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Thoughts on London Trip

I have personally never heard anything about B&H Buildings but could be that I am missing a jem. I would agree with peoples recommendation for Barrafina - don't let the wait put you off. You won't be standing outside in the cold, you will be leaning against a ledge with a bottle of wine next to you and as much Jamon and croquettas as you can order whilst waiting. We have often waited 90 minutes there but have never found it a drag.

Soif is good but out the way from where you are. You are far closer to Brawn in Shoreditch which is owned by the same people and, in my opinion, a better atmosphere. Make sure you order the duck hearts and consider some decent craft local beers at the Birdcage beforehand (Beavertown Gamma Ray if you like an IPA). If you find yourself in the centre of town, Terroirs is also the same group. Also great.

I would recommend Bocca di Lupo but I think you probably have modern Italian covered in NYC better than us already (I miss L'Artusi on a daily basis)

Quo Vadis is a good spot - lovely service and atmosphere and very British without being stuffy. You could pair with a pre cocktail at the Blind Pig or Hix - neither are far away.

At Broadway Market make sure you also check out the School Yard Market which is just around the corner at the north end and then 50 yards down the road Eastwards is Netil Market. There you will find Bao which is making fantastic Bao buns...would be interested to hear your thoughts on these versus David Chang's creations.

I also love the 'Frenchie' at the School Yard market - confit duck in a brioche bun with all kinds of tasty accoutrements.

Other breakfasts - near you you have the Modern Pantry which I love for its light airy interior and antipodean influenced food. Providoes/Kopapa in Marylebone/Covent Garden have the same idea.

If you are drinking in Shoreditch (i.e. Callooh Callay) then I quite like the Hawksmoor Spitalfields bar downstairs. Some really nice drinks. People also rate Happiness Forgets on Hoxton Square. I see you are also checking out Night Jar which is decent.

Mar 03, 2015
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Thoughts on London Trip

Good choices on Dishoom/Barrafina!

Brawn in Shoreditch is fairly similar in style to A&H and GQS though edging towards the French side of things so perhaps not the one for you.

Clove Club is fantastic. The dining room is probably a little higher end then you are looking for but you can order a la carte in the 'bar' area (really not much like a bar at all) to limit the cost and still get a great range of the menu.

8 Hoxton Square is excellent. Casual but buzzy and good value. Linked to 10 Greek Street if you have ever been there.

If you want to venture slightly further East then Mission E2 is great - similar European food and a huge selection of Californian wines in a railway arch.

Final tip! Som Saa in Climpsons Arch near Broadway Market is currently cooking incredible authenthic thai food (again in a railway arch). Lovely service, good hipster watching and some of the most exciting food (for me) in London at the moment. It may look slightly off the beaten track but you can pair it with some pre drinks at Broadway Market and its worth the journey

Mar 03, 2015
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Breakfast marylebone area

Providores - Antipodean place that does one of the best brunches in town if you fancy something a little different. I regularly travel across town for it.

It also does excellent coffee, as does Workship down the road.

Sep 16, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Yorkshire Dales

Visited the drum and monkey a couple years ago and it was awful- very very clumsy poor cooking and trapped in a different age. Having said that I think it has recently taken on new owners so worth trying to find some recent reports ..

May 29, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Comments/Thoughts on proposed London itinerary?

Good choices overall - as per other comments, I'd add some Indian. It looks like you are veering towards the higher end of things so maybe Gymkhana?

Ametsa has had pretty universally bad write ups though cant say I have been there myself. Any reason you went for it?

I would also add that my favourite spot at the moment is Clove Club in Shoreditch for quite a unique take on British cuisine

Apr 16, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Wow thanks so much- lots of great sounding places there- will check out as many as my liver will allow!

Apr 12, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Thanks all for your help on this.

I think for the Saturday night we will opt for Paul Bert as seems like the most appropriate substitute for L'ami Jean.

Does anyone have any recommendations for any good wine/cocktail bars near our dinner spots I.e. Bones / Paul Bert / Clamato?

Many thanks again

Apr 10, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Haha, thanks, will check it out. Lips are sealed

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Thanks Parigi - that was a typo - should have read Buzzy.

Thanks for the tips on the market. Will check out the 14 day forecast though if its anything like London I won't put too much faith in it...

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Easter Weekend - comments appreciated

Hi all

I have been scoping out people's recommendations for a good couple months running up to our trip to your city over the Easter Weekend (Friday to Monday).

We are two 30 years olds living in East London - after casual, fun places with good food and importantly, buzzy non-stuffy atmosphere. We are staying in an apartment in the 11th(or maybe 10th?) just off Rue Oberkampf but used to travelling on metro etc so distance not such a problem.

