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40-42 William IV Street, London, WC2N 4DD [Map]
Will Smith and Anthony Demetre have done it again, building on the huge success of Arbutus and Wild Honey, both with a Michelin star, they have opened Les Deux Salons in Covent Garden premises, just off Trafalgar Square, but considerably larger than anything that they have tackled before with over one hundred and fifty covers.
Expect a mainly French brasserie style menu, offering excellent value, particularly the set price lunch and pre-theatre dinner. Dishes on the à la carte could encompass ceviche of swordfish, lime, chilli and coriander or smoked and fresh salmon rillettes among the highly eclectic starters, with grass-fed veal chop or slow-cooked shoulder of lamb listed among main courses.
To gain further information, just visit their extremely comprehensive Website.
Prix-Fixe menu - 2 courses with coffee and profiterole for £9.95 Book
Menu Formule - 3 courses with a glass of wine and coffee for £19.95 Book
18 Hogarth Place, Earl's Court, London, SW5 0QY [Map]
The British love affair with French cuisine rolls on and all over the country pockets of Gallic expertise pander to this national inclination. The Little French Restaurant, tucked into one of the more civilised and quieter corners of Earl's Court, takes a leading role in perpetuating our adoration of not only the cooking abilities of the French, but perhaps just as importantly their philosophy regarding this highly rated pastime, occasionally cloaked beneath the mantle of necessity.
Given that the entente cordiale is not always the uppermost thought in the minds of the collective British, this is an enormous tribute to the culinary abilities of a race that are characterised by such daily icons as garlic, the whiff of Gauloises, romance and inscrutable politics.
Half the battle in any French restaurant so impudent as to establish itself in a foreign field is to get the décor right. Thoughts of impressionist art, pewter bars, red velvet and dangerously ponderous sparkling chandeliers and a general air of controlled decadence come to mind, and on at least some of these matters The Little French restaurant ticks the box.
But of course, when the chips are down, it is the food and drink that make the pace, so let's start with the wine list. Having perhaps visited their website beforehand you will have noted that the most expensive bottle of wine does not even reach the £25 mark. This, from one of the most respected wine producing countries in the world, may well have surprised and a Crozes Hermitage at £22.95 does not disappoint. As ever an exception is made for the Lanson champagne which does cross the threshold, but wait - the house champagne at £22.95 is most certainly not to be overlooked.
Lunch time in Earl's Court makes the middle of the Sahara look overpopulated and the three course meal on offer at £9.95 is therefore offered at both lunchtime and in the evenings, making it incredibly sound value. With a choice of nine dishes each from the starters and main course the eye catches a traditional start with French onion soup, vichyssoise, corn and crab French potage with scent of fresh parsley, springs, thyme, shallots and black pepper, or tartare of marinated wild salmon with cucumber salad.
Main courses weigh in with coq au vin d'Alsace done the French way in a pot, before even considering the lamb Wellington, hardly an item one expects to find in a French restaurant, but never mind all that was a long time ago. A return to patriotism is signalled by the arrival of the cod à la Provençale, but let nobody ignore the canard Josephine, tender breast of duck, marinated in Asian spices, grilled and served with sauce bigarade.
Desserts such as French apple tart, or crème caramel lead the satisfied diner to a graceful completion before coffee is served and the relative merits of a single malt or an excellent brandy become a talking point.
The Little French Restaurant lives up amply to its name and has all the necessary accoutrements to ensure its neighbourhood status. Do check on its Website for further information and evidence that it is in tune with then spirit of the times.
3 course meal at £9.95 (offer available with minimum order of one drink per person) Book
192 Pitt Street, City Centre, Glasgow, G2 4DY [Map]
Without any shadow of doubt Alla Turca is a place for enjoyment. Located in Glasgow City Centre the different facets of this award winning Turkish restaurant, grill and mezze bar combine to bring an air of jollity to a city of many unusual ingredients, causing one wag to coin the phrase, 'a funeral in Glasgow is more fun than a wedding in Edinburgh'. From the standpoint of an intimate acquaintance with both cities I wouldn't dare to comment, but I do wish that Alla Turca had been in existence when last I was there, some years ago.
This is Turkey at its best away from home. A wonderful combination of exotic Turkish dishes, the enchanting live music of Armagan Alakus and his Turkish guitar every night from 6pm, never intrusive, always entertaining, amidst a décor that is challenging enough in itself, the citizens of Glasgow, their friends and a wider public are all set to have an evening they will recal with pleasure.
Writing in Glasgow West End Roy Beers said, "For Glaswegians and also the increasing stream of visitors who seek out the city's unrivalled dining and drinking scene, a meal at Alla Turca is a journey of exploration into a world of fascinating complementary tastes and food textures, a candlelit oasis of romance and refinement at the busy heart of Scotland's Fine Dining milieu".
