• This is a new addition to the Clapham scene which opened in late 2011. It is on the ground floor of a new residential development on the intersection between St John’s Hill and Plough Lane, just a short hop from Clapham Junction.

    It’s got a warehouse feel to it with the visible air conditioning pipes and vents in the ceiling, but it’s also got a retro vibe with the eclectic mix of reconditioned vintage chairs, tables and lamps.

    Both times I have been there has been a DJ who has been playing music fitting to the time of the week – Friday night commercial R&B and hip hop, Sunday night old school classics. It covers a large area, and on both visits there has been a good atmosphere created by lots of drinkers and diners, but there’s always been somewhere to sit (something that is becoming increasingly important the older I get).

  • This is a restaurant that knows and loves its wine. The name gives the first hint of this - 28° and 50° are the latitudes between which virtually all of the world’s vineyards are located. The décor provides the second clue. When you walk downstairs away from the bustling city, you are greeted by walls lined with wine bottles and wooden cases alongside trendy wooden tables and chairs, delicious wafts from the kitchen and a gentle hum of enjoyment.

  • How often do you come across an Austrian restaurant in London? I wasn’t sure that I had ever knowingly seen one, let alone eaten in one. But all this changed recently with the discovery of Bistro DéLICAT on Northcote Road in Clapham.

    DéLICAT opened in July 2010 and sets out to combine “Viennese cuisine with the ambience of a European bistro”. We went at lunchtime on a Saturday and the menu catered for pretty much any mood. They had typical brunch options, snacks such as croque monsieur, apple strudel and freshly baked cakes if you are after something sweet with your coffee, and then the lunch menu in addition to all this.

  • Galvin at Windows is located on the 28th floor of the five star London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane. They were awarded their first Michelin star in 2010 and they are continually praised for their seasonal and inventive menu. But it’s not just the food that makes it special. As the name and location would suggest, the view is stunning. The large windows span the entire perimeter of the restaurant and bar, giving far-reaching views of London spanning the city, Hyde Park, the Thames and beyond.

  • Just a few doors down from Ramsay’s flagship three Michelin star restaurant on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea is Gordon Ramsay ‘light’, also known as Foxtrot Oscar. This is a more accessible restaurant than its neighbour, both in terms of price and atmosphere.

    Foxtrot Oscar has been in business since 1980 and Ramsay only took it over in 2008. Its reviews in early Ramsay days weren’t too positive, critics complained of an old-fashioned menu and fussy service for what was supposed to be a relaxed local bistro. The décor also got a bit of a bashing when it opened after its Ramsay re-vamp. All this being said, we weren’t sure what to expect of our experience.

    It is a surprisingly small restaurant, maybe seating 30 covers on the ground floor when full. The décor is relaxed with framed black and white photographs, wooden tables and black banquettes and seats. Altogether not too memorable, but certainly pleasant and informal.

  • At the beginning of September, Le Café Anglais opened its doors after three weeks of renovation to reveal its new oyster bar and café, and spruced-up dining room. The new set-up looks fantastic. The first thing that greets you when you enter the restaurant is the sparkling oyster bar with its marble top and red leather stools. In fact, what first greets you is the larger than life chandelier that hangs over the oyster bar – a truly impressive spectacle.

    Around 50 covers can comfortably sit in the café/oyster bar area, either on stools at the bar, or at the surrounding marble-topped tables. Beyond this, the spacious restaurant opens out and can seat over 100. Despite the expanse of the restaurant, its excellent design still gives a feeling of intimacy through a number of booths dotted around the room and generously spaced tables.

  • Family-run restaurants seem to be the running theme of this month’s restaurant reviews, and Patterson’s is another great one. Based in Mayfair on a narrow street behind Regent Street, with its discreet exterior, it is perhaps not a restaurant you would just stumble upon, but that doesn’t seem to affect its popularity – it was bustling on the Wednesday evening that we visited.

    The dining room is simple and modern – the first thing you see on arriving is a large tropical fish tank, then moving into the small dining area there are black leather chairs and banquettes, low ceilings, white walls and crisp white tablecloths. The low ceilings mean that when the restaurant is full, the sound levels are pretty high, but this just means that you don’t overhear the next door table’s conversation, and vice versa.

  • Odin’s is old school sophistication at its best.  From the outside, its windows are covered head to toe in net curtains creating an anonymous effect, but once inside you are hit by a comforting, drawing room feel. Its plush furnishings invite a relaxing sigh when you first sink into your chair, the walls are absolutely covered head to toe in pieces of art and the various surfaces are adorned with statuettes and lamps. The art is in fact quite a striking collection. Interspersed between large oil portraits and landscapes are modern gems, including a David Hockney.

  • I always enjoy being shown the longstanding local favourite of a good friend, it's almost guaranteed to be great. Joanna’s is a Crystal Palace institution that has been running for over 30 years, and been frequented by my friend and her family for more than 15. So it was without hesitation that I made the journey South to experience what they have grown to love.

    Joanna’s started life with a leaning towards an American diner, renowned for its burgers, but now has an eclectic menu that combines its burger heritage with shellfish, fish and hearty, homely dishes such as cottage pie. The restaurant is still owned and managed by the same family that founded it in 1978 and the atmosphere is as warm and welcoming as you would expect from a family-run business.

  • This SW London pub re-opened in December 2008 and has dispelled all trace of its predecessor, The Coleherne, one of Earls Courts’ most renowned gay pubs. It has been completely re-vamped to what has become an almost off the shelf 'gastro' pub style. It is decorated with dark wood furniture, large-print wallpaper and the odd standard lamp dotted around the room. Clusters of guilt framed, sepia photographs hang on the walls, completing the look.


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