After getting over the disappointment of Chez L'ami Jean being shut (seriously, the main reason we booked this trip was to go - gutted...) our plans are looking something like:

Friday Dinner - Bones (booked)

Saturday Brunch/Lunch - Buvette (Rue Henry Monnier)

Saturday Dinner - the main dilema. I am weighing up Paul Bert / Richer / le BAT / Piere Sang Boyer / Terroir Parisien (Palais Brongiart) - a lot of options! Any to definitely go for/rule out?

Sunday Lunch - If warm, a picnic in Jardin de Lux with food from Marche Raspail or Mouffetard - any suggestions for which is better?

if not warm than Danes Les Landes

Sunday Dinner - Clamato

I then have a monday lunch spot free - any thing crying out to be tried?

Thanks in advance for all your help - Chowhound is always invaluable and I hope I can help some of you with advice in London at some point

Apr 08, 2014
mjgauer in France

Marble Arch questions (also Cambridge and Salisbury)

Think you may have got the wrong end of the stick gnosh- Gareth was being helpful, not insulting. Check out Donostia and Lockhart as suggested.

Apr 03, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Critique my itinterary - Visit late March

I would definitely opt for Clove Club - they are actually linked to some degree with the owners having worked together at the Ten Bells previously so the general ethos and approach is similar but the Clove Club is a little more ambitious and unusual.

I've eaten at the bar a few times and tend to get out, with modest wine, for around £40-45 a head inc service for plenty of food. I like the bar menu rather than tasting just for the flexibility and more casual atmosphere.

Mar 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Hedone [London]

Similar experience whereby we paid for the carte blanche. We were a couple courses behind our neighbour at the bar so could, like you, see what was coming. And like you, we seemed to be dealt duff hands whenever they were low on ingredients so our duck was replaced with sweetbreads and our scallops with something inferior which I cant quite recall.

Together with quite snooty service, poor service from the sommelier and being ignored by Mikael we were let down badly. This was in contrast to my first meal there which i absolutely loved and was all the more disappointing for it..

Mar 06, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Critique my itinterary - Visit late March

I would highly recommend Clove Club - and the bar area is a good option.

Ten Bells is relatively similar to Clove Club so not sure I would do both in a short trip. Have you looked into Brawn? If in the East then it's very good.

Texture is good but a little corporate/sterile for me

Mar 06, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Bloomsbury St. Pancras Resto Recs?

Newman St is good. - more like a restaurant than a pub and not cheap but it enjoyed it

I really liked Shrimpys but you probably hit the nail on the head that it's as much about the drink and scene as the food.

Have you looked into caravan? Very close and potentially a nice balance between ambitious menu and fun atmosphere.

Feb 19, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Back to London after 10 years away. Where must I eat?

Very different places in most respects...for quality of food and service and pretty much every measure Medlar is the better choice. It's a very different beast though- white tablecloths and sommeliers rather than bare wood and barristas.

Not sure why kopapa is so up in your list so maybe there is something I am missing..and I would still rate any of the spots in my last email above it ;-)

Feb 15, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Birthday in Covent Garden

Seconded for the Blind Pig

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Islington reco - dinner after 69 Colebrook Row [London]

Technically a pub but the Smokehouse is excellent - takes meat very seriously and elevates it above the current burger/bbq trends.

Trullo also worth a look near Highbury & Islington station for Italian.

Have heard bad things about House of Wolf.

Prawn on the Lawn sounds good but have heard about long waits for seats.

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

One fancy dinner in London

I'd check out the Ledbury in Notting Hill - I prefer the atmosphere to Hibiscus (slightly less stuffy) and more central than Hedone

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Back to London after 10 years away. Where must I eat?

Bocca di Lupo - Italian in Soho - some interesting menu items on the menu and nice atmosphere

Berners Tavern - Central - food is good (jason atherton, one of Ramsays proteges) but main attraction is the room which is stunning

Social Eating House - Soho - Also Atherton owned, fun bistro. Good cocktails

Gymkhana - High end Indian in Mayfair, getting a lot of attention for its game items

Brawn - Shoreditch Really nice relaxed bistro - good charcuterie

Clove Club - British, Shoreditch - some of the scando foraging influences going on. Exciting food but also just very tasty.

The Ten Bells - Shoreditch Same kind of idea as Clove Club but more of a pub setting

Smokehouse - Islington- converted pub - emphasis on smoked/cured meats - very good

Quality Chophouse - Farringdon - St John influenced pub

Harwood Arms - Fulham - posh gastro pub, ambitious game led menu. Love this place

Blanchette- Buzzy small French bistro in Soho - small plates

Ba Shan - Soho - Schezuan focussed chinese - the most consistent place i've been to

Koya - Soho Udon specialist - good for lunch. Some interest specials as well using seasonal ingredients

There are also a host of new US style burger places / comfort food but I imagine thats probably not your focus for the trip...

Feb 12, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Birthday in Covent Garden

I actually quite enjoyed Jackson and Rye, more for the atmosphere than the food admittedly. Kopapa is good but I see it as more of a brunch place for some reason.

