The great and the not so good

ann elliott propel newsletter

Friday Opinion – Propel Newsletter – 2nd September 2016

I love August when city and town pubs and restaurants are a bit quieter and you have time to look around and see what’s going on. Here are some great things and some not so great things from the past two weeks.

 

The great:

 

The Barbary in Covent Garden:

For anyone who loves Israeli food, the new restaurant from the Palomar team is a must. It’s a true delight, brimming with the colours, movement, smells and tastes that all make the original in Jerusalem a shrine for food lovers the world over. Whilst it’s a bit of a bore not being able to book or to sit down before all your party is gathered, the food more than makes up for that.

 

Cojean in Ludgate Hill:

A beautiful, bang up to date, food-to-go concept with fabulous pressed juices, sandwiches, salad pots, soups, breakfasts and desserts. It’s clean, gorgeous, quick and delicious. It’s such a great alternative to the norm.

 

Coco di Mama:

Real food provenance, amazing attention to detail, really speedy delivery and superb-tasting fresh pasta pots. Wonderful. Azzurri did a great deal here – it’s really one to watch.

 

South Place Hotel in the City:

Beautiful setting, beautiful service, beautiful people.

 

Le Pain:

I decamped here for a couple of hours last week to work. Not a murmur. The staff were unfailingly polite and helpful – constantly topping up drinks with a smile. It’s such an easy place to enjoy.

 

The Delauney:

Corbin & King just get it right in terms of service and operational brilliance (though the menu choice can sometimes feel a little restrictive). One of those places though where the quid pro quo is definitely worth it.

 

Aubaine Deli:

Aubaine is such a great brand and due for a much higher profile now with Nick Young in charge driving it forward alongside Hani (Nakkach). The new Deli site in Covent Garden has kept all the Aubaine brand DNA but with just a food-to-go/coffee concept. Good coffee and fruit salad breakfast.

 

Honest Burgers:

Does what it says on the tin. Very easy to hoover up a full plate full of rosemary-salted chips even when you don’t mean to. It has great burgers even for non-burger fans.

 

Siam:

This is the real thing set up by the most amazing brother and sister entrepreneurs. It’s absolutely awesome. It’s a tiny packed place in Covent Garden with queues out of the door. The food is fantastic and so worth the wait. This will go far.

 

The Potting Shed in Bingley:

The Yorkshire pudding burger is a bit of a twist on the usual plus it’s lovingly presented with a substantial portion size.

 

The not so great:

 

Scarpetta:

This has the potential to be a lovely concept (a bit like Coco di Mama in terms of its food offer of quick, cooked to order pasta) but the team were disorganised, the process was over complicated, customers were hanging around waiting for their orders and the branding was poor.

 

Ham Yard Hotel:

Kit Kemp’s hotels are staggeringly brilliant in design but sometimes the service and operational focus in their restaurants is just not up to scratch. Of all its hotels this is the one where it’s not always easy to find a waiter to either order from or to pay – the team just don’t always watch the tables. It’s a frustrating experience.

 

France:

Yes – the whole of France from a food perspective. It has not moved its food offering on in the same way as the UK has. Overwhelmingly boring food – usually meat and fish with chips, sauce and a bit of limp salad on offer with virtually the same menu everywhere in every restaurant. The vegetarian dishes are tedious. Such a shame when its markets are crammed full of amazing fresh food.

 

Gino D’Acampo:

Cross, grumpy waiters who were not happy when we ordered water (and then more) when they didn’t have fresh juices on a boiling hot day in London.

 

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