All in Restaurant Reviews


20 New Change Passage London, EC4M 9AG website


Background: About once a quarter, my INSEAD friend Andrew and I try to meet up for lunch somewhere in between Old Street and Fleet Street.  He picks my brain about my views on online shopping (a subject on which I can assure you I am an expert) for his company and he buys me lunch.  A pretty sweet deal if you ask me.  It’s not the easiest task trying to triangulate a restaurant in exactly the right spot but given the newness and relative hype we thought Barbecoa might be a good choice. Do forgive the iPhone pics, after a full year of silence I am a little out of practice.


Rochelle School, Arnold Circus, London E2 7ES



Background: One of the inevitable consequences of moving to a new city, or country even, is that your existing friends and family try to set you up on friend dates.  On one such occasion, when my mother and her friend connected their daughters ‘who were looking for friends in London’, I met up with a girl who had been living in London for no less than 8 years, thinking she was helping out a newcomer (3 years deep).  That relationship was not meant to be and I believe our respective relationships with our mothers suffered as well.  It does happen every so often that you are connected by someone else and it just works.  In London it has happen three times, this particular time it was my step-brother Lopo who put me in touch with Rachel, a foodie, setting up her own catering business who is a super cool East London chick and we ate a great, simply meal together and just chatted and chatted forever.  The plan was to meet in Shoreditch, no small task in the snow (this post is about as current as the January snow storms), at a place called Rochelle Canteen.  I took the Hammersmith and City line, which means it’s a miracle I made it all, and even found the restaurant which is located in a schoolyard behind a wall with no sign (further indication that I am a genius).   



High Street, Bray, Berkshire, SL6 2AB 01628626151



Background:Our dear friend Jeffery is moving back to the States and to send himself off, he had planned a wonderful boozy lunch out in Henley the other Sunday.  So what is one to do when they find they need to be out in the countryside on Sunday for lunch? Well, schedule two meals around it, of course!  It was this magical thinking that brought us to The Hinds Head.  The Hinds Head is the pub of the world renowned Heston Blumenthal whose claim to fame, The Fat Duck, is just down the road. The pub, built in the 15th century, has been operational for over 400 years and although its original function is unknown some say it was a royal hunting lodge while other the guest house of the Abbot of Cirencester. In an unusual turn of events, I was not burdened by the responsibility of making a reservation but was told by my friend, Michelle that her new boyfriend, Dawid (pronounced Daa –Vid, try it once more) had made a reservation and we would be having a double date. Fantastic! Luckily the skies were pouring down with rain so there was nothing more we all wanted to do then sit down to a nice pub lunch.



283 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill, London, W11 2QA



Background: Living (and eating) in Notting Hill can be exhausting (and fattening).  We also tend to frequent the same restaurants over and over again.  Come Sunday there is often no food in the house and Pascal and I debate if we should just go back to the usual or try something new.  Negozio Classica was recommended to us by two trusted sources, Skye (who also recommended the Ottolenghi cookbook for which I am forever grateful) and Melissa, my Pilates instructor (read great body and healthy) so it seemed appropriate for a light Sunday night bite.  Negozio Classica is on the corner of Westbourne Grove and Portobello Road, a corner with uber people watching possibilities (although probably not recommended on a Saturday)and is basically a wine shop with a couple of tables.  Negozio means shop in Italian so that would make sense to anyone who speaks Italian; I do not so I looked it up.  This also means that if you order wine then you pay a shop price and not a restaurant price which is great news. 



Ripa di Porta Ticinese 55, Milan +39-02-8940-6277




It has been two years and two days since I first drove from France to London to start a new life.  Add to that 10 months for an MBA and it’s been nearly three years since I left my hometown of New York City.  I am often asked about how the cities are different and what do I miss from NY. My list, which I will save for another time, is often long and nostalgic.  At the top of that list, however, are my family and friends so when my best friend/ex-roommate/partner–in-crime, Michal, said she was moving to Europe I was elated.  By American standards she is not exactly close.  Geographically, Milan and London are about as close as New York and Atlanta (I had to Google this, took me four tries) but psychologically they are basically neighbours.  All I had to do was make sure that she actually went through with it and stayed. 



38-42 St. John Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 4AY



Background:  One of the perks of writing about food and restaurants is that you end up meeting other people who are similarly impassioned by the same topic. Hence how I met Charlie McVeigh of the Le Café Anglais and The Draft House (I highly recommend both). We got a talking about cheese, wine, restaurants and the like and planned to have lunch.  Eating with a restaurateur is a little daunting.  He made the reservation at Eastside Inn (through the PR office at Le Café Anglais!), a newcomer to Farringdon around Smithfield market, in the previous home of Vic Naylor’s, opened by Bjorn van der Horst, formerly with Gordon Ramsey Holdings. 

