Dec 19, 2010

Winter blues

Dear Londoners,

Try and cheer up, enjoy the snow. Have a cup of toddy on me. I'm stuck in an airport in Medan, North Sumatra. It seems I spend most of my life stuck in airports.

They are showing a local soap opera. The man in the military uniform is laughing a lot.

I will return to this blog in early January, with renewed affection for the city, I promise.

Dec 7, 2010

London Cheap Eats - PRINCI

Aah. Princi. This is one of my all time favourite places in London, because it reminds me of not being in London, basically.

Princi is the quintessential Milanese experience, the Armani of the bakeries. Minimal beige stone interiors, impeccable music selection, and slightly pompous pretention. Loves it. I used to gorge on the goodies every weekeend when I was commuting for love to Milan, a bygone era, fortunately, as my waistline, pocketbook and achy-breaky-heart could not have held out much longer.

But there is a certain brand of chic that you only find in Milan, and coming into Princi in London is just an amazing throwback. Recherche but understated, like a mink coat against a collarless navy blue dress.

The food here is rustic, italian, simple, and well priced, but the feel is luxurious and exclusive. Patrons sprawl cozily across the large communal table and the odd bar stools. There is a constellation of primi to choose from, pastas, salads, and the odd pizza and foccacia.

Now ordinarily italians do a rather poor job of desert (seriously, is tiramissu the best your entire cultural history can amount to? I'm not impressed). But the options here are lovely, cannoli, millefoglie and crostate will do the job beautifully.

If I can get a whiff of Milan without the airport cues and the heartache, and for around a tenner, well, this is just the Cheap Eat to top all Cheap Eats.

Oh, and they open late!

You can catch up on the latest London reviews, recipes and stuff on my new blog,

135 - 137 Wardour Street

London Cheap Eats

Yes, though I've ignored it long enough, it seems we are in the middle of a recession. Since it hasn't really come up in Vogue, ID or Numero, it has perhaps taken me a bit longer than expected to catch on (I'm joking, I read Grazia too).

Apparently it's cool to be a recessionista now, which means you basically still buy the Birkin, but in tan, because you will use it more and therefore it's a savvy buy, really. Unfortunately that is not the kind of rationalization that will win over the folks at American Express, believe me. I've tried.

So in order to keep up with the inevitable zeitgeist, I am launching a session on cheap eats, because, let's face it, life isn't all about Sauternes and Foie Gras, you gotta eat too. But my standards shall remain impossibly high (yes mother, that is probably why I am still unmarried, can we talk about this later please?). Now it's rather hard to pull this off in London, because the baseline is, well, beans on toast, rather than rillettes, or piadinas, or the pan con tomate you would get in the continent. Sigh.

It's therefore no surprise that a lot of the places I go to for a quick, cheap, but gastronomically appropriate bite are often not British. I will throw in a couple of fish and chip, pubs and what not. But mostly, it's Indian, Italian, Afghan and all sorts of foreign in this price range.

Well, I'm off. Wish me luck!

Dec 6, 2010

Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental

What a revival for hotel dining in London. The Savoy is back, Koffman is at the Berkeley. And now Boulud and Blumenthal are both going to be holding court at the Mandarin Oriental.

Dinner by Herston Blumenthal opens its doors on Monday, 31st of January 2011. Reservations opened on Wednesday, and I only managed to book for March.

Apparently this won't be a "molecular gastronomy" kind of deal, like the Fat Duck, so I'm really curious about what he'll be coming up with.

Reviews should be coming in sooner than March, I expect, so I will report back as soon as I find out.

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, 66 Knightsbridge,
Tel. + 44 20 7235 2000

London Breakfasts - Flat White in Soho

It's been a week and I've not posted any photos of food. Just snow and graffiti, but nothing edible. I'm obviously suffering from serious winter blues cognitive bloggitive disorder, this is really not normal.

Well there was the Hix debacle but I forgot my camera and everything else was rather forgettable as well. That was kind of a bummer.

But I'm adding a little addition to my London Brekkies, the Flat White in Soho. Now in all honesty, God only knows why we always end up in this joint (I thought I would kindly reference God cause I found a five pound bill yesterday so here's a Holla, Your Dudeness (advertising real cheap on this blog apparently)).

Anyway, back to the Flat White. This is an unassuming little place, run by some New Zealanders, with a nice little array of salads, all day breakfasts, and a really really great coffee (really really great. coffee.). There's some questionable art on the walls, a crowded little sitting area.

And a buzzy, Soho, gritty cool vibe. It's nice, it's cheap. Me and my friends, we hang out here sometimes.

They make good eggs.

Flat White
17 Berwick St

London W1F 0PT

Random Graffiti

Dec 1, 2010

The Boris Bikes are coming!

Now I haven't blogged about the "Boris bikes" yet because they were really only available to subscribers, which to me kind of defeated the purpose. The public bikes, which londoners have chosen to nickname "Boris bikes" in hommage to our oddly quiffed mayor, have docking stations around all of zone 1 and have turned out be a massive success.

Well, finally, this Friday, they will be opened up to the general public/tourists, who can rent the bikes for a £1 fee for 30 minutes. Now this is convenient timing, as the cold weather is sure to make people weary of cycling and the scheme is not likely to go overcapacity.

Although this is fantastic news for tourists, BEWARE of the traffic, we are all on the wrong side of the roads here!

In any case, as a militant cyclist, I urge you all to try it out, it is by far the fastest, and most pleasant way to explore the city.

For more infos, go to