Nov 30, 2010

Snowy London

In Regent's Park, Photos by Fernanda Curi

Dinner at Hix

Short and bitter.

Decor: a bit wanky.

Food: a bit blah.

Price: a bit ouch.

Though it was voted Best New Restaurant 2010 by Time Out, I will pass, thank you very much.

Nov 24, 2010

London Breakfasts - The Wolseley

Oh how simply divine. I'll be taking my breakfast here everyday forever, thank you very much.

Breakfast at the Wolseley was an absolute feast. The setting is beautiful, the place was designed to be a car showroom, and was later converted to a bank by Barclays. The loo is the old vault (please insert comment about the nature of our banking woes).

There is a palatial, venitian feel about the place, and the lacquered japanese theme is reminiscent of the 19th Century haute bourgeoisie. Reminds me of the Jacquemart-Andre museum in Paris (which, by the way, is an absolute must, especially because therein lies a Titian entitled "Le temps tue l'amour", and that's just hilariously true).

Oh but enough about the bloody decor. The food is to die for. I had a ton of stuff, which I'm afraid they wouldn't let me photograph, the monsters.

We had the avocado vinaigrette, the mousse de foie de canard, an cheese omelette, a crumble, a strudel, and a truckload of bloody maries. And champagne. Everything very straightforward, befitting the bistrot theme, but impeccably executed.

I must make a special note on the service, which was outstanding. Discrete, friendly, efficient. Perfectly timed and choreographed. It is only when we encounter perfect service that we are reminded of how important it is, and how much it does for a dining experience. A perfectly pressed linen tablecloth also never fails to warm my foodie heart.

And the absolute standout dish was the prodigious Omelette Arnold Bennett. A bit of a shoddy author, but apparently he made a fine omelette: smoked haddock, gratinee with hollandaise sauce. Incredible. I must recreate this at home urgently and stuff myself silly.

The final happy surprise was the bill. Now this is of course on the steeper side of this breakfast series, but not unlike the kind of bill you would get at a place like Bistrotheque. And in all honesty, though I do love Bistrotheque, this is by a very long measure a much classier, tastier kind of breakfast adventure.

Nov 19, 2010

American Ballet Theatre at Sadler's Wells Theatre

This is only in February, but it's almost fully sold out, and really, really not to be missed.

American Ballet Theatre will be performing for six days at Sadler's Wells Theatre in February, presenting two programmes, including some of Balanchine's most famous choreographies, created for the ABT, and set to Tschaikovisky's Suite No. 3 for Orchestra in G Major.

I've booked. Wouldn't miss it for the World. Capital W.

Here is a teaser from the Dutch National Ballet.

ABT at Sadler's Wells
From February 1st to February 6th, 2011

London Breakfasts, Lantana Cafe

This place is truly a little hidden gem, tucked away in Bloomsbury, right off Charlotte Street. If you're exploring the sites, like the British Museum, this is a great place to come eat.

The prices are great, the atmosphere is totally relaxed, and NON touristy, which is surprising for that area. The food is wholesome, the portions massive, and the coffee delicious.

There is a breakfast and a lunch menu during the week, and all day brunch on the weekend. I had french toast with ricotta and chai poached pears, and my friend had the corn fritters with a poached egg and salsa. Both massive, and wonderful.

They have also recently opened a little takeaway shop next door, so you can get a muffin and a coffee on the go as well.

Lantana Cafe

13 Charlotte Place

Shopping for special ingredients in London

Attention foodies, this is invaluable information. If you live in London, you've probably come across Borough Market, which I've blogged about extensively in the past. You will find most fresh goodies you will need there.

Game season at Borough market

But when it comes to dry goods, surprisingly, London can be a tad tricky, so I'm going to share a couple of the places I go to when I'm scavenging for special ingredients.

First and foremost. The Harrods Food Halls. Not only are they beautiful, art nouveau, historical, and really fun to visit (if you can ignore the hoards of tourists, of course), but they are massive, with halls and halls filled with the most exotic ingredients, all the cheese, charcuterie, breads you can imagine. They also have several little restaurants and traiteurs, if you really just want to stare and eat, without necessarily having to cook.

