So Chef Henry and I have just returned from our 2 week culinary feast and family visits to the UK and all I can say is please hide the scales!
There is something about having friends in restaurants, especially if those friends live in London and know all the what’s what of what’s hot and what’s not in London and insist on taking you everywhere in a whirlwind food haze, read here ‘happiness is’.
Eating highlights of our trip most certainly were in no particular order:
Lets go obvious and based on our previous blog entry, yes we did go to Barrafina on night one (after a 14 hour flight, now that’s commitment) and the absolute highlight was their tapas style black pudding, roasted red peppers and quails eggs. I kid you not, this was like a beautiful salty, creamy, meaty delight all in one.
- Then there is the other huge favourite called Bussaba Eathai – for all you ex-Londonners, this is the modern Thai place in Bond Street, or there is one in Soho also, where you always queue to the smell of incense and the salt and pepper calamari is to die for. So much so that Henry had two portions.
- Then – lets bring out the big guns – there were two Michelin Starred visits – one was the very hip and happening (insert celebrity spotting Elijah Wood) Viajante in Bethnal Green – hold on to your Burberry macs – did she say Bethnal Green? Yes I did. The chef used to work at El Bulli and has opened a tiny dining room in what appears to be a library in a less than obvious choice of area. Does he pull it off? Absolutely. We had a 9 course blind tasting menu. You are not told what is coming next, only vaguely guided by wine choices, but what a journey. I ate things I have never eaten before and probably never again will. Of course Chef Henry and his best mate and senior sous chef of many years, Jon, eagerly tucked into fish gills and duck hearts and tongues, while I took deep breaths and jumped in with my eyes closed and my sense of adventure wide open. An array of culinary masterpieces make up this menu with many moments of brilliance and therefore come highly recommended – a well deserved Michelin star within months of opening and rumour has it star number 2 is on the way.
- Last but by no means least was my personal favourite and a restaurant a stone’s throw from our old house in Marylebone, L’autre Pied. One Michelin Star, beautiful food, clean flavours and stunning presentation. I cannot recommend this restaurant enough to all you travellers who might find yourself in London soon – they have an amazing lunch special on £20 for 3 courses – you do the math. Oh and did I mention the manager is an ex-Capetonian and amazing?
Of all the eating and travelling and endless analysing and choosing items off different menus – the Capetonian and her amazing manner in Marylebone stole our hearts. There is something about our South African sunny side up-type warmth in the service industry, the genuine smile and the firm handshake that goes a long way.
Turns out, there really is no place like home.