dines at Axis...

It's best if I declare that I've been talking to Tony Fleming, the Executive Chef at Axis, for months now. In those conversations we've established that over the years I've been following Tony around London. I've eaten in almost every restaurant he's has cooked in, and that list includes the Criterion, the Oak Room, Escargot, Richard Neat and the Great Eastern Hotel. When we did finally speak, it was because Tony appeared on ITV's Britain's Best Dish cooking a blackberry soufflé... Well. I'm a bit of a soufflé obsessive, so it was inevitable that this would be the thing that would draw us into conversation.

lunches at Spuntino...

I've been trying to get along to Spuntino for some time now, and let's face it, hundreds and hundreds of people have managed to get along before me to write about it. Still, Nicola and I are both ardent food lovers, and there's always something to be learnt by having the experience first hand. We pitched up in Rupert Street straight from the Hockney exhibition, and spotted Spuntino just in front of us.  Rather marvellously its artfully dishevilled window treatment was propping up two fluorescent and garish policemen, which somehow utterly set it off to perfection. How I wish I'd taken that photograph!

Mr R.E. breakfasts at The Wolseley...

My guest today suggests we meet at the Wolseley, a venue I have been to before, but only because of its proximity to Green Park tube station.  The favourite haunt of footballers, politicians, hedge fund managers, tourists and journalists, it inspired A.A.Gill to create his book Breakfast at The Wolseley.  The Wolseley quotes Gill's introduction on their web site, he writes "Breakfast is everything. The beginning, the first thing. It is the mouthful that is the commitment to a new day, a continuing life".  I wholly subscribe to this.

lunches at The Abbeville Kitchen

It's cold, and John and I are standing in the street, shivering... We're right in the middle of Abbeville Road, and we are completely surrounded by restaurants.  We're supposed to be here to try a new restaurant, but John mentions that he's heard good things about Abbeville Kitchen.  We look at the menu.  Wow.  Good olives, charcuterie, etc, looks very inviting.  John insists we look at the other menus, although I'm sold on the first glance.  Nearby is very appealing food, well plated food, but really we're after chat, and variety, and lots of picky things...

Mr R.E. breakfasts at the Lanesborough

Breakfast number two of the week and today the venue is the Lanesborough on Hyde Park Corner. An impressive 19th century building which is now a small, but luxurious hotel, in the heart of London. Originally built as a hospital (St. Georges) in the 18C, it was demolished and rebuilt in 1827 by William Wilkins. The hospital itself transferred to Tooting in 1980, and the building fell into disrepair until 1991 when it was refurbished and re-opened, and now is arguably the most expensive hotel in London.

dines at Goodman Mayfair...

Whilst Goodman Mayfair may resemble a NY steak joint, I'm wondering how many of those have a steady stream of diners descending to the meat locker to gawp at their wares...  There is so much interest in steak at the moment that steak joints have become destination restaurants - the breeds, the sourcing, the cooking, all to be endlessly poured over.

Mr R.E. breakfasts at Quadrato in Canary Wharf...

I may be apart from the majority of people when I say that I consider breakfast to be the most important meal of the day. A good breakfast puts a smile on my face, and helps prepare me for the onslaught of the day.

So, given that, it's only natural that I eat breakfast out on a regular basis, and when I see 'Breakfast Served at all Times' I can't help myself emulating the comedian Steve Wright and ordering "French toast during the Renaissance".

dines at Galvin at Windows

Galvin at Windows is a bit of a favourite in our house, not least because it's wonderfully friendly and relaxed.  Add to that the near 360o views of London from its high perch on the twenty-eighth floor of the Hilton at Hyde Park, and it's difficult to beat.

The kitchens are run by Head Chef André Garrett, now well-known for his appearances on The Great British Menu, and Chris Galvin is the Chef Patron.

dines at Alyn Williams at The Westbury

Alyn Williams is a chef's chef.  I know this, because when I ask a Tony Fleming where I should be eating, he pointed me in Alyn's direction and said what a great chap he was.

Formerly head chef at Marcus Wareing's restaurant in the Berkeley, Alyn's pedigree also extends to time at Royal Hospital Road - so two of our favourites under his belt, but here with his own menu and flair.

lunches at Burger and Lobster

Just occasionally a restaurant eschews a fancy name, and says what it serves... Burger & Lobster, part of the Goodman steak chain, does exactly that.  Its menu has proved so popular that the restaurant is now moving nearly two tons of lobster a week - and as the lobsters are roughly a 1kg each, that's nearly two thousand lobsters every seven days.

In order to ensure a consistent supply, Burger & Lobster are taking delivery twice a week from Nova Scotia into their three tiered holding tank in the basement, holding around 900kg of lobster at any one time*.  It's the biggest lobster tank in the UK, and they think perhaps Europe...

Revisits Roganic, Early 2012

Roganic is one of the few restaurants where I really, really want to see what's new on the menu, and regret it when someone tries a dish that I didn't have... Simon, Ben and the team have an incredibly sensitive palate and a very inventive use of seasonal and foraged ingredients.  Last time I was at Roganic they were still using all of the glorious summer produce, with delicate herbs, edible flowers and the freshest ingredients.  A winter menu is much more challenging for the kitchen - to truly stay seasonal, with a very limited range of produce, a kitchen has to be particularly inventive.

dines at Seven Park Place

The St James Hotel and Club is hidden away in right in the heart of St James, and despite knowing the area well, I was surprised to discover the gated courtyard hidden at the end of Park Place.  The hotel is discreet and eminently well-placed, and I can imagine would appeal enormously to wealthier tourists.  The hotel's restaurant, Seven Park Place, is run by Christophe Thuilot, formerly at Capital and William Drabble, previously at Aubergine is the Executive Chef. Excellent credentials then, and as we were attending a viewing of the Impressionist sale at Christies in King Street, it seemed a very convenient choice for dinner.

lunches at Mishkin's...

LawrenceofArb and I wanted to grab lunch - the kind of lunch where you can talk loudly, have a quick drink - and shoot the breeze.  None of my usual haunts then.   As I was coming straight from a meeting at No. 1 Aldwych, LoA suggested Mishkin's, the latest offering from Russell Norman and the Polpo team.  Mishkin's serves (non-kosher) Jewish deli food and also cocktails - a perfect choice.