Harrods also do a spectacular "own brand" line of wines and bubblies. Really well priced, great quality wines. You can buy by the case and have it delivered to your door, I strongly recommend their Chablis, amazing value. They've just opened a beautiful new wine shop in the LG, well worth a visit.

Image courtesy of

Whole Foods is also a pretty good option, particularly the larger stores, like the Kensington one.

Another surpisingly good place to try is the Harvey Nicks food hall. It's rather tiny, but really well stocked. I was recently on a mission to find semola di grano duro to make some pasta at home, and this was actually the only place I could find it.

Finally, Fortnum and Mason. You will find the usual array of jams, pickles, cheeses, and teas, but also, in the LG floor, a minimart with all sorts of goodies as well.


87-135 Brompton Road,

Borough Market
239 Borough High Street

Harvey Nichols Fifth Flor
67 Brompton Rd

Fortnum and Mason
181 Piccadily

Whole Foods

Swinging London

My dear friend, and dancer/parkour master extraordinaire Diogo Granato honored me with a visit recently, and took these spectacular photos around Shoreditch that I wanted to share...

Nov 8, 2010

London Breakfasts - Bistrotheque

I've written about Bistrotheque before, and I'll likely be writing again. But this is probably the classic Sunday brunch destination in East London. Located just right off the canal on Mare street, behind the galleries in Vyner street, Bistrotheque is already a classic.

The star attraction is the baby grand piano, with Xavior playing pop tunes, I'm sure you'll find yourself breaking into song at some point.

The crowd is beautiful, East but not try-hard. And the food is artfully executed, if sometimes a bit unimaginative (the chocolate tart was a major disappointment, not even worthy of a roadside diner). You'll find the breakfast staples, like eggs benedict, along with a nice little lunch menu, if you're going for more substance. I couldn't resist and went for the steak tartare and saffron panna cotta.

And the bloody maries are ACE. You can't have a real brunch without a mean bloody mary, right?

23-27 Wadeson Street
E2 9DR

London Breakfasts - Tina, We Salute You

London Brekkies. Meeting friends for brunch or breakfast is probably my favourite thing to do on the weekend. Yes, I'm getting old, thanks for pointing that out.

But whether you are in "geezerification" like myself or not, meeting friends for breakfast/brunch is a classic in this city, hangover or not. So I'm embarking on a new series, starting out with my favourite local, "Tina, We Salute You". Right of Newington Green, this unassuming little treasure serves amazing nosh in a setting that has a little hint of Berlin, maybe, with constantly changing artwork on the walls and a starkly modern vibe...

It's unassuming, quirky, but not pretentiously "alternative". The food is a dream, sourced from the best suppliers, the coffee great, the bread homemade, and if you're lucky to land a seat on the sofas, the ideal place to go through the papers.

The "winter menu" is out, all chorizo sandwiches and warm banana bread. I'll have two of everything, please...

Tina, We Salute You
47, King Henry s Walk
N1 4NH

Nov 2, 2010

Noma Book Signing

In case you've been living in Mars, or are just not an absolute food junkie like meself, Noma is the hot ticket restaurant of the World right now.

It's all about foraging, "extreme local" cuisine.

Rene Redzepi will be doing a book signing next Friday, November 12th, and tickets are flying.

Yes, he's so hot you actually have to book a ticket for the signing. Can't wait to get my copy.

Chritian Marclay: The Clock, at White Cube Gallery

Beautiful, beautiful video. The 24 hour video is a collage of scenes from anthological films, pieced together around the theme of "the clock", a clever subterfuge to constantly appose the film to "reality" (whatever the hell that may be).

The experience is touching, as I watched the most ingeniously edited bits of iconic films reweaved into this non-narration, this patchwork of gestures and condensed instants, the separation between cinema and life became ever so tenuous. We have constructed our lives from these films, and they have become our lives. A cinematic typography for our moments, an intertwined continuum of life, film, and dream.
The gallery is located right off Piccadily:
25-26 Mason's Yard,
The show is on until November 13th, and they will have overnight viewings from Thursday to Saturday this weekend and next.