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VivreManger

Recommendations for Exceptional Food?

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I will be treating my hosts to a meal, probably on a Thursday night in mid-October, during a visit to London. For the past months I have been following reviews on GR RHR, Atkins new place, The Square, Capital, and Boxwood Cafe among others.

Since it will be a chance to catch up and chat away from the din of hectic home life, ideally I would like someplace that will not be too yuppy, hardsurfaced, echoey. bouncing off the walls, noisy. Of the various places mentioned -- and any others that should be added to this list -- which is likely to avoid that fault and meet a need for some peace and quiet, along with truly exceptional and exciting food? I cannot afford to blow my expense account completely so price is one consideration in the mix.

Putney Bridge is appealing, but it would be too remote for a Thursday evening and the river view might not be as appealing at night.

How difficult is getting reservations at any of these places?

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Putney Bridge really isn't that hard to get to, and the view at night can be lovely. But as much as I enjoy it I would struggle to put it into the category of "truly exceptional and exciting food". Given the criteria and places you mention, GR RHR comes out ahead of the others. However, it is not inexpensive.

There's also Sketch, which is truly not inexpensive. And Fleur, in the St James's Street location of the former Petrus. And Le Gavroche, which is comforting rather than exciting, but very, very pleasant. All of these should offer the peace and quiet you seek.


Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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The Square is not the venue for a quiet chat, although the tables are well spaced its really quite buzzy.

Tom Aitkens would be, but its quite pricey at £49.00 a head, with drinks and wine not coming cheap either. I think you would be impressed however.

From what I've seen and heard of it, The Capital could meet your requirements, as might Foliage and Pied A terre.

In London, peace and quite plus exceptional food = expensive in my experience.

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The Capital was excellent the last time I went there, first class meal and certainly good for conversation because not over large and room well 'padded' to keep extraneous noise down. Are there any reviews of Tom Aitkens on here? - I'm going shortly.

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Everyone seems to be on the Aitkens diet right now. Just do a search and you should come up with the reports on Tom Aitkens. If you just do the last name you might wind up with too much discussion of carbs, but if you confine the search to the UK forum, that should not overwhelm you.

I don't remember a full scale review, but there has been a fair discussion in the past few months. Andy Lynes should be able to help you, if you have trouble.

By the way some time ago Simon Majumdar told me that Capital had the best ris de veau in London. Can anybody comfirm that judgment or offer any thoughts on any other memorable dishes there?

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Sorry to be pedantic but....

Diet = ATKINS

Chef - AIKENS

Neither are called AITKENS

:biggrin:


Edited by Mrs Woman (log)

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Are there any reviews of Tom Aitkens on here? - I'm going shortly.

But of course :

Click here

There are also links to the UK press reviews in the UK Press Digest thread.

(You can use the Search facility which you can find in the tool bar at the top of the page to hunt for particular threads, which is how I found these).

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Sorry to be pedantic but....

Diet  = ATKINS

Chef - AIKENS

Neither are called AITKENS

:biggrin:

Oh well. It was too good a coincidence to be true. My version at least combined them both,

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I second Andy's suggestion of Pied a Terre. I continue to love the food there, although others have not been thrilled with the setting. It is however generally a very quiet relaxed place to eat (with non-smoking in the main dining area, for those who care about such things). It can be quite expensive but they do a two course meal for 35 pounds which is pretty good value of a two star restaurant. Their tasting menu continues to rank as the most outstanding meal I have had in London. Unfortunately, it come in at 60 pounds. Arguably a good value for the number of courses (seven, not including "extras, with which it comes to about 10) but not cheap by any means.


Thomas Secor

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I have heard very good reports about Pied A Terre recently and am planning to return soon.

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What about trying Passione on Charlotte Street?


Edited by Spam (log)

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Or what about trying Passione on Charlotte Street?

Crowded, noisy & smokey.

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Pied a terre does have the advantage, along with the other Charlotte St. recommendations, of being a good deal closer than the Chelsea/Mayfair options to where I will be staying, near Tufnell Park. I have hesitated to pursue it since it has been getting such mixed reviews over the past months.

