Entries in london (28)


the garrison, london se1

many months ago, when i was detoxing, i had supper with friends at the garrison, a gastropub in bermondsey, which i’d heard many good things about.

i had a disappointing meal – my blue cheese and walnut salad had no blue cheese in it (they’d run out and didn’t think to let me know) and the walnuts were large and untoasted which meant they had that slightly soapy taste that raw walnuts have. the fish dish that i chose, trying to navigate my detox rules of healthy eating, was smothered in a rich buttery sauce rather than being the light healthy dish i’d been told it was by the waiter.

no matter though, it was an enjoyable evening in a charming setting (visit their website to get a sense of the decor) with good service and the company provided many reasons to be happy.

my visit at the weekend, for lunch, was much better as this time the food lived up to expectations, as well as the company. 2pm on a saturday lunchtime and the pub was quiet enough that we could get a table without a reservation. most people there were eating rather than just drinking and with all windows open and the sun shining in it was a lovely place to wile away a few hours.

i started with mussels in a creamy sauce with a good chilli kick. the mussels were large, full of flavour and fabulously fresh. my friend taz started with the blue cheese and walnut salad, served with a pear chutney and much more successful this time round. we both had burgers to follow which were delicious as were the chips made from skin-on potatoes. a plate of ripe cheeses to follow, with oat biscuits and more of that pear chutney, finished things up nicely.

add 4 glasses of wine and we had a bill of £60 between us. i’m already planning a return visit and hoping that this, my second experience, is the truly reflective one.

the garrison

99 bermondsey street se1 3xb

if you’re planning a party the garrison’s basement room is worth checking out – you can have a seated meal, canapés or ask them to transform it into a mini cinema (20 people for a screening).


32 great queen street , london wc2


newly opened 32 has its roots in favourite gastropubs the anchor & hope and the eagle. add chef/food writer tom norrington-davies and a link to st john, another much-loved london eaterie, and you know you’re going to be in safe hands.

we visited 32 for lunch and were the first to arrive at noon. no matter, we were seated in one of the window booths and settled back, with the sun pouring in, to enjoy a meal of simple, well-executed dishes.

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kiraku, london w5

i’m not an expert on japanese food by any stretch of the imagination but when it comes to recognising fresh, high quality, delicious food i can do that. and kiraku, a japanese restaurant that sits opposite ealing common tube station, provides exactly that.

the menus at kiraku – one with words and one with photos – are comprehensive but if you are unsure what to choose the friendly staff are more than happy to help with suggestions.

we over-ordered but, apart from the unexciting warm buckwheat noodles which arrived as we’d finished everything else (and were hoping it had been forgotten) there was nothing that i would have been willing to give back, in return for feeling slightly less full when i left.

the stars of the show were the soft shell crab special rolls. four large maki (also called roll sushi, this is where the fish - or other filling - is surrounded by rice and wrapped in seaweed) were provided, two filled with the body of the crab and two with tantalisingly tasty crunchy crab legs peeking out. the other maki we ordered – tuna, salmon, toro, california and prawn with roe – were all excellent and sparklingly fresh.

accompanying this we had perfect, and obviously freshly cooked, mixed tempura (3 large prawns, some cod and several vegetables), grilled prawn skewers (two enormous flavoursome prawns which both looked and tasted delicious) and light and fluffy agedashi tofu.

i’m not a beer fan and wished i’d not bothered with the house white wine. the plum wine, on the otherhand, arrived complete with plum and tasted great.

if you’re interested in having good japanese food – go to kiraku. and if you’re not, you should still go! just make sure you book ahead as it was very busy. our feast came to just under £25 a head.


8 station parade, ealing common, uxbridge road, london w5 3ld

tel: 0871 426 8446


gastro, sw4

i’m not a big fan of traditional french food so whenever someone raves about a french restaurant i’m usually looking for the get-out-clause that means we can go somewhere else.

however, this week i was a brave girl when my friend john suggested meeting up at gastro in clapham. gastro is often described as “a piece of france in south london” or an “authentically french dining experience.” for me, up until now, it’s been a place which does ridiculously strong coffee (i’m a coffee-wimp), has french-speaking staff and, despite the lovely decor, especially the rustic square wooden table that would be great for a gang of 10-12 friends, not somewhere i’ve wanted to eat.

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breakfast treats


one of the nicest things about long weekends – and the easter four day bank holiday weekend is one of the best – is all the extra opportunities for breakfast treats.

somehow i very rarely manage to find time on a normal weekend, despite having a desire to create some breakfast rituals. i suppose the one we indulge in most often is bacon sandwiches but for the past two weekends we’ve had something new.

that something has been nigel slater’s smoked mackerel and parmesan on toast. in some ways it’s not much different to the mackerel pate i often make but the addition of parmesan makes it very different. cheese and smoked fish is a bit of an odd combination for me and every mouthful sees me checking that i still like it. as of today, i do.

my other recent breakfast indulgence was a trip to the wolseley. the wolseley is in a fabulous old building which is in the style of a grand european cafe – the interior, with its venetian and florentine influences is full of grand pillars, arches and stairways. amazingly, it was originally designed, in 1921, to be a car showroom!

my friend kirsty and i went for breakfast and had a lovely time, i’d thoroughly recommend the wolseley for a breakfast treat. kirsty had poached eggs on toast (which austerely arrived without any butter!) followed by jam and toast while i had a fantastically flavoursome, but quite rich, dish of grilled field mushrooms with liver and bacon. the liver and bacon mix was lightly covered with a thyme-flavoured creamy sauce. delicious. the hot chocolate i had to accompany it was well balanced, and while rich not too sweet.

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