Ooh la la!

Brasserie ChavotAfter a few years’ absence, Eric Chavot’s return to London was hotly anticipated. A protegé of Pierre Koffman, diners wanted to know if he still had the magic that won him two stars while at The Capital Hotel.

The reviews so far have been a bit of a mixed bag. Fay Maschler in the Evening Standard damned with faint praise, while in today’s Metro, Emma Sturgess positively dissed it. Guy Dimond did like it though, which is just as well as I shot these photos for Time Out.

All I can say is that of the dishes I’ve tried, they’ve all been wonderful, and Eric is a very warm and friendly guy.

Arriving for the shoot, I spotted Matthew Fort and Tom Parker-Bowles stumbling happily through the dining room on their way out. At least two contented customers then…

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Holi hai!

It was a busy week with client, Dishoom. On Sunday, we celebrated the Hindi festival of Holi with a proper party at Village Underground in Shoreditch. Maybe not quite as full on as something traditional in India, but it sure brighted up a dull, freezing cold day in London.

Dishoom Holi partyDishoom Holi partyAnd earlier in the week, a launch party marked the release of the Dishoom story plates into the restaurant. These have captured people’s favourite tales of the original Irani cafes of old Bombay, and baked them onto a plate.

I’ve even got a plate with a story of mine from our trip to Mumbai in January, written as a haiku.

You won’t find a nicer, more genuine couple of guys than the founders of Dishoom, cousins, Kavi and Shamil Thakrar.

Kavi and Shamil ThakrarStoryplate

Young Turks, run free

One of the original Young Turks collective, Isaac McHale has set up permanent camp at Shoreditch Town Hall at the new Clove Club.

Much anticipated, it offers scenesters and foodies alike boldly aspirational modern cuisine in a hipster central setting. But just cut through all the hype and twitter noise and enjoy it for what it is – great food in an contemporary dining experience.

As Guy Dimond at Time Out put it, ‘…it’s one of the restaurants that will define this year’.

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Thai me up

Published in the current April issue of olive magazine, an article featuring recipes from Naamya Cafe, in Islington, North London.

Naamyaa1Naamyaa2Naamyaa3It’s another collaboration between genius restaurateur Alan Yau and Thai cuisine guru, David Thompson (the first was Busaba). The concept is a modern Bangkok diner with an easy-going all day menu.

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¡Comer con gusto!

Changes are afoot on Old Brompton Road. Established favourite modern Spanish, Cambio de Tercio is working to update its website etc and is photographing some new food imagery.

Do yourself a favour and book a table with Abel Lusa and sample the wonders of Chef Alberto Criado.

More to follow in the coming weeks…

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Bombay Bootcamp Part 1

Back in late January, I was fortunate to travel to Mumbai with the v charming guys of Dishoom on a press trip arranged by PR angel, Gemma Bell for journalists from Conde Nast Traveller, olive, The Guardian and The Telegraph.

It’s pretty much set the benchmark that will be hard to beat. Ever.

IMG_0019With my travel budgets normally restricted to cattle class, it was an absolute luxury to have Club Class seats courtesy of BA. Probably only bested by a trip to France in a Learjet with Renault. The irony being that on arrival in Mumbai, everyone had to get off the plane onto a rickety bus to the terminal building.

The flight landed about 1am, but with snail’s pace immigration and building work for the new airport holding up the already gridlocked traffic, we didn’t check into the hotel (Taj Mahal Palace) until around 3am.

Still, I was eager to get up early to check things out on my first visit to Mumbai. Further posts to follow…

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