I’m quite possibly in the minority of people who have never visited Patisserie Valerie. I’ve walked past one of their 78 shops up and down the country on my travels many a time always thinking ‘I will pop in one day’ to have a tea and cake. But I’m afraid to say it has never happened – until now. That’s because I’ve normally ended up going for lunch or dinner elsewhere leaving no room for pudding. But recently I was invited to sample their summer menu and so I finally found myself in the Reading branch.
The brunch movement is continuing to take steam and has no intention of stopping. Each week there is a new establishment offering one as part of their menu choices. As an experienced ‘bruncher’ Sabi Phagura has spent hours whiling away weekends over bottomless Prosecco and knows exactly what to expect. But even she was amazed at the array of food Hilton London Bankside have laid on as part of their bottomless brunch menu at their stylish OXBO restaurant.
I admit I was late in the day to discover Bill’s restaurants partly because I travel so much and well when I am not travelling, I try to eat at home. But when my friend Jo won a meal for two competition with them almost four years ago, I was gutted I hadn’t visited sooner. I love going there as a treat and was not going to turn down the opportunity to go there when asked to review the new Bill’s Dinner Set Menu which runs Sunday to Thursday from 5pm until close.
The much-anticipated No. Fifty Cheyne is now open after a complete rebuild, masterminded by Sally Greene (Founder Director of the Old Vic and proprietor of Ronnie Scott’s). I recently went along to the ground-floor restaurant during their soft opening week and although was warned there may be a few finishing touches to be done, there was nothing I could fault. The only thing that needed completing was the first-floor cocktail bar and drawing room which has since opened.
Sometimes you just want a good hearty meal without the fuss – especially on a cold and wintry evening. As soon as I saw the menu online at the Sir John Balcombe Pub in Marylebone, I knew that was exactly what I was going to get when I went along to sample their food offerings.