Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Brasserie Zedel - Sherwood St W1

I am a massive fan of everything Chris Corbin and Jeremy King do - if I could eat breakfast at the Wolseley every day I would (I dream of having my own table there - "your usual table Sir..." etc) and nowhere does the "post theatre" late supper vibe better than The Delaunay.  So of course I couldn't wait to check out Brasserie Zedel (which is no longer their latest venture given the recent opening of Colbert on Sloane Square - stay tuned for another blog post). Those

 of you who were living it large in the late 90's will have no doubt have indulged yourselves at the Atlantic Bar & Grill, which was the last high profile occupant of this vast space.  As much as I sometimes get nostalgic for some Millenium coke & champers action, Brasserie Zedel is totally more my thing these days.  I recommend you start your evening with a cocktail at Bar American - before heading in to
 this loving recreation of a grand Parisian bistro.  The food is well made bistro fare - the last time I went I had a lovely Beetroot and Lamb's Lettuce Salad followed by the Plat du Jour, which was (in true authentic French style) Chicken with Tarragon Sauce.  All perfectly delicious, simple stuff - washed down with a half bottle of French red and a bill for the two of us that came to less than £70.  Pretty darn good for a prime central London location, a truly classy establishment, tasty food and a great vibe.  A winner for Mr Corbin and Mr King - again.

Brasserie Zedel on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lower Robert St - WC2

If you haven't stumbled across the rather excellent blog "View From the Mirror" - written by a London black cabbie - then head there right now and book-mark it.  It's an absolute winner and a fount of knowledge about London.  I have been alerted to many London gems by this blog and Lower Robert St is one of them (you can read the entry on View From the Mirror here).  The remnants of a grand late 18th century housing development on the banks of the Thames, near what is now the Victoria Embankment, Lower Robert St is a slightly spooky, tunnel of a street that seems to only be known to cabbies and canny central London drivers who use it as a quick route to the river.  Before the Embankment was reclaimed, the Thames was wider and had a more natural river bank and the Adelphi was a riverside development of 24 snazzy houses.  To ensure it was level with the Strand side of the building, the river side of the development had a series of vaulted arches underneath it.  Once the river was narrowed and the Victoria Embankment Gardens and road were built between the Adelphi and the Thames (in the mid to late 1800's) the tunnels became an area of disrepute and vice - not surprising really when you have a dark, hidden tunnel-like streets in central London
 in Victorian times.  Eventually the Adelphi was demolished and Lower Robert St is pretty much the only remnant of the vaults.  Even in the middle of the day it has a spooky vibe and there is supposedly a resident ghost, of a prostitute murdered by one of her customers.  Whilst I didn't hear "Poor Jenny" when I paid a visit, it did feel a little weird wandering through - I was completely alone, metres from the busy Victoria Embankmenet and The Strand - and whilst I am not admitting to being a wuss, I will admit that after being in Lower Robert Street for a few minutes I did find myself hurrying out to John Adam St.  So if you fancy a slightly spooky expedition on your lunch hour, or indeed if you are a braver soul, an evening wander, go and check out this fascinating remnant of Georgian London in WC2.

Monday, 19 November 2012

TAP Coffee - Wardour St W1

Firstly dear readers (if any of you are left), apologies for the woeful lack of blog posts over the last month.  Life, as it does, has been taking me in other directions lately and I have not been able to devote the time I would like to this l'il ol' blog o'mine.  Secondly, not sure if it is as a result of the afore-mentioned slackness but the volume of spam comments has gone up considerably.  I keep getting comments from "Anonymous" in the vein of "Hello dear, this blog is truly an amazing word and changed my life, please visit me here: cheap car insurance".  I feel like London Stuff has suddenly risen to the top of some cyber-traffic-scammy thing.  Anyway - enough about that and back to the business at hand - in particular the exciting news that the lovely folk from Tapped & Packed (or TAP Coffee as they now seem to be called) have opened a new gaff at 193 Wardour Street in Soho.  The TAP formula is a simple but effective one - stripped back decor, excellent, lovingly prepared coffee and great food with lots of gourmet sandwiches and tasty salads - and they have replicated that perfectly in Wardour Street.  The space feels bigger than either Rathbone Place or Tottenham Court Road and perhaps because of this bigger space, they have decided to separate the coffee machine from the food/cash register area, which is a little weird but kinda works.  If I had to level one criticism (and I am kinda jet-lagged and snippy today so feel the need to gripe) it would be that the combination of the high seating and low-hanging lights on the right hand group of tables put me in danger of either banging my head on the lamp or at least scorching the top of my head if I lent in too far.  But you know what, that is a small niggle in what is overall a really lovely cafe, with the usual top notch flatties being churned out and a selection of really yummy food.  The TAP guys know what they're doing so if you are already a fan of theirs, or if you are yet to experience the TAP way, get your arses down to 193 Wardour and check out this welcome new arrival on London's ever expanding coffee scene.