My standard 'go-to' for pre matinee theatre is J Sheekey Oyster Bar - nice relaxed atmosphere, good food and feels a little special for a birthday type occasion.

Other good options for a fun buzzy lunch could be barrafina, bocca di lupo, quo vadis. In soho you're pretty spoilt really...if you let us know what kind of food you'd prefer I could be more specific.

Dinner - I really like Opera Tavern, probably more than Arbutus. Again - so many options around there - I would repeat my rec for Barrafina - one of my favourites for a fun up beat start to an evening

Feb 11, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

London help

Covent Garden isn't the best for pubs. Ape & Bird is pretty good but I would recommend Great Queen Street over it - really good food and nice cosy atmosphere. They lack any kind of website but I think a few people have written it up on here. Same owners as Anchor and Hope which gets a bit more attention for some reason.

Balthazar is ok but I would personally seek out something a bit more interesting unless you particularly want french bistro food. Have you thought about adding in some chinese/indian/south american perhaps?

Dehesa is really good and the owner has just opened up Ember Yard in Soho which is getting good reviews. If you wanted to try something a little different I rate Bocca di Lupo and Barrafina very highly (both in Soho)

Feb 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

London help

I'd third this - love Pitt Cue Co, but yeah, get there 20mins before opening unless you want a long(er) wait

Feb 07, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Single Diner East London: Questions

Good call on clove club.

Some good wine merchants in hackney are-

Noble fine liquors- Broadway market
Borough wines - Wilton way
Bottle apostle - Lauriston road

They may not be that close to you though . Larger supermarkets normally have an ok selection - waitrose probably your best bet.

A&H could be tough in an hour though maybe ok if you get there early and let them know of your timing.

Viajante definitely shutting down- check out the chefs twitter feed

Feb 05, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Single Diner East London: Questions

Some good places in there

Sager and Wilde is good - i'm not sure I'd say its mellow but its not packed and it would be a fine place to be solo. You could also easily combine with Brawn which I also love.

Beagle is pretty good, Clove Club is very very good. If I were you I would make a reservation in the bar area of the Clove Club where you can sit at the bar stools and order of the a la carte. You get the full breadth of the food there rather than a typical limited bar menu and its definitely suitable for a solo diner.

As mentioned, Viajante/Corner Room are closing at the end of Feb. Not sure if the standards will be on the wind down up until then or not...

Other good options in the area:

Mayfields - small neighbourhood place getting a lot of attention for ambitious cooking
Ten Bells - linked to Clove Club - well worth a look
Ritas Dining (now on Mare Street) - comfort junk food but with some ambition and asian slants. Well worth a look.
Lardo - good straight forward Italian/pizza - good for solo dining

Away from the East, I love the Anchor & Hope, try to get there if you can

Feb 05, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Hottest London restaus with actual good food/scene

If you haven't done so already I would put your name on the waiting list for those restaurants - that worked out for with Gymkhana last month.

In respect of valentines - I wouldn't necessarily settle for a place you don't particularly want to go to just because you cant find a reservation. There are plenty of excellent places which will still have tables or which dont take reservations so, with a slightly early start, you would be able to end up somewhere decent. Have a search for on the boards for no-reservation places. Many are in Soho within walking distance so you can always skip between a few if one doesnt work out.

Jan 30, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Itinerary recommendations - London

I like it - lot for a quick meal with friends but not sure it's a 'destination' restaurant when you have limited time. Gymkhana would certainly tick your boxes for very good food and being a 'hot' new place- cant think of many other openings that have got such universal praise. Expensive though..

Jan 26, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Itinerary recommendations - London

Good list but I think you are missing a gastropub on there - I love the harwood arms (1 Michelin star and hardly a casual pub but still very nice atmosphere and consistently excellent food). Bull and last / anchor and hope / drapers arms are other favourites

HKK is too corporate for me. Dabbous is good but not worth the booking hassle. I love the Clove Club - my favourite recent opening. sit in the bar area so you can order a la carte rather than fixed tasting menu

St. John is legendary but for me sometimes off the boil. If still keen I would go to St. John Bread and Wine which I find a little more fun

Jan 26, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

Kedgeree in London

I like the one at the Delauney which I imagine will be much the same as that of the Wolseley.

I also enjoyed an interpretation of it at Koya Bar in soho which involved rice porridge with, smoked haddock a slow-poached egg and some crispy fish skin/bonito flakes

Jan 20, 2014
mjgauer in U.K./Ireland

December trip report

No problem at all- glad to feed back

I feel bad about the pearl and ash report as I imagine it could have been a one off night on their part..I wouldn't necessarily let it put you off entirely..Balthazar though..happy for people to take heed of my experience on that one!

Interested to hear of any one else's thoughts on the veal at Jean George if they have tried it too..

Dec 30, 2013
mjgauer in Manhattan