The tasting menu starts off with 10 classic mixed starters that include Kisir, Tabule, Borek, Falafel and Sucuk. No need to choose - all ten arrive en table with Turkish bread and - if you take heed of the recommendation, a glass of Turkey's national drink, raki, for everyone. Larger courses include the Alla Turca mixed grill special, barbecued sword fish shish, Scottish king scallops from Shetland, and sitting rather austerely amongst all this frivolity an Angus rib eye steak from the Buccleuch Estate in Dumfriesshire.
As night follows day so does the Turkish Delight and blueberry crème brûlée follow the steak or whatever else your eye lit upon, hotly contested by the much celebrated Baklava with vanilla ice cream or Turkish chocolate, cherry and amaretto mousse with ice cream.
A brasserie menu offers two courses during the day and pre-theatre at an incredibly value for money price, with sesame falafel and humus served with salad and Turkish style fusilli pasta with creamy chicken and asparagus tips, or the chicken casserole of mixed vegetables, apricots and plums with rice and salad.
Over 50 fine wines and champagnes lurk in the cellar. One looks in vain for the odd bin of Chateau Musar, but you never know ? keep on asking. There are some Turkish reds well attuned to the hearty dishes from which you are never far away at Alla Turca. Staff have the same jovial service with a flourish that drums up thoughts of holidays-past in the robust countries of the Middle East.
The live musician plays every evening until late, an ideal accompaniment to the Candlelit Romantic Dinner, meaning you don't have to shout when you pop the all-important question. On certain weekends they even have traditional Turkish dances, do enquire to get details.
And talking of weddings, such occasions are star events at Alla Turca, who if you wish will take care of the whole event, or as much as you would like them to do. From 10 to 100, you can leave it all to them.
The final word should perhaps come from Joanna Blythman, respected restaurant critic, writing in the Sunday Herald ? Feast of the East, "This is definitely one of the most professional and well-run, assured restaurants I've eaten in for quite some time. It's the sort of place where, even in a large group, you know you will be well looked after. The music makes it more attractive still".
Alla Turca has Top Table Awards for 2007-2010, an Eat Scotland Award and is a real fun place in the Glasgow tradition of enjoyment. Click on their Website for further information.
Entertainment, International, Turkish
3 Course Lunch with Champagne Cocktails for £9.95 Book
11-14 Hanover Place, London, WC2E 9JP [Map]
Brilliantly located right in the heart of London's scintillating Covent Garden, Café des Amis, culinarily revitalised by Executive Chef Fabrice Renou, has also been given an update that has put it at the forefront of its kind. Fabrice is from Paris, he trained at La Tour d'Argent and worked with prestigious chefs such as Guy Savoy and Michel Rostand.
Fabrice's French world fusion food, or what you might possibly term French with an exotic twist, as he likes experimenting with new flavours, spices and exotic ingredients, contains enough international influences to ensure it is head and shoulders above the rest, against a background of stylish décor and front of house.
Whilst primarily occupied with an à la carte menu that is both imaginative and good value, they also offer a bar and brasserie menu which, at £14.50 for 2 courses, is tempting to the palate and the pocket.
What's likely to be on offer? Nothing like some good French onion soup to start a brasserie meal, served here with toasted gruyere crouton; crab eblysotto with cardamom, or cannelloni of Grison dried beef with Brousse cheese, mango and ginger dressing.
The inclination towards the fruits of the sea continues into the main courses with a red mullet fillet, niçoise bohemian vegetables and pumpkin seed oil; red tuna steak with tomato salsa and crushed sweet potatoes with argan oil, or Normandy style rope grown moules mariniéres.
The love affair with that most attractive fowl of the air, the duck, goes on and on and here it is roasted, with sauce griotte and polenta with dried fruit. Better appreciation of the quality in food means less leather for the appetites of the eating-out infantry, and the beef here is Simmental sirloin, served with sauce bordelaise and mashed potatoes with marrow and herbs.
Downstairs in a bar that contrives to be both intimate and welcoming, performers from the surrounding wealth of performing arts, and members of their audiences mingle to share their respective pleasures. A well-tuned wine list more than adequately meets the expectations of those who, when served a good meal look for liquid support of the same quality.
The restaurant is open from 12noon to 11.30pm, and on a Saturday night they have a DJ playing ambient, chill out and funky house music in the wine bar.
To gain further information, just visit their extremely comprehensive Website.
Brasserie, European, French
STAR DEAL - 3 courses £15 per person Book
Holiday Inn Reading M4 Jct10, Wharfedale Road, Winnersh Triangle, Reading, RG41 5TS [Map]
A sleek and stylish contemporary restaurant set over two levels, the 2 AA Rosette Caprice Restaurant and Terrace at the AA Merit 4 Star Holiday Inn Reading, on Wharfedale Road, is the perfect place to retreat to for a quick business lunch, leisurely dinner with family and friends or a romantic rendezvous. Situated in the bustling Winnersh Triangle, the Caprice offers a modern British cuisine menu in a superb location; the venue is within easy reach of the towns of Reading, Bracknell and Wokingham.
