Winning in life – and at dinner – in the Wigmore…

The thing about the Wigmore is that it’s good. It’s really good. The fact that it’s barely five minutes’ walk from Oxford Circus – something which would normally put me off being anywhere near it – works in its favour here. You won’t quite be able to believe just how close you are to the part of London that makes normal people want to curl up in a corner and cry because it’s so beautiful and welcoming and soothing and buzzing and stylish inside. Those are adjectives never usually applied to a sentence containing the words ‘oxford’ and ‘circus’.

Decked out in shades of pistachio and olive, lit by glowing copper stemmed bulbs and offering polished wood, leather stools & the comfiest of armchairs, it looks for all the world like a cross between a movie-set court-room and the personal library of your Pinterest dreams. As someone with a bit of thing for bar-side dining, my tip would be to get there for an early-bird dinner and bag two seats on the back of the 360-degree bar. You’re on the quieter side of the space but perfectly placed within chatting distance of the very friendly bartenders. You’re also ideally seated for people watching, my favourite kind of acceptable nosiness.

With a menu from the pen and the pan of Michel Roux Jnr, the fact that it’s simple, elegant and exciting will come as no surprise. Certain dishes have, naturally, already become staples on London’s late 2017 Instagram dining scene – hello baby crumpets and giant toastie – whilst others are less showy but stonkingly delicious.

You can’t have a decent bar menu without chips. Here they arrive chunky as a Christmas lovers’ thighs come January 2nd when all that remains of the Quality Street are tooth shatteringly unlikeable toffee pennies. These chips are hot, crispy, fluffy and covered in an intensely sharp & moreish Bloody Mary Salt.IMG_4787Those afore mentioned crumpets are perfect two-bite canape inspiration and come topped with sweet crab meat, brittle slivers of seaweed and a smattering of paprika. Rich and fresh, this is the second time in as many months that I’ve seen these baby crumpets out and about and, as pugs & party food are proof that the world loves anything miniature, I’m just gonna place my bets and call them out now as something we’ll be seeing everywhere by the end of 2018.IMG_4793 Read More

Marmite butter sprouts; the most important vegetable of the year gets all dolled up for Christmas…

Sprouts. Has there ever been a more divisive vegetable to grace arguably the most important plate of the year? Baby things are always considered cuter than their grown-up counterparts but rarely has anything as inoffensive as a teeny-tiny cabbage ignited so much fervent arguing over whose plate – if any – they end up on but guys, come on. As with so many things in life, I truly believe that if you don’t like it, it’s just because you’ve not found the right way of eating it.

Obviously this doesn’t count where broccoli is concerned because we all know that’s clearly the Devil’s favourite foodstuff.

Plucked from the pages of October’s Good Food Magazine, an issue that promises your easiest Christmas ever, these sprouts are definitely worthy of a place in your festive feasting. Full of savoury, umami flavours from the Marmite and a slick richness from the butter, the charred leaves are crispy, moreish and may just prove to melt even the most hardened of haters’ hearts.


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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