Category Archives: British

Hixter Bankside

I’m a big fan of Hix in Soho, which is probably why Mark Hix just opened up a whole new Hix right next to my office. For those of you that don’t stalk me regularly, that’s near Borough Market (London Bridge). It’s called Hixter though, not Hix.

 

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The restaurant has only just opened – it’s housed within an old metal box factory, and it’s a bit of a tardis, as it happens. Walk through a huge bar and there’s a big, light restaurant where you can see the chefs bustling about. There’s also, of course, much fancy looking artwork (Hix’s other restaurants include pieces by masters like Damian Hirst).

 

The idea is simple: it’s chicken or steak to share.

 

You can order bits of meat in various sizes, all sourced with perfect precision from (mostly) Great British producers. There’s mighty-marbled Himalayan salt dry-aged steak from hand-selected cows and barn-reared chicken from Swainson House Farm in Lancashire.

 

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There is also another Mark’s Bar in the basement, but it’s much bigger than the Soho version. This one’s even got table football and a tiny tube carriage you can get drunk in! There’s a market for that now, what with actual drinking on the tube being banned in a terrible oversight a few years ago.

 

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The restaurant currently does a lunch menu for a perfectly reasonable £9.95, with quite a big selection of dishes (sandwiches, burgers, salads etc.)

 

We tried a few of the sandwiches – the Cock ‘n’ Bull – that’s a half chicken, half steak sandwich, the Swainson Farm chicken sandwich and a chicken, Sillfield Farm bacon and summer vegetable salad. All came accompanied with more chips than four people could possibly eat, which is never a bad thing.

 

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The food was, on the whole, a little underwhelming. The sandwiches were cold (we didn’t think they were supposed to be) and the chicken in the salad was a bit dry, but on the whole it wasn’t bad. If Hix’s other restaurants are anything to go by I’m sure things will improve…

 

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££

 

6/10

 

Gluten Free? Yes – quite a few options.

 

Hixter Bankside
16 Great Guildford Street,
SE1 0HS

http://www.hixterbankside.co.uk/

 

 

Hixter Bankside on Urbanspoon

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The Delaunay, Strand

The Delaunay opened its doors in 2012, the latest glitzy London restaurant from two of the nation’s most accomplished restauranteurs, Jeremy King and Chris Corbin.

 

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Other than a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, The Delaunay is almost identical to its King and Corbin predecessor, The Wolseley. Decor is once again inspired by Grand European cafés of Vienna, Zurich and Budapest, cafes which I can only assume are infinitely more glamorous than our shoddy greasy spoons.

 

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The end result is a David Collins-designed wonder – dark green leather seating, many a piece of polished brass, antique mirrors and acres upon acres of marble so shiny you could eat your dinner off of it.

 

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The menu here is an all-day one, but a posh all-day one, you understand. There’s Soups, Starters, Eggs, Weiners, Crustacea and Caviar, Plats du Jours, Fish, Schnizels, Entrées, Savouries, Cakes and Coupés. There’s also Afternoon Tea. And breakfast! That’s what we came for…

 

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The breakfast menu is a piece of parchment almost a mile long, complete with almost every kind of breakfast you could possibly want or need. These range from more traditional choices like the good old full English to pancakes, waffles, granola and viennoiserie.

 

Then of course there are slightly more unusual options such as the Viennese breakfast, a kind of all you can eat breakfast buffet inspired dish of cold meat, egg and a big old pretzel. You can also have eggs cooked in any way you can dream up, so go on… be creative.

 

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They also serve bowls of coffee. This, one assumes, is how people drink coffee in Europe. The burns must be appalling.

 

Almost the entire table opted for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, presumably reassured by the alliteration – always the sign of a good meal, I find.

 

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I, being a rebel, went with a fresh fruit salad, accompanied by camomile tea and Champagne. We were celebrating, I’d like to add. I don’t breakfast on Champagne every day, much as I’d like to.

 

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The fruit salad was delicious, and came in a small bucket you could probably swim in, if you felt like it.

 

Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs received much applause from the table, its deliciousness apparently accentuated by the many gallons of butter used in the eggs.

 

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If you do visit beyond the realms of breakfast time take a look at the Coupé menu and you’ll find the most delectable little tribute to Lucian Freud – The Wolseley’s biggest fan. He ate there every night. I kid you not. Every single night. He had his own table. And what did he get in return? An ice cream. It’s a threesome of hazelnut, almond and pistachio ice-cream on a Freudian couch with whipped cream and butterscotch sauce. Eat it.

 

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The Verdict: A brilliant breakfast spot in a great central location. Almost as good as The Wolseley, but in terms of atmosphere and service The Wolseley just about wins.

 

8/10

£££

 

The Delaunay Website: thedelaunay.com

The Delaunay on Urbanspoon

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Life After Masterchef – An Interview with Adam Handling of Caxton Grill

The fancy St James restaurant they call Caxton Grill has recently launched a new à la carte menu, created by their very own Masterchef Adam Handling. Since appearing on the show late last year Handling has been hard at work on the menu, which pays more than just lip service to the ‘Field to Fork’ movement.

