The ĎBig Smokeí is packed with all kinds of eateries from bargain market stalls to top-end restaurants with waiting lists as long as your arm. Fine dining is easy, but what about finding a place for dinner thatís just that little bit different? Letís take a look at our top 3 recommendations for eating delicious food and sampling excellent wine somewhere just a bit different.
Sketch is many Londoners Ďgo toí spot for cool architecture and interior design combined with great food. Light, bright and airy, this Conduit Street hangout fuses modern art with modern cuisine is a winning combination.
Dine in the middle of an art piece in the Gastro-Brasserie, designed by Turner prize-winning artist Martin Creed. The menu in the Lecture Room and Library is two Michelin star rated, offering tasting menus and a la carte options in slightly more conventional surroundings. Afternoon tea in The Glade is also a top choice, with paper-thin macaroons, caviar and quail eggs.
Despite the brilliance of its food, you can never be sure exactly what to expect at Sketch.
Smack bang in the centre of Soho, youíd almost miss La Bodega Negra behind its fake sex shop exterior Ė just part of what makes this such an unusual place to dine. Itís Londonís trendiest restaurant at the moment and welcomes diners from lunchtime until late.
The tequila-based cocktails are worth a trip in themselves, as are the non-alcoholic concoctions of exotic juices. Itís Mexican, but itís not your standard ĎTex-Mexí fare. Tacos and quesadillas feature heavily, but itís a more sophisticated blend of ingredients that set La Bodega Negra apart.
The dťcor makes this a dining experience, rather than just a meal. Itís got a dark, moody vibe and the basement restaurant is more elaborately decorated with more Latin American references. Here, the more upmarket menu is served with bigger dishes such as steaks and indulgent stews. The alcoves are decorated with masked Mexican wrestlers and ornaments from the countryís Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).
Brand new this summer to the London dining scene is the undoubtedly quirky Bubbledogs. And what do you get at Bubbledogs? Well, bubbles and hotdogs of course!
As you might imagine, the owners believe in taste combinations that break the mould Ė they believe that our tastes need to evolve. Coming from Per Se in New York, where they mixed caviar with sake and dessert wine with stilton. And if salty, oily caviar traditionally goes so well with dry, refreshing champagne, then why shouldnít oily, salty hotdogs mix perfectly with it too?
So, there is only hotdogs on the menu, but thereís a big range, made with 100% British beef, pork or a vegetarian version. Why not try a breakfast version with fried egg, tomato relish and black pudding squeezed in between the dog and the bap? The champagnes are selected from small, hard-working wineries and come with menu descriptions that include Ďripe fruit bowlí and Ďa lick of chalk and stonesí.
Recently opened on hip and happening Charlotte Street in central London, Bubbledogs occupies a spot thatís an easy walk from Regentís Park, Tottenham Court Road and Goodge Street tube station.
Stuart Leckie is Director of Sales & Marketing at St. Ermin’s Hotel.