Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bocca Di Lupo

I can't recommend this restaurant enough! My body is still revelling from the taste sensations that it experienced here. Bocca di Lupo claims that each dish takes the notes of each region in Italy that it derives from - dining here is basically like taking a gastronomic tour of Italy! All the dishes come in small or large sizes, a nice point of difference.  Based on non-descript Archer St, you will feel like you have found a gem in the rough on arrival.

Where: Bocca di Lupo
When: 1-4pm
What: A bustling and modern Italian restaurant. The food has a rustic look and feel
Who: A bunch of foodies, enjoying a very long lunch with some really great Italian wine
Food: Start: Shaved radish,celeriac & pecorino salad with pomegranates and truffle oil. This salad blew my mind! I don't think I have ever tasted such a variety of flavours that go better together. Main: Pumpkin & Amaretti tortelli with sage butter- another favourite. I then didn't have enough room to taste the cheese boards and the dessert

Drinks: Aperitif: 2005 Franciacorta Brut  - Fratelli Berlucchi. With starter: 2005 Sierra Fiorese (Verdicchio Classico Riserva) - Garofoli. With main course: 2007 Tocco – L’Acino
2007 Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Ripasso - Tedeschi
Price: 20 pounds for the two courses excluding wine
Service: Perfect Italian friendly service and a very qualified sommelier
Clientele: A mixture of corporate people for lunch and foodies
Ambiance: Clean, sharp and warm
Saw: At ground level there is a great bar area if you are dining alone or with one other and a spacious dining area exists at the back of the restaurant. Downstairs is a private dining room (the Remus room).
Bathrooms: Big, bright, loads of mirrors and very clean
Would I go again? Yes, this was my best food experience in London this year, and it's been a long year. Value for money +
Also of note: They also own the gelato store opposite called Gelupo. Probably equally as good!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Virgin visit to Polpo

Having heard so much Venetian bacaro- Polpo, you can imagine how excited I was to get a last minute lunch booking there with one of my besties on my birthday. This place takes lunchtime reservations, but after dark expect to join the queue. Tutti bene.

Where: Polpo, 41 Beak St, Soho W1F 9SB
When: 2-3pm
What: A bustling Venetian tapas joint with a menu that you won't be able to decide from
Who: Miss Emma and I
Food:  We had a variety of amazing vegetarian dishes- Arancini, Crochetta, Grilled Foccaccia, Beetroot , Zucchini, and Mozzarella
Drinks: Merlot served from an authentic carafe and sipped from tumblers
Price: 30 pounds including the wine!
Service: Perfect
Clientele: A mixture of corporate people for lunch and out-of-towners. We sat between a sophisticated French duo and a table of American blokes
Ambiance: Bustling and jovial
Saw: There is a great bar area if you are dining alone. Probably quite a good place to meet lone lunchtime diners from the same hood
Bathrooms: I didn't have time to check them out
Would I go again? Yes, this was my best food experience in London to date. Value for money +
Also of note: Around the corner is sister restaurant Polpetto, which I am also eager to try

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tiny Robot for a late lunch

My friend and I decided to try Tiny Robot as it is a new place in one of our favourite neighbourhoods. Tiny Robot's rough brick walls and formica tables give it the New York diner feel. It is the little sister to Clerkenwell's Giant Robot. There is a small bar downstairs with a rare late license. Unfortunately it is for members only.

Where: Tiny Robot
When: 3:30-5pm
What: New York style diner with an Italian influence. Great for lunch and dinner and it has an all day weekend brunch menu
Who: Miss C and I
Food:  I had a rocket, beetroot and goat's cheese salad and Miss C had seared Tuna. We shared a simple chocolate torte for dessert
Drinks: Cocktails (delicious) and prosecco
Price: 25 pounds for 2 people excluding drinks
Service: Waiters were attentive and friendly but the service was a bit disjointed. Because the restaurant is new, I won't hold it against them
Clientele: The usual cool, eclectic crowd that most Notting Hill eateries pull
Ambiance: It is a diner style restaurant, so it is not exactly a place to go on a romantic date. It was the perfect place to go with a friend
Bathrooms: Down a set of precarious stairs. Very tiny
Would I go again? Yes, the menu was really good, and I'd like to try some other dishes. Apparently the meat balls are amazing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Bleeding Heart Bistro

How did I stumble upon this bleeding heart? 

