Monday, 22 November 2010

Dorset- a foodie's haven

I wrote effusively about the Wild Garlic in Beaminster back in July- below are detailed three other absolute stonkers in the local area. If you haven't been to Hive Beach Cafe it is one of the most idyllic and romantic eateries you will ere encounter- set amidst the soaring cliffs of the Jurassic Coast it is MAGNIFICENT.

Hive Beach Cafe

Hive Beach Cafe has one many awards including Coast magazine's 2009 award for best coastal cafe, pub or restaurant. Enjoy delicious freshly caught fish on their balcony overlooking the beach.

Tel: 01308 897 070


Hix Oyster & Fish House

Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset, DT7 3JP. A special treat also only a few miles from the woodland workshop. The name says it all; chef Mark Hix has recently opened this fantastic fish restaurant that overlooks the cobb in lyme regis.

Tel: 01297 446 910


River Cottage Canteen

The River Cottage local produce canteen, Trinity Square, Axminster, Devon, EX13 5AN. As you would expect, Hugh Fernleigh Whitingstall's new canteen is all about great local food. Whether dining or buying, it is well worth a visit.

Tel: 01297 631862


The Wild Garlic Restaurant

The Wild Garlic Restaurant in Beaminster is run by 'Masterchef' Mat Follas.

Tel: 01308 861 446


Friday, 12 November 2010


What Terroirs says:

Terroirs is a wine bar and restaurant situated in the heart of the London’s West End, a stone’s throw from Trafalgar Square and adjacent to Charing Cross station.

The wine bar seats 45 covers with a further 12 seats at the zinc top bar (which are non bookable). Open from 12pm till 11pm Monday to Saturday serving Charcuterie, Cheese, Bar Snacks, Small Plates and Plat du Jour. A reduced menu is served between 3pm and 5.45pm. The full menu is then available from 5.45pm until 11pm.

The concept derives from the Parisian natural wine bars with their emphasis on superb, rarely-seen wines, informal yet informed service, and excellent, hearty food.

What I say:

Cracking spot in an otherwise touristy area. The excellent wines by the carafe wonderfully presented and successfully emulate the Parisian vibe they are aiming for (indeed at times Terroirs reminded me greatly of L'Ecluse

The charcuterie hit the spot perfectly for two- generous portions of cured pork, terrine and a coarser pate served up with cornichons and crusty bread would certainly make for an excellent pre/post theatre repast.

For the main event we opted for two french brasserie mainstays, bavette du boeuf and corn fed chicken with lentils and lardons- both were exemplary. The bavette was served simply seared and sliced, the chicken, a dish which can be as inspid as an evening with Ed Miliband, lent its rich and salty stock to the puy lentils and had a beautifully golden crispy skin.

Such was the generosity of the portions that the dessert escaped appraisal- however if a passing creme brulee tasted as good as it wafted then I would not hesitate to rubber stamp the Terroirs experience.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

SeVen restaurant in East Sheen- Great story even better food

Dear readers-
I would like to put my absolute stamp of approval to a restaurant local to my parents in leafy East Sheen.

Go there go there now and tell your friends- this fusion of Afghan, Lebanese and Turkish food prepared, served and cleared away by a team of seven Afghan brothers is a real find and should be mentioned in the same breath amongst the established middle eastern outlets in Knightsbridge, Mayfair and even Edgeware road.

Bravo and I wish them every success

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Scribbler likes

Wild Garlic

Mat Follas's first restaurant following his impressive run on Master Chef. Simple modern farmhouse decor a reassuringly short menu which in July featured venison, brill, local crab and ceviche as well as the dorset escargots. All expertly executed in a fashion that many London restaurants could learn a lot from. Follas takes care to walk the floor and meet his customers- apparently he has lost count of the times he has been asked how the "smoked" mash is made. A dedicated forager he garnishes his dishes with edible flowers and is booked up for the forseeable future on his guided foraging tours of the local area.

I wish Mr Follas the very best of the luck- he deserves every success.

With a view

A quick foray into suggested eating and drinking spots with a view.

Aqua Nueva- the London cousin of the Hong Kong establishment. Splendid cocktails and a fabulous view over Regent Street and beyond. also worth sampling the full menu for inventive Japanese or Spanish fare.

Trafalgar Hotel terrace  miniature and intimate perfect for a mid-week glass of champagne stunning views of the west end rooftops. 

Coq d'Argent a perennial favourite in the heart of the city that surely needs no introduction- steadfastly reliable on the scran and quenchers. 

