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February 2009 Archive

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Despite the fact that Claudio Pulze is another restaurateur who, along with Sir Terence Conran, changed London's dining scene, he is not a household name. He leaves that to his restaurants which over the years have included Aubergine, Zafferano, Al Duca and Alloro to name just four out of the 40-odd associated with him. Now he's opened another top Italian: Osteria dell'Angelo, just near the Houses of Parliament. It's Tuscan, expensive and worth it. Lunch Mon.-Fri., Dinner Mon.-Sat. Osteria dell'Angolo, 47 Marsham St., London W1, 020-3268 1077.
Callooh Callay sets you off singing, and when you hit "oh frabjous day," you do feel very jolly. The décor in this new fantastical bar also makes you smile: a bizarre mix like the mirrored wardrobe door that leads you, Narnia-style, into another world, in this case a late-night bar, and the cassettes that decorate the walls of the loos. Seriously good cocktails add to the fantasy. There are good snacks, light on the stomach and the wallet, and a generally happy, get-away-from-it-all ambience. Sun.-Wed. 5pm-11pm, Thurs. noon-11pm, Fri. noon-1am, Sat. 6pm-1am. Callooh Callay, 65 Rivington St., London EC2, 020-7739 4781.
Iqbal Wahab is a genial character who is also a shrewd restaurateur (he opened The Cinnamon Club in Westminster and Roast in Borough Market). The jury is still out as to whether the Dockmaster's House, which has just opened in Docklands, will prove as popular. The cuisine is modern Indian, and it's housed in one of the few old buildings left in London's new financial district. Lunch & Dinner Mon.-Sat. Dockmaster's House, 1 Hertsmere Rd., London E14, 020-7345 0345.
The gastropub was born in the last recession; The Commander Porterhouse & Oyster Bar in Westbourne Grove claims to be the next big thing that will come out of the current economic downturn. It hasn't decided whether it's a pub or a restaurant, but never mind. In the courtyard it also has a butcher, The Ginger Pig, fishmonger John Norris and florists Hayford and Rhodes. And it shows customers the market price of the meat and fish then charges a standard preparation fee, which hopefully will convince customers of the value for money. The problem is that the raw ingredients are expensive. The same principle applies to wine, with corkage starting at £10. We will see. Lunch & Dinner daily. The Commander Porterhouse & Oyster Bar, 47 Hereford Rd., London W2, 020-7229 1503.

News Bytes

Remarkable Reinvention
Kettner's had been going so long in its Edwardian way that a recent refurbishment has come as something of a shock. But it is a delightful one. The grand old lady of Soho has been transformed into a sleek, chic all-day brasserie and the Champagne Bar has been completely redone. Best news of all for many is the new Pudding Bar where all kinds of sweet temptations are laid out before you, made on the premises by the pâtisserie chefs. Kettner's, 29 Romilly St., London W1, 020-7734 6112.
LAtelier de Joel Robuchon Restaurants Beat the Credit Crunch
Beating the credit crunch is the name of the game these days. First up are the value-for-money set deals. Check out Arbutus, which has just extended its pre-theatre set menu---£15.50 for 2 courses and £17.50 for 3-to later in the evening as well. Or try Wild Honey, the second restaurant from the Anthony Demetre and Will Smith team, which now offers a similar pre- and post-theatre menu. Here it's £16.95 for 2 courses, £18.95 for 3. At the top end of the restaurant pecking list, set lunches offer the chance to sample the master's touch at a decent price. Try L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon for lunch at £19 (2 courses) and £25 (3 courses); Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley continues with his £35 3-course offering and Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's recession-busting £30 for 3 courses remains at lunch.
Chef Shuffle

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