‘An exceptional roast lunch’: Quality Chop House reviewed

The oldest and best chophouse in London was Simpson’s Tavern in Ball Court Alley off Cornhill (since 1757 on that site): Charles Dickens’s favourite chophouse, and mine. Simpson’s was locked out by landlords who impersonate cartoon villains at the end of 2022 for failing to pay pandemic arrears promptly. Simpson’s said they survived world wars,

‘Grand and isolated’: The Wolseley City, reviewed

I am fretting about this restaurant column’s election coverage and then I alight on something superficially grand and lovely, which has been hollowed out and is now useless and barely able to function: a shell. It is the Wolseley 2 – the Wolseley City – and this is perfect. I name it the election restaurant,

‘Vital but fraying’: Five Guys reviewed

Five Guys is a burger house from Arlington, Virginia, based on the premise that if you can serve a drink, cut a fringe, or make a hamburger, you will always make money in America. Thirty years and 1,700 restaurants later, it sits on Coventry Street off Piccadilly, soaking up the alcohol of a thousand British

‘Five stars, no notes’: Arlington reviewed

Arlington is named for the 1st Earl of Arlington and his street behind the Ritz Hotel. It used to be Le Caprice, which was opened in 1947 by the Italian Mario Gellati, who would not, by the new rules, get into Britain now, but this is not a column about pain. In 1981 Le Caprice

‘The interiors are happily insane’: Dear Jackie, reviewed

Dear Jackie is the restaurant in the new hotel Broadwick Soho on Broadwick Street in Soho, which is most famous, if you are an infectious diseases nerd, for being the site of the 1854 cholera outbreak and its cure. Dr John Snow isolated it to the street’s water pump, noted local brewers were immune, and

‘I pity MPs more than ever’: the Cinnamon Club, reviewed

The Cinnamon Club appears on lists of MPs favourite restaurants: if they can still eat this late into a parliament. It lives in the old Westminster Library on Great Smith Street, a curiously bloodless part of London, and an irresistible metaphor wherever you are. When once you ate knowledge, you now eat flesh, but only

‘This is generous food’: The Salt Pig Too, reviewed

Swanage is a town torn from a picture book on the Isle of Purbeck: loveliness and vulgarity both. It is famous for fossils, Purbeck marble, a dangerous-looking small theme park, and Punch and Judy. My husband is very attached to Swanage, because it exists in a state of 1952 – in homage to this, it

‘Well-priced and skilful’: Masala Zone, reviewed

There are cursed restaurants and cursed women, and this makes them no less interesting. One is Maxim’s in Paris, which knows it – it gaily sells ties in a charnel house decorated for the Masque of the Red Death – and another is the Criterion at Piccadilly Circus, which doesn’t. One day it might meet

Fine food in a fine restaurant: Origin City reviewed

Origin City is a good name for this restaurant, whether it knows it or not. It is at West Smithfield, the only surviving wholesale market in the City of London (I do not count Borough, which is a snack shack impersonating a greengrocers and is only spiritually in the City). Covent Garden sells face cream