Thursday, 6 March 2014
Built in 2001, Peckham's distinctive library is balanced precariously over the courtyard below. The upper floors provide far-reaching views of the skyscrapers of the City of London through the tract of green land that makes up the Surrey Linear Canal Park. The light and airy interior is almost as modernist as the exterior with black poles threading their way at angles through the floors and ceilings.
Labels: More London entertainment
Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Sunday, 2 March 2014
In a middle class enclave on Peckham's borders, the Victoria Inn can be buzzing on a Saturday night. Brimming with bright young things, the up-tempo music is loud and tables are hard to come by. The tasteful interior is a well-judged compromise between Victoriana and clean, contemporary lines. The menu ventures beyond classic pub grub and into more imaginative restaurant-style fare. The smoked pork shoulder with winter slaw, potatoes in paprika and bbq sauce (£13.50) is a fatty, fleshy and satisfying cold weather dish. The beaded halloumi sticks (£6) are rich, salty and dry - you really need the excellent cauliflower and gruyere puree accompaniment. Another good choice is the squid with cucumber, carrot, kohlrabi & mango salad £7), which offers a good, crisp mix of textures and tangy flavours. On tap are a decent selection of beers, including some from the microbrewery at the sister pub The Florence and the smooth Italian beer, Moretti (£4.20 a pint). Fizzy water seems to be free. The waiting and kitchen staff, who you can see though the large serving hatch, work hard and with good humour. It is easy to see why the Victoria Inn is popular. 7/10
Labels: More south London pubs and bars
Friday, 28 February 2014
Centrally located in Barcelona's edgy El Raval district, Hotel Principal is a timeworn establishment with small bedrooms and jaded staff. Downstairs, the hotel retains some historic appeal - massive wooden doors dating from the 19th century lead up to a grand staircase. But the remaining period features have been overwhelmed by functional fixtures and fittings, naff prints and an array of knick-knacks. Furnished and decorated on a budget, the cramped en-suite bedrooms tend to be short of daylight. Still, the beds are comfortable enough and the free WiFi works surprisingly well for a three-star hotel. The en-suite bathrooms are in reasonable condition and there are small safes in the wardrobes (3 euros a day for a key). Despite the thin walls, hard floors and tendency for doors to slam, it can be surprisingly quiet on the fourth floor at night (perhaps due to a lack of guests). Stairs on the fifth floor lead to an extensive, but basic, terrace with views over the surrounding rooftops.
Sunday, 16 February 2014
An extraordinarily well-preserved ancient inn, The Crown is first and foremost a timepiece. Although the fine old Tudor facade can be marred by the cars parked in front, the immaculate interior might take your breath away. This venerable old pub has a succession of beautifully atmospheric rooms with battered beamed ceilings, lead-paned windows, dark wooden panelling, faded old paintings and suitably distinguished furniture. If anything, it is all too perfect - it can feel like you have stumbled into a posh period drama set. Even the punters seem to dress in conservative garb in sober colours.
Labels: More Surrey
Thursday, 13 February 2014
Monday, 10 February 2014
Slap bang in the noisy centre of Munich near the central station, Le Meridien is a convenient and comfortable business hotel. The stylish, spacious reception is kitted out with funky rounded seating and tables illuminated by the daylight flooding in through the glass wall overlooking an impressive atrium garden. Some of the receptionists are chatty and helpful, but aren't great at estimating walking distances.
Labels: More Germany
Sunday, 19 January 2014
A cooler-than-thou cafe within the South London Gallery, No. 67 is housed in a charismatic old brick building on the main road between Camberwell and Peckham. It has several appealing dining rooms tastefully furnished with a stripped back, arty ambiance. The glass box at the back has an extraordinarily high ceiling and an attractive gold metallic wall print, plus a view of the modest garden. On a Sunday, you can sample No. 67's justifiably acclaimed brunch. The smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough toast hits the spot for seven quid, while the waffles with crispy bacon and bourbon syrup is suitably decadent. Even better is the Spanglish breakfast (£10.50), featuring two eggs, chorizo, homemade baked beans, an enormous mushroom, morcilla and sourdough toast. The veggie breakfast (£9.75) is also substantial and impressive: Two eggs (fried or scrambled), halloumi, bubble and squeak, beans, roast mushroom and toast. You can wash it down with the minted table water or order a decent coffee. However, you may have to wait 20 minutes for a table and the food can take another 30 minutes or so to arrive. If you aren't in a hurry, No. 67 is a fine place to while away a weekend lunchtime. 8/10
Labels: More south London cafes