Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Russell Square WC1

As the days close in and the weather gets chillier, I wanted to remember a really pleasant lunch I had in Russell Square. I think I have already written about my fondness for Bloomsbury and the squares are a big part of why. Russell Square has the advantage of being open to the public and on this particular day in September, it was a lovely spot for an early Autumn impromptu picnic for one. I bought a sandwich from the London Review Bookshop Cafe and sat in the sun watching people and squirrels, feeling very at peace with the world.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Chez Bruce SW17

Chez Bruce on Wandsworth Common is hands down my favourite London restaurant and as such I find myself there on important occasions, like last night, for my 40th....gulp. Moving on - this place is seriously good. It is in a lovely position - staring out over lovely Wandsworth Common, the interior (or at least the downstairs - upstairs is still good, but not as great a vibe as the main room) strikes the right mix between cosy & local and sophisticated, the food is SENSATIONAL! Last night I started with possibly the most perfect fishcake I have ever had (quiet down you Ivy freaks - I know, I know) - it was made with smoked haddock and had a perfectly poached egg sitting on top and lovely creamed leeks dotted around it. It was tasty, warming and incredibly comforting and accompanied perfectly by a glass of Pouilly Fuse. I followed up with Duck magret with a crisp potato terrine - the crunchy texture of the terrine went perfectly with the rich duck and the whole thing was surrounded by lentils cooked in red wine. Sitting on the plate also was a perfect miniature stuffed cabbage - cute AND tasty. Washed down with some Austrian (yes Austrian) Pinot it was a lovely dish and I was starting to get a little delirious. We really didn't need dessert but the £40 for 3 courses deal sort of forces your hand so we had it anyway - as I often do when I know it will be done right, I had creme brulee. Oh man - it was perfect. I can actually take or leave the caramelised sugar on top, it's the custard below that I love and this was textbook - flecked with vanilla, creamy and rich. I managed to stuff in a few complimentary chocolate truffles and even had some of the dulche de leche stracciatella ice cream they had brought to the table with a candle in it to recognise my encroaching age (sob). We staggered out of there and into a taxi - full once again of amazing food from London's best restaurant - hands down!

Chez Bruce on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 15 October 2009

CentrePoint W1

The great debate - is CentrePoint a triumphant celebration of mid 60s phallic architecture or is it an eye-sore dominating the intersection of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street? Personally (and unsurprisingly given I am writing about it) I love it. Even before its recent renaissance I loved it - when it was mostly unoccupied and had a bleak, grey aura around it. I do admit that the combination of the urine-scented tunnels leading from Tottenham Court Road tube (now closed due to the Crossrail development), the "past its best" shabbiness and the ever-present druggies around its base made CentrePoint hard to love at one time. I still did though and I always really liked the fountain out the front, which seems to have also fallen victim to the CrossRail juggernaut. Then suddenly CentrePoint became cool again - a swanky new members' club Paramount opened up top (if you can get up there the views across London are really spectacular), companies like EA Games moved in and there seemed to be a shift in people's opinions. Suddenly CentrePoint was cool. Which is great - but I just want to be on record saying that I loved it even when no-one else did!

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Roupell St SE1

I really like the area surrounding Waterloo Station. The Cut, just behind the station has the Old Vic theatre and the Anchor & Hope pub and it's a short walk to the South Bank (which I have already blogged about). A lesser known area is just east of the station - in particular Roupell Street which is an almost perfectly preserved slice of Victorian London. If you take the exit from Waterloo that leads you to Tenison Way you can walk through the grounds of St John the Evangelist church, come out on Exton St and wend your way through to Roupell Street that way. The best bit is, once you get there you can buy a cake from Konditor & Cook on the corner to munch on while you
contemplate the terraced Victorian houses. These guys make a mean chocolate brownie and also a delicious jam and coconut slice (I'm sure it has a proper name) - in fact I love most of their cakes. The coffee is not bad - OK to be honest, by say Milk Bar standards it is not so good, but if I had written this blog 5 years ago I would probably have been raving as it is still miles ahead of chain store crap. I plan to do a Winter pub crawl around this area - there are some really cosy looking ones within walking distance. I would happily live around here, do the weekend shop at Borough, start seeing all that theatre I keep planning to do...