Years back when pop-up restaurants literally “popped up”, we awarded our fictitious ‘Elldrew Loves’ restaurant crown to Dishoom, who brought the old Irani cafe style and flavours of Bombay to London with their first restaurant opening in 2010. Dishoom came to Elldrew’s attention with their pop-up at The Dishoom Chowpatty Beach Bar on the Southbank during the summer of 2011. That day was imprinted on us as we sat Thames side eating in silence, eyes nearly popping out of our heads, as we experienced the flavours of India in a way never experienced before. Their creative cooking and mastery of ingredients has not only tantilised our taste buds since but, to this day, has remained our favourite Indian restaurant…what these guys achieve, serving up traditional food in a modern era, is pure artistry. So whilst Dishoom holds onto the crown for Indian cuisine, we feel it’s time to branch out and add another restaurant to the ‘Elldrew Loves’ Club, Som Saa Thai.
On a recent trip to Florence we booked our final nights dinner at the 1 Michelin star restaurant, Ora d’Aria. Ora d’Aria (meaning ‘hour of air’) first took its name from when the restaurant opened, at a previous location, opposite a prison. Guests dined whilst the inmates took advantage of their daily exercise hour. New location and new meaning, we are told ’hour of air’ now focuses on their patrons time spent at the restaurant…they want to ensure each guest is exposed to tradition, innovation and elegance created by one of Italy’s leading chefs, Marco Stabile.
What we love about Stabile is that he is from Tuscany, and whilst he has developed his skills in some of Italy’s finest kitchens, he has remained in Tuscany and allowed us, the punters, to experience some of the most amazing Italian cuisine to have passed our lips.
For a London restaurant chain serving modern Thai food, Busaba does it really well. It has been around for over 15 years, with 12 venues, and was conceived by the famous chef Alan Yau.
It’s a perfect spot for lunch or dinner. The salt and pepper calamari is delicious, the Lab (or Larb as we know it) Salad also packed a punch with flavours and chilli – there was some sweating and possibly a runaway tear – but both worked perfectly with the classic satay chicken (actually one of the best peanut sauces around) and smoked chicken vermicelli noodles. We will be back soon!
For those who religiously follow us on Twitter, you will have been bombarded by photos and post updates during our lunch at Vintage Salt; the newest restaurant to take over the rooftop area of Selfridge’s department store in central London.
Designed with a seaside restaurant ‘all things nautical’ theme in mind, and a menu to complement, Elldrew popped in for a late lunch and was totally blown away by the sights and flavours…so much so we’ve paused to give Vintage Salt it’s own blog post.
As our readers should know by now Elldrew are great fans of weekend breaks, especially to the English countryside. Planning a leisurely drive away from the city for a few days is the perfect way to recharge one’s batteries; no crowded airports with long check-ins queues, 4 hours of your life lost on a 45 min flight to go only a few hundred miles away. Why not hit the road, setting the pace and schedule on your terms and take in the ever-changing view from the comfort of your own pilot seat! Despite not being half way through 2015 Elldrew have been lucky enough to take advantage of three mini getaways…so here’s what we have been up to.
PART 1: COWLEY MANOR, GLOUCESTERSHIRE
The great British public has a reputation of forming orderly lines with no notice, but sometimes the clue is in the queue. On a recent drive to the Cotswolds we stumbled across The Telegraph’s online ‘insiders guide’ to the best places to eat in the area; from typical pub grub to fine dining restaurants. As we were staying near Cheltenham we searched a 30 min radius drive from our hotel so that we could stop for lunch before the usual 3pm check-in time.
We’d heard Cheltenham was a nice place to visit (we guessed it must have something to offer other than the famous steeplechase horse racing as it has the fourth-highest rate of multi-millionaires in the UK living there) but after looking through the restaurant list we weren’t overwhelmed…the closest venue we liked was Jamie’s Italian…so we decided to continue our search. We decided on the quaint village of Cirencester and deli-café-bistro ‘Made by Bob’.
Empty Chairs at Empty tables: Part 1
Alas, not a review of Les Miserables nor the song from the show, instead a review of two recent dining experiences at two rather lovely restaurants, but sadly, both were somewhat deserted hence the title of our latest two-part blog.
Our first review focuses on NW3 Bar & Kitchen.