Category Archives: Reviews

Irish Coffee at the Old Coastguard, Mousehole


I’ve had Irish coffee in many, many places and know how to make a fairly good one myself courtesy of the training received from my Irish sister-in-law. However, outside of hers the best one I’ve ever had (and the rest of the family agreed) was at the the Old Coastguard in Mousehole this Christmas. It was sublime. So much so in fact that we went back for another the next day.

We’ve eaten many times at the Coastguard whilst on holiday but that’s usually been in the summer. This year we stayed in the area for Christmas and hence got to the go to the Mousehole Christmas Lights. As luck would have it – and I mean that – it was raining so we had to find shelter and a hot drink. We headed to our old favourite and were not disappointed.

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The Rising Sun, Mill Hill, London

Restaurant/Inn: The Rising Sun

Location: Mill Hill, London, NW7 4EY

Meal: Light lunch

Price; £30 for two plus (very nice) wine

The Rising Sun in Mill Hill have got it so so right. It is a beautiful 17th century pub perched at the top of Mill Hill. A listed building with an interesting history it was Continue reading

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Review: Hidden Table

As the diners arrived and Le Patron handed us a glass of Kir Royale, Mme Quizette was putting the finishing touches to this row of intriguing starters.

My visit to Hidden Table on Saturday was my first foray into secret dining and what a fine introduction it was. The whole evening felt rather like attending a dinner party with thoughtful hosts and interesting fellow guests. Upon arrival Le Patron led us into the anteroom and gave us a glass of Kir Royale. Mme Quisine appeared with a platter of Amuse Bouche based on the lightest Choux pastry imaginable while Mme Quizette added the final artistic touches to the starters which were laid out on top of a covered, full size snooker table (on which also sat a magnificent double bass – how cool is that? ). 
Due to someone else’s misfortune forcing them to cancel (they came down with mumps, poor sods) there were spare places at the table. This meant our hosts, unusually for these events, were able to sit down and eat with us, which was an added bonus – but I’m getting ahead of myself; back to the beginning. Upon booking at Hidden Table guests are asked if Mme Quisine and Mme Quizette can assist with any specific dietary requirements (we have none, we eat everything but the offer was there). Le Patron worked patiently through my PayPal problem whereby my account decided it would not accept my stated email address when I tried to pay my deposit (despite PayPal having sent the payment request to it in the first place). Straight away one gets the sense that the evening will be relaxed but also professional. And indeed it was.
The food falls somewhere between that which you would be served at a dinner party hosted by a friend with a reputation as a fine cook and a highly regarded local bistro in France. This was a six course meal with well thought out little touches like the palate cleanser between courses, for example, or the use of quince in the almond tart instead of pear.
The mark of a good meal with this number of courses is that the portions are set at a size which allows the diner to actually eat all of them and this was the case here and furthermore, the fundamental error usually made with such menus was also avoided, i.e. that at no point does the diner actually get a proper plate of food! Our main course was a well executed French classic which ticked the box of actually being a dinner rather than a mere suggestion of food arranged on a plate like some sort of culinary joke of whom you, the diner, are the butt. Instead, this was seriously good food and a seriously lovely evening. As food adventures go I can highly recommend it – there is a link for Hidden Table’s Facebook group at the bottom of this review. Click. Join. Book. Enjoy. You won’t be disappointed.  
A beautifully seasoned, perfectly textured Mushroom & Walnut Pate on French Toast with a light Chestnut Puree and dressed lambs lettuce.
Soup Course
A silky, smooth Veloute of Jerusalem Artichoke accented with a little lemon zest and, I suspect, a touch of cream.
Main Course
A classic melt-in-the-mouth Beouf Bourgignon made the authentic way and served with sweet potato puree, buttered new potatoes and French beans.
Zingy, refreshing Pink Grapefruit Sorbet with grapefruit zest and a hint of vodka to cleanse the palate between courses.
These hand-written little cards were scattered around the large dining table as conversation starters – evidence of thoughtful attention to detail!
              Cheese Course
A generous serving of mature, crumbly stilton set on a light, crisp biscuit  topped with home-made red onion marmalade.
Another expertly executed classic but this time with a twist, Quince (instead of pear) and Almond Tart with fresh chantilly cream.
Coffee with Chocolate Air…..
This is the only way I can describe these delightful little pieces of chocolate loveliness which came with the coffee. They were a sort of cross between cake and truffle. They were divine.
Click here to join Hidden Table’s Facebook group and find out about future supper evenings.                   


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Chix Chox


Rigatoni with Prawns & Chilli in Tomato Sauce

Restaurant: Chix Chox

Location: North Finchley, London, N12

Meal: Lunch

Visited: November, 2009

Cost: £20 for lunch and soft drinks for two

Chix Chox is a bit of a North Finchley institution. Continue reading


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Restaurant: Veeraswamy

Location: Picadilly, London SW1

Meal: dinner

Price: £160 for cocktails, starters, main course, wine and Irish coffees for two.


‘Green Prawns’ with coriander, mint, cumin & chilli.


Mussels Moilee witn aromatic ginger sauce and fresh coconut.



Malabar lobster, Sea Bass wrapped in banana leaf and Chorchori.

The National Geographic puts Veeraswamy at number eight on it’s list of Top Ten Best Destinations and Special Restaurants in the World and after our trip there last Friday to celebrate my husband’s 40th birthday I’d have to agree with their high opinion of the place. Founded in 1926 by an Indian Princess and Continue reading

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Sciolti Chocolates

Sciolti Chocolates

Its wonderful when an old friend introduces you to a new friend. Its even more wonderful when that new friend happens to be a generous choclatier. Fiona Sciolti’s chocolate making skills are all self taught and the recipes for her signature range are all her own; devised, produced, tried and tested by herself in her own chocolate studio. They’re all hand dipped and made from local ingredients. When I listened to Rod Whiting interviewing her for the BBC breakfast show in her home county of Continue reading

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Browns, Islington, London

Browns, Islington, London
Restaurant: Browns.
Location: Islington, N1 2XH.
Meal: Lunch.
Visited: October, 2009.
Price: One course plus a glass of wine, £20 per head.

A trip to Browns for Sunday lunch with friends this weekend yielded some very poor results. In fact I’m hard-pressed to Continue reading

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