ok, so i found simon's bible: the rough guide to london restuarants. i found it when browsing in waterstones, and bought it with some excitement becuase it passed my mohsen test - it actually mentioned the restuarant. perhaps i had found something along the ines of a london 'eclectic gourmet ...'?!
not a chance. while i re-read 'eclectic gourmet ...' as much from nostalgia as for the sheer enjoyment of the writing, i'm also aware that it's jim's profound expertise that allows him to understand a particular restaurants drift - its not just reporting. which, unfortunately, the rough guide is. 350 restaurants are reported on without any sympathy for the style of cuisine; of course, all are heartily recommended. there are some obvious howlers; while others sound intriguing. here are some names that caught my eye; if you've eaten at any of these, please chime in.
1. abeno, wc1
with claims to being europe's only specialist okonomi-yaki (whatever that is) restaurant.
2. hakkasan, w1
chief claim to fame seems to be the 3 million pounds spent on refurbishing the space.
3. the kerala, w1
kerala home cooking behind oxford circus - i know i'm going to try it out soon.
4. belgo central, wc1
mussels, pommes frites and an impressive sounding belgian beer list.
5. noble rot, w1