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
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
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
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
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
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.)