Tag Archives: London

Mercato Mayfair Arrives!

Mercato Metropolitano is a “destination location” in South London. A giant food hall with all sorts of street food, you might not mind getting lost there for a few hours.

So … why not bring the Mercato idea to the center of London, where all the do re me is? Yes, we are talking Mayfair. Voila! Mercato Mayfair is opening for business.

There is a wrinkle to Mercato Mayfair that may or may not appeal — it is located in historic St. Mark’s church.

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St. Mark’s was built in 1825 in order to handle Mayfair’s expanding population. Sadly, it was abandoned in 1974. If you are into this sort of thing, the facade of the church is known as one of the finest examples of Greek revival in London.

There is a spacious feel inside

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Indeed, food … and I mean fine food … seems to bring people together the way that religion did a few hundred years ago.

In London for some Spinach Boregi and the Origins of “Kings Cross”

We are talking about something like this

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Here is the core idea

… crispy-layered pastry all flake and crackle, portion generous enough to be decent snacking for two,


Where to find it? Kings Cross, my friend. Yes, I know. it used to be a dump. Now it is too cool for words. But with places like Arabica, it is the place to go!

Did you know that King’s Cross used to be a village called “Battlebridge”? Long tradition has it that Boadicea fought a great battle here against the Romans. The current name relates back to a rather absurd and enormous cross, a monument to recently deceased  George IV

Image result for Stephan Geary King's Cross

From Widipedia

The building was erected in 1830, as the base for a memorial to the recently-deceased King George IV. A statue of the late king was added in 1835, but then removed in 1842, and the structure was demolished in 1845.

And Now for retired sergeant majors in nipple-waisted chinos

Errr … that ,is, of course, what one finds at the Goring Hotel in London. Is it posh?

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Well, yes, and yet posh is not quite the right word. For the Goring strives not to strive for poshterity. It simply is.

You might contrast this with Claridges or the Savoy. Those places strive to be posh. And they are.

With this in mind, you might not expect a restaurant critic like Grace Dent to be thrilled by the luncheon fare at the Goring provided bya a celebrity chef. And your instincts would have some basis. She writes

… that’s the rub with almost all “fancy incoming chef” versus “nosebleedingly expensive hotel” square-offs: they’re usually bloody dull. In fact, when I go to hell – restaurant critics do not enter heaven – my eternity will be to endure an endless tasting menu while trapped in a glass-fronted room adjoining a fancy hotel foyer. My room mates will be moneyed, jetlagged diners who long for a house burger but were fooled into ordering velouté of endive avec doe cheek confit.

And yet, her view of the Goring’s offering at the “Siren” restaurant strikes a different tone

Siren is an open-fronted space, on dry days at least, that gazes out on a quintessential British country-house lawn. The room is filled with beautiful, green, leafy-cushioned chairs, with notes of terracotta, rich browns and ermine blues. Glass lobsters loom from the ceiling while matching sea anenomes perch on the tables.

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And the food?

I’m pleased to inform you that hell is certainly not Siren. It is entirely the opposite. Outlaw’s rugged charm is the perfect foil to the Goring’s dainty aloofness. They go together like fish and chips – albeit here that means turbot at £42 a piece and chips that are triple-cooked, skin-on spuds with garlic and rosemary.

Yes, yes. One must budget for this sort of thing. But in my view, the grisly preparatory privations would be well worth it!

Watch Out! Grace Dent Visited The Betterment at the Biltmore!

Ah, the Biltmore Hotel in Mayfair on Grosvenpr Square! Grace has this to say abut the hotel

… the Biltmore is the sort of hotel no one who is remotely from Planet Earth ever stays at. It’s a vast, showy, 251-room, 57-suite luxury, Hilton LXR collection, Mayfair rich-person’s mothership, close to Selfridge’s, where the rooms start at £600 a night and you’d stay only if money was simply an airy concept over which you heard other people worry.


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The Betterment is a restaurant inside the Biltmore. Given Grace’s not altogether positive view of the hotel,  you might not be surprised how she opens her review of the Betterment

The Betterment sounds like a four-day Californian wellness retreat where everyone floats about in white, floor-length linen and a hose is sporadically placed up your bottom to wash out all the bad juju. The Betterment sounds like a Gwyneth Paltrow home-learning seminar series, where for $800 you can learn six life-enhancing ways to arrange a radish plate.

But in fact, she liked it!

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Posh, but not boring! I might just have to give this a try!

London: A Bottomless Espresso Martini Pop Up for Christmas?

Yes, that is my fantasy. And it may become a reality!

The pop-up runs on November 22nd, 23rd, 29th, and 30th, and December 6th, 7th, 13th, and 14th, and will cost £25 for 90 minutes of bottomless imbibing – you can find out more and book tickets on their website. Looks like it’s going to be an Extremely Merry Christmas!

Where? King’s Cross! What will it be like? Imagine this

The Gingerbread Man, which combines the pleasure of building a gingerbread house with the subsequent joy of tearing off chunks of said house and dunking it into your espresso martini.

Bottomless espresso martinis

Five Great London Cocktail Bars

London is a great town for cocktails. Oh … ok. And it has some nice other stuff as well. There are the usual suspects (grand cocktail bars that everyone goes to) like the American Bar at the Savoy

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That type of stuff is always fun. And it is nice to see a few places that I had not thought of, like the Coral Bar in Bloomsbury at the very stylish Bloomsbury Hotel.

The Coral Room in Bloomsbury

Very stylish! There is more! Here is the list from Robb. Can’t wait to try them out!