £38/£48 you could do the crab at 19.95 but worth a splurge I think. Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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For middle eastern in London, I'd suggest one of the Noura places. Upscale Lebanese. For somewhere which manages to bridge the Straits of Gibraltar for the cooking of both Spain and Morocco, it'd have to be Moro.

Can't really help with the modern British/Euro as it's not a cuisine I'm really looking for when I visit the capital. For "deals", often lunch, you could do worse than scount round TopTable to make your reservation - you can search the site for current offers.

As for Exeter, ABode is the only place listed in the Good Food Guide. A reasonably good bet based on experience of my local one.

Thank you for mentioning Noura and Moro, Harters. Both sound very intersting to me.

I will check TopTable for deals- I haven't tried that approach on previous visits.

I will try the ABode in Exeter for 1 dinner.

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midsummer house in cambridge is worth both of its 2*.

I would agree about Midsummer House in Cambridge, top quality food well worth visiting.

Andrew

Thank you, Gary Marshall and Andrew. Hopefully, we'll be able to get a reservation for Midsummer House.

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In London, I'd be most interested in seafood, Modern British, contemporary continental, Turkish, Spanish, Indian, Middle Eastern and Moroccan foods, and not as interested in classical French or Italian foods. Which restaurants would you recommend for Dover sole or Dorset crab dishes?

Yes to visiting sheekeys, would recommend also stopping by the oyster bar at Scotts as well - lovely at lucnhtime and always a nice atmosphere (not cheap though) Spanish - brave the queues at barrafina in Soho - 23 seater no reservations tapas bar based on Cal Pep - outstanding food, i have never been disappointed there. Second Noura for good upmarket lebanese - moro was also an old favourite too - maybe more of a lunch place than dinner though. Ottolenghi for breakfast is outstanding. If you like morroccan, stop by the mo cafe and tearooms on heddon street for some mezze at lunch and a nice glass of rose or in the evening for cocktails/snacks. Cafe Anglais is just perfection for British cooking at its best - not sure i would call it modern though - check out the menu, i love it there. Have a great trip and dont forget to report back!

Thanks nikkib. Have taken note of your sugestions. Cafe Anglais wasn't on my radar. I'm open to traditional and modern British. Have tried the Wolseley, Savoy Grill and Simpson's on previous visits, so I won't return to those restaurants, but open to other British cuisine restaurants, whether they're modern, traditional or in-between. Also considering Rules.

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Which restaurants would you recommend for Dover sole or Dorset crab dishes

You answered that yourself

J Sheekey
but the Dover sole will take you over your £30 budget at £38/£48 you could do the crab at 19.95 but worth a splurge I think.

Thanks for mentioning the pricing. I hadn't gotten that far into my research! I agree, probably worth the splurge. ;-)

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The Real Foodstore in Exeter has an instore bakery where they use traditional methods. You can also get quite good bread from the Chandos deli but I don't know where they source it from. The farmers market is on a Thursday if you are looking for local food.

Thank you for bakery recommendations, and for mentioning the farmers' market, lapin d'or.

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Also considering Rules.

Thoroughly recommended for classic dishes. Perhaps my favourite place when visiting the capital. Great room with a real sense of history as well as good food done very well.

John Hartley

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Also considering Rules.

Thoroughly recommended for classic dishes. Perhaps my favourite place when visiting the capital. Great room with a real sense of history as well as good food done very well.

Excellent. I think we will dine at Rules for one of our dinners.

Harters, I believe I read on another Board that you recommend the game dishes at Rules. Would you also recommend the duck, grouse, Saddle of Lamb and Dorset crab salad, if you happen enjoy those types of dishes?

http://www.rules.co.uk/menus/#menu97

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I can think of no finer summer starter on Rules' menu than crab salad.

And grouse, if it's available, will be so seasonal (the season opens on 12 August). As you say, I'm a great fan of their game, generally. I'd suggest it's probably one of the best places in the country to eat it in a traditional unmessed about with style.

Enjoy.

John Hartley

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I have never been to the Bay, but saw it when I was in Penzance in the summer and notice that the website cleverly ensures that you don't see that the view can sometimes be of mudflats when the tides's out.

If you are not tied to Penzance, have a car, or are happy to get the bus I'd recommend the Portminster Beach Café in St Ives. It's probably more casual than the Bay, and has a far better view... The food was really good when we were there in the summer, and I'd made sure we had a window seat, wich is worth doing. There are buses from Penzance to St Ives:

http://www.cornwallpublictransport.info/bus_timetables.asp

It seems no 17 is the quick one, across country. The 300 takes the coastal scenic route via Lands End, and having been along part of the route I think would be absolutely beautiful. St Ives is worth a trip - go the scenic route and come back across country perhaps as parking in St Ives is a nightmare even in the evening. Looks like the 300 also goes the quick way sometimes.

Edited by PoppySeedBagel (log)
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for lunch:

a set lunch at Quilon- which vegetable and fish dishes?

