eating out with abby

another quarter, another update on my eating-out habits…

it’s been a funny three months. july, as you’ll see, was very quiet apart from two long weekends, in lyon and bath. i’m not sure if this is the credit crunch hitting, the impact of the previous two months (i ate out 23 times in eight weeks…eek!) or, and this is closer to the truth, the fact that i’m trying to save my pennies as we’re moving house very soon. however, may and june were busy – 1 june is my birthday so the weeks before and after are always full of treats!

apart from the lyon and bath eateries there were a few other new places which i tried. salt yard and its sister restaurant dehesa were both nice enough but neither measured up to eyre brothers or barrafina, my favourite places to eat spanish food in london.

hibiscus and launceston place were my two posh meals of the quarter – a lunch menu at hibiscus and a tasting menu at launceston place. both had their charms but i doubt i’ll head back to either in a hurry.

and my favourite new place? well, it was the venue for a lovely birthday supper with friends – the swan brasserie at the globe theatre. the setting is funky, the views of the river are fabulous and the brasserie style food hit the spot at a good price. add this to friendly service, lovely rose and fireworks over the city skyline as we were finishing up and it was just about perfect for this birthday girl!

if you've been eating in the same places as me, or have any fabulous new finds which you think i should check out, let me know - it's always great to share and compare views!


rasa, west end – the original rasa restaurant in stoke newington is a long-standing favourite of mine. its vegetarian keralan menu and bubblegum pink walls have delighted friends and i many times over. sadly, lunch at this branch just off oxford street, was nowhere near as good as the original.

san marco, clapham – flavourless pizza! what has happened to this old favourite? maybe the ownership is new which would explain the decline in food quality and décor modernisation.

indian dining club, gipsy hill

3 bangers in a bun, borough market – i don’t know what this little café is called but this is what’s written on the sign outside. nice enough with a mug of tea on a rainy day.

dehesa, west end – small portions of overpriced but tasty tapas – go to barrafina instead. having said that, dehesa’s wine list would draw me back.

aperitivo, soho - lovely italian tapas which i shared with girlfriends over a couple of bottles of rose prosecco.

inn the park, west end - fabulously fresh and flavoursome fish n chips n pea puree for my first meal of the year that was eaten outdoors. i love this restaurant/bar for warm summer evenings and their view over st james' park's pond and wildlife.

the fat delicatessen, balham

carluccio's, west end - lovely venison tortelloni. sadly it was served with a scowl, rather than the usual smile.

launceston place, kensington - fabulous core ingredients but the accompany foams and froths didn't add anything to the dishes. it had only been open 6 weeks when we visited and a chat with chef tristan welsh suggests the style of cooking will evolve. i hope he takes his wife's advice to ditch the foams!

raju juice bar, west end - fabulously fresh mezze at this little cafe on edgware road. the £10 mixed plate (you choose which six dishes you fancy) was more than enough for two.


barrafina, soho - truly fabulous!

still luigi's, gipsy hill

mangosteen, gipsy hill - fabulous fresh asian cooking with clean flavours and imaginative dishes.

busaba, west end

joanna's, crystal palace - i've eaten here a few times now and despite it's good reputation, i think the food is over-priced for what it is. today i had a cooked breakfast which was also overly greasy. i doubt i'll be back.

mangosteen, gipsy hill - my second visit in as many weeks. tonight's delight, as part of their two course for £10 deal, was fresh vietnamese spring rolls with tofu followed by chicken pho. delish!

hamburger union, soho - good burgers, good quality fast food.i had the american option with jalapenos and spicy salsa - and nice fresh fries.

hibiscus, west end - this 2 michelin-starred ludlow stalwart has relocated to london. we tried their mid-week lunch menu which was excellent value at £25 for 3 courses, and made me think it'd be worth saving my pennies to try the a la carte menu. the setting is a bit soulless though.

itsu, docklands - lovely fresh sushi. this was my first visit to itsu and i much preferred it to yo sushi, the other chain sushi restaurant that i know. i'm keen to try some of their takeaway lunch boxes.

salt yard, soho - salt yard is the sister restaurant to dehesa, where i ate last month. barrafina remains my choice of tapas restaurant in london but, if you want to sit at a table, rather than perch on a stool then this would be a good place to come. my favourite dish was the wonderfully light and fresh cheese-stuffed courgette flowers with honey.

you don't bring me flowers, hither green - i love the big sandwiches that this flower shop/cafe makes - the bread and chutnies used are particularly delicious and you can eat on the roof terrace or snuggled inside the shop. david is a fan of their cakes and flapjacks.

swan at the globe, south bank - a wonderful brasserie experience with views over the thames. it was a perfect place to celebrate my birthday with a group of much-loved friends. the bar is also worth remembering if you are local and looking for somewhere to have a drink.


the salmon shop, lyon - salmon every way you might want it - salmon kebabs, salmon lasagne, salmon tartare, salmon with various sauces etc. and if you don't fancy salmon they serve one other dish - braesola.

nardone glacier, lyon - the best ice cream shop in town according to our hosts. a fabulous array of flavours, ranging from floral lavender, rose and poppy to the citrus delights of lemon, orange&ginger and kalamansi via the usual coffee, chocolate and other fruity delights.

maison perroudon, lyon - delicious cakes and almond tuiles.

brasserie georges, lyon - this lyon institution, which is famous for its sauerkraut, will be celebrating it's 175th anniversary in 2011. it is a splendid place to people-watch over sunday lunch, while enjoying the food and beer (which is brewed on site) and admiring the art deco interior.

the wheatsheaf, combe hay - incredible setting with decent grub.

the royal cresent hotel, bath - we sat on the lawns, sipped champagne and ate our cream tea. an expensive but decadent way to wile away a few hours.

olive tree restaurant, bath - very delicious food.

mangosteen, gipsy hill

busaba, west end

piccolino, chester - flavourful thin-crust pizzas and fabulous tiramisu, just a pity we had to wait so long for our food.

ping pong, west end - slow service and cold food, i hope it was just a glitch and that this dim sum & cocktails chain isn't going downhill.

previous eating out:
abby dyson4 Comments