LETS TALK ABOUT LONDON AND ITS ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES:
London has restaurants of every ethnic origin and all of them tempt your appetite and challenge your taste buds. One lovely chain of restaurants is IVY. The one I went to was in Chelsea, 195 Kings Road, London, SW3 5EQ, a very upscale part of the city. The surrounds and the decor are as interesting as the food here. The main dining room in a garden and yet well shielded from London’s unpredictable weather.
This is not a cheap place to eat with a bottle of Barolo, Vietti, Lazzarito, Piedmont, Italy, 2009 going for 360 a bottle and a glass of Chardonnay, Catena Zapata, White Bones, Mendoza, Argentina, 2014 for £35. You can get away with a lot less, £5.75 for a very nice House white, for example. The Ivy Gardens is meant for fine dining for an entire evening. Despite being a very large restaurant one does not feel crowded. Indeed it is ideal for lingering over that last glass of wine flavoured with good conversation. I ordered the salmon fillet for £19.95 and had the green beans with almonds for another 3.75. We shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio for £42 and finished it off with a rum baba for £8.75 and three leisurely hours of discussion about the world and its vicissitudes.
The Ivy Gardens is open until 11:30 pm weekdays and 11:30p.m. on Saturdays, 10:30 p.m. on Sundays. You can find out more about it and book your table at https://theivychelseagarden.com.This is a place reserved for a special treat but it is well worth the price.
London does not have to be expensive however. One of my favorite places it a
Turkish restaurant in Stoke Newington, Cirrik II 194 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7JD. Their website is:
You will walk out of there with food to take home because the portions are so large. The house wine is very good for £5.75 a glass and the service is excellent. I often get the Chicken Thigh Kebab for £13.50 that comes with vegetables and huge salad. I also love the salmon for £14.95 I am always too full for dessert. The thing I love about this place is no one minds if you sit over dinner for hours and chat. It is a delight. I have had a gorgeous dinner with food to take home for lunch for under £20. You cannot even buy a toothpick for that price at The Ivy.
There is a wonderful Italian Restaurant just around the corner form Cirrik (which is the name of an Turkish bird, by the way) called Robedo’s. https://www.rubedolondon.com
They bill themselves as Italian and European. The menu changes from day to day They pride themselves on featuring season foods that are imaginatively prepared and beautifully served. They have a seasonal menu and a full menu. The prices are reasonable and we waked out spending no more than £25 for wine, a satisfying meal. I ordered a chicken dish with mushroom fried rice and the people with me ordered a risotto that was marvelous and very creamy . I noted in this restaurant that several regulars come in alone to eat their evening meal, since the seasonal menu changes daily.
A similar casual feel is at Kipferl an Austrian restaurant at 20 Camden Passage in Islington that I go to very often because an Austrian friend of mine says the food reminds her of home. This is a clean, well-lit place with a friendly caring staff who are as anxious to please and we are to be pleased. My friend Alice loves the Kasespatzle a classic Austrian dish of pan fired noodles, mountain cheese topped with a fried onion for £14.50. I always get the cheese omelet for £8.50 because my taste does not run to wiener schnitzel and breaded dumplings. The wine is always special as are the desserts here. The cakes are home made nad one of a kind. The variety changes daily. My dear friend David who is in his late eighties goes there for his dinner as often as he can because they treat him like family.
Islington abounds with charming restaurants that delight you although very few delight your pocketbook . I particularly love A Taste of India 160 Essex https://www.mytasteofindia.co.uk. This is a chain, but it feels unique and individual when you enter the place. The time I went there we had the house wine for about £6 and chicken Masala for £4.95 with special fried rice for £2.95. This restaurant measures up so many I have visited in the London area and its prices are very reasonable. The atmosphere is very plush with linen tablecloths and napkins and the service is prompt, the food is hot and well cooked. . I really loved it.
If you want vegetarian Indian food, Rasa is a great choice It is on Stoke Newington Church Street. www.rasarestaurants.com 55 Stoke Newington Church Street London N16 OAR. Here you can get beautiful vegetarian dishes mostly priced about £5.50 with things like coconut rice £3.50 and spicy potatoes It is a totally different experience and a tasty one. I ordered Cheera Parippu Curry for £5.50: Fresh spinach and toor dal cooked in a thick sauce of garlic, tomatoes and green peppers, flavoured with curry leaves. Most Indian restaurants only have a house wine by the glass and often they are very sour. The prices seem small for these places but the extras add up and we usually walk out spending about £35 per person. If you are watching your pocket books you need not pay that much. I have often believed the Turkish and Indian restaurants in London are the best bargains.
For another kind of dining experience that will break the bank but is worth it try Savini at Criterion, 224 Piccadilly, London WIJ 9HP
It is the room itself that is the major selling point with crystal chaneliers and prices as high as its domed ceiling. I quote reviewer Dave Calhoun here in TimeOut He says it far better than I: “The food is very good – but so it should be when a meal for two with a bottle of wine and a couple of glasses of champagne comes to well over £200.
The veal Milanese (£29) was a whopping slab of crisp and tasty meat, while the pasta of the day (£28.95) – ‘woven’ intrecci with white prawns and scallops – was a highlight. “
As he says, the prices are outrageous just for a bit of plush surroundings and the smart thing here is to go to the bar for a pre-dinner drink and then walk down Piccadilly for a huge array of fine places to dine.
TO BE CONTINUED