Of Business Lounges and In-Flight Dining

December 10, 2006

Hi Kids! I’m back (although not for long). With a new job having started at the beginning of November, I’ve been in and out of Heathrow T3 so many times that I feel that I’ve developed an emotional bond with the gentleman who likes to frisk me at Fast Track security.

But lest we get too distracted, how about a quick review of the latest in in-flight dining?

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Travel Food

November 17, 2006

I’ve been travelling lately, and as much as I am sure you’re interested in the quality of the steaks at the Marriott in Amman, it’s really not worth writing about. However, for all of that, if you do end up in Amman, I can recommend the asian restaurant at the Four Seasons, Fakhr-il Din for unbelievable Lebanese food (particularly in the summer on their terrace), and Daya’a in Abdoun Circle for the best schawerma in town.

Next week, I’m off to Bombay, or Mumbai, or whatever we call things these days. Hopefully, I’ll have some fun things to tell you about.

Bon app!


Brunch and Tea whilst Shopping – W1

November 11, 2006

With the lights back up on Oxford Street and Regents Street, you, like me, have probably had to dodge the various Eurotourists who are clogging the various arteries of London. I have yet to figure out why people take pictures of the “Le Frog” lights on Regents Street. Who are they planning to show these to? My oh my…

But, if you do find yourself around Selfridges, Bond Street, and Oxford Circus, and you’re feeling a bit peckish, there are a couple of secret places that I’m willing to share with you (provided that you tell no one else…).

First up is Encore L’Amour. My apologies for not being able to point you to a website, but there doesn’t seem to be one. Let alone an address in the phone book. But essentially, walking from Bond Street Station (south side) towards Oxford Circus, take a right at the fruit stand in front of Vodafone and head towards the Bonham’s depot. On the left hand side on the corner of Blenheim street you’ll find Encore L’Amour.

With yummy omelettes at £5.75, excellent coffee, and almost parisian pains au chocolat, this is the place for a relaxing breakfast/brunch. They also make their own tartes, croissants, and the quality is excellent. Sneak over and give it a try to keep your sugar levels up whilst Christmas shopping.

And, once you’ve had enough of the crazy crowds, it’s time to head down Bond Street and take a left on to Dering street to Number 9 where you will find Postcard Teas. It may not look like it from the outside, but this oasis of calm is the place to pop in and sit at the communal table for a £1.50 cup of Pu-erh or any of their other excellent teas. And, the cup of tea is free if you end up buying the tea that you’ve drunk (which you will, because the quality is excellent).

Happy shopping!


The Square – W1

October 30, 2006

the-square-london.jpgThe Square is definitely one of my favourite places in London for ticking almost all of the boxes. Whether for the (absolutely bargain value) lunch menu, or for a more leisurely dinner, The Square is the best. So it was with great pleasure (having found out that Pied a Terre is closed on Sundays) that I rang up and reserved a table for two for Sunday.

Sunday evening eating in London’s great restaurants is kind of hit-and-miss. Your maitre d’ is usually at home watching television. The A-Team of servers has taken an easy jet flight to Nice. And who knows what is going on in the kitchen. Last week’s Angela Hartnett service debacle was a clear sign of this.

Despite The Square’s Jacques Carlino not being on the floor on Sunday night, this team has been trained to perfection. And this meant coping, and coping well, with the demands put upon them, as you shall soon read.

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More Ceps

October 23, 2006

Well, we’re still awaiting our ceps to arrive from the southwest of France. Monsieur la poste has been very unkind to us and has yet to deliver the goods. Of course, grandma also decided to append various things to our postcode, so that could be part of it as well.

A number of you are looking for ‘where to find ceps in London’. I realise (see previous posts) that this can be frustrating. But do not despair as they have appeared in the farmer’s markets and in Borough Market. Turnips have some (but frankly not many and too dear) as does the fruit and veg shop next to the Monmouth Coffee stall (not the shop) in the market proper.

So, happy cep hunting and eating!


Angela Hartnett – W1

October 23, 2006

Hmmm.

Ok. So, you decide to arrange a pleasant combo social/business dinner on a Sunday evening for some Middle Eastern clients who normally stay on Park Lane. Why not Angela Hartnett?

It starts well. Efficient reservation staff is usually a good sign and A.H. has great reservation staff.

Following a drink at the Dorchester Bar (mid-90’s interior design realised in the mid-00’s with awful music too loud, although they have Junipero, so… they can be forgiven), we hopped in a taxi (I know, ALL THE WAY) to the Connaught.

I have to say, before continuing, that I adore the Connaught. It is, without a doubt, the best kept secret in London for a charming drink, a good meal, and a roaring fire in Mayfair. But for all of that, we were off to A.H.
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Cellar Gascon & Comptoir Gascon – EC1

October 21, 2006

Whenever I get the opportunity to pop into Cellar Gascon, I try to take it. Cellar Gascon
Last week, I had a meeting in the City and on my way up to Farringdon station I popped in for a quick glass of the Cotes de Gascogne (£6) and a read of Le Monde which is always there. It’s great if you can get in before the city crowds make it, and have a seat at the bar, and a chat with the barman (who, from the southwest of France, is probably a runner up in the cute waiter department).

Meeting up with some friends at the Cellar on Friday, we enjoyed a bottle of the Chateau de Sabazan which is one of our own personal favourites at home. img_sabazan_cotesdesaintmont_1995.jpg
Sabazan is a charming spot in the south of the Gers, and the wine produced from the vines there by Plaimont is one of their best. Available here in London at Nicolas for around £12 – £15, a bottle at the Cellar is still reasonable at £24. Sabazan is produced on 16 hectares and kept in oak for 10 – 14 months at the chateau before bottling. If you end up in the Gers, then I encourage a quick stop in Sabazan if just to admire the view (the chateau remains private).

After some drinkettes at the Cellar, we moved on to the Comptoir…
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