Doing Breakfast At Market Halls Victoria

Looking for somewhere to grab a breakfast in Victoria, Market Halls now has plenty to tempt you. I got out of bed and got in.

The last time I went to the building that is now Market Halls Victoria, it must have been around 2004 it was the club Pacha.It was a place to be seen back then, a classy club so close to the bus stands at Victoria that the smell of diesel fumes vied with the Paco Rabanne.

Well look at it now, it’s a fancy food hall and part of the Market Halls group. Daylight, which never dared intrude at Pacha, floods onto the first floor from a massive glass roof. Up there are more food outlets not open until lunch. Continue reading

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Lemons over the Atlantic

With the Beast From The East arriving imminently, Nick probably didn’t pick the best night to go to New Covent Garden Market to see how top restaurants get their fresh veg every day.

“It’s called the ‘Flash’,” one of the market traders tells me, almost invisible under his layers and layers of warm clothing on this freezing night in Vauxhall.

He’s talking about the beautiful display of fresh veg outside his unit on Buyers’ Row at New Covent Garden Market. Boxes and boxes of vegetables and fruits, from the exotic to the everyday, all painstakingly assembled into an eye-catching tribute to the freshest produce money can buy. Continue reading

Tasting the Tapa De Ancho in Gaucho, London

Gaucho_Swallow_street_0071Before the Hawksmoors, the Goodmans and all the rest there was Gaucho, actually first appearing in the Netherlands in 1976 in Amsterdam. A cut above a steakhouse, aimed at people who felt a little declasse in Harvester, this Argentinian temple of meat is rather differerent. Animal hides make up much of the upholstery and the meat in all its various cuts, is paraded around the room raw so you can see what you’re getting. So it isn’t the kind of place you’d want to take Morrissey for a snack.

Always nicely dark inside, you fall over the furniture a lot until your eyes adjust, it also benefits from an excellent Argentinian wine list. At a time when one rather suspected South America was dumping their inferior wines on the UK, the wine list at Gaucho was and remains a taste of what’sreally available if you know where to look. Continue reading

Ashdown Park Hotel – step back and step out in style

Country houses are all the rage, what with Downton making us sigh with longing. Nick Harman gets a fix of old school class at Ashdown Park Hotel

With a flourish the waiters whip off the cloches to reveal the meal beneath, a sight not seen in London since barrage balloons wobbled in the sky and Evelyn Waugh wobbled out of Whites. You can only imagine what some metropolitan critics would make of this; gleefully sharpen their pencils in preparation for stabbing the restaurant through the heart, no doubt.

Things are done differently in the country though, they hunt things, they kill and mostly eat the things they hunt, they are comfortable with corduroy and welly boots and mud. Here atAshdown Park Hotel and Country Club part of the sameElite Hotels Group as The Grand Eastbourne.  some things are still done pretty much as they would have been done thirty years ago. Continue reading