Well...I was due to meet up with a few old friends for dinner. After many emails back and forward trying to decide on a restaurant...we all settled for The Bleeding Heart bistro.  A lovely evening was had by all in this gorgeous restaurant set in a courtyard surrounded by only two other establishments- a fine dining restaurant, and a pub both of the same name.  The courtyard was quite enchanting and added to the appeal of this place.

Where: Bleeding Heart Yard, off Greville Street, EC1N 8SJ
When: 7:30-11pm
What: A gorgeous intimate French restaurant owned by a New Zealand couple
Who: Two couples and I
Food: A mix of traditional and modern French cuisine
Drinks: Red wine and riesling
Service: Waiters were attentive and friendly and spoke French to us. Tres bien!
Clientele: Predominantly refined middle class looking people, with a discerning look about them
Ambiance: Yes... the light is suitably dimmed and there was a bustling vibe like that of a true French bistro
Saw: People arriving into the courtyard and being surprised like us, to find this gorgeous restaurant, packed with people in the know. I also saw an interesting mix of 19th century French wine posters on the walls. 

Bathrooms: Lovely and quaint
Would I go again? Yes, this was some of the best service I have experienced in the UK.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fernandez and Wells

There is always time to stop in at Fernandez and Wells for a quick after work drink. You walk in there and you instantly feel like you are in a barrio in Spain. It is a fantastic place to sip the worries of your working day away.

If I could take this bar with me everywhere I went...I would. I love the waiters, I love the clientele, I love the simple tapas and I love it that the wine options are quality as opposed to quantity.

Where: 43 Lexington Street, Soho, London
When: 6-8pm
Food: Manchego cheese platter with yummy bread. Simple and effective
Drinks: A gorgeous Argentinian red. Allegrini I think was called
Service: Waiters - hot- tick
Clientele: Interesting, Eclectic, Creative, Corporate
Ambiance: Yes...the light is suitably dimmed and there is a bustle of people vying for the few seats
Bathrooms: Didn't I can't comment
Saw: A mix of cool and unpretentious people
Would I recommend to a friend? Yes, and especially people who appreciate the life of the Latino

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My favourite for lunch - Mrs Marengo's

When I first moved to London...I spotted this place as I was rushing to an appointment. The cute facade made me stop in my tracks and peek in the window full of delicious looking salads and cakes. This was my second visit to Mrs Marengo's...and I know that we will develop a close friendship. Mrs Marengo's specialises in catering to the Soho lunch crowd and offers all sorts of yummy vegetarian delights for both eat-in and take-away. Meat eaters wouldn't even notice that there is no meat on the menu.

Where: 53 Lexington Street
When: 12:45 to beat the 1pm Soho lunch rush
What: Vegetarian takeaway and eat in. Meals, coffee and cake shop
Who: A friend and always
Food: I ordered the haloumi and spinach stack...which had an amazing anonymous brown sauce. My friend ordered the spinach and roasted vege omelette. There are also amazing salads that sit on the counter. Cakes and slices fill the window and tempt people in off the street.
Drinks: Sparkling they don't serve wine...but they do make amazing organic juices.
Saw: There is always a queue between 1pm and 2:30pm because the food is so good!
Bathrooms: A bit annoying because there aren't any. They are at Mildred's which is the more formal sister restaurant next door. Mildreds is another favourite.
Would I go again? Yes because the food is so good, and it is very inexpensive
Would I recommend to a friend? Of course...this is my kind of lunch place

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Out in the country- The Woolpack Inn- Hampshire

My friend and I set off from London's Waterloo station on a 45 minute journey out to the Hampshire countryside to escape the hustle and bustle of London. We stayed in a delightful cottage amongst grandiose homes set in park-like properties. After spending all afternoon relaxing...we weren't sure what to do with all our spare time so we set off down the road to the 'local' pub. What we found was far from an old English pub full of farmers and dirty gumboots, but a very warm, sophisticated drinking establishment with a stellar wine list, and menu!

