Test Drives

Test drive

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…

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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…

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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…

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Test driving Joe's by Maria Elia in Chelsea

What can you tell us about Joe's?

Smack bang in the middle of the ritzy Brompton Cross area, there's every chance you might walk by Joe's without noticing it at first glance. A breezy bar takes up most of it's front, making it almost indistinguishable from the other bistros that dotted around this expensive shopping area. 

On closer look, a stylish and cosy restaurant is revealed with its noo…

Read more: Test driving Joe's by Maria Elia in Chelsea

Test driving Wolfgang Puck's Cut at 45 Park Lane

What is Cut?

This is the first London restaurant for American celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck - the man behind Spago and the chef who's the official caterer for the Academy Awards. On paper it's a steakhouse in a luxury hotel, in practice our lunch here was one of the best meals of the year.

Where is it?

Cut is the hotel restaurant for 45 Park Lane, a new-build boutique hotel which is part of the D…

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Test driving the Northall at the Corinthia

What can you tell us about the The Northall?

It's one of two restaurants in the new Corinthia hotel (the other being Massimo), the huge new hotel near Whitehall. It focuses on sustainable British food (the menu shows the provenance of all the ingredients) and is under the direction of Michelin-starred Executive Chef Garry Hollihead (who has previously done time under Marco Pierre White at MPW and…

Read more: Test driving the Northall at the Corinthia

Test driving the Admiral Codrington in South Kensington

What can you tell us about the Admiral Codrington?

Once the roaming ground of the determined and thirsty Sloane ranger, the Admiral Codrington has somewhat sobered in its reputation, and clientele of late, and adopted a much more tranquil and food-focused approach.

Still first and foremostly a pub, The Admiral’s front bar area is nicely decorated with dark wood panelling and rich upholsteries. Hea…

Read more: Test driving the Admiral Codrington in South Kensington

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