Category: Restaurants, Bars, Pubs

‘My baby don’t care for high-tone prices’

Or, as Nina Simone actually sang, ‘he don’t care for high-tone places’ I’m increasingly less interested in ‘fine dining’ establishments, and attracted by places that offer simpler food in a less formal setting. Well chosen ingredients, prepared with intelligence in the kitchen. Well judged combinations of flavour, and no more than five main components on […]

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Dinners in Paris, and a long day for the fishmongers

First night nerves We like to mark our evening of arrival in Paris with dinner at La Fontaine de Mars. You know you’re in Paris from the moment you step through the door. This time I’d left it too late to make a reservation, so we gave Le Bistrot d’Eléonore et Maxence a call.   […]

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A tale of two Frenchies. Well, actually five.

Frenchie Restaurant in Paris opened on rue du Nil in 2015, and quickly became a hot ticket. We tried to book a table for dinner in May this year, but they still fill the restaurant months ahead. Frenchie Wine Bar opposite doesn’t take reservations; it opens at 6.30pm, and the advice is to turn up […]

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The Seafood Bar

The Seafood Bar, Amsterdam   We passed the restaurant in the morning near Vondelpark, while walking along Van Baerlestraat towards the Van Gogh Museum. What we could see of the pristine, white tiled interior looked promising, and the empty plastic crates stacked outside boded well, even on a Monday. Returning at lunchtime, we had to […]

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Just a quiet Monday night in Amsterdam

Caffè Toscanini, Amsterdam   Arriving early for our reservation, we asked if we could have an aperitif at the bar. I could see we were in safe hands, they stocked all the right brands. I ordered an Americano from the drinks list; equal parts Bèrto Bitter and white vermouth, with a (mere) splash of Fevertree […]

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First lobster of the year, and the Norfolk pub crawl resumes

Rocky Bottoms reopens for 2019….   Rocky Bottoms reopened after their winter break, on a gloriously sunny Monday. Yes, it was windswept on the clifftops at West Runton, but this is Norfolk after all.     The heap of lobster pots outside boded well for lunch. The owner catches crab and lobster off nearby Weybourne […]

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Swedish Food, Part Two: my quest for a meatball

First, a waterborne Smörgåsbord on the Steamship Stockholm. Invited to the city of Stockholm for a birthday celebration, we were instructed by our generous hosts to be ready to board ship at 11.30 on Sunday for a prompt departure at midday. The captain, they told us, would not wait for latecomers.       The […]

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Swedish food, Part One: “what have the Swedes ever done for us?”

In her Reith Lecture in 2018, Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan said this about the Swedish people:   “Think of the Swedes” “I mean we think of the Swedes now today as making expeditions to Ikea, assembling furniture quietly, not getting cross at it. We think of them going to the woods and picking berries. I mean […]

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My round-up of 2018

2018 has been a year that required urgent distractions from the shambles that passed for political debate in Westminster. Fortunately it’s been a good year for adventures: exhibitions, travel, theatre, food & drink. Here are just a few of my personal highlights:   Theatre – behind the scenes at The Bridge In February I wrote […]

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Ten favourite Bacari in Venice for chewing the lardo

Cichètti, or Chewing the Lardo   There’s something democratic about this city without cars. No-one can hide behind the anonymity of a windscreen, so the chances are you will know your fellow passengers on the vaporetto by sight, at the very least. Lawyers and professors share the same transport system as plumbers and market traders. […]

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