Eat ALL THE THINGS!

I like food. I like cooking it, smelling it, looking at it but most of all, I like eating it.

I’ve done a decent amount of good eating in London, so I thought I’d share my five recent favourites.

IC Co

This little gem is on Goodge Street and is completely worth the trip. It’s a no nonsense, no frills pizza place which will serve you, possibly, the tastiest pizza you’ve eaten in a while at a very reasonable cost. They have a small menu but they seem to do every pizza on it extremely well. I aim to sample each one. They offer garlic oil and chilli oil which you should definitely make use of.  It’s not fine dining but it is absolutely the best pizza I’ve eaten in years.

Coq D’Argent

Coq D’Argent is a French style restaurant located very close to Bank tube station on Poultry. You go up in a magic lift and emerge on a roof terrace. The indoor dining area is walled with glass so, sitting inside or outside can provide some excellent views. Both indoor and outdoor dining areas are extensive but, thanks to the English weather, it’s more than likely you will enjoy the indoor area.

The menu is small and everything is always perfectly cooked and presented. They have traditional French dishes e.g. escargot as well as a good selection of dishes with a French twist. I always have the fish when I go to Coq D’Argent as it’s the only place I have found which never overcooks fish and, obviously, it’s extra tasty as a result!

Once you have chosen your meal, you should definitely get the sommelier to reccommend the perfect wine to compliment your choices.

The service in Coq D’Argent is superb. I have never been disappointed with the staff or their professionalism. They are polite, efficient, apologetic when the time calls for it but, more than anything else, they are good at their jobs. Your wine glass will not run dry and you are constantly watched over (not in a creepy stalker way) to ensure that if you look like you have even the slightest need, a server will be at your side in a flash.

Also, if you book via top table, they normally have a fantastic 3 courses for £25 deal. That deal makes what is quite high end dining 100% affordable. Yay!!! The menu choices are, obviously, reduced but the quality of food and service is not.

Finally, the roof terrace isn’t just for dining, there’s a drinking section too so you can enjoy views of the  City (I like the side that faces the Shard most) alongside a well mixed cocktail if you want to.

In summary. Go there as soon as possible and make use of the Top Table deal (as Al a carte is not cheap).

Bodeans

Bodeans is the place for meat. Very well cooked, marinated meat. There are a few Bodeans outlets in London. I have frequented the Poland Street restaurant and never been disappointed.

Bodeans do a good range of quality pork and beef dishes. There’s chicken to be had too but I’ve never ventured into chicken at Bodeans because, that’s what Nando’s is for, right? Last time I visited, they had a Buffalo burger on as a kind of special. Naturally I had to try it and, it was super tasty. The cooks are obviously well schooled in cooking meat to perfection however you want it (medium rare, thanks).

Petch Sayam

This Thai restaurant is a little gem on Leytonstone High Road about a three minute walk from Leytonstone tube station.

The food is very good and the staff are incredibly accommodating. On top of this, the prices are reasonable thanks to it being hidden in zone 3. Worth the extra zone fare out to eat there.

Saravana Bhavan

You can find Saravana Bhavan on Cranbrook Road in Ilford. It’s about a five minute walk from Ilford station (which you can use oysters at). They serve a mixture of tasty and authentic Indian food.

My favourites on the menu are the Indian breakfast items they serve. Their menu is huge so I would do a little research before you head over for a meal otherwise I think you will definitely be bamboozled by the choices available.

The prices are also reasonable for the portions you get. A worthwhile trip out for genuinely authentic Indian breakfast foods (which should be and are enjoyed at all times of the day).

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How different the festive job season becomes.

As anyone who does not live in their home town will be able to corroborate, when you return ‘home’, there is a list of jobs you need to do and people you need to see waiting for you. It’s the same list of both jobs and people every time you go back. It doesn’t matter what the occasion is. The lists don’t discern if it’s a birthday, anniversary, Christmas or ‘I missed everyone’ type visit. They’re consistently identical no matter what and you must start ticking things off the list the second you arrive or you will never get through thm.

My list of Jobs reads as thus:

  1. Take all Mum’s bins out to the bins (it’s hard for her to do herself) – this visit she’d saved me a normal bin bag and 2 recycling bags, more than the average!
  2. Assess Mum’s PC health – The last visit her HDD was cheerfully warning her it was failing at start up. She had been ‘F1’ing it instead of telling me about the error. Her HDD was eventually and successfully swapped out in record time. An external HDD was sorted too as when I asked her where her back up was, she sighed wistfully.
  3. Assess the loft/garage – There’s nearly always something that needs to come down or go up into the loft. Same with the garage.
  4. Visit relatives including as many Sisters, Nieces, Nephews, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and extended family members as is humanly possible. Special time is ALWAYS made to visit my Grandmother. This is for 2 very specific reasons. The first being she is now 93. The other is that her ‘getting drunk and falling down stories’ bear a striking resemblance to my own. I’ve been known to wile away many hours sat at my Grandma’s, listening to old tapes of Dolly and Johnny and discussing getting drunk and falling down.
  5. Asses Sisters PC health – this is always the trickiest IT support. Both of my sisters have horrible habits of installing conflicting software that slows down their machines and generally hogs all of their adequate system resources. I plan an entire afternoon of uninstalling, Spybotting, CCleanering, defragging and check disking for each sister. I think one sister will actually get a whole day this visit as she needs a reformat. Joyous!
  6. Generally running errands my Mum doesn’t want anyone else to do – for example, this time round I have been and purchased a suitable microwave, completed suite shopping and finally ordered her a suitable LCD TV for the front room.

Having described that little lot, during the Christmas visit, all these ‘jobs’ don’t feel like jobs (the IT issues do still make my soul die a little as I do not understand the need to download multiple different anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-virus software and that is what I am faced with on each sister’s computer). The standard list jobs are transformed, from being a crazy rush to tick items off before it’s time to head back, into a series of various dinners and teat time visits. The purchasing turns. from fighting with crowds and queuing because the store is understaffed, into bargain hunting with fellow shopppers in the sales and general bartering with good willed sales people.

The Christmas season does something quite remarkable to most of the population. It makes everyone feel like they’re in soft focus. Everything appears more pleasant than it is the rest of the year. It’s a remarkable thing and I hope I’m not the only one who notices it.