Category Archives: restaurant reviews

Sketch, Yauatcha and the London Bus Tour

Who has dinner at 11pm on a Saturday night except carefree twenty something year olds livin’ it large in London, right? How awesomely rebellious did I feel, knocking my inner warm-cocoa-and-cotton-pyjama-loving self to the side in favour of social scenes and bright lights and late nights? Totally. Until around 9pm Saturday night, looking at Josh’s jet-lagged fuelled yawns mirroring my own fatigue and wondering what on earth had possessed me to make a midnight booking for dinner.

Admittedly it was the only available time that Sketch The Gallery had remaining when I made the reservation but I hadn’t really thought it through. We made it though, Josh, Julia and myself, walking through the west end via New Bond Street to the venue at 10pm. We arrived early, our hopes of an early sitting being substituted for cocktails in the East Bar. Sometime close to midnight, being served our starters, I was amazed, at how full the venue was. Who on earth eats dinner at this time?! Well, us, evidently. Mostly in quiet as it took too much exertion to shout above the din of the noise of the interior. I hadn’t recalled it being this noisy the last time. Neither was the interior design quite so poor. I used to marvel at the moving wall projections, the artistic room dividers and clean white spaces. The food was still good, but not outstanding and certainly not marvellous enough to compensate for the other disappointing factors. It’s probably the only time I opted for an early departure over dessert. And then of course there was the debacle about the cloakroom having lost my coat when we tried to retrieve it with the cloakroom tag. Sigh. I shan’t be visiting Sketch again anytime soon.

On the upside, a huge thanks to Julia and Josh for the opportunity of a weekend playing tourist in my own city. Having lived in London for twelve years, I have never made it atop a London Bus Tour until this weekend. Fuelled with a breakfast of heavenly chocolate brownies from Chelsea and warm fudgey lunch courtesy of Ben’s Cookies in Covent Garden, we paraded our cold but enthusiastic selves around the city on Sunday, winding up with dinner at YauatchaOne of my favourite places for dim sum, I have to say I especially enjoyed the pumpkin duck dumplings this time, although wasn’t so keen on the cold draft that came with it, as we were seated by the front door on the ground level of the restaurant. And that was the only real downside. After a sugar filled day, I gladly slurped up all the savoury I could, and good it was, too.

It’s taken us a while to get Josh to fly across the Atlantic from New York and, we’re very glad that he finally did.

Fine Dining: Scott’s and The Hawksmoor

ep·i·cu·re·an [adjective] fond of or adapted to luxury or indulgence in sensual pleasures; having luxurious tastes or habits, especially in eating and drinking.

Yes. Quite. It is an undeniable fact that this one word is a summation of my entire life. When I am not indulging in culinary fancies in my own kitchen (see pictures below), it is at London’s finest foodie venues that I am whiling away my hours and my income.

This week, I spent 1 January 2022 with some magical friends; we ate, drank champagne, talked, laughed, played, hoovered up christmas pudding with port and brandy cream, lay about and created the year ahead. I feel I am still digesting all of the above; particularly the latter. I’m sure it will surface at some point on this space but for now, a summary of the week of fine dining:

Scott’s: It claims to be one of Mayfair’s finest seafood restaurants, and, I can’t argue. The smoked haddock with horseradish mash, poached burford brown egg and mustard sauce was soft edible heaven, dissolving into my mouth with sensory pleasure. Equally pleasurable were the surrounds; Scott’s does not suffer from the so-oft found poor acoustics of restaurants whose chic but harsh furnishings fail to absorb the din of conversational noise. Thankfully too, for I was dining with a friend who had just returned from a ten day silent meditation retreat and had plenty to say! Having declined dessert three times, I finally succumbed, under the guise of ‘sharing’. Bakewell pudding with almond ice cream,  vanilla pannacotta with spiced rhubarb and of course (but of course, for what is dessert without chocolate) chocolate and caramel fondant with banoffee ice cream. Amazing. All of them. Satiated though I was, I even managed to dig into my friend’s honeycomb ice cream with hot chocolate sauce; the latter was just too much of a tease for me to ignore. The staff were gracious enough to let us sit until we were ready to leave, and the walk back to Bond Street was a welcome one.

The Hawksmoor: So, if an indulgent 1st and 2nd January were not enough, I thought it entirely appropriate to book a dinner date at The Hawksmoor British steakhouse and cocktail bar, the same week. My friend and I went to the Air Street location, where the art deco rooms are dimly lit and wonderfully atmospheric. We ordered chateaubriand to share, with more side dishes than we could actually finish, including creamed spinach and triple cooked chips etc etc… okay I’m writing too quickly and without any focus, because I reeeallly wanna tell you about dessert. The desserts live up to every raved about review on the net. Really. How can a pudding titled ‘peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice cream’ be anything but God-sent? With that we had Hawksmoor jaffa cake and the famous salted caramel rolos to share. To be honest, the latter ones we lifted to our mouths with heavy hands and teary eyes but we succeeded. It was a battle we were not prepared to lose. How an early 6pm dinner date turned into an 11pm train home is beyond me but my daziness was evident as I got a call from the restaurant to say that I had left my stilletos beneath the dining table. I can only put the delirium down to the quality of the dining and the heaviness of my stomach weighing down on my brain. Still, at least my feet were comfortable in commuting flat shoes. Definitely a thumbs up for this venue. Oh, and the glass of rioja was a good wash-down drink too. I slept like a lion digesting a buffalo that night.