Est. India: Livin’ for the City

Est. India: Livin’ for the City

Est. India apparently offers “traditional, fine, urban” dining, per its website. Even if I would not necessarily choose to be so profligate with my descriptors, in summary Est. was a great venue with some impressively decent food.While there are some obvious classics such as the Korma and the Jalfrezi, it’s the novel that pushes the boundaries…

Holborn Dining Room: Formula for success

Holborn Dining Room: Formula for success

The owners of the Rosewood Hotel seem – after several iterations – to have hit upon a winning formula for their restaurant. They have created an all-day brasserie of modern British classics with a few twists. It’s worked for years at the likes of the Wolseley or the more recently renovated the Ned. Similar to the latter, the Rosewood benefits from a glorious history and diners get to enjoy the spacious marble-pillared room which used to house Pearl Assurance…

Dishoom Carnaby: Love at first sight

Dishoom Carnaby: Love at first sight

That there always seem to be queues outside every branch of Dishoom I have attempted to visit must surely be a sign that the operators of this now 7-strong chain must have hit upon a winning formula. Luckily enough my wait ended earlier this week when I lost my Dishoom virginity by visiting their Carnaby Street branch. There was no let-down, no anti-climax, just a desire to return.

Cabotte: Magical Musar moment

Cabotte: Magical Musar moment

Where better to host an evening of tasting wines from the iconic yet cult vineyard Chateau Musar than at Cabotte? Named after the small huts that Burgundian winegrowers have within their vineyards, Cabotte is a sophisticated venue based almost opposite the City’s Guildhall. Its culinary emphasis is on modern French food with some knowingly British influences, while the wine bias is, unsurprisingly, distinctly Burgundian.

Roka Canary Wharf: Hai!

Roka Canary Wharf: Hai!

Credit to the backers of Roka that they astutely chose Canary Wharf for their second outlet, opening it some five years before either its Mayfair or Aldwych branches. Follow the money was perhaps the principle. Admittedly, it took me a full decade to visit this venue, but a recent lunchtime meal impressed both me and my comrade. If only all Roka experiences could be as satisfying as this one.

Honest Burgers: An ode to the plant-based burger

Honest Burgers: An ode to the plant-based burger

Credit to the founders of Honest Burgers – a now 20+ outlet mini-chain in London and beyond – for being ahead of its time. Your reviewer may not be the biggest fan of burger and chips but in the interests of research, I visited the Marylebone branch of Honest with a willing colleague last week and a very specific purpose in mind – to sample the vegan burger they have recently launched. The burger was damn good and would convince many a sceptic

Little Italy: Thinking big

Little Italy: Thinking big

London institutions do not come much better than Bar Italia. A stalwart on Soho’s Frith Street for 70 years, it was the first place in the area to make proper coffee – the Italian way – and it stayed open all night. Many a memorable evening in my past ended there. The aspiring family behind the venture did not, however, rest on its laurels and opened a restaurant next door in the 1990s. That both have remained constants amidst the ongoing reinvention of Soho is testament to their success as well as a reflection of the Polledri family’s ongoing involvement. The passion they bring to Little Italy is abundantly obvious. This is a highly professional venture with top-notch cooking but contains a strongly personal touch too.

Pearl Liang: Take-away next time, please

Pearl Liang: Take-away next time, please

The regeneration of Paddington Basin in the last decade has been nothing short of remarkable, both in terms of newly developed office and residential space as well as multifarious eating options. By day, it is buzzing; on a Friday night, however, it was almost eerily quiet, particularly once the post-work drinking crowd had dissipated. We discovered this to our cost when we ended up being the last customers to leave Pearl Liang …

Berenjak: Pretty perfect Persian

Berenjak: Pretty perfect Persian

There is a shrewdness behind the whole Berenjak concept, from the siting of the venue through to the vibe and the food. Diners are told to expect a combination of ‘home-style’ cooking combined with a ‘hole-in-the-wall’ kebab experience; something for everyone, especially in Soho. While the mains at Berenjak are indeed centred around the grilling of meat, what you get here is about as far removed from a drunken post-pub snack as possible.

Donostia: Welcome home

Donostia: Welcome home

Visitors to the Basque region of Spain will see large adverts at the airports welcoming them to “the home of Spanish food.” This is not a bold claim, given that the city of San Sebastián has more Michelin stars per square metre than any other in the world. London may be some 1300km away from Spain’s culinary capital, but diners need not travel that far to experience some of the best food from the region. Donostia (what the locals call San Sebastián) is a 40-cover venue located in Marylebone’s restaurant quarter and provides an exceptionally good introduction to Basque cooking

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall: Make the trip

The Orangery at Rockliffe Hall: Make the trip

Luxury breaks in fine English country hotels don’t come much better than the experience provided by Rockliffe Hall. While the original buildings date from the 18th Century, the offering throughout is distinctly modern including three different and all very good restaurants in which to eat. The high point, where my comrade and I enjoyed full tasting menus that would easily rival Michelin-starred venues throughout the UK, was the Orangery. ..

Barrafina: The trouble with tapas (yet again)

Barrafina: The trouble with tapas (yet again)

The Spaniards were well ahead of almost every other nation when it came to the concept of ‘sharing plates.’ The term tapas is indeed as ineluctably associated with the country as bull fighting or Sangria. Nowadays, bull fighting is, of course, considered distinctly cruel and unnecessary, and the same could arguably be said of the pairing of orange juice with red wine. Yet tapas lives on. And rightly so. Small dishes mean diners have the opportunity to sample a wide range of offerings and see the full extent of a chef’s talents. However, where are those talented chefs? Not in London. I have yet to sample tapas anywhere across the capital that comes close to what might be consistently available in even the most humble of Spanish establishments. Barrafina did little to change my impression

Patri: Home run

Patri: Home run

Passion and execution are two things that diners expect when eating out. Both were in spades at Patri, a small Indian restaurant located on a Hammersmith side street. Similar to the approach pursued by better-known Indian establishments such as Dishoom and Darjeeling Express, Puneet and his team at Patri are seeking to bring their home-based experiences of Indian cooking to the broader world.

Navadhanya: A top Indian restaurant in Edinburgh

Navadhanya: A top Indian restaurant in Edinburgh

Regular readers of the Blog will know that Gourmand Gunno can often be found in Indian restaurants. However, with a choice of some 150 such dining establishments in Edinburgh (a city with which Gunno is not at all familiar), how to choose? Luckily, fellow food Blogger Adele (aka ‘Tartan Spoon’) suggested a trip to Navadhanya. ..

The Kitchin: From nature to plate

The Kitchin: From nature to plate

Many restaurants may claim that they operate a nature to plate philosophy, but few do it with as much passion and commitment as the Kitchin. Based on a recent visit, the Kitchin fully deserves its Michelin star, which it has held since 2007. Located in the redeveloped Leith waterfront area, just on the edge of Edinburgh, the venue both looks and feels distinctly modern but still manages successfully to show reverence for the past.

Farzi Café: Head fake

Farzi Café: Head fake

‘No,’ was what I wanted to scream straight out when first I learned about Farzi Café. Everything about it struck me as wrong or offensive. The restaurant is subtitled as being a ‘modern spice bistro’ (what is that supposed to mean?), it is backed by ‘the Czar of Indian Cuisine’ (per the details on its website) and I learned through the Internet that farzi means ‘fake’ in Urdu. Add into this that London’s newest batch of Indian openings have all met with mixed reviews, and my expectations were certainly low heading to Farzi Café. The good news, however, was that they were comfortably surpassed…