The young man in question is Bjorn van der Horst, last seen---briefly---on Sloane Street in the restaurant that was Monte's that then went on to join Gordon Ramsay's stable. The West End of London's loss is the East End's gain. Near Smithfield Market, van der Horst's Eastside Inn is a beautiful new venue, with a fine dining restaurant and a more casual bistro. Expect highly accomplished contemporary European cooking with the emphasis on fresh, seasonal products. Restaurant: Lunch Tues.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sat.; Bistro: Tues.-Sat. noon-11pm. Eastside Inn, 40 St. John St., London EC1, 020-7490 9240.
Roka's second London restaurant will open in Canary Wharf this autumn. It's the brainchild of chef and restaurateur Rainer Becker, who started in London with Zuma, then went on to Roka in London followed by Rokas in Hong Kong and Scottsdale, Arizona. Like the others, it will be based around the robata grill and have a restaurant, shochu lounge and balcony.
Del'Aziz sounds far too exotic for Bermondsey, but this formerly unfashionable area has undergone a sea change and Del'Aziz fits in just fine. Based on North African and Eastern Mediterranean cooking, Del'Aziz has a restaurant, lounge-bar, bakery and gift shop and looks out onto the normally peaceful Bermondsey Square. Peaceful that is, except on Friday mornings when from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m. the place comes alive with the famous antiques market. Catch the breakfast menu from 8 a.m. or chill out in the evenings over a kebab. Mon.-Sat. 7am-midnight, Sun. 7am-10pm. Del'Aziz, 11 Bermondsey Square, London SE1, 020-7407 2991.
If you're American, you'll know the name of Palm. But seeing that the famous lobster and steakhouses have some 20-plus locations in the U.S., it's surprising that they've taken so long to invade London. But here they are and here they will definitely stay. Palm is now in its fourth generation of family ownership, so they really know what they are doing when it comes to steak. They've chosen a pretty good location as well, the former Drones at 1 Pont Street in Belgravia. Lobster bisque and Key lime pie are featured and in between, there's top Nova Scotia lobster and the stars of the place---aged USDA Prime grain-fed beef imported directly and aged on site. Steaks range from £25 to £49; vegetables and salads are extra. But they also do a good value prix-fixe lunch at £15 which includes steak. Palm, 1 Pont St., London SW1, 020-7201 0710.
A brand-new rock ‘n' roll hotel has just opened: Sanctum Soho Hotel. It's the inspiration of Mark Fuller, who managed various bands before becoming a nightclub and restaurant entrepreneur. But your average punter is not the target audience here; this is for those in the music business, or for those who like that kind of thing. Your first question might be, would you want a rock star breaking up his guitar or chucking the TV out of the window next door to you? Actually, the hotel is refreshingly casual and unstuffy and is quite beautiful. If you just want to dip your toe in, book at the new restaurant, No. 20, where a menu of modern British dishes is on offer. Go for breakfast, and count the celebrity hangovers. Except they'll all be having room service. Breakfast Mon.-Sat., Lunch & Dinner daily, Brunch Sun. No. 20, Sanctum Soho Hotel, 20 Warwick St., London W1, 020-7292 6102.
Good-Price Set Lunches are the Rage
In keeping with the new culinary austerity, or at least the good value for money style of eating in London, Quo Vadis has just introduced a set lunch. Head chef Jean-Philippe Patruno is in touch with the times, and champions native ingredients. So go for watercress soup with poached quail egg followed by an asparagus risotto rounded off with tarte Tatin. 2 courses at £17.50, 3 at £19.50. Quo Vadis, 26-29 Dean St., London W1, 020-7437 9585.
On Top of the World
London stretches out before you from the panoramic windows of The London Hilton on Park Lane's 28th floor. But that's not the only reason to visit the restaurant Galvin at Windows. The bar does a good value lunchtime menu. £14.95 brings you two courses---perhaps Loch Fyne smoked salmon with all the trimmings followed by minute steak and chips. £17.95 adds in a dessert or selection of cheeses. The wine list is similarly generous; where else can you get a good venue, a view and a glass of bubbly for £6.50? Galvin at Windows, The London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Ln., 28th Floor, London W1, 020-7208 4021.
Pure IndulgenceChef Shuffle
Confessions of a Chocoholic is not the latest Bridget Jones style movie, but something for a chocolate lover to experience at The London Hilton on Park Lane. Race through the open sandwiches, beautiful though they are, for the tiered-stand sweets course. Try the chocolate chip scones with homemade chocolate praline spread, chocolate cupcakes and miniature chocolate fancies like white chocolate tear drops and the ultimate, a chocolate parfait with gold leaf. Then move on to the Toblerone Martini (£10.50). It's a good value at £19.50 per person, or £25.50 including a glass of Pommery Champagne. But we haven't finished yet. You can combine the chocolate afternoon tea, served in the smart, downstairs Podium Restaurant, with a treatment in the new SenS Spa at the hotel. There's a new treatment that invigorates and tones you with, yes, chocolate. Of course you can't eat this chocolate (otherwise you'd spoil your tea). Podium Restaurant, The London Hilton on Park Lane, 22 Park Lane, London W1, 020-7208 4022.
Check back soon for more news.
Check back soon for more news.
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