NFT London Fitzrovia

Fitzrovia

There's a whole recent trend for upmarket Fiztrovians to roam east in return for trendsetting East Enders giving their neighbourhood a bit of cool cred -- they're all swapping galleries and premises and god knows what else in some kind of grown-up-exchange programme. Fitzrovia has its own history of cool though; you might be lucky enough to see a star at two at the BBC on Great Portland.




         



On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

The Remedy
I wish there was a branch of The Remedy on every street corner but then perhaps that's why it's so special--because it is so rare to find somewhere that is this passionate about what they serve and that delivers. Of course, wine is the speciality here but this is not the place to come if you want your regular serving of Cab Sav. You can ask the waiter for a safe option but he is likely to offer you something that will challenge your tastebuds (in a good way). I had seen a chilled red on the blackboard which I fancied but the waiter quickly turned me on to a different one from a small producer who uses biodynamic methods. "Eets a leetle beet...funky so maybe you like to try first," he helpfully explained before pouring me a good glug of Adonis from the Loire Valley. It was indeed funky but I liked it. He let me finish the taster before pouring a full new glass. This is what wine drinking should be about, trying new stuff and not having your pants bored off by someone who spouts off about 'minerality' and 'oakiness' etc. Having tried something new on the libation side of things I stuck to the tried and tested on the food front and had an incredibly satisfying Toulouse sausage and chips followed by a more than perfect panna cotta but the seafood oriented specials and oyster 'happy hour' demand another trip.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Picture
I don't like restaurant critics. They're always snarky. Anger issues. Passive aggression. If I don't like somewhere, I just won't review it. So that's the first thing to get off my chest. The second thing: I'm not overly keen on 'small plates'. I don't like sharing which is what people tend to do with small plates. So Picture, because it's being reviewed here, must be at least good to outstanding, and also, must have converted me to this way of eating. Picture is that rare thing: a quietly confident eaterie in central London that has both style and substance, and it's also pretty damned reasonable for the quality of food and service you're receiving. The tasting menu is six courses (that's six small plates each) which may seem daunting but each dish is so carefully considered and the service timed so well that you never feel overwhelmed only excited about the next course. I couldn't say which was my favourite, everything was cooked to perfection; however, the sea bream elevated a dish which has become ubiquitous yet so often badly done. Closely followed by the pork cheeks. And the sublime chocolate mousse. An a la carte menu is available if you're after a quick bite but I highly recommend the Spring tasting menu. Simple food and flavours done perfectly.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Scandinavian Kitchen
If you're a lover of the Swedish cinnamon bun or have graduated to the cardamom bun, then the semla (or semlor in the plural) will blow your mind. A cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream, the semla was traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday. Back in the day, it was a humble bread bun served in hot milk but at some point, like everyone else, the Swedes got fed up with this ascetic regime and the semla as we now know it was born. This pimping of the tradition proved too delicious and semlor became available every Tuesday until Easter. Then they started popping up soon after Christmas--not unlike the Cadbury's cream egg. Let's be honest, Mardi Gras is pretty much the stretch from Christmas through to Easter: after that the days start to get longer and we become aware of our less-than-svelte figures. I can't think of a better place to exercise winter eating than The Scandinavian Kitchen. With its open sandwiches, buns and cakes, and the stash of imported goodies at the back of the café (they have Smash! from Norway! Only the best salty-sweet chocolate hit EVER!), I'll happily take a 'tretar' (translates literally as 'threefill' or third cup) of Monmouth coffee.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Villandry
From the outside, Villandry is one of those places that could be intimidating. It’s on Great Portland Street where side roads are filled with Maseratis and Jaguars and it is also a Parisian-style grand café. So you would be forgiven for thinking that the service may be a little haughty and perhaps that the prices would leave you out of pocket. In fact, the takeaway counter is pretty reasonable and with this cold weather, for a few more pounds than your usual Pret-Itsu-EAT lunch, you can get something hot and tasty that feels homemade. The soup is hearty and healthy (I had cauliflower and fennel) and you can choose from hot dish of the day for £6.50 (beef and Guinness stew anyone?) or the daily carvery in a baguette or ciabatta for £6.95. Salad is available too from £4.95 and looks vibrant and fresh. Did I mention the juices, smoothies, pizza, and wraps? As for service, the staff were friendly and quick to serve. What really caught my eye though were the patisserie-style offerings and I couldn't resist a large homemade jammy dodger--buttery biscuit sandwiched together with serious raspberriness. That alone put a big smile on my face for the rest of the day. Jammy dodger indeed.



