Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs

The concept at Kitchen Table is straightforward: 19 diners sit at a U-shaped bar encircling an immaculate kitchen and watch their 12-course tasting menu being prepared and plated by chef James Knappett and a small team of sous-chefs. I suppose it’s logical that the television-viewing public’s seemingly-unquenchable enthusiasm for behind-the-scenes perspectives on fine dining would eventually lead to actual tableaux vivants. Well, if food is theatre, then Kitchen Table is French art-house cinema: edgy, stylish, and very, very sexy. Continue reading

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Dabbous

When I announced to a friend that I had a reservation at the hardest table to book in London, I am sure there was a note of unholy glee in my voice.  “What, the Ledbury?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Dabbous.”

In the few short months that Dabbous has been open, the cascade of glowing reviews from London’s most difficult-to-please critics has been followed by extraordinary hype. Giles Coren pretty much sealed the fate of London diners with his rapturous write-up in the Times (which I still haven’t been able to read in its entirety thanks to the Times’ pay-wall). I hear that the wait for a table is now several months long. Nevertheless, when I idly clicked through Open Table on Sunday trying to book a table for four in May (no luck), to my utter surprise there was a table available for two people that Tuesday. The decision required no reflection. I booked it immediately and invited reliable fellow-lover of decadent dining experiences V to join me. Continue reading

Eating in Seattle – Bako

Into every life a little rain must fall. That’s how I feel about my dining and drinking experiences in Seattle, which were almost uniformly stellar, with one singular exception, Bako. Bako opened recently, with plenty of fuss and fanfare, as a self-proclaimed “upscale” Chinese restaurant on the north end of Capitol Hill. I thrilled to fancies of Hong Kong-style visionary culinary excellence. What I ate, instead, was uniformly brown, bland, and soggy. In fact, I disliked everything about Bako, from the mustaches on the bartenders (please, hipsters: shave for 2012) to the self-consciously sleek interior, to our irritatingly perky, alarmingly ditzy server. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Continue reading

Medlar: What A Gem

If you have not yet had the unmatchable pleasure of dining at Medlar you must drop everything and make a booking immediately.

I have been trying to get to Medlar for months. (I am not just saying this because by now everyone has eaten there, written a (glowing) review, and I am trying to catch up.) It has been difficult, however, to persuade my London compadres to voyage to a part of Chelsea where there are no nearby tube stops. So I took advantage Continue reading

Mark’s bar at Hix

There are few things better than going to a really good bar where you know the bartender. That cozy feeling of communion as the drinks crafted ESPECIALLY FOR YOU are placed before you is an experience on a par, I’d say, with going on a really sexy first date. (The two, of course, are not mutually exclusive.) One thing that gives this most singular of pleasures a run for its money is going to a good bar where you don’t know the bartender but ARE TREATED AS IF YOU DO. Continue reading

Feeling Sexy at Viajante Bar

If I were staying at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, I would be in trouble, as I would never leave the Viajante Bar. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “what’s a blogger on a budget doing in a swank bar?” Drinking, that’s what. Which brings me to another IMPORTANT RULE: Always leave room in the budget for cocktails. Odds are you’ll need one. (I know I do.)

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