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Recipes are one thing but it would be a shame for us to limit these chronicles of our years in London to home cooking. Throughout the past year, D and I have developed a nice list of favorites and not once do we go to these places without sighing, thinking how great it would be to take our dearly loved and missed friends and relatives with us; how much they would love it.
As you know, D & I can be quite boring creatures of habits, mostly because we can be very picky and selective. What saves us is that although we do enjoy becoming regulars in the places we like, these are usually pretty unique, either for what they sell or for the atmosphere. While living in New York, we were lucky enough to be able to share our regular hang outs and favorite shops with many of you so how about we use this blog to do the same while we are in London?
Vinoteca has been a classic since we moved here in the spring of 2007. Great staff, amazing food and a wine list that will blow you away by its diversity. One can also buy their wine for drinking at home and they always have some interesting low-price options. The nice thing is that their menu changes daily and that they always have wines that no one else has. The best way to enjoy Vinoteca is for a long, leisurely afternoon meal as the wait can be quite long for dinner but it is definitely worth it.
St.John – Although this is one of London’s most famous restaurant, owned by chef Fergus Henderson, the place we tend to go back to is their bar and bakery – which is inside the bar. They ususally have some pretty interesting beers on tap, good wines by the glass and their anchovy toast and Welsh rarebits are to die for – so are their lentils and their bone marrow is… intense. Their bread is delicious – they actually supply Vinoteca across the street.
Pho St. John Street – the original Pho, located less than a block away from our place. We probably eat there twice a month: good, affordable and comforting food, it is also relatively healthy. D usually orders a soup in a gigantic bowl, vietnamese style and I go for a bun, basically a brothless version of his soup with beef or spring rolls. The wine list isn’t really worth mentioning but it is perfectly fine for the foods they serve.
The Dovetail – This is a great Belgian pub located in a tiny alley by the Clerkenwell Green. We used to go to much more often last spring and summer as we have been pretty unlucky with their opening hours in the last few months. Summer is the best time to go there anyway, especially late at night or in the afternoon when you can get a table by the window and familiarize yourself with their extensive beer list while eating a cone of their fantastic fries.
The Well – where everybody knows your name. This is our local pub, local as in the staff waves when we walk by – Lilli and her team are just awesome. It is a fantastic space: a wide open room with large wooden tables and floor to ceiling windows all around, it is permanently flooded with light and there is no better place to while away a winter afternoon. To be honest, we got hooked when they still had local microbrew Meantime on tap. They got rid of it and replaced it with Super Bock, a Portuguese beer that tastes like Labatt Bleue but the giant corn kernels, the fantastic light and the friendly staff are still there. Oh and the food’s quite good too.
La Fromagerie is a recent find as I had never set foot in Marylebone before May 2008 – shame on me, I know. It is owned by Patricia Michelson, a well know author and cheese specialist and if you are into cheese, her name probably sounds familiar. Although it is a bit pricey, it is well worth the visit and the splurge on some good produce and cheese. The cheese room is incredible while the staff is very knowledgeable.
The Slaughtered Lamb – on Great Sutton Street, it is not our favorite pub as the crowd tends to pack in a bit too much attitude for us but they have the great advantage of being open later than anyone else in the neighborhood and they are relatively affordable with a wide selection of beer, scotch and bourbons – oh and they have some great leather armchairs too!