It has taken me years to get there but I finally did, and yesterday I had lunch at Dinings after a diabolical 5 hour delay flying back from Houston which meant I had to go there straight from the airport. But given its location off the Edgware Road, it was no big deal – a super fast ride to Paddington on the Heathrow express then one station on the tube to Edgware Rd. And I loved my lunch so much that I am going back today with my brother to try the rest of the menu! Of all that I had yesterday my favourites were the fatty tuna chips above, the eel (unagi) with sautéed foie gras, the seaweed salad and the very unusual black sesame dessert (all below) not to mention the prawn tempura hand rolls which I greedily ate before remembering to snap them. Everything was so pretty to look at, which is not surprising in a Japanese restaurant and supremely delicious. Can’t wait till lunchtime when hopefully I will remember to take a few more snaps to either add here or to a new post!
Every now and then I go to a restaurant which I adore. It happened at Noma last summer and at Dabbous this winter. And yesterday, it happened again at Agapé Substance. A tiny space decorated with perfect taste including the most beautiful bouquets of strips of wood from Vacherin boxes. As for the cooking, it is meticulous without being prissy with fabulous ingredients and perfect seasoning. Some have described the chef, David Toutain, as a culinary genius and I have to say I totally agree. He is exceptionally talented and supremely creative. If you are visiting Paris, you have to eat there. I am only sorry we didn’t take my group on the culinary weekend with Francois Simon but we had an amazing degustation dinner at le Comptoir and another cooked by the great critic himself. So, we didn’t do too badly.
Last time I was at Petersham Nurseries, it was sunny and warm and Skye Gyngell was cooking. Last night was wet and miserable and there was a new chef at the stoves, Greg Malouf of Momo’s fame in Melbourne. Greg has moved to London, and he will be offering his wonderful modern take on Middle Eastern food at Petersham Nurseries. Dinner last night was quite delicious, particularly the rabbit in the picture above and the lamb and frikeh which he served afterwards. And before that, the best tomatoes (from southern Italy) I have had this year in London, served them with a soft curd cheese sprinkled with a little chilli and dried herbs. A marvellous start to the meal. And to finish, luscious meringue topped with cream and berries alongside a refreshing sorbet topped with the most adorable camel biscuits.
When Fay told me to go to Dabbous before it became impossible to book a table, I listened to her and went with Francois Simon who was visiting London for a reportage. It was a total revelation. Ollie Dabbous’ cooking is just brilliant. Elegant without being pretentious. Fussy without being irritating and perfectly exquisite. And not expensive which is a miracle given the level of excellence. And of course Fay was right. It is now impossible to get a table except for weeks or even months ahead which is too bad as I would love to eat there on a regular basis!