Test Drives

Test drive

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…

Read more: First grouse of the season from the Grill at the Dorchester

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…

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Watching the world row by at the Bingham

Earlier this year, in the announcement of the Michelin awards for 2010, there was a surprise new entry in the form of newcomers for London which had slipped under most people's radar. The Bingham, a boutique hotel in Richmond, had been awarded a Michelin star when many more famous central London restaurants has been left off the list. Invited to try out the restaurant, Hot Dinners took up the off…

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Test driving Byron Burgers Islington

There's been a lot of talk (too much, dare we say it) from food bloggers mainly, and critics, about the quest for the best burger in London. On blogs across the capital, great swatches of digital column inches have been taken up with dissecting patty density, the right consistency and provenance of melted cheese and the quality of the bun itself. We've even heard of people queueing two hours for a…

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Stunning food in the East End with Viajante

We have to admit to having been really excited in a geeky, far-too-interested-in-eating-than-can-be-healthy sort of way about our lunch at Viajante. We'd been following the exploits of chef Nuno Mendes via the foodie blogosphere for over a year while he wowed visitors to his Loft project - an endeavour Mendes had set up following his departure from Bacchus when the gastropub changed direction. Th…

Read more: Stunning food in the East End with Viajante

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