Test Drives

Test drive

Hot Dinners tries out the Waitrose Cookery School

Hot Dinners' baking efforts have, in the past, been varied to say the least. We may be able to bake a mean brownie - but could always do with some decent training. So we were particularly pleased to be invited to be among the first to try out the new Waitrose Cookery School on the Finchley Road.

Situated above an enormous Waitrose, we were immediately struck with how brand-spanking-new everything…

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London Chocolate Week tasting at L'Artisan Du Chocolat

This week, London had a sweet and creamy answer to those tired out by the hedonistic pleasures of London cocktail week – the simultaneous celebration of London Chocolate Week.

Some enterprising bars chose to combine the two with chocolate flavoured cocktails and liqueurs, but for the true cocoa lover, there was only one place to head – your local chocolate shop.

Acclaimed master chocolatiers L’Art…

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There was a frisson of excitement at last night's launch of the Savoy Truffle Club's London Restaurant Festival pop-up when chef Gavin Billenness's heavily pregnant wife (who'd greeted us all at the start of the evening) went into labour. She rushed off to hospital, closely followed by Gavin who, total trouper that he was, had stayed until the main course was served before making his way to his wi…

Read more: The Savoy Truffle Club London Restaurant Pop-up reviewed

Polpetto, Russell Norman's latest venture, lives up to the hype

After last year's hugely successful launch of Polpo - the immediately popular Venetian bacarro by way of New York - there was almost immediate speculation on what restaurateur Russell Norman would come up with next. The answer eventually came that he was going to be opening Spuntino in Autumn, when suddenly Norman surprised everyone when he announced on Twitter that his third restaurant was on the…

Read more: Polpetto, Russell Norman's latest venture, lives up to the hype

First grouse of the season from the Grill at the Dorchester

The foodie equivalent of the once-popular Beaujolais Nouveau run, the race to get the first grouse down from the first shoot on the Glorious Twelfth to restaurant tables here in London has become a big deal. Now while we certainly weren’t the first to try grouse in London, we did think it worth while celebrating the first grouse in style, so we were pretty pleased to be asked to the Grill at the…

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Min Jiang summer sake pairing

We’d heard a lot about Min Jiang from other London foodies who’d praised both the views and particularly the restaurant’s famous Peking duck. But we were invited to try out something a little different last month at Min Jiang’s Summer Sake Pairing Chinese Food Dinner.

Situated at the top of the Royal Garden Hotel in Knightsbridge, Min Jiang was opened in the summer of 2008 and has carved out a n…

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Our favourite local restaurant - Trullo

I have to make something clear at the outset. I live VERY close to Trullo - about 3 minutes walk away. Some weeks ago I found myself regularly passing the creation of a new restaurant on the way to the office and, naturally, was intrigued.

The spot where Trullo now resides was once the home of Islington's Gill Wing Cafe. This was one of those neighbourhood institutions that locals remember fondly…

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Hotel Terravina - world class wines in the New Forest

Barely 90 minutes from London's Waterloo station, the Hotel Terravina is a pretty much perfect overnight stay for anyone who is interested in food - and more particularly wine. It's owned and run by Gerard and Nina Bassett whose provenance as far as hotels go is impeccable - Gerard spent six years at Chewton Glen, Nina was a hotel inspector and together (with partner Robin Hutson who now runs Lim…

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There’s been a lot of chat on Twitter about the launch of Cantina Laredo in London – mainly speculation about this upmarket Mexican restaurant chain’s pricey guacamole. Hot Dinners accepted an invitation to try the Covent Garden branch out to see if it could live up to the price tag.

The first (of many?) UK outpost for this American chain, Cantina Laredo bills itself as a gourmet Mexican experienc…

Read more: Cantina Laredo and the £7 guacamole

Roux at Parliament Square - traditional, but good

Michel Roux Jnr’s new place just opposite the House of Commons has polarised the critics.  The first wave decried it for being too old-fashioned, too staid while the latter reviews mainly heralded it for its unabashed traditionalist approach to fine French food. Having been invited to try dinner there, Hot Dinners can see a little of both sides – but on balance we’re coming down on the side of th…

Read more: Roux at Parliament Square - traditional, but good

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