By the way in London restaurants does the tasting menu have to be ordered for the whole table or can each guest choose a different menu option? Or does this vary by restaurant?

Can you tell me anything more about Passione? I presume it is Italian.

Even if I don't do dinner there, it is convenient enough for lunch to be practical.

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Tasting menus generally have to be taken by the whole table I THINK. If you went to Thyme in Clapham, then you can order from three different tasting menus and that sorts that out.

Passione - Gennaro Contaldo is the head chef, dubbed by Jamie Oliver as his London Dad, but don't let that put you off. Excellent shopping, fun atmosphere and reasonably priced - www.passione.co.uk I think?

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And Le Gavroche, which is comforting rather than exciting, but very, very pleasant.  All of these should offer the peace and quiet you seek.

I enjoyed Gavroche, but found it very very far from quiet. I noted a general high-level buzz when we arrived and by 10pm it had become intrusively noisy. Foliage, Capital and RHR would fulfil your requirements for peace and quiet.

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Macrosan, thanks for weighing in.

If I remember correctly, you have been a fan of Pied a Terre. Are you still?

How does it rate on the noise question?

Is my understanding of London restaurant practice correct, that a tasting menu must be ordered by the entire table?

As my schedule is getting filled in, I realize that an appointment will keep me very close to Charlotte St. until about 7:00 PM and my hosts and I are based in Tufnell Park so Pied a Terre does make sense.

By the way does RHR do week day lunch? And are any of the best restaurants offering a table d'hote or similar discounts ar lunch time?

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Being young and poor, I can't tell you about the restaurants above, but have had pretty good meals at lunchtime at Incognico for a ridiculously small amount: £12.50 for three courses. What you order will be exactly what you receive - no vegetables, no carbohydrate, no garnish - but it's a gorgeous restaurant (sort of clubby, dark wood etc.), they don't rush you and you can order a couple of pitchers of wine and drink away the afternoon.

Last time I went, I left at 5.30pm. I only spent about £60 for me and my girlfriend.

(I think, but I might be wrong, that there's a similar deal at Deca on Conduit Street - never been there but I've heard good things.)

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Being young and poor, I can't tell you about the restaurants above, but have had pretty good meals at lunchtime at Incognico for a ridiculously small amount: £12.50 for three courses.  What you order will be exactly what you receive - no vegetables, no carbohydrate, no garnish - but it's a gorgeous restaurant (sort of clubby, dark wood etc.), they don't rush you and you can order a couple of pitchers of wine and drink away the afternoon.

Hear hear

Plus portion size is actually decent, rather than the miserly teaspoonfuls you get at other pre-theatre/eat out of a fiver/you-have-a-choice-of-either-baked-goats-cheese-or-porridge-for-your-main-course-sir deals you get

J


More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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Macrosan, thanks for weighing in.

If I remember correctly, you have been a fan of Pied a Terre.  Are you still? 

How does it rate on the noise question?

Pied a Terre is on my "I think I want to go but I'm not entirely sure" list :huh: so I can't tell you much about it, except that there have been mixed reports here and elsewhere.

Is my understanding of London restaurant practice correct, that a tasting menu must be ordered by the entire table?

I have always found this to be the case in London, as in New York.

By the way does RHR do week day lunch?

My only (and hugely enjoyed) visit was for a weekday lunch. The menu was the same as the dinner menu, I believe, and does provide extensive table d'hote options.

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Being young and poor...

At least that's better than being old and poor, Autumn.....or so they tell me :laugh:

Where is Incognico ?

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i would second the RHR option if you're looking for exceptional food and a calm atmosphere. i had my "best meal ever" here, for what it's worth.


Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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Incognico:

117, Shaftesbury Avenue

London

WC2H 8AD

Tel: 020 7836 8866

It's just east of Cambridge Circus.

Next door to Pages, the professional cookshop :biggrin:


Edited by Jon Tseng (log)

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!

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