Test Drives

Test drive

Tapas in Soho - we test drive Copita

What do you know about Copita

It's a new restaurant set up by the people behind award-winning Barrica (in Fitzrovia). It's going for an authentic Spanish tapas bar style, something similar to Jose in Bermondsey. It's a small room with no bookings, ideal for a quick stop in Soho.

Who's it aimed at?

More so than traditional Spanish restaurants in London, it's definitely aimed at the casual diner. Th…

Read more: Tapas in Soho - we test drive Copita

Mayfair innovation - test driving Alyn Williams at the Westbury

What can you tell us about Alyn Williams at the Westbury?

This is the first solo venture from Williams, the former head chef at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley and the second new restaurant to open at the Westbury hotel in a matter of months (following The Gallery), making the Westbury a plausible new destination for eating out in London. Williams honed his craft, like Wareing, at Gordon Ramsay Hol…

Read more: Mayfair innovation - test driving Alyn Williams at the Westbury

Buffets, burgers & waffles - test driving Helene Darroze's brunch menu at the Connaught

We freely admit to being about as barking mad about burgers as most London foodies. So when we heard that the signature dish at the weekend brunch two-Michelin-starred chef Helene Darroze was serving up at the Connaught was an ox cheek burger with foie gras, we knew it fell upon us to go and try it out for you. Selfless and greedy – that’s us.

The Connaught’s a lovely hotel to go to at the best of…

Read more: Buffets, burgers & waffles - test driving Helene Darroze's brunch menu at the Connaught

Sustainable sharing: test driving Galoupet in Knightsbridge

So what can you tell me about Galoupet?

Nestled away in a Knightsbridge side-street, Galoupet is an all-day restaurant/wine bar with a strong focus on its wine list and the seasonal aspect of its sharing menu.

Who's it aimed at?

Given the emphasis placed on wine - there's a string of enomatic machines as you enter the restaurant - it's certainly looking to attract passing wine buffs and help to ed…

Read more: Sustainable sharing: test driving Galoupet in Knightsbridge

Wine Chap and the Draft House's Charlie McVeigh face-off in Grain vs Grape

Forget Hastings. Forget Trafalgar, and Waterloo. From the 29th November 2011 the lines are drawn for one of the greatest battles ever fought. Swords and guns will be replaced by bottle-openers, glasses and foot long pork scratchings, as Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh takes on Wine Chap Tom Harrow in the ultimate showdown between beer and wine. Hot Dinners were invited down to the Draft House,…

Read more: Wine Chap and the Draft House's Charlie McVeigh face-off in Grain vs Grape

Scotland meets Islington - test driving Bonnie and Wild in Islington

What can you tell us about Bonnie and Wild?

If you’ve ever seen a group of market tradesman in kilts hawking venison and duck on Saturdays at Broadway Market, you’ve already had a glimpse at the team behind this weekend-only pop-up restaurant in North London.

Based on a collaboration between Bonnie Gull Ltd – a seafood specialist caterers – and Wild Game Co., who specialise in seasonal game from t…

Read more: Scotland meets Islington - test driving Bonnie and Wild in Islington

Champagne angels and charcuterie - test driving The Balcon on Pall Mall

What can you tell us about The Balcon?

The restaurant attached to the Sofitel on Pall Mall used to be a Brasserie Roux but has recently changed hands and undergone a major refit. The chef is Vincent Menager who was sous chef in the previous incarnation and the room has been completely redesigned under the auspices of Russell Sage, recently famed for Bread Street Kitchen and the Zetter Townhouse.

W…

Read more: Champagne angels and charcuterie - test driving The Balcon on Pall Mall

Test Driving Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham

Why's Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham of interest?

In tandem with general manager, Debrah Dhugga, chef Nigel Mendham has brought the restaurant at much-loved five-star, Duke’s of St. James up to the standard of its attendant bar. It’s long been a favourite on account of its balanced but - if you’re not watchful - unbalancing martinis.

Where is it?

Following a couth spruce, Thirty Six now has its own e…

Read more: Test Driving Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham

Test driving Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen

What can you tell us about Bread Street Kitchen?

It's the first new opening from Gordon Ramsay since he relaunched Petrus and sees the TV chef opening in the One New Change shopping complex just across the road from St Paul's.  The restaurant has been a long time in the offing, so expectations are high. The entrance to BSK is right opposite Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa, so expect a certain amount…

Read more: Test driving Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen

Ex Launceston Place chef makes his mark on Fulham's Manson

With the notable exception of the Harwood Arms, there isn't much in the way of decent restaurants that would tempt non-residents to head down to Fulham in search of good tuck. But a meal Hot Dinners had at Manson last week made us think that might be about to change.

Manson's owner, Eamonn Manson - who also owns nearby gastropub Sand's End - has been involved in running watering holes in these par…

Read more: Ex Launceston Place chef makes his mark on Fulham's Manson

Hot Dinners recommends

Test Drive

Hot Dinners on Instagram