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Restaurant suggestions in St. Johns wood

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It depends slightly on how religiously you have to stay in St John's Wood i.e. NW8. St John's Wood High St is a bit of a food wasteland.

Off Abbey Rd you'll have a bit more like with the likes of Rosmarino.

If I were you, I'd ditch ideas of SJW and go to Belsize Park/Primrose Hill where you'll have much better meals at Sardo Canale or Artigiano.

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Unfortunately Silverbrow is correct: SJW, like Hampstead and W. Hampstead, are - somewhat incongruously - culinary deserts. The nearest decent places are the ones suggested above, unless you count Royal China (just up the road from SJW underground). You could try Bradley's, at Swiss Cottage; Lansdowne or The Engineer, the gastro-pubs on Gloucester Avenue in Chalk Farm (haven't been to these in years though so can't advise on whether they are still good); or could head to Marylebone which has Michael Moore and Galvin.

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Has anyone tried La Collina yet, in Primrose Hill? It seems to be getting really good reviews.

I went a couple of weeks ago. It's certainly very competent and a great addition to the area now Odettes finally seems to have gone the way of all flesh.

The downstairs dining room is a cramped, low ceilinged hell-hole unless you're on a seriously intense date (the couple at the table next to us began their evening by arguing about Brecht before agreeing vigorously about the role of corporal punishment in the bedroom - they left in a hurry and seemed unfazed by the surroundings).

I had the stuffed quail which suffered a little from a sauce which either comprised canned demi-glace or had been brilliantly and subtly hand-made to emulate it.

Upstairs was busy, airy and packed with people who look like your parents or possibly retired Company directors all bartling on about how splendid it was to have an authentic Italian in the neighbourhood.

It's funny, we complain that there's a lack of decent local independent places in the 'Villages' outside of the West End then, when one opens it fills with the sort of people that live in those places.

This is why the reputedly splendid restaurants of Clapham are an alien world to me.

I would definitely go back but insist on the upstairs dining room.


Tim Hayward

"Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from

similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like

'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?"

Nora Ephron

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