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RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... This delightfully quirky Islington newcomer should suit local media-luvvies to a T with its tongue-in-cheek take on a public house. A melange of 50s kitsch and French antique-shop finds serve as the backdrop to retro cocktails such as the aviation (an Edwardian gin, lemon and violet cup). For the peckish, there are ham or cheese boards, cups of soup or the likes of confit duck leg with Puy lentils.
GENERAL NEWS (November 2008)... The eyes of the world are on the US election, so whether you're Democrat, Republican or bystander, what better way to immerse yourself in all things American than at one of London's many Stateside eateries? Here's a selection of Square Meal's favourite places, so chow down on burgers and ribs while you chew the political fat with your fellow diners.
Hardly a month goes by without another story on Alan Yau’s new plans. Well, the indefatigable restaurateur is at it again. He’s just teamed up with Italian baker Rocco Princi to open Princi in Soho. It’s a bakery and café offering all kinds Italian treats to take-away, plus a small bar area where guests can enjoy an early-morning espresso and pastry or prosecco and pizza later in the day.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... Following a multi-million pound refurbishment, Andaz hotel has finally unveiled the jewel in its crown, its main restaurant, 1901. The striking Grade II-listed dining room is topped off with a stained-glass dome, while top-rate Brit produce is the order of the day: think sausage rolls with piccalilli at the bar, or Cornish mackerel with pickled cauliflower followed by roast veal with confit potatoes in the restaurant proper.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... Brothers Tom and Ed Martin, the gastropub gurus behind The Botanist and The Gun, have long been flying the flag for great British food. Their latest venture, the Hat and Tun, is a full-on English boozer with smart wood-panelled interiors, a sprinkling of taxidermy and proper pub grub along the lines of pie, mash and liquor or ploughman’s washed down with cask ale.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... Is that the click-clack of Liz Hurley's heels we hear? The London outpost of Trishna – toast of Bollywood and favourite of Arun Nayar – has arrived. Relaxed, unfussy surrounds mean the focus is on the cooking, with ex-Rasoi Vineet Bhatia head chef Ravi Deulkar turning out modern Indian cuisine with an emphasis on seafood: think Isle of Shuna mussels in a coconut and turmeric masala or the signature dish of whole butter garlic crab.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... You can’t call Richard Corrigan’s success at Bentley's – or his eponymous eatery at Lindsay House – the luck of the Irish. The acclaimed chef clearly knows how to work a restaurant. So we have no doubt that he’ll come up trumps with his latest venue Corrigan's Mayfair. Once again he’s working prime British & Irish produce into refined dishes such as roe venison in pastry with pickled cabbage.
DATE FOR THE DIARY... Looking for some glamour to lift the winter blues? Head down to City Italian, Caravaggio, for a night of jazz and cabaret on 27-28 November. The evening will kick off at 7pm with a three-course meal, followed by live entertainment from burlesque star Holly Penfield.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... We're bowled over by the news that the third in the line of boutique all-American bowling alleys, All Star Lanes, has opened on Brick Lane. This one's the daddy of the lot, boasting no less than nine lanes for the kingpins among you. The retro Stateside bar and diner majors in US classics, from cocktails, beers and bourbons to Louisiana crab cakes, jambalaya risotto and baby-back ribs.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (November 2008)... Westminster restaurant Quirinale has just introduced its autumn/winter white truffle menu. Priced at £120 for three courses, higlights include tagliolini with parmesan and truffle or fillet of Scottish beef with creamed spinach and truffle. You can also sample the dishes and get advice from its sommelier in the comfort of your home, thanks to Quirinale A Casa, the restaurant's private catering service.
FOOD AND DRINK EVENT (November 2008)... Vivat Bacchus is hosting Hannes Myburgh of prestigious South African winery Meerlust this Friday for what promises to be an impressive wine dinner. Critically acclaimed wines from the Cape producer will be served alongside a five-course menu created by Vivat Bacchus chef Stuart Ferguson specifically for the evening. Tickets are priced at £69 per person – call 020 7353 2648 to book. The dinner will also benefit the Paul Jung Nickel Home for adults with mental and physical disabilities in Pretoria, South Africa. An auction and raffle will be held on the evening, and a part of the proceeds from the dinner will also be donated to the home.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... Roll up! Roll up! This theatreland newcomer is sure to be a box office smash. Sibling to the popular Fulham Road original, Sophie's Steakhouse offers the same line-up of juicy steaks, burgers and salads, this time in a sprawling space with atmospheric mellow lighting. It's still no-bookings, but grab a cocktail in the buzzy bar and people-watch into the wee small hours.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... For the brave souls embarking on Christmas shopping in the West End this weekend, why not take some respite at Bar Trattoria Semplice? This affordable off-shoot of neighbouring Ristorante Semplice offers tasty nibbles up at the bar, while the dining room is the place to linger, serving the likes of gnocchi with duck ragu, crisp-skinned leg of suckling pig or red mullet with roast potatoes.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... For an alternative to the usual turkey and stuffing, why not head to Madsen for a Scandinavian Christmas feast? On weekends from 22 November it will be hosting a traditional smorgasbord buffet with year-round classics such as marinated herring alongside festive dishes of duck thighs with baked apples. For diners visiting between Monday and Thursday, there's lunchtime smorrebrod (Danish open sandwiches) or an evening menu of delightful modern European dishes with a Nordic accent.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... We all know how much Italian men love their mamas, so it should come as no surprise that new restaurant and bar Lena is named after the owner's mother. Taking inspiration from her Sicilian upbringing, it's strong on southern specialities such as pasta con n’duja (spicy sausage) and pesce spada all’aghiotta (stuffed fish), though there are more familiar Italian dishes of mushroom risotto or seafood linguine too. For eclectic cocktails, head to the downstairs bar, where you might like to raise a glass to your own mama.
DATE FOR THE DIARY (November 2008)... Well gee, shucks and golly gosh. Thanksgiving is upon us, so for those of you who hail from across the pond, as well as the rest of us (who just like the sound of turkey, sweet potatoes and pecan pie), what better way to celebrate than with a good old-fashioned American feast? Here's a selection of Square Meal's favourite Stateside eateries: be sure to call ahead for details of what's on offer.
RECENTLY OPENED (November 2008)... Love and marriage may go together like a horse and carriage, but so do steakhouses and meat markets. In fact the only complaint we have about the location of new branch of the upmarket Gaucho group is: why didn't they think of it sooner? Right in the heart of Smithfield market, where better to chomp on full-flavoured beef, preceded by a zingy ceviche and washed down with a top-notch glass of Argentinian red?