In October I have 6 days to work and eat in London. One dinner is booked at the New Tayyab. For my first evening meal (Sunday night) I plan to hit the original St. John's or whichever St. John's is open on Sunday night. I hope to do Sunday lunch at Putney Bridge, though it remains to be seen if that is a realistic option just after I have fallen out of the plane.
I control the venue for only two of the remaining four nights. My lunches depend on my work schedule in Bloomsbury which I don't yet know. So a lot of things remain to be determined.
For the moment I am seeking advice on the two nights I do not control and for which I do not pay. Why not begin with the impossible? In the past after I have done my university lecture gig, I have been wined and dined at absolutely dreadful places, presumably within the modest budgets imposed on academic life by Philistine Thatcher and her epigones -- all staff members from Dotheboys. I suppose beside their price the other attraction was that the food was horrid enough to keep diners away and so we could do what academics love best, talk and even be heard.
My question posed to various fora is the following: do restaurants serving decent food, at medium prices, in which normal conversation can occur, exist within 15 to 20 minutes or so (by whatever means of movement) of Senate House at the University of London.
The Mangal Grill, a Turkish restaurant in Islington, struck me as a possibility, particularly since one evening my host is an Ottomanist. The price won't force the staff into early retirement. I think it should take less than 20 minutes on a Monday evening. The most important questions are: how noisy does it get? and how crowded does it get? is there likely to be much of a wait?
Another possibility is Sutton Arms: Same questions.
The last problem is can I chat up my hosts skillfully enough so that I can go where I want to go, rather than where they want to take me? I don't expect you to help me on that score.