When I hear the word “Inn” I immediately think of Jesus, for no other reason than he was born in the stable of an inn or so they say.  After Jesus comes small country get-aways in Connecticut or the Cotswolds.  This place was not very “inn-like” according to my standards but I am not in the habit of setting them so take them with a grain of salt.  The interior is modern and minimalist, a little too well-lit for my taste, and is divided into two sections; the restaurants and the bistro.  There is also a little lounge area where there is supposed to be jazz (apparently not lunchtime) but struck me as a little awkward.



DETOX DAY #6 | 19 MAY 2009


77C Walton Street

London SW3 2HT

+44 207 584 3441         



So what do you do when you are on a detox and a friend you’ve been meaning to catch up with asks you to lunch? Do you decline? Force your choice of restaurant on her? Or just hope for the best? I chose door number three.  I was secretly hoping she would choose a restaurant that served exclusively bacon cheeseburgers but alas it was not to be.  We met at Jak’s on Walton Street at 1:30 for lunch.  It is said that lunchtime in a recession is one of the hardest seatings to fill.  Not so in Jak’s. The place was absolutely bursting.



47 Hereford Rd, Bayswater, W2 +44 207 229 1503 website






Background:  We had been meaning to go to the Commander for a while.  I asked Pascal on Friday afternoon what he would like to do for the evening.   He replied “Have a dinner at 9pm.”  Now imagine a fuming, “With whom?” email.  I was mad, it’s Friday night, what dinner! I am always grammatically correct when I am mad.  Turns out I read it wrong and it said “Have dinner at 9pm.” Ok, that’s better, phew!  So I set my sights on The Commander: Porterhouse and Oyster bar. It sounded like the makings of a good Friday night dinner. 



I made the reservation via OpenTable for 9pm and was looking forward to my meal.  A couple hours before I was meant to arrive I received a phone call saying that they, The Commander, had received my reservation and were looking forward to my arrival but they were a full house and there might be a little bit of waiting at the bar.  I hung up the phone and was confronted with mixed emotions.  Are they hedging against making me wait?  Do they just want me to know they are full? Whatever the tactic, I still showed up at 9pm anticipating that I would have to wait at the bar, whether or not my table was ready (Pascal, when on time, is 15 minutes late).







2 Bellevue Road, Wandsworth Common, SW17 7EG, +44 208 672 0114 website

Background: I originally hail from New York and for us Zagat is God.  I have also introduced Pascal to Zagat, and therefore, it should not be a surprise that when choosing a restaurant for my birthday this is where he would turn.  A 29 for food is absolutely shocking.  There are only two in London with this rating; the other one is twice as expensive.  And fair enough, neither of us knew where Wandsworth was before we ventured out to the restaurant, but still.  Not sure how we even got a reservation but hey Tuesday isn't exactly date night.  But the location is beautiful, just off the common, and surrounded by cute little shops selling French linens and stuff; so far so good.  Now I had read on Cheese and Biscuits and gen.u.ine.ness that the room can be cramped and loud, so I was expecting that.  Pascal, however, had some inside tips and booked a table upstairs in a smaller room which had ample space and wasn’t the slightest bit noisy.  Once we were seated, Pascal notices a far better table by the window overlooking Wandsworth common, we ask and are given this table, a nice little upgrade.




1 Wilbraham PlaceLondon SW1X 9AE website


Background: Daylight savings plus living within the Arctic Circle (i.e. London) means that even in mid-April the days feel ludicrously long, which I consider a good thing.  It just so happened that on Saturday night at around 8pm Pascal and I decided to make reservations for dinner (clearly neither of us thought it was 8pm). So I went through all of the restaurants that I have tagged from various sites and blogs and came up with Le Cercle.  Expecting a denial, I sheepishly called for a reservation.  Success! So now this makes me both happy and nervous at the same time.  Either way we decide to give it a go.  Located off of Sloane Street, we approach and see the entrance, Pascal asks light-heartedly, “You didn’t sign us up for a £300 dinner, did you?” Upon inspection of the menu posted outside it seems not, so we proceed.  We are greeted at the door and then asked to make our way downstairs.  So now I am annoyed because I hate eating in basements/dungeons but thankfully the room has very high ceilings, is well laid out and did not at any point make me feel as if I am eating underground. We are seated at what seems to be one the best tables for two in the house, so I am happy.





46 Lexington Street, Soho, London W1F 0LW 0207 437 5708


Background:  I had been in a little bit of a food rut so eating out at someone else's restaurant selection, especially a foodie like Rob, was very welcome.  Andrew Edmunds is located on a small street tucked in the middle of Soho across the street from the ever brimming Fernandez & Wells. Upon arrival, I was early (as usual), my boyfriend was also early (unheard of) and one our fellow diners was already seated. This was a relief as there was absolutely no where to wait for our table if need be.  We were shown to a table down a precarious staircase with no railing to a dimly lit, basement-like room (romantic to some) where we would spend the next two hours and as Frances so aptly noted as she walked, wow looks like it's a third date place.