23 August 2014

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Where to eat during Wimbledon


Rooting for Murray, cheering on Nadal and queuing for Centre Court is hungry work. Here’s our pick of restaurants for some respite close to the action.

lavazzalogo.jpgWhile at the Championships, look out for Lavazza, sponsors of our very own Be the Critic, and official coffee of Wimbledon for the fifth year running. The team of Lavazza baristas are operating more than 60 points of service, from the queue to areas reserved for players, making Wimbledon equivalent to the world's biggest coffee shop.

judy-murray.jpgWho better to tell you where to eat (and drink) during Wimbledon than Andy and Jamie Murray’s mum, Judy?
The tennis coach is no stranger to south west London’s leafy suburb and she shared her top three foodie tips with Square Meal. ‘I like Thai Tho and I like The Fire Stables. Those are the two main places that I go. And I like to go to the Dog and Fox because they have a very nice New Zealand Sauvignon.’ Murray is at Wimbledon to support her sons and she also helped official coffee sponsor Lavazza give out coffees to queuing tennis fans.

Here are our other recommendations: 

wimbledon-bills.jpgBill's Restaurant Wimbledon

Greengrocer turned evangelical foodie Bill Collison set up his first ‘real food’ emporium in Lewes, before branching out and spreading his eco-friendly message across the land. Each venue delivers on its promise by offering an eclectic all-day menu alongside a vibrant display of artisan products to take home. Breakfasts range from homemade buttermilk and blueberry pancakes with bananas, strawberries and maple syrup to a full fry-up with bubble and squeak, while the extended line-up brings Bill’s fish pie topped with Cheddar and mustard mash, ‘naked’ burgers, char-grilled chicken with coriander rice and yoghurt dressing or pearl barley risotto with smoked mozzarella. Fairy cakes and toffee bonbons are sweet treats, with French lemonade and Bill’s own beer providing enterprising refreshment for thirsty foodies.
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The Fox & Grapes


“A little gem on Wimbledon Common”, The Fox & Grapes was originally the brainchild of two-Michelin-starred Hibiscus hero Claude Bosi and his brother Cedric – whohas since returned to Ludlow and opened his own gaff, The Charlton Arms. It may have gastro aspirations, but this is still a proper boozer with barstools, real ales and snacks – plus barn-like acoustics, bare tables and a rollicking, noisy crowd. The menu is founded on the pub classics – Scotch eggs, (venison) shepherd's pie, char-grilled burgers – and they're a cut above your average local, thanks to careful sourcing and high-quality ingredients. More complicated dishes such as beetroot risotto with goats' curd or braised ox cheek with mash are less brilliant, but desserts (rhubarb crème brûlée, for example) are made to be eaten. If beer isn't your bag, the unfussy, organically inclined wine list should do the trick.
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wimbledon-lawn-bistro.jpgThe Lawn Bistro

A ‘welcome addition' to chi-chi Wimbledon Village, the local chattering classes come to Lawn Bistro for sophisticated but approachable cooking with a strong French accent and bags of generosity. Escabèche of mackerel with green-olive tapenade, chicken breast with asparagus and truffle velouté, seven-hour lamb shoulder with olive-oil mash, and flambéed baked Alaska may have a familiar ring, but everything is carefully cooked and beautifully presented. Occasional blips have been noted, but service is generally ‘clued up', the value for money is never in doubt, and the wine list amply peppered with interesting bottles at affordable prices.
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wimbledon-san-lorenzo.jpgSan Lorenzo Fuoriporta

An old-school Italian, this branch of the San Lorenzo mini-chain is no place for modern twists, innovation or subtlety. However, with an old-fashioned restaurant comes unhurried gentility & a kitchen that stays rigidly within the boundaries of what it knows. Start with deep-fried whitebait, follow with excellent pizzas, or spaghetti with lobster, or go the whole hog with saltimbocca or veal chop. The dining room, which has looked rather dated for several years, seems to be coming back into its own now, but the best place to be on a summery Sunday is in the lovely garden tucked at the back. The restaurant is very proud of the area’s tennis heritage. It’s the place to catch the crowd during Wimbledon fortnight – book well in advance.
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wimbledon-sticks-and-sushi.jpgSticks 'n' Sushi

This branch of the groovy Copenhagen-based Japanese chain is entirely approachable, if not exactly authentic. Sticks ‘n’ Sushi’s style mixes arty minimalist surrounds (think sculptural dangling lights, benches and acres of bare brickwork) with a sophisticated version of communal eating that promotes sushi for those who don’t necessarily like raw fish. A cleverly illustrated menu makes its point with pics of asparagus and ham yakitori (‘sticks’) or lamb with herb-butter kebabs alongside dramatically fashioned maki and futomaki rolls. The results are intended to look good on the plate, flavours are true and it’s inexpensive too. Tailor-made for some chic refuelling, although you probably wouldn’t choose it for a dressed-up night out.
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wimbledon-suk-saran.jpgSuk Saran

It’s easy to overlook this simple, elegant Thai restaurant stuck between two big pubs. Suk Saran is an offshoot of the Sukho group, which has restaurants in Fulham & Chelsea. The ambition of the place – from the elegant surroundings to the abilities in the kitchen – makes it worth discovering. Staff are sweet & charming, eager to help new diners try the house specialities: beautifully presented dishes such as moo ping e-sarn (char-gilled marinated organic pork loin with Thai herbs & spicy tamarind sauce), or guoy tiew kee mao (spicy rice noodles with chicken in chilli & black bean sauce). But they’re equally happy to serve the staples: decent satays, pad thai, green curries & papaya salad. There’s a fair choice of wine, too, & plenty of Thai beer to drink.
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Published 20 June 2014

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