1. It’s been a very meaty month, with trips to the brand new Grill at McQueen (recommended – review here), US import Smith & Wollensky (post coming soon!) and a masterclass in cooking steak at Jamie Oliver’s West London cookery school, where my flatmate Chris and I gorged on four – FOUR – different cuts before getting our grill on to cook our own.
2. As well as some bloody spectacular beefy bits, Smith & Wollensky is also home to legit the biggest chocolate cake I’ve ever seen outside of Matilda. One slice costs £18 (!!!) but, to be fair, it does go a long way. We took a slice home and it took Mike and I five days to finish it, even though it’s once of the richest, gooiest, fudgiest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. Serving suggestion: sharesies.
3. Three days this month were spent in a horizontalish position being a phlegm hag, but I did find Moju’s new cold-pressed ginger shots were good for a bit of pep when the lurgy was on its way out. They’re very, VERY gingery – which I like – but if you can’t handle the fire then they’re also nice watered down with lemonade.
4. I had lunch last week with Colleen from Blonde Across The Pond at Cinnamon Soho, which I can add to my (very short) list of actually good restaurants around Carnaby Street. (The others? Pizza Pilgrims, Dishoom and Shoyru Ramen.) The black daal is good – I ate most of it with a spoon – though it doesn’t hold a candle to the stuff they make at Dishoom, but my Tanjore Style Grilled King Prawns were the business.
5. Speaking of cinnamon, the Swedish bakery around the corner from my office, Bageriet, does a doozie of a cinnamon roll. Pastries aren’t usually my thing but these are more spicy and less sugary than their commercial-grade counterparts.
6. …And Swedish bakeries segue nicely into The Queen of Hoxton’s new Nordic-themed rooftop terrace, which isn’t going to be winning any Michelin stars soon but can be relied upon for vast quantities of rich, warming comfort food and warm cocktails in Viking-style drinking horns. I went with my old workmates Jay and Rach and had a lovely little time in the snuggly rooftop wigwam – almost made me want to get into this hygge nonsense that’s going round. In typical QoH style there are all sorts of crafty events going on throughout the winter, including braiding masterclasses and chain mail jewellery-making workshops.
7. On grey, drizzly mornings I can recommend breakfast at the Dean Street Townhouse…especially if you can get dibs on one of the tables by the roaring fireplace.
8. Finally, the end of October brings to a close the London Restaurant Festival, which has been lighting up the city’s food scene all month with special events, menus and collaborations. A few weeks ago I won myself a restaurant-hopping tour with the London Restaurant Festival, which I was pretty chuffed with as the last time I won something was 22 years ago when I got a Mickey Mouse lunchbox as a prize for correctly spelling ‘cygnet’ on the radio. The prize included a dish and a glass of wine at five Devonshire Square restaurants, so by the end we were a) bursting and b) pissed as farts. Highlights included some epic pork at Pitt Cue Co, whose new, grown-up premises are near the top of my bucket list, and juicy prawns at Cinnamon Kitchen.
Author: Emily Gibson
Emily is an urban adventurer, blogger and
glutton foodie on an epic quest to uncover the best things to eat, drink and do in London. She lives in Islington and loves ceviche, cycling and magic shows. Lifelong nemeses include beetroot, beards and wine served in tumblers.