Shoreditch House members only readers so latch onto your voguest companero/paramore and pack your bathing garments to take advantage of the LA style pool. Sister establishment Soho House also has a terrace overlooking Greek Street but the it is a testament to Shoreditch's credentials that the chici cognoscenti still throng its levels.

I left my heart in California

Dear readers,

I cannot deny that I am ostensibly a bird, bred of blighty stock and hold the hills, valleys and concrete forests of our noble land in deepest affection. The tapas bar, taverna and trattoria will at times seduce me from the clutches of my english pub like an exotic mistress for a tawdry two week fling, however at the last there is nothing that can tear me away from the amorous embrace of my local.

This is of course not to say I am an unadventurous and homesick traveller- I consider any self appointed cosmopolitan without a liberal smattering of pin pricks in the map to be "laying it on a bit thick". Travel they say broadens the mind and indeed, I have found, the mid-section.

With both said broadenings duly noted perhaps it is a crime and a traversty that I found myself re-visiting the west coast of america for the fourth time in three years. Surely I should be exploring territories and cultures new?

The truth is that I feel that far from having missed opportunities I feel extremely humbled to have experienced some of the greatest natural beauty I have seen and I have to be honest some gastronomic pinnacles:

Naturally beautiful;
  1. Lake Tahoe: Winter- ski down from the top of Heavenly or Homewood and you see powdery snow, sparkling lake and scorching desert all in a glance. 
    1. In the Summer camp down in Emerald bay and take to the lake

  1. Yosemite national park: Drive across the spectacular Tioga Pass and make the long winding journey down to the valley floor and stay at the The Ahwahnee. This hotel shines as Yosemite National Park’s distinctive Four-Diamond hotel.  The Ahwahnee was specifically designed to highlight its natural surroundings, featuring Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point. The destination of queens and presidents alike, The Ahwahnee offers a perfect balance of history, hospitality and elegance.
  2. Big Sur: One of the must drive roads in the world. The Californian coast line at its most rugged and stunning
Eats and drinks:

California is a foodie's paradise- they take it extremely seriously. Personally I feel San Francisco and the bay area up to Sonoma and Napa has the edge- a stunning mix of artisan cheeses, fresh fish and of course the diversity of San Fran's community- hispanic, chinese, japanese all executed to a discernibly better standard than counterparts in LA.  I can recommend a drink at Top of the Mark and The Big Four in San Francisco (mostly for the views). There are so many good eateries it's hard to pick a few out (particularly given the demise of the once definitive Rubicon) but Charles Phlan's beautifully crafted "ingredient driven" creations at  Slanted Door have been deservedly exalted for a decade and the old school charm of the Swan Oyster Depot (lunch only) also get the nod .

Also a quick note on picture perfect Santa Barbara where Galanga Thai rocked our taste buds and we queued 35 minutes for one of the best ice creams I've ever encountered at Cold Stone Creamery.

I could write reams on the glories of California- the fish and meat in San Diego, the straight roads of the desert, the shopping in Santa Monica but I suggest dear reader you set your affairs in order and go and discover them for once.

Monday, 11 January 2010

A bite to eat around Marble Arch

The Scribbler was recently approached to recommend a few west end eateries for a colleague.

There are of course several that need no introduction in the vicinity the most prominent being Galvin at windows (I also highly commend the Galvin brothers new venue) and the increasingly footballery but reliably sumptuous Nobu. In addition Maze and Maze grill is a carnivorous delight - not perhaps the definitive steak in London (see next blog) but an excellent example and very good value for the onglet at £10.

These were my other recommendations in the Marble Arch and Mayfair area.



L’Autre Pied

Kiku (Japanese)

The wild card for informal but good food

The only running footman:

Friday, 8 January 2010

Favourite places

Two new eateries the scribbler heartily endorses following a most enjoyable December jaunt to St Ives in Cornwall.

Cornwall is developing into a british California with a plethora of local produce including artisan cheese, ham, smoked fish and even tea!

The scribbler revelled in an exemplary bouillabaisse at the Alba (lovely quayside views) and a selection of fresh mezze and seafood at the Porthminster cafe (quite literally on the beach).

Breakfast and rooms at the chic green boutique Primrose Valley hotel also come highly recommended although the views from the newly refurbished Porthminster hotel are hard to beat .

The last stop before the stunning train journey between St Ives and St Erth (where we join the main line to Paddington) was of course the Tate gallery. Quite simply a brilliant space and their current Dark Monarch exhibition is something else