If you like your juices freshly blended, your flat whites strong yet foamy, your bread gluten-free and your eggs perfectly poached, head to Clerkenwell for breakfast at The Modern Pantry. This place does a seriously good brunch.
We sat in the late Autumn sun outside and read the extensive menu, trying to decide which option we could leave out. Halloumi? Chorizo? Wilted spinach? In the end we just ordered them all!
Before the food came we ordered more coffees and a Matcha almond milk latte – basically superfood! Energised enough for our feast, we tucked into the breakfasts in all their glory.
This is now a firm favourite on my list, and very friendly to the gluten-free peeps. I’m already planning my next visit!
From my experience, the best places to eat are hidden away from tourists and rammed with locals. So I was very surprised to discover that the restaurant which had been recommended to me in Barcelona was not hidden away from tourists. In fact, it was merely a stone’s throw from the flashing lights and flower sellers of La Rambla.
Irati was however filled with locals at the bar, munching on the delicious looking tapas. We were starving and annoyingly they wouldnt let us have any tapas if we were eating in the restaurant. It’s tapas or restaurant. Confusing!
Anyway, we took our seats at the back and ordered a bottle of Rioja. Perhaps they saw the disappointed look on my face when they told me I couldn’t have tapas, as they brought over some stuffed olives wrapped in sardines – a very salty but tasty local snack. For starters we ordered: Homemade foie gras “mi-cuit” and Fried “txistorra” from Orio (mini chorizo sausages that were amazinggggg). The staff were also very helpful and quick to provide wheat-free bread to go with the foie gras.
For mains we had: Grilled aged beef tenderloin with artichokes, and Galician aged steak tartare. It was all delicious but a bit of a meat feast! Perhaps you feel lighter and better by just eating the tapas, but it was lovely to have a table here. 7/10
There’s a magical feeling about May weekday evenings in Soho. As creatives and business types spill out of their offices and onto the sun-soaked streets, bars and restaurants in Soho are in their element. One of my favourite places to get a drink, and a good spot on the cobbled streets is at Fernandez & Wells on Lexington Street.
The place is small, so you’ll be lucky to get a seat after 6pm. But the tapas and drinks are so good, it’s worth clinging onto the end of the bar for their parma ham. In fact everything there is delicious, but my favourite bar snack is the chorizo and manchego cheese served with crusty bread and olive oil. 9/10
Fernandez & Wells 43 Lexington Street
“Notting Hill, despite its central location, is a dead zone for good restaurants. Well at least it was until The Shed opened its charming blue doors in October 2012.”
Set up by Oliver and Richard Gladywn, the concept for The Shed is simple: locally sourced sustainable produce with little waste. They put together a daily-changing menu of delicious tapas-style sharing plates with many of the ingredients hailing from their family farm in Nutbourne, West Sussex.
The menu can be a little confusing on your first visit. ‘How big are the ‘Mouthfuls?’ ‘How many dishes should we order?’ Luckily the friendly lumberjack-shirt-wearing staff are always eager to talk you through every plate on the menu. I would recommend 3-4 dishes each if you’re not too hungry but 5 will fill you nicely if you’re ravenous!
Favourites on the current menu: Chorizo, labneh, crisp bread and kale (£8), Lamb chips with harissa (£7.5), Wood pigeon with port (£9), Veal ragu and tagliatelle (£8.5), Pan fried goats cheese (£6.5), Spatchcock quail (£8.5). The desserts are excellent if you have room.
The Shed is a truly special place taking British produce and London dining in an exciting direction. Book ahead to avoid disappointment. 8/10
The Shed Restaurant 122 Palace Gardens Terrace, London, W8 4RT