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Beyond Bread
The number of places in London that offer gluten-free options is inversely proportional to the number of people who suffer from gluten intolerance. When I say gluten-free options, I mean real options, like exactly the same things that people who eat wheat eat, but made with rice flour or spelt or any of the other myriad options. That kind of thing. Luckily, Beyond Bread seems to be addressing the matter by providing breads and pastries made from alternative grains. The various baguettes and baps have delicious fillings such as pulled pork, wasabi tuna, and roasted vegetables making it quite hard to decide on what to have. So I went for the salmon and asparagus quiche. Getting gluten-free pastry right is no easy feat but this one had a good crumb and thankfully, no soggy bottom. A good bit of salt and pepper wouldn't have gone amiss in the topping though. This place only opened about four weeks ago and there are a few teething problems: the pay point is beyond the food display creating a bottle neck with customers trying to get to the seating beyond, and although the service was definitely friendly, it was a bit scattered. To be fair, this was probably because they were busy but they better get used to it until more gluten-free places open.



Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

Bourne & Hollingsworth
My first visit to Bourne & Hollingsworth didn't get off to the most auspicious start. First, we couldn't find it--its address might be Rathbone Place, but its entrance is on Charlotte Street. Then, a man exiting as we were entering warned us that it was rubbish and not to bother going in (although he put it in cruder terms). But having made the effort to get there, we weren't going to be deterred without judging for ourselves. And I'm glad we did as Bourne & Hollingsworth is a delightful little venue. I was intrigued by the bar's Prohibition-era premise of serving cocktails in teacups. So rather than having just any old drink here, our mission was to have a cocktail served in the finest vintage china. On that front, we were slightly disappointed as from their extensive cocktail menu, only four were offered in teacups, limiting our choice somewhat. I had something that involved cucumber and gin, served with a cucumber sandwich (crusts cut off) on the side, whilst my friend has a cherry brandy concoction that came with a couple of Jaffa cakes. Both were served in mismatched teacups on saucers, and cost £7 a go. Not cheap, but incredibly potent! It is a cosy venue--not much bigger than many front rooms, and fittingly it is decorated like many a grandma's lounge with chintzy wallpaper and standard lamps, but with the addition of a DJ playing a great selection that ranged the Rolling Stones to Roots Manuva on our visit.



Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

Eagle Bar Diner
We stumbled upon (quite literally) the Eagle Bar Diner whilst looking for another bar nearby. Unlike most of the pubs and bars around this area, the Eagle still had a couple of empty tables on this particular Friday night. That's not to say it was quiet--the bar was busy enough with groups on cocktail-driven missions. The Eagle is decorated with retro Americana, although late at night when the lights are down low, it is barely noticeable and having already eaten, we didn't partake of its signature burgers either--but what we did experience was a small sample of its huge cocktail menu. My mojito was as good as any I've had elsewhere, whilst my friend enjoyed something involving vodka, passionfruit and blood oranges. We were also tempted but thought better of, their Alcoholic Milkshakes--but that might be a good reason to return in the future.



Posted By:  Justine Forrest
Photo:  Justine Forrest

The Cock
The Cock is a pretty standard British boozer. It has so far managed to avoid being given a makeover so the beer stained carpet and dark wood interiors are all the genuine article, rather than an ironic copy. So why drink in the Cock. Two reasons: 1.) It is in a central location, just off Oxford Street. 2.) It is a Sam Smith's pub, which means it is cheap. Cheap pubs off Oxford Street are pretty hard to come by and whilst the Cock will usually be busy, it hasn't yet been discovered by shoppers from out of town. Of course, there is a third reason why this pub is popular. People seem to take a certain juvenile delight in its name. But I'm sure you are above such things...



Posted By:  Claire Storrow
Photo:  Claire Storrow

Beard Papa
"What in the world?" was my initial reaction. "Curious..." was my second. "Yum-a-lum" was my third. Yes, the rather weird sight of the bright yellow sign declaring Beard Papa's Cream Puffs to the masses slap bang in the middle of Oxford Street was a little too South Park for my liking but having seen it one time too many I marched purposefully over. "Right," I said to myself, "I'm going to get to the bottom of this cream puff scenario." Essentially a kind of profiterole which comes in a variety of shapes from round to cornet to eclair-shaped, what gives Beard Papa's the edge is indeed the cream. A custardy confection encased in wonderfully fresh choux pastry, Beard Papa's (a Japanese company) rather sweetly claims to be "the world's best-selling cream puffs." I'm not sure they have much competition but with all products free of additives and preservatives they certainly get my vote for when on the hoof in central London and a bit of a sugar boost is needed.





Powered By Subgurim(http://googlemaps.subgurim.net).Google Maps ASP.NET

See Fitzrovia...
Restaurants (36)
Nightlife (20)
Shopping (16)
Landmarks (4)