‘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…
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…
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.
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
If someone said ‘here is a fat dollop of cash, now go and design a restaurant’, what you may get is Sake No Hana. Of course, just because it looks good, doesn’t mean that it is good.
Almost every regular London restaurant-goer recognises that one of the most exciting things about dining in the city is the dynamism of the restaurant scene, the variety, the reinvention.
Most people are aware that St James is a pretty posh part of London, and so to know of a well-priced restaurant that serves reliably good and consistent food in this area is a definite find.