Mandarin Street – Small but perfectly formed

So the Ultimate Rugby Fan (URF) and I were back on Old York Road one evening recently. It was another beautiful early spring day and the wine that the barman at the Alma had obligingly poured into my glass was disappearing at what seemed to be an accelerated rate. As it was a school night, we felt that getting some food would probably a good idea, and I remembered that there was a fairly new Chinese restaurant, Mandarin Street, that had just opened down the road. I was actually slightly … [Read more...]

Spring sale at the Jolly Gardeners

'As Masterchef once more dominates our screens, what better excuse could you find for checking out the food of 2010 winner, Dhruv Baker's highly praised Earlsfield gastropub, the Jolly Gardeners. Well as it turns out there are two more reasons why this would be a treat not just for the senses but also for the wallet. On Wednesday's and Thursdays' try out the prix fixe menu with two courses at just £19.95, including the certified delicious fish pie. If you go on Wine Wednesdays' you can even … [Read more...]

Higher Steaks – Dining at Smith & Wollensky

Just under two years ago in a burst of publicity more usually associated with the opening of a big West End show, the US steak house chain of Smith & Wollensky set up shop for the first time in London. Even in the US where many steakhouses seem to have a history stretching back nearly to the founding fathers, Smith & Wollensky (S&W) is a relative newcomer, first appearing in the mid 70's so pretty contemporaneous with such other long lasting trends as day glo pants, disco and silly … [Read more...]

Bienvenido Brindisa – An authentic taste of Spain comes to Balham

  Whoop! Whoop! The Brindisa pop up in Hildreth Street Market is here to stay. Hooray! This is an absolute foodie heaven offering the very finest produce that Spain has to offer and showcasing Brindisa’s exceptional range of artisan cheese and charcuterie. No need to trek up to Borough Market, it’s all right here in Balham. At a recent meet the neighbours evening we enjoyed an incredible array of authentic Spanish fare perfect for dinner parties, kitchen suppers and effortless but … [Read more...]

It’s your round (again) – Quiz night at the Waterfront

OK, so I apologise, I told you I'd do regular reviews of pub quizzes and then you don't see any for about 4 months. What's worse is that the one in this review is about to stop for the summer season as the pub it takes place in gets too busy during the warmer months. So where are we this week? Well we're back by the river just west of Wandsworth town station, now walk past the ship, along the Thames path and the stop at the Waterfront, Battersea reach. The Waterfront is a fairly new pub, … [Read more...]

Fixed Northcote Road – Irony in a name?

  I like dining at new restaurants don’t you? The tingly anticipation of looking at a new menu, the idea that you might be at the start of a freshly minted relationship with what will become your favourite eatery, it’s almost like going on a date. Unfortunately like dating for each spark, there are also innumerable damp squibs, and so let’s talk about Fixed. The Northcote road must be a challenging place to open yet somewhere else new to eat. If you lobbed the proverbial brick from … [Read more...]

A slice of life – Dining at Donna Margherita, Battersea.

Lavender Hill might have been immortalised by the eponymous film, but these days it feel slightly left behind and a little forgotten when compared with the likes of the Northcote Road and the emerging south London Vegas that is Balham. That being said there are some interesting looking places for eating and drinking along its stretch and one I was especially keen on trying was Donna Margherita. I’ve been intrigued by the place for years and have spent much of the last decade driving past, … [Read more...]

The dinner of theatre – Dining at The Ivy

To many it might come as a surprise that one of London's most famous restaurants is situated at the junction of West Street & Floral Street, a slightly obscure corner located between Leicester Square and Covent Garden. The fact that the Mousetrap has been playing opposite for over 65 years and Stomp just up the road for over 15, gives you the feeling when walking through the area that you have slipped back in time a decade or two. The Ivy is one of the few restaurants in the UK that is a … [Read more...]

January chews – Sunday roast at the Earlsfield

‘April is the cruellest month’ T.S Elliot famously opined. Me, I’ve always thought that April’s fab. Spring weather, longer days and Easter. My view is in terms of months to be endured rather than enjoyed January has always taken the crown. I remember some years back opening my front door on the first working day of the year to be greeted by howling wind, driving rain and the sort of pitch darkness usually associated with horror films. That experience crystallized my feelings about January, … [Read more...]

A tale of two sittings…

Brrrrr, get out the overcoat, put on that bobble hat and wrap that scarf around your neck till it’s so tight your eyes slightly pop out of your head. Yes winter is no longer just coming, it’s arrived, put its bags down and the kettle on. So what does the start of winter mean? Well for some it means mulled wine, office parties and the chance to plan one of those winter sun getaways you’ve been dreaming of. For others though it means long Christmas school holidays and having to keep the kids … [Read more...]

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