24 Restaurants of the last year

Turning 24 tomorrow, and looking back on some amazing restaurants and foodie experiences over the last year. By somewhat of a coincidence, I’ve been to 24 (1 every fortnight, I know that sounds like a lot), so here they are…

Best in Show 

The Manor and Paradise Garage – outstanding, modern British and innovative food and drinks. The finds of the year for sure.

The Michelin Stars

Launceston Place– because who doesn’t like a 7-course Tasting Menu…

Angler– fine-dining fish and seafood in the heart of the City of London

Murano– innovative, clever and refined Italian dining from Angela Hartnett

City Social– modern, stylish, and possibly the best restaurant view in London. Beautiful restaurant from Jason Atherton

Highly Recommended

Curry Leaf Cafe– authentic Indian cuisine down on the South Coast

Polpo– Venetian-style restaurants and bars throughout London. Great relaxed atmosphere and food

Best of London

The Shed– part of the Gladwin Brothers’ group, a superb British restaurant in Notting Hill. Great spot for brunch

House of Ho– delicious Vietnamese and Asian food, in Central London

Almeida– modern British restaurant in Islington, very clever and interesting dishes

Quaglino’s– had both dinner and afternoon tea here, in this most iconic and glamorous of Mayfair restaurants.

Paternoster Chop House– bar food, great steaks, huge selection of meat, all in surroundings of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Skylon– stylish restaurant on the Southbank, which great views over the Thames

German Gymnasium– German and European food in a beautiful space near King’s Cross

Avenue– American-themed restaurant in St James. ‘Triple Pig Burger’ an absolute winner.

Sartoria– slightly biased, but well worth a visit for Francesco Mazzei’s authentic Italian cuisine

Blueprint Cafe– modern European food on the Wharf next to the Thames. Another good spot for dinner with a view

The Diner/Joe’s Southern Kitchen– a new departure for me, but really got into casual-style US diners this year. Both these two well worth a visit.

Best of The Rest

The Red House, Newbury– lovely country pub in Newbury, Berkshire. Great wine list and delicious Sunday roasts. An absolute must if in the area.

Old Parsonage Hotel, Oxford– part of the Mogford group in Oxford, the restaurant at The Old Parsonage Hotel is now probably the best in the collection for dining. A very Oxford-y type of restaurant, but delicious.

Valencia– yes granted not a particular restaurant as such, but I had 24 hours here in October, and the Spanish/Valenciennes have a fantastic eating and drinking culture.

Persian Food– again not a particular restaurant (although Little Persia in Shepherd’s Bush is great), Iranian and Persian cuisine is a new discovery for me this year. Very vegetable and herb-based, I look forward to trying more of this delicious food.

Looking forward to seeing what my 24th year will hold in the wonderful world of restaurants, food and drink!



‘The Diego Masciaga Way’- Lessons from the Master of Customer Service

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”- Mahatma Gandhi

One of the best hospitality/service books I’ve read, and just finished, is ‘The Diego Masciaga Way’. Diego Masciaga is the long-standing Director of the celebrated 3-Michelin star Waterside Inn, and this book by Chris Parker is a fascinating insight into the thoughts and principles of a man clearly at the top of his profession.

I won’t spoil the surprises for those interested in reading it, but the main principles of service are highlighted in the final chapter, based around; Recruitment; Training; Leadership; Service Delivery; Longevity and Consistency.

An inspirational read- can highly recommend!


London Wine Fair 2016

Visited the London Wine Fair last week, for my second visit. One of those events where I am there as much for business as for pleasure! Always great to meet suppliers, taste new and interesting wines, and catch-up with industry colleagues and friends!

London Wine Fair 2016

Tim Bacon

2016 has so far been an ‘annus horribilis’ for the great and the good of the entertainment and music industry, starting with the death of David Bowie in January, and more recently those of Victoria Wood and Prince. The hospitality industry has suffered a major blow today, with the tragic loss of Tim Bacon, the CEO of Living Ventures, at the age of 52.

The Living Ventures company operates 34 restaurants across the UK, and in 2013 the company secured 9th in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies. I first came across Tim Bacon’s work during a programme on the BBC in 2013, Restaurant Wars, which showed the opening of Manchester House, led by Bacon, in competition with another new restaurant opening. It showed incredible passion, drive and dedication to the business, and really showed how a strong vision behind a concept can make something special.Only last month, Tim Bacon was named as number 10 in Restaurant Magazine’s Power List in the ‘Boardroom’ section.

In what is undoubtedly a tragic loss, his entrepreneurship, work and legacy to the UK Hospitality Industry shall live on.

Tim Bacon