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The face of the restaurant industry could change dramatically if guidelines being drawn up by a cross-party Government task force are approved by the Cabinet early next year. Recommendations under consideration could see restaurant staff serving wine in shatterproof glassware and monitoring the temperature of plates. More extreme measures may include the confiscation of steak knives from tables with children under 16.
Situated just across the Thames from Kew Gardens, on the fringes of the 200-acre pleasure grounds laid out by famed landscape gardener Capability Brown during the 1700s, the Waldorf Astoria’s Syon Park recreates old-English pastoral for its guests. The Capability restaurant doffs its hat to Brown, offering ‘landscape cooking’ based on locally sourced seasonal produce. Add to that attentive service and a solid wine list, and the restaurant proves itself more than capable.
Fergus Henderson has taken Smithfield legend St John up west with the launch of this long-awaited hotel. The kitchen is fronted by the former sous-chef from the original City restaurant, so expect the full nose-to-tail works – anatomical off-cuts & all – including curious seasonal salads, kidneys on toast, the emblematic bone marrow, and full-frontal carnivorous platefuls picked from the market. Breakfast, elevenses and afternoon tea are also a big part of the package.
This tiny tapas and sherry bar, just across the road from sister restaurant Cambio de Tercio, is unmistakably Spanish, with its photo wall of matadors and cinco jotas hams hanging from the ceiling. Ingredients are well-sourced, especially slivers of top-quality ham whose flavour lingers on the palate. Meanwhile, classic tapas such as crispy ham croquetas with a quivering, creamy filling, are expertly executed. Sherries, served with a flourish by knowledgeable staff, are also knock-out.
Jason Atherton’s first solo venture since his departure from Maze has opened its doors. The menu offers fine dining in an informal environment, with dishes such as Orkney langoustine with lemon-peel purée, and ginger-pig pork chop and braised pork neck with beetroot, hops, seeds, grains and a beer sauce (pictured). Make a ‘beeline’ for it, and remember to save room for the dessert bar – London’s first.
Homeless charity StreetSmart – which collects donations by adding £1 to restaurant and hotel bills – raised nearly half a million pounds in its 2010 campaign. The final total of £465,000 was raised with the help of more than 540 restaurants and 20 hotels (the latter through the SleepSmart campaign). The initiative, which is sponsored by Square Meal, works by diners and hotel guests across the UK opting to add £1 to their final bill throughout November and December.
London restaurants have got creative cooking up menus or planning kooky events to celebrate the forthcoming nuptials of Kate Middleton and her prince. If you haven’t got plans yet but you want to get involved, here’s the lowdown on what’s going on in the capital – whether you’re after a budget-busting, once-in-a-lifetime experience, or a stream of regal cocktails.
Riding House Café saddled up on 15 April as an all-day brasserie with a sociable vibe. Whether you prefer to eat in the formal dining room or the casual eating area, you’ll be treated to an eclectic selection of large and small plates from all over the world. Sweet-potato-and-chickpea cake with halloumi and tomato jam rubs shoulders with steak tartare and toast, and Moorish lamb cutlets with smoked aubergine, and small plates start at £3.