For my friend Ruth’s 50th birthday, I gave her the choice of several restaurants that I had always wanted to try (I’m generous like that). She had no preference, so we met at the King’s Cross branch of Dishoom. Our table was not ready and we had to wait in the bar area known as The Permit Room.
The converted warehouse is done out in the style of an old Bombay cafe. It’s tasteful and interesting without resorting to kitsch.
For our first round of cocktails, I chose a Thumbs Up Flip, a deliciously creamy concoction of cola, whisky, egg, ginger and some other stuff, while Ruth went for a Bombay Manhattan.
The table next to us had snacks and we wanted some. We couldn’t hear the options, so nodded politely at the waitress’s suggestion. Disappointment when banana chips arrived. Oh, but these were different; they were savoury and garnished with a coriander chutney – sensational.
My second cocktail was as generous with alcohol as it was with cinnamon, so it went down quite well. This time our mystery bar snacks looked like big cheesy Wotsits. However, they were, in fact, Indian noshy things with three accompanying tasty chutneys.
I could have carried on like this all night, but the spoilsport waitress came and led us to our table. There we chose paneer tikka (spicy cheese), roti (flat bread), daal and gunpowder potatoes. Each dish was delicious and we polished off the whole lot.
5 Stable Street
London N1C 4AB
T: 020 7420 9321.
by Angie Jacobs
New place in town
It all began with a six-week pop up in Shepherd’s Bush. Or, to be more precise, it began at The Palomar in Soho. And now it is continuing in Fitzrovia. Confused? Let me explain. Mitz Vora was the sous chef at Soho’s wonderful Palomar. He left to establish his own restaurant, Foley’s, and tested out the concept with a six-week pop- up in Goldhawk Road earlier this year. Now he has opened Foley’s in Foley Street W1 and this week I went along to try it out.
It’s one of these ‘earthy’ places – lots of exposed brick, wood, matt stone – it’s casual, yet is the kind of place where you still want to look good, because everyone else does (including the chef). As for the food – well, that looks really good!
There are just 16 dishes on the menu and I think we ordered most of them. The sourdough is grilled and served with fennel butter – the first stroke of genius.
I don’t even like fennel, but in butter – wow! And could there possibly be a new way to serve tuna tartare? The answer is here in the form of endive tacos, in which the tuna is combined with cucumber, coconut and peanuts.
Then we moved on to spiced sweet potato fritters with coconut curry sauce, Korean barbecue chicken thigh ‘ends’, a stunning aubergine with dates, puffed quinoa and the crumbliest, creamiest feta. Cornflake-crusted popcorn chicken is a seriously grown-up chicken nugget, while confit belly of lamb rump with herb hummus and spiced peppers (pictured) is a wonderfully rich and hearty dish. My favourite was the nori-wrapped tuna with shiitake, edamame and seaweed.
And so to desserts – Fatboy Elvis is a warm chocolate chip banana cake, with peanut butter nougat and strawberry jam, and the cheesecake on a baklava pastry base (below) is almost (but not quite) as good as Honey & Co’s. Cocktails must get a special mention – check out Happy Days, which features all the flavours of the tropics and comes in a brass pineapple, while Sherbert Fizz comprises prosecco, elderflower, mint and lemon sherbet. I rounded off all this summery yumminess with a warm chai latte with a dark chocolate spoon – it would’ve been rude not to!
23 Foley Street
London W1W 6DU
T: 020 3137 1302
On the side
In The Picture
Picture restaurant in Great Portland Street has just opened a second site in the heart of Marylebone in New Cavendish Street. Alongside the a la carte menu is a six-course seasonal tasting menu at £45 a head. Co-owner and manager Tom Slegg is famed for his warm hospitality and fantastic food – this is a must-visit. Get 15 percent off at Picture with your Restaurant Club loyalty card. picturerestaurant.co.uk
Flippin’ great (Kosher)
Flipside (Borehamwood) is opening a second branch in Golders Green later this year. Owner Natan Levinson says they are excited to serve their famous burgers in the heart of north-west London.
Shawarma in the city
Josh Katz is a busy boy. After training under Ottolenghi, he founded Zest at JW3 and then left to open Berber & Q in Haggerston, east London, specialising in Middle Eastern cuisine. Now the team is opening Berber & Q Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market (date to be confirmed but should be later this month). Lamb shawarma, cauliflower shawarma (for veggies), rotisserie chicken, salads, Middle Eastern cocktails, wine and beer. What’s not to like? Berberandq.com
I was working in Victoria last week and on my lunch break I was seriously craving pasta. Luckily, I came across a great place called Coco di Mama. They define themselves as ‘the masters of fast pasta’ (it was like fate) and I totally agree. A big portion is only £4.90 (you can get smaller for £3.90) and there is a range of toppings, such as Pomodoro and pesto. There are also many sandwiches and salads. With 11 branches in various locations across the city, plus Victoria and W1, this is perfect for takeaway lunch or for a quick lunch break. cocodimama.co.uk
by Georgia Walters