Getting involved with all things sausage at the German Gymnasium…

Built like a Bavarian weightlifter and dwarfed by a tree whose branches hang full of jewelled baubles, the restaurant inside German Gymnasium at Kings Cross is one of the loveliest places in which to enjoy festive fare right now. An enormous space, lofty with arched ceilings, feels cosy and intimate thanks to the ground floor Grand Café tables which circle the heavy branched fir and the first-floor mezzanine from which diners in the restaurant can peep down into the gentle bustle below. If all you’re after is a drink designed to smooth away the rough edges of London travel, the utterly gorgeous Meister Bar must be one of the prettiest watering holes in the capital, a vision of spotless marble, sparkling bottles and sugared almond chairs.

Service here is excellent from the warm welcome at the front desk – where coats, scarves, wheeled suitcases and snow shoes, all the possible paraphernalia of Kings Cross in December, are graciously and swiftly removed – to the wait staff who sashay so effortlessly between tables you’d be forgiven for thinking they were gliding on steel blades across an icy sheeted floor.

A late lunch booking on the first Sunday in December gave us time to enjoy the brunch menu which is vast but doesn’t feel as though things are on there just for the sake of it. The usual suspects ‘a la oeuf’ are there for the choosing but am I going to barely dip my toe into the waters of German cuisine when I could swan dive in with all the grace & elegance of a lederhosen clad milk-maid? I think you know the answer by now dear reader… Read More

Roasted Winter Squash & Carrots Agrodolce…

Every so often I stumble across a recipe that I think sounds interesting, I make up and I promptly fall head over heels for. This absolute gem from the archives of Bon Appetit and the mind of Senior Food Editor Chris Morocco is one such example of my rampant, random, recipe obsession.

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Currently in the throes of a wintry obsession with roasted squash and carrots – honestly, I’ve years to make up for where carrots are concerned having only recently realised that my decades long avoidance of ‘squishy’ carrots has kept me from the perfectly caramelised vegetables which emerge after time spent in the oven – and needing to find as many ways to eat them as I possibly can, this tangy, spicy, sweet dressing is glorious in its complexity of flavours and simplicity of cooking. Read More

Pastaio; a jewel in London’s pasta-obsessed restaurant crown…

Stevie Parle’s Clerkenwell based Palatino was responsible for one of my finest 2017 date night dinners. The venue perfectly straddled the cosy-stylish divide, the service was top notch and the food was flat-out fantastic. Carbs are taken as seriously as Trump in my house and their Gnocchi alla Romana is the stuff of dreams though it is, of course, quelle horreur for Atkins devotees.

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Opening a new, very centrally located place is something that’s always going to be accompanied by a whole new set of sky-high expectations as well as a new crowd of diners, for whilst EC1 is a barely-worth-putting-outdoor-shoes-on length stroll from my North London home, it’s considered something of a trek by anyone living elsewhere on the capital’s compass. This just-off Carnaby Street location is moments from theatres, cinemas & flagship stores so understand that you may well spot an M&M’s World bag or a Hamley’s survivor inside – you’ll recognise them by the look of shell-shock on their faces.

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Like a similarly named, no-reservations, South London counterpart, Pastaio specialises in fresh pasta and, apparently, drawing the crowds. During its recent soft launch, my attempt to feast on the cheap was rebuffed by a 2 hour wait, something my at-the-time growling stomach made quite clear was not going to happen. Returning a week later for a Thursday night, girl date supper we were seated immediately and the restaurant was quiet enough in the no man’s land time period that falls between finishing work & beginning to dine for us to fall a little bit in love with the place.  Long communal tables in beautiful flecked stone, an open plan kitchen constantly blurred behind puffy clouds of steam and a warm, mellow glow from the sort of lighting that makes everyone look that little bit more attractive. Read More