I admit, I am sometimes a food snob. Not all the time, but when I go out to a restaurant, cheap or not, I want nice food.
So I am really against bad tourist trap style restaurants which London is littered with in the central areas. To be honest I thought that The Fire Station, a popular watering hole near Waterloo, was a bit like that. A central spot near one of the busiest stations in the country will be busy so long as the drinks are fine, so why would they bother about the food?!
But, I may have to eat my hat, as I recently visited this restaurant and bar and found their burgers really good. I mean REALLY good.
The patty was nice and juicy, the bun soft but sturdy, the sauce nice and the fries too. Plus they have a great menu for children (even a three course meal including dough balls, a small burger and ice cream – I’d happily order that for myself!) and decent service even though they were rammed with customers. Thanks for proving me wrong! And thanks to my colleague for convincing me to go there with my friends.
The Fire Station, 150 Waterloo Road, London SE1 8SB
Our only celeb sighting in New York happened when Sinead and I, as usually starving because we missed breakfast at the hotel, arrived to the lovely Italian restaurant Locanda Verde, near our hotel in Tribeca. My friend Lama had recommended the place and as we sat down for lunch at the bar (with mainly business people in the room), we noticed that no other than Matthew McConaughey was sitting at the other end of the bar (!). At first we weren’t sure as he was just sitting there reading his paper, looking down. But when he looked up it was evident it actually was him.
And although I think he’s a great actor and it was fun to see a celebrity (apparently he’s not the only celeb who’s taken a liking to this place), the brilliant food actually overshadowed him being there.
I was ravenous and started with the excellent lamb meatball sliders with caprino cheese and sharp cucumber. Not greasy at all and lovely flavours! Then I looked at my phone and noticed a message from Lama (who recommended the place) urging me to order the sheep’s ricotta. So of course I did.
And it was MIND-BLOWING! Best ricotta I ever had, even better than the lovely one I had in Modena in Italy in the spring. It was thick and creamy, yet light and fluffy and super smooth. It was full of flavour, only further complemented by the herbs and charred bread.
This place is definitely a favourite of mine; I loved the food and can’t wait to eat my way through the entire menu, but I also like the efficient but relaxed vibe in here.
Locanda Verde, 377 Greenwich St, New York, NY 10013
I can’t remember where of from whom I heard about Minetta Tavern the first time, but when I asked people for restaurant recommendations leading up to my holiday everyone told me come here. So of course I did.
This extremely cosy one Michelin-starred restaurant in Greenwich Village was just as nice as I had hoped it would be. It gives you the impression it’s from a different time with red sofas, lots of mirrors and soft lighting.
Considering the size of New York portions, we started our dinner with a drink (espresso Martini for Sinead and a glass of tatty for me) and then went straight for the main courses. Sinead had the roasted chicken with Swiss chard and fries. It was super simple but stunning!
A decent portion of fries, as you can see.
I decided on the steak frites, but substituted the fries for pommes Anna, and received one of the best steaks I have ever had! Just amazingly good!
Not a small portion of pommes Anna either… but very good!
We ate as slowly as we could to savour every bite but also to be able to eat as much as possible, so we were more than full when they cleared the table. But after some wine and a breather we decided to try the chocolate caramel tart with sea salt our waiter so highly recommended. And I’m so glad we did. It was pure perfection! I’m not even a pudding person but this was to die for. You simply must order it when you go.
Minetta Tavern, 113 MacDougal St., New York, NY 10012 (Betw. Bleecker & W. 3rd Street)