Adding to the restaurant's charm is a resident pianist who provides a musical twist to the evening whilst you relax in the Monty's Lounge Bar with your favourite cocktail before dinner, or a digestif afterwards. You could also enjoy bar meals as well authentic Indian and Thai cuisine. The Caprice Terrace with outdoor seating is just the place for al fresco dining.
The talented kitchen team led by head chef Stuart Weeks has put together a delicious range of starter dishes, which include pork rillettes with red onion chutney, salad of scallops and crayfish with watercress and curry cream, duck liver parfait with orange jelly and clam chowder with crab dumplings (please note the menu changes seasonally).
Having satisfied the hunger pangs you could move on to a more sumptuous fare of braised shoulder of lamb served with pan fried sweetbreads, fondant potato and stuffed courgettes, fillet of beef with Savoy cabbage, Parma ham and chateau potatoes or whole roasted stuffed baby chicken, purple potatoes and Romanesco. If fish is your choice for the day then consider pan fried trout paired with baby gem lettuce, broad beans, new potatoes and toasted almonds or sea bass fillet with roasted fennel and saffron potatoes served with white wine and tomato sauce. Vegetarians can look forward to twice baked cashel blue soufflé served with green beans and walnut and tomato salad or roasted vegetable lasagne with basil and sundried tomatoes.
For the finale, choose between exceptional home-made desserts such as chocolate terrine with kirsch cherries, rhubarb crumble with clotted cream, crème brûlée with candied oranges and iced parfait with honey and walnut praline all prepared by the Caprice's talented pastry chef.
The excellent Sunday lunch menu treats diners to fare of roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roasted potatoes and onion gravy and corn-fed chicken breast with potato gnocchi, ham and peas, which could be preceded by starters of curried chicken ballotine with lime and chilli dressing or seared scallops with pea and carrot purée and, perhaps, followed by dessert of blackberry and white chocolate cheesecake or gooseberry and elderflower fool. Two courses from just £16.95 per person.
Alternatively, consider a selection of Artisan cheeses including Cotswold blue brie, Lanark blue, Wigmore, rosary ash, Westcombe cheddar and Oxford Isis, served with fig compote, for an equally pleasant ending to the meal.
The table d'hôte menu offers guests two courses for £16.95 and three courses for £20.95. Other options include daily specials, a menu for children and festive menus for special days of the year. Open daily until 22.00 hours, Caprice Restaurant also offers space for private and corporate dining. To find out more, click on the restaurant's Website.
Indian, Modern British, Thai
Summer Terrace Menu - Enjoy quiet dining or your favorite cocktail in tranquil surroundings on the Caprice Terrace. Book
An exceptional a la Carte menu combined with a personalised service to provide an intimate dining experience Book
Peter Street, Chorley, PR7 2RP [Map]
A choice from 5 different starters Any Pizza or Pasta from our happy hour menu. Any dessert from our dessert menu, £10 Book
Letchworth Lane, Letchworth, nr Hitchin, SG6 3NP [Map]
Father's Day Afternoon Tea - Treat your dad to a Classic Afternoon Tea for £10 per person Book
10 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London, W1U 5QL [Map]
Centuries ago merchants on the famed Silk Route would stop at tea houses to relax and share dim sums with their fellow travellers; years later Ping Pong opened its doors and certainly nailed on to this idea, except may be adding a bit of cocktail on the menu. Now with 12 outlets in London, things have changed further and offer more than a touch of innovation, whether it's a decorative feature like steam billowing gently against a black background or marking your choice of dishes on the tally sheet.
Nibble on some coriander and prawn crackers, or Sichuan peanuts and honey almonds before choosing from a selection of steamed dumplings like pork shu mai, pork and king prawns in an open pastry topped with Chinese wolfberry. Their signature dishes of honey glazed ribs and squid in satay sauce are also executed with ample flair. Desserts of Valrhona chocolate bun and lemongrass and passion fruit syllabub mark the end of a delectable meal at Ping Pong.
Super 8 - Fixed Price Lunch for £8 - available midday - 5pm. Weekdays only Book
160 High Street, Newmarket, CB8 9AQ [Map]
Lunch Time Set Menu - A main course including a starter and a side dish are served together in one big plate for £7.95 Book
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Latest User Reviews
By Mick Walker 23 May 2013
Had a really enjoyable meal at lunchtime today 23/5/13. Service was very good,and staff very friendly and helpful. Food ...
By w butcher 22 May 2013
we ate here on 22/05/2013 and cannot fault it. The steak was cooked perfectly and the green saled was delicious. The service ...
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Father's Day - Free Steak for Dad after 5pm
Father's Day - Free Steak for Dad after 5pm
Father's Day - Free Steak for Dad after 5pm
Mayfair, Soho & Fringes
STAR DEAL - 3 courses & a glass of prosecco £18 per person
The Beefeater Grill range of restaurants, owned by the well established firm of Whitbread has transformed over time into what is now predominantly a cooking platform for chargrill. The restaurants ...