is a dry airline, business class passengers can use the well-stocked, well-equipped and well-run Etihad lounge in Heathrow's terminal 4 before they board the flight. On board, the crew are attentive, but the catering can be poor, particularly when they run out of certain dishes. Following the canapes, in theory, you should be offered a choice of starters (the salmon with marinated beetroot is surprisingly meaty and fresh) and main courses. Avoid the spinach and cheese cannelloni, which can look and taste like a sloppy microwave meal, even though it is served on plush china and with crisp white napkins. To follow, there is a choice of cheeses, such as brie, and deserts, such as Haagen-Dazs ice cream. The chunk of smoked Austrian cheese may be small, but it is accompanied by plenty of fruit and biscuits. Before you land in Dubai, you'll also be offered a snack and a drink. The entertainment system is passable and the attendants keep the hot towels coming.
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Wednesday, 30 January 2013
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
The view of Dubai's massive Palm Jumeira (the artificial palm-shaped peninsula) from the Barasti Bar at Le Meridien Mina Sehayi hotel. A pint of beer at this mellow and sprawling beach-side bar costs a hefty 35 dirhams (about £6.50).
Monday, 28 January 2013
A cool, clinical cafe in Dubai Media City, the Pascal Tepper French Bakery's fresh, simple food attracts a mix of chic locals and expats. With a magenta, white and black colour scheme, this spacious eatery has a contemporary, clean, light and airy ambiance. The menu is more fuel, than fine cuisine, but you can get a decent breakfast or lunch. The sandwiches (38-48 dirhams) are generous and filling, as is the "French" burger and chips (45 dirhams). The "tradition" grilled sandwich - turkey ham, butter and elemental cheese - is simple, but effective. Each dish comes with a heavily-dressed salad and a large basket of bread. Served with a glass of water, the strong filter coffee (14 dirhams) is good, as are the thick, satisfying smoothies (26 dirhams) - blackberries, banana and apple juice is a good combination. The service is pleasant, if unhurried. 7/10
Sunday, 20 January 2013
Saturday, 19 January 2013
A longstanding pub at the foot of Battersea Rise, the Northcote has a recently-refurbished upstairs room that you can hire for free for a private meal. Aiming for a smart, but contemporary feel, the Club Room's decor is an excessive mix of materials, colours and patterns, exemplified by a bizarre chandelier made from antlers. The striped carpet says conference centre, but the wooden blinds, panelled walls and black and white prints are more stylish. You eat from white crockery on bare wooden tables. Still, this is a good venue for a sports club annual dinner - the cheerful young staff in the Club Room don't seem to mind serving raucous groups of men.
Labels: More south London restaurants
Friday, 11 January 2013
A conspicuously trendy mecca for cyclists, Look Mum No Hands combines a workshop with a cafe-bar in a large light-industrial space. Facing the big windows is a wooden bar with electric sockets and high chairs. Behind that, are more conventional wooden tables, plus an extended corner seat with comfortable padding. Look Mum No Hands would be a good place to work, if the WiFi wasn't so flaky. The white walls are decorated with arty prints of cyclists and there are a couple of bikes hanging from the ceiling in front of the windows. The grungy staff have tattoos and piercings and one even has extended ear lobes, reminiscent of a prehistoric tribe. The vittles are quite expensive: A smart pot of tea, plus a caramel slice, will set you back almost a fiver. Even so, Look Mum No Hands is usually packed with a cosmopolitan clientele and seems to have cachet with cyclists. 7/10
Thursday, 10 January 2013
A big branch of the small Grand Union chain, this pub is popular with staff and students from the nearby King's College teaching hospital. Inside, the mock-period decor has run wild with flowery wallpaper, fussy chandeliers, decorated paper fans, naff paintings and ornate picture-frames and mirrors. Bizarrely, the staff all wear checked, lumberjack-style shirts. A weird mishmash, the overall effect can be overpowering and won't be to everyone's taste. Moreover, the free WiFi is flaky and the selection of beers unimaginative. Still, there are plenty of cocktails on offer and the leather sofas are comfortable. And, in the summer, the Grand Union's benches in the lane running between the handsome Georgian houses on Camberwell Grove and Grove Lane can make a fine sun trap. 6/10
Tuesday, 8 January 2013
An appealing pub in a handsome nineteenth century building in Clapham Old Town, the Sun has plenty of comfortable seats, big windows, white wood-pannelled walls, classical pillars and some impressive chandeliers. In the winter, the Sun's small back bar, with tiled walls and large leather sofas, is a cosy place for a pint. In the summer, the shaded and enclosed stone patio can be packed with lively and affluent locals. Not a budget option, the Sun has an eclectic selection of premium beers from around London and the world, including Meantime London pale ale (£4.55 a pint), Sambrook's Junction from Battersea (£3.85), Jamaica's Red Stripe (£4.35), the American wheat beer Blue Moon (£4.75) and Sharps Cornish Orchard Cide (£4.60) - a good place to try a new tipple. 7/10
Sunday, 6 January 2013
Running more than seven miles around the edge of Richmond Park, the Tamsin Trail is a well-maintained brown gravel track that can be ridden on just about any bike. It hugs the perimeter of this massive 2,500 acres of green space, so you can join the trail at the Roehampton Gate, the Sheen Gate, Richmond Gate, Ham Gate, Kingston Gate or one of the half-dozen pedestrian gates. It is a fun ride, taking in some fine vistas, both of this rolling royal park and over the meandering Thames. Threading its way through patches of mature trees and bracken, the Tamsin Trail is fairly flat, but there are a couple of short, steep climbs and descents, particularly Broomfield Hill, between Robin Hood's Gate and Kingston Gate. Cyclists share the trail with walkers and runners and there is a 10mph speed limit on many stretches. On a Sunday afternoon, there can be pedestrians spread across the path, forcing you to hit the brakes and even come to a virtual halt. If you find the trail too slow, you can venture on to the perimeter road route and mix it with the cars. A lap of the park should earn you a good bacon baguette (just £3.50) and a decent coffee at the Roehampton Cafe (near Roehampton Gate), popular with cyclists and those hiring bikes from Parkcycle next door. If you want to extend the ride, you can cut across the picturesque heart of Richmond Park on one of the traffic free roads. 8/10