In the first in a string of admittedly lazy posts revisiting 2011 and things I’ve enjoyed therein, I bring you a list of places I have enjoyed eating this year…
Yet another of Russell Norman’s brainchildren, the tiny, New York-inspired menu at Spuntino is utterly delicious. The truffled egg toast is possibly the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. They’re also excellent at working out it’s a birthday and putting candles in the dessert without your date noticing until it’s in front of him.
My exceptionally soft spot for Polpetto might be that it was the scene of dinner on the first day of my first date with The Writer. Or it might be because of the swordfish carpaccio with pomegranate. I’d not take any chances, frankly – get down there pronto and try it for yourself.
The Ledbury, Notting Hill
Fine dining at its best. They do an affordably pricey set lunch for those wanting to try the two-star food without remortgaging.
Food in London is brilliant, but there’s something about food in New York. Maybe it’s the whacking great platefuls, maybe it’s the far friendlier service. Whatever it is, it’s special. Max is no different. A low-lit little Italian in Tribeca, the pasta is beyond delicious, the wine is decent and the whole thing is bargainous. Brilliant.
Bowls of mussels the size of your head (the bowls, not the mussels), and a wondrous three-course meal for two with booze and coffee for £30 each? Winning.
The Outsider, Edinburgh
This place, I love. I’ve loved it since I discovered it way back in 2004, and imagine I will continue to do so for the forseeable. Never once have I had a bad meal there, and anywhere that’s going to serve scallops the size of a steak is in my good books. I’ve made TW promise not to write a rave review and ruin the place for ever.
Brick Box, Brixton Village
Now here’s a place that is almost certainly about to be ruined, with Brixton Village having just been named ‘Best of 2011’ for food in London by Time Out. But, if you can get there before the hoards do, go for Sunday brunch. Have the homemade lemonade, and one of their BRILLIANT pancakes (I like the goats’ cheese). If you’re TW, have four in one sitting, and acquire the nickname ‘The Record Guy’ for every subsequent visit.
Yalla Yalla, West End
Cheap and cheerful, and a place that I can legitimately have supper consist entirely of baba ghanoush and hummus. Perfect for grazey, gossipy dinners with friends you’ve not seen in far too long, and an excellent selection of surprisingly tasty Lebanese wine.
Jane, West Village
I’m sure there are a million and three places to go for Sunday brunch in New York, but I keep going back to Jane. Their Benedict Jane (poached eggs, crab cakes, sautéed potatoes, hollandaise) and a good, spicy Bloody Mary are the perfect way to set yourself up for a afternoon on Museum Mile. Or anything else you could conceivably want to do.