Friday, 15 February 2019

Regent's Park Road, North London

Large Italianate stuccoed villas painted in pastel shades face Primrose Hill, giving Regent's Park Road a rarefied air.  The stucco was originally intended to be left bare, to resemble stone, according to Lyndon Goode Architects, which also notes that many of the homes feature decorative flourishes such as pediments, keystones and scrolled brackets on windows, eves and parapets.

Primrose Hill, North London

At 63 metres above sea level, the top of Primrose Hill affords far-reaching views across London to the south. In the Victorian era, it was a popular spot for duelling and prize fights. Today, this Royal Park attracts a steady stream of sightseers on sunny winter mornings, venturing up from nearby Regents Park.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Rice Republic, Streatham High Road, South London

More relaxed than many of the Chinese restaurants in the west end, The Rice Republic serves respectable staples at reasonable prices. To kick off, the crispy aromatic duck (£9.50) with pancakes, soy sauce, cucumber and spring onions, is competent and quite generous, while the prawn dumplings (three for £4.20) are delicious and the duo of steamed pork buns (£3.90) makes for a hearty appetiser. For a main course, the chicken in satay sauce is best avoided. It is a bit short of flavour, while the meat is a tad rubbery. The king prawns with ginger and spring onion (£9.50) are far better, while the crispy fried shredded beef is sweet and satisfying. Steamed rice (£3) is nicely done, but a tad pricey, while the egg fried rice (£4) is lacklustre. You can probably do without a small bowl of prawn crackers for a couple of quid.  On the whole, the dishes are good value, but the extras and sides soon rack up, particularly if you are drinking beer (£4 for a 330ml bottle of Tiger) to wash down the spicy food. Still, service at the Rice Republic is very smooth and the ambiance is appealing. A large mural of the Great Wall of China and the light shades that look like bird cages are among the eye-catching adornments. 7/10

Sunday, 3 February 2019

The Thames from Deptford Creek, South East London


From the cycle path hugging the U-bend in the Thames near Deptford Creek, there are fine sweeping views up and down the river, taking in Greenwich, the Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf.

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Steak Night at the Prince Regent, Dulwich Road, South London

On a Thursday night, the Prince Regent pub has turned its menu over to mouthwatering steaks. A hefty and delicious 9oz sirloin steak (£18) arrives with some decent chips,  a crisp green salad and a moreish BĂ©arnaise sauce. Served in the elegant and well-heated Victorian dining room, you can enjoy your hunk of meat with one of the fine beers on tap. Although the service can be a bit haphazard, it is well-meaning and welcoming. 8/10

Monday, 14 January 2019

Pollen Street Social, Pollen Street, Central London


At any Michelin-starred restaurant in London, a three course lunch for £37 is a bargain. At the expertly-run Pollen Street Social, it is almost a steal, particularly if you steer clear of the pricey wine list. Although there are only three choices for each course, the waiting staff also bring a steady stream of extras, so your taste buds will be well and truly stimulated. These memorable morsels include an afternoon-tea themed mix of appetisers, featuring caviar, smoked salmon, cucumber and a mini-Victoria sponge cake. The miniature mushroom soup, which appears before the main course, is also delicious.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Foxcote House, Ilmington, Warwickshire

A Grade II-listed early-eighteenth century mansion, Foxcote House is now owned by Victoria's Secret founder American billionaire Les Wexner. Although the owner is reputed to value his privacy, a public footpath runs close to this grand house on the edge of the Cotswolds.

Lunch at the Ebrington Arms, Ebrington, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire

An unspoilt Cotswolds pub, the Ebrington Arms serves decent food at punchy prices in convivial surroundings. The menu can be aspirational (duck breast, pommes anna, carrot & star anise puree & Russian kale for £24), but there are also some cheaper staples, such as fish and chips with mushy peas (£15), and beef burger and chips (£17). The portions are fairly generous and the food is hearty fare with plenty of flavour. There are also some smooth ales, such as Yubby, on draught. The service is pretty attentive and chirpy, but some of the rooms can get smoky when the open fires are going strong. 7/10