Tuesday, 12 July 2011

St John Hotel, Leicester Street WC2

The St John Hotel is an odd little place, totally at odds with its surroundings. Like a well to do gent that has fallen on hard times the rather austere dining room is well turned out but not a penny has been wasted on pomp or faff.

I order tea and when it arrives the world suddenly becomes a better place. The St Johns English Breakfast blend is full bodied and rich, cutting straight through the morning fug.

Like most hotels on a Monday morning the dining room was quiet as a church mouse. The diminutive cook chatting idly whilst we decided what to eat.

The menu is pleasingly succinct as you’ve probably come to expect in an establishment with Mr Henderson’s name above the door. With a definite offaly nod and a typically St John take on some British classics.

The Lady opted for the Boiled Egg and Soldiers with Anchovy butter whilst I chose the Pigs Cheek and Pea Omelette. When our order went in we watched as our tiny chef sprang into action with the efficient fluidity of movement you come to expect from a well practised cook.

The open kitchen is tiny and no space is wasted. I’d love to come back on an evening and see how they cope with a few more bodies and a couple of dozen more dupes at the pass.

The Anchovy Butter Soldiers are not for the faint hearted. The dark butter more akin to Gentleman’s Relish piled high on the well scorched toast.

Delicious when dipped into the rich yolk but my god you have like Anchovies A LOT to cope with this one. Luckily the Lady is a fiend when it comes to the fishies and she polishes it off quick smart.

I don’t know what I was expecting from the omelette but I’m somehow disappointed with what appears on my plate. The Pig Cheek clearly shredded and fried till crisp in the omelette while delicious is not the sticky unctuous cheeky mess I somehow imagined.

It was however perfectly executed and a great example of how you should cook eggs. It just lacked that something moist alongside it to help it along.

With Mr Henderson sat across from us enjoying his breakfast I some how find myself lacking the balls to ask for some brown sauce for fear of offending one of my cooking idols. Though in hindsight I doubt Fergus would be subject to the fits of pique you could expect from some of his contemporaries.

All in all the St John Hotel is definitely a treat, the whole experience is one best tried with the time to enjoy it properly and one I’d recommend. Next time though I’ll go heavy on the offal and try those amazing looking Devilled Kidneys...

St. John Hotel on Urbanspoon

Grazia - Come Dine With Me? Yes really...

You can catch me in Grazia this week in an article written by the lovely Morwenna Ferrier.  We tried out the Secret Dinner Party experience so pick up a copy and check out her excellent words while you can!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Franco Manca - Brixton Village, SW9

Does it get better than this? Pancake thin sour dough base topped with fresh Mozzarella and earthy Chorizo. The bread gently charred from the fierce heat of a wood fired oven.

You can tell a lot of love has been put into this Franco Manca pizza. It's a very simple set up is; six different pizza's, two reds, two whites and if you want a beer? Well there is one on the menu.

The location isn't exactly glamorous but that just adds to the charm. Simple food cooked well, great service and great value. Like I said, does it get better than this?

Franco Manca on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The W Hotel - Wardour Street, W1

So we got to stay at the rather sexy W hotel a while back. Wedged between Leicester Square and China Town the W isn’t exactly what you’d call subtle.

I guess though given its surroundings you could hardly expect anything else. The reception and lounge though are more welcome than a cold beer on a hot day after the general sleaze outside.

Cool and more importantly calm you are a world away from the hordes of tourists and you start to get a feel of what the hotel is all about!

Wandering around you feel like you are inside a Wallpaper photo shoot. With the latest coffee table books, erotic plates on the walls and more wood than Ron Jeremy it’s certainly making a statement.

When we get to our room we are definitely pleased. It’s a great size for a central London hotel, the bed is huge and extremely comfortable and the finish is to a very high standard.

The shower and toilet are seemingly hidden in a mirrored cupboard but with this clever use of space you gain a fantastic dressing area. You swiftly realise the whole point of the place when you get upstairs.

It’s a party hotel pure and sweet. The rooms are perfect to get ready in before you hit the town. The bed will nurse you through the worst of hangovers and the shower will wash away that London Grime…

If other things are on your mind just take a quick look in the drawer above the mini-bar and you’ll find all sorts of toys. No explanation needed I hope?

I couldn’t stay here for more than a weekend but if you are hitting town for a big night out and want to stay somewhere in style and maybe party afterwards this is definitely the place to go.

When we get back after our night out there was a queue of people waiting to get into the Wyld Bar. It was nice walking straight past them and up into hotel but I hope they didn’t realise I was going straight to bed and not up to the bar to start the party again…