We’re all going on a summer holiday

Aston MartinMercedes pagoda topLooks like summer’s finally arrived, and thoughts turn to holidays.

I was over near Old Street (Silicon Roundabout) picking up some prints (yes, people do still do C-types) from The Printspace on Kingsland Road. While there, I always take a detour to the Classic Car Club for a spot of automotive oggling. Sadly for me I’ve got a beat-up family Toyota, but one can but dream…

Classic cars seem to be so much more characterful than almost any new car. The most hideous thing I saw recently was a Bugatti Veyron in a custom silver/red paint job cruising around Harrods. It had Middle Eastern plates and someone had obviously just flown it in for their London 2012 Olympic holiday. It was certainly drawing the crowds, but in the same way as paps around Paris Hilton.

A nice Mercedes SL pagoda top would be great for a daytrip to the coast, but I had my eye on the Aston – perfect for a grand tour down through France or across the Alps.

Membership to the Classic Car Club doesn’t come cheap, but they don’t mind the occassional middle-aged saddo sniffing around the garage…

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Art alfresco

Wild Planet exhibition at the Natural History MuseumTravel photographer of the Year exhibition at the Royal Geographical SocietyEarlier in the week I was working around the newly regenerated Exhibition Road in Kensington. On a break, I was able to catch a couple of open air exhibitions, one at each end of the road. It made a nice change from crowded, stuffy galleries and the drizzle just adds to the atmosphere.

At the southern end outside the Natural History Museum is Wild Planet, which brings together some of the most spectacular entries from the last 15 years of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Not only are they amazing images but also a great insight into the dedication and committment that the photographers have.

At the other end of the road at the Royal Geographical Society is the Travel Photographer Of The Year exhibition. Truly inspiring and evocative travel photography from amateurs and pros alike.

Tapas time

Apologies, it’s been a while… So without further ado, let’s kick off with a couple of new tapas openings, courtesy of Time Out London – ideal for all the fine weather we’re having this summer… not.

Donostia

Donostia tapas, MaryleboneCod cheeks in Pil-Pil sauce, Donostia tapas, MaryleboneThe first is Donostia, a smart ‘Basque-inspired’ restaurant/bar on Seymour Place, Marylebone and headed up by chef, Tomasz Baranski, formerly at Barrafina in Soho. The smart marble bar counter is where all the action is, facing the busy open kitchen. There are plenty of small plate delights as well as larger dishes such as the regional delicacy, cod cheeks in pil pil sauce, above.

The Fat of the Land

Fat of the Land, Marylebone

Coca de recapta, Fat of the Land, MaryleboneThe second on my shotlist was the curiously named The Fat of the Land on New Cavendish Street, Marylebone. (Is the area turning into tapas central?) A modern twist on Catalan-inspired tapas is what’s going on here, such as the coca de recapta (flatbread with roasted vegetables), above. Downstairs sports a buzzing bar counter and rustic wooden tables, while upstairs it gets all sophisticated with oak furniture and stylish lighting.

So, two worth checking out for when the sun comes out this summer… eventually.