St James

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…

Scully: Ottolenghi 2.0

Scully: Ottolenghi 2.0

Beyond a handful of restaurants, several books, a regular Guardian column and the now-guaranteed presence of zaatar in every self-respecting middle-class larder, Yotam Ottlolenghi has spawned a generation of professional chefs. Ramael Scully is one of these, now plying his trade under a restaurant in his own surname. If his mentor became famed for successfully combining genuinely eclectic ingredients from across the Middle East, then Scully goes one step further. Scully is a celebration of joyful and inventive cooking…

Ikoyi: Jollof cuisine – not the next big thing (November 2017)

Part of the beauty of the London dining scene is that there is a plethora of choice. Like the citizens of this city, there is huge diversity. However, the darker side of the city’s culinary dynamism is that it is relentlessly Darwinian: if you don’t get it right, you will fail. The statistics bear this out: some 50% of central London restaurants shut within a year of opening. I fear Ikoyi may be one of them.

Brumus: Great venue; pity about the food (May 2017)

The Haymarket Hotel (part of the Firmdale Group) has a lovely vibe to it. Post a relatively recent refurbishment, it feels distinctly cool. There is a boldness to the place in terms of its bright colours, quirky décor and statement modern art adorning the walls. So far, so good. Logically enough, therefore, you would expect the hotel’s restaurant also to be pretty decent. Three of us visited on a recent weekday evening and came away generally underwhelmed. In summary, it was lot of money spent on a mostly forgettable culinary experience