COVERS & CAPERS

London

Posts from the “British” Category

Portland – Great Portland Street

Posted on February 10, 2015

It’s Friday lunchtime and Portland is packed. It’s been this way for the three and a half weeks since opening the waitress tells me, due, in part, to a five-star review from Timeout’s Richard Ehrlich who deemed the latest restaurant from Will Lander and Dan Mortengau of the Quality Chop House and 10 Greek Street respectively, a place of pure ‘astonishment’. The upside of this is that, surely, I was in for a treat. The downside: I’m left tableless, perched on a stool with the glass fronting inches from my nose, my back to the restaurant, looking out on a rather unremarkable stretch of Great Portland Street and equally visible myself to the scrutiny of Fitzrovia’s lunchtime rush. I was in a culinary vivarium,…

The Hand and Flowers – West Street, Marlow

Posted on January 30, 2015

The Hand and Flowers can’t be a pub because it’s nobody’s local. Sure, it looks like a pub. It has low, uneven ceilings, and even lower beams – the type that require a sign of caution – and a few ale pumps standing to attention, pricked like a set of hare’s ears, ready to maintain the pubby frontage with every pull of a pint. But it isn’t a pub. It’s a high-end restaurant in boozy drag, one that’s bloody difficult to get into. It becomes clear on entry. A handsome extension houses the bar, which, topped with polished pewter, gleams against the exposed brickwork and glows like bread oven, its under lighting exhibiting a thing of real beauty. And rightly so – the bar…

The Manor – Manor Street

Posted on January 29, 2015

I’m not one for giving restaurants marks out of ten. I find it impulsive and superficial, fickle and vague, but I’m even less keen on being made to wait for something I want – like food I’m paying for – and assuming you’re reading this to because you want to find out if The Manor in Clapham in any good, then here you go: 7/10. It’s closer to ‘must try’ than ‘don’t bother’, and phrases like ‘worth a visit’, ‘good effort, but could do better’ and ‘not as good as The Dairy or Fera, but better than Rabbit’ would be mildly accurate. Let’s put it this way, if you’re willing to hike to Clapham to eat, you might as well do it properly at…

Rabbit – King’s Road

Posted on January 17, 2015

Brought up on a smallholding vineyard in West Sussex on an alfresco diet of hunting, foraging and lungfuls of country air, the Gladwin boys enjoyed a bucolic childhood, one that left them fated for the food business. But even so, a restaurant cooperative inspired by the frolics and the landscape of their youth couldn’t have been anything more than a pipedream. Who else in their right mind would pay to eat flora from the underside of a rotting trunk or choose ruminant offal over prime cuts unless they’ve been bred that way? Well these days it seems just about everyone. Foraging is on trend. What was once a form of survival has become a fashion statement in the restaurant world. It’s seen as wholeheartedly British…

Charlotte’s Place – St. Matthew’s Road

Posted on January 5, 2015

I’ve seen them at it. Hunched over moleskine notepads on the front row of an Electrolux demo arena, guffawing at the wisecracks of a soon-to-be TV chef and competing amongst themselves for the dumbest question award. Dying to be noticed they barge through the mob to stick grubby fingers in pickles and purees, ‘mmm-ing’ and ahh-ing’ in a witless gaggle. They clamour to get their cookbooks signed and photographs taken with sauce down their fronts, spewing the toe-curling stock phrases of amateur criticism – ‘how succulent’, ‘so moist’ – through gobfuls of grouse. Utterly inspired they’ll drop into Waitrose on the way home and spend a fortune on organic ingredients, only to butcher them three ways and smear them on a cold plate like…

Berners Tavern – Berners Street

Posted on December 1, 2014

Jason Atherton is a modern day Midas. His prospects have yielded so many nuggets of restaurant gold he’s caused a feverish migration. A manic rush not seen since California circa 1850. Everyone wants their own shake of the gold pan, their own seat at an Atherton table and the inevitable dunk into a dippy egg that goes with it. These overzealous gannets are the reason I’ve only just made it to Berners Tavern more than a year after its opening. And even then I only manage Sunday brunch. The most depressing thing is that he’s just about everywhere. As ubiquitous as pulled pork. He hasn’t just got one decent restaurant I can’t get a table at; he’s got 5 in London alone. I’m sure I’d…