I went all the way from Bristol to London on a special birthday treat to Quilon and was very disappointed. A little bit of background: Kerala cuisine is very close to my heart. I've spent a few months in Kerala and cook a lot of South Indian food at home including many dishes from Kerala. I thought Quilon was very expensive and severely lacking in terms of the taste of the dishes. The service was great yes, but I was oh so disappointed by the food - I couldn't believe we had gone all the way to London for that. Just a warning for you, YMMV of course.

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For lunch in London, my personal favourite is "Textures", a 1-star Michelin. It is perhaps the best lunch I ever had (1 year ago).

They were willing to offer me the degustation menu (I had the fish one) even though I was by myself.

Another one I recommend is Tamarind (also offering lunch). It has 1-star too.

Good luck!

--dmg (from Victoria, BC)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have never been to the Bay, but saw it when I was in Penzance in the summer and notice that the website cleverly ensures that you don't see that the view can sometimes be of mudflats when the tides's out.

If you are not tied to Penzance, have a car, or are happy to get the bus I'd recommend the Portminster Beach Café in St Ives. It's probably more casual than the Bay, and has a far better view... The food was really good when we were there in the summer, and I'd made sure we had a window seat, wich is worth doing. There are buses from Penzance to St Ives:

http://www.cornwallpublictransport.info/bus_timetables.asp

It seems no 17 is the quick one, across country. The 300 takes the coastal scenic route via Lands End, and having been along part of the route I think would be absolutely beautiful. St Ives is worth a trip - go the scenic route and come back across country perhaps as parking in St Ives is a nightmare even in the evening. Looks like the 300 also goes the quick way sometimes.

Thanks for your comments. I'll be staying in Penzance, but hope to eat in several parts of Cornwall, so I appreciate all the suggestions!

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For lunch in London, my personal favourite is "Textures", a 1-star Michelin. It is perhaps the best lunch I ever had (1 year ago).

They were willing to offer me the degustation menu (I had the fish one) even though I was by myself.

Another one I recommend is Tamarind (also offering lunch). It has 1-star too.

Good luck!

--dmg (from Victoria, BC)

Thanks for mentioning Textures and Tamarind.

Are there specific dishes you'd recommend the most at Tamarind?

I had noticed Textures mentioned elsewhere on the Web. Looks very good.

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for lunch:

a set lunch at Quilon- which vegetable and fish dishes?

I went all the way from Bristol to London on a special birthday treat to Quilon and was very disappointed. A little bit of background: Kerala cuisine is very close to my heart. I've spent a few months in Kerala and cook a lot of South Indian food at home including many dishes from Kerala. I thought Quilon was very expensive and severely lacking in terms of the taste of the dishes. The service was great yes, but I was oh so disappointed by the food - I couldn't believe we had gone all the way to London for that. Just a warning for you, YMMV of course.

Thanks for your comments, Jenni. I had read mixed reviews re: Quilon. I really like the Keralan food that I've tried, but most of my exposure has been to a Canadianized, relatively fast food version of Keralan food, so I was hoping to try an upscale Keralan restaurant while I was in London. Sorry to hear the food was a disappointment for you.

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I would personally recommend either The Conservatory (no website), Angela's (http://www.angelasrestaurant.co.uk/) or the HH in Broadclyst (10 minutes in a taxi, location here: www.the-hh.co.uk/) in preference to MC Abode in Exeter. I've always found the cooking to be fantastic in all 3, although the HH is the real standout!

The Exploding Bakery on Queen St, next door to Central Station is also brilliant! (no website, but a good review here: http://www.bilbymarketing.co.uk/bites/foodie/the_exploding_bakery/)

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Hope you make it to J Sheekey, and it's worth splurging a little - you don't have to go as far as the sole if you don't want.

I recommend:

- cold shellfish plateau (truly awe-inspiring)

- potted shrimp

- atlantic prawns by the quarter- or half-pint

- fish pie

- market fish: turbot if they have it

Rules is wonderful but best in game season

If you want truly mind-bending seafood, lunch, weekday & counter service only, try Sweetings in the City.

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Hope you make it to J Sheekey, and it's worth splurging a little - you don't have to go as far as the sole if you don't want.

I recommend:

- cold shellfish plateau (truly awe-inspiring)

- potted shrimp

- atlantic prawns by the quarter- or half-pint

- fish pie

- market fish: turbot if they have it

Rules is wonderful but best in game season

If you want truly mind-bending seafood, lunch, weekday & counter service only, try Sweetings in the City.

Thank you for your recommendations at Sheekey, as well as the recommendation of Sweetings. Much appreciated. Will make a reservation for Sheekey, and hope to try Sweetings if it looks like I'll be nearby during the day.

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I would personally recommend either The Conservatory (no website), Angela's (http://www.angelasrestaurant.co.uk/) or the HH in Broadclyst (10 minutes in a taxi, location here: www.the-hh.co.uk/) in preference to MC Abode in Exeter. I've always found the cooking to be fantastic in all 3, although the HH is the real standout!

The Exploding Bakery on Queen St, next door to Central Station is also brilliant! (no website, but a good review here: http://www.bilbymarketing.co.uk/bites/foodie/the_exploding_bakery/)

Thank you for your recommendations and the links, JoeHarsant. Hope to try both restaurants, as well as the Exploding Bakery.

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