 

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We caught up with the newly-minted celebrity chef to quiz him about the inspiration behind the new Caxton’s card – and life after Masterchef.

 

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WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE MASTERCHEF?

It’s been an absolute whirlwind since it aired late last year! There have been a number of competitions that I’ve taken part in and I’ve recently been named as British Chef of the year by the British Culinary Federation which is a huge honour. I’m currently taking part in another competition where I’ve been called through to the next round so I’m preparing for that alongside launching a new a la carte menu which equals a lot of fun but a lot of experimenting for me.

 

Venison with Cauliflower and Pear
Venison with Cauliflower and Pear

 

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR NEW-FOUND FAME? DOES A CAREER AS A TV CHEF BECKON?

Honestly I am overwhelmed by the positivity and the response that I’ve received to everything that I have done- everyone that I have spoken to and had contact with has wished me every success in everything that I do and are fully supportive of me which is fantastic. As for a TV chef- who knows? Never say never!

 

Scottish Salmon
Scottish Salmon

 

WHAT’S THE ETHOS BEHIND THE DISHES YOU CREATE AT CAXTON GRILL?

I love dishes that are big on flavour- I’m all about clever flavours working together and creating surprising combinations for my guests, my style is evolving and for my new menu I’m using more Asian flavours which are an absolute passion of mine. The style of cooking is having the “wow” factor for my dishes and using all of my toys in the kitchen to emphasise this.

 

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Cauliflower

 

TELL US HOW YOU WENT ABOUT CREATING CAXTON GRILL’S NEW A LA CARTE MENU

I wanted to strip back flavours and create dishes which were simple but big on flavour and visually stunning. The preparation takes a little longer but the ultimate flavour combinations are so worth it.
WHAT ARE YOUR MUST-TRIES ON THE NEW MENU?

I’m biased… but all of them! The new appetiser snacks are amazing… the perfect entrée to meal & the Chef’s G&T using dill is to die for…!

 

 

Try Adam Handling’s new menu at Caxton Grill

Caxton Grill, Bar & Terrace
2 Caxton Street
LONDON
SW1H 0QW

Tel: 0800 652 1498

caxtongrill.co.uk

The Grand Union, Kennington

I was feeling a little fragile last Saturday after yet another visit to the fabulous Soho drinking den that is LAB. So fragile, in fact, that only a hair of the dog would do. And something greasy. Really greasy.

 

Thankfully the burger gods answered my prayers, throwing down a pub mere moments from my humble abode, the blackboard outside screaming of “The Best Burgers in London”. I am pretty sure this wasn’t the result of any actual survey. It probably isn’t even an actual quote. They just made it up, I reckon. But how could I judge, if I had not tried one?   Then I tried one. Here it is. Look at it. It looks quite magical, does it not?

 

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Let’s forget, for a moment, that the presentation is an almost embarrassingly blatant copy of new Covent Garden burger emporium Shake Shack, and take it for what it is. A quite nice burger. Two burgers, in fact, sandwiched together like a beautiful Oreo made of meat.

 

As a hat the burgers wore a gloopy blob of American cheese. You know, that wondrous orange paste that tastes mostly of nothing, and definitely not of cheese. The shoddy slop that only ever appears in fast food burgers, where we celebrate wholeheartedly its marvellous shitness. Imagine ordering a cheese sandwich and getting this crap. You’d hurl it back into your server’s face no doubt, overcome with fury. But in burgers we tolerate this cheese-pretender. That is its place.

 

I ordered my burger sans-bun because they serve no gluten free buns here. They call this a naked burger, I believe. Poor naked burgers. It’s enough to break your heart.

 

Gluten Free Naked Burger
Gluten Free Naked Burger

 

Now let me tell you of the chips, these marvellous crinkled fries of scrumptiousness. Look! You get an entire BASKET. You can absolutely fill your boots and probably your bag too. I was given almost THREE HUNDRED* chips. And they taste LOVELY. Not as lovely as Honest Burgers chips, but QUITE LOVELY.

 

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*woefully inaccurate estimate

 

The Verdict: Exquisite hangover food, practically perfect in every way. Also the Kennington Grand Union has a roof terrace. Everyone loves a roof terrace. Not the best burgers in London, though. Soz.

 

Gluten Free: No gluten free buns available, but you can get naked burgers.   7/10

 

Grand Union Kennington on Urbanspoon

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Breakfast at The Wolseley, Piccadilly

Breakfast at The Wolseley is just one of those things you’ve got to do. Really, it’s that good.

The Wolseley is not your ordinary restaurant, more a luxurious watering hole for London’s rich and famous. The place is renowned for its breakfasts, which range from the totally acceptable morning type stuff (granola, vienoisserie, full english etc.) to outlandish creations for the unforgivably wealthy – they serve a caviar omelette, I kid you not.

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Gluten Free Burgers at Gourmet Burger Kitchen

I fell in love with Gourmet Burger Kitchen at an early age. I loved the fact that almost all burgers on the menu seemed totally excessive. I loved that they were all served with sticks in, lest they toppled over in a meaty mess. I loved that toppings included such madcap ideas as AVOCADO and PINEAPPLE. I just loved it.

Continue reading Gluten Free Burgers at Gourmet Burger Kitchen