Where: Tolford, Hampshire
Who: My friend and I, sitting by the open fire and a mix of shooting groups, cyclists, locals and walkers
Food: Delicious hearty pub fare with a modern twist
Drinks: A Chianti red by the fire and then 2  delicious bottles of Sancerre at the bar for dessert
Service: Excellent. The bar manager even provided a taxi service and dropped us home down the country road after dinner
Clientele: A mixture of shooting groups, cyclists, locals and walkers and of course a couple of girls from the city
Ambiance: Convivial, warm and friendly like that of a mountain chalet
Bathrooms: Great
Saw: Some really friendly local people, and lots of dogs standing at the door. We also took a sneak peek at the boutique accommodation upstairs for future reference. The bedrooms are modern, with power showers, flat screen TVs and crisp linen sheets.
Would I recommend to a friend: Yes. I would like to take a group of friends back there for the highly acclaimed Sunday lunch.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Look what I found at Harrods

This morning when I was meant to be out shopping for my sister I accidentally found myself  in Lauderee amongst a spectrum of macaroons of all shapes and sizes.
These macaroons have the most amazing pulling power...and the salon in which you can sit and eat them (and drink tea) is made for fairy tales. You have to try these!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Caravan - Restaurant Bar and Roastery

Caravan is located on the edge of the uber styley Exmouth Market. On my first visit a few months ago, I arrived by taxi right to the door of the cafe/restaurant/roastery. However my second visit was much more exciting. I had to venture through the rain from the other end of Exmouth Market (spotting other places I must stop at next time).The journey through the market helped me to appreciate Caravan as a final destination amongst a myriad of other great eateries and boutique shops. Caravan is a classic New Zealand cafe/restaurant and, it has a played down, yet chic utilitarian vibe.

Where: 11-13 Exmouth Market
Who: My friend from Portland and I
Food: A mixture of tapas style foods. I had Avocado, olive oil and chilli flakes on grain toast, edamame and blue cheese and peanut wontons- What a combination! My friend had peppered tuna with broad bean and ginger vinagerette, and a spicy pork filled honey glazed gypsy bun
Drinks: Beer for him and a gorgeous NZ riesling for me
Service: Great New Zealand service
Clientele: Loads of NZ accents but a great mix of other cultures enjoying the NZ food, wine and hospitality
Ambiance: Classic warm, friendly kiwi cafe
Bathrooms: Great
Saw: The rain falling from the cosiness of the cafe
Would I recommend to a friend: Definitely, and I would want that friend to take me back!

Saturday, October 2, 2010


Having been here, and at the Nobu in South Beach before, I wasn't upset when my friend decided that the Mayfair Hotel (where we were meant to be meeting and which had hard house playing at 7pm) wasn't quite right for us, and that we should go to the next bar along...hello Nobu. I think that after tonight I have a re-newed respect for Nobu. After all these still ticks all the foodie boxes and it doesn't have the pretentiousness that it did when it was a celebrity place-to-be-seen.

Where: 15 Berkeley St
When: 7-9pm
What: Drinks and your favourite Japanese treats in the lounge bar
Who: Me and a always
Food: I am not a huge fan of sashimi, but I gave it a whirl tonight and I think I might have tipped the scales. Oishii desu ne!
Drinks: My friend bought me a sauvignon blanc to start...not ideal...everyone knows that Poppy doesn't drink sauvignon...never one to turn a wine down though. After that I swiftly moved on to a Nobu cosmopolitan
Saw: There were possibly loads of celebs there but because of the dimmed lighting and me trying to hold a serious conversation with my pal I didn't see anything!
Bathrooms: Immaculate like every good Japanese restaurant
Would I go again? Of course

Friday, October 1, 2010

15 Mins in the queue @ Busaba Eathai

You know a place is good when there is a queue out the door every night. I would say convenience is also a factor here. It draws the Soho crowd who want to eat fast but don't want to stand on the street eating takeaways. It's the sort of crowd that need a quick bite on their way home from their after-work drinks. It takes about 15 minutes to get in to the cafeteria style Thai eatery and the queue can sometimes be enjoyable. Last night my friend and I listened to the conversation of the pair behind us about their respective trips to Brazil. I even took out my notebook to write down the restaurants they talked about!

What: Thai fusion
Where: Wardour St, Soho
When: 9pm
Food: I had the tofu pad thai and my friend had the duck jungle curry. She wanted spicy and she got it. Everyone raves about the calamari so I gave it another try and I am still not convinced. It is dry and rubbery.
Drinks: Just a glass of red in a very unimpressive wine glass
Ambiance: Convivial crowd and dimmed lighting
Clientele: A mixture of friendly down-to-earth people
Bathrooms: Very clean. It's dark down there though, so watch your step
Saw: No-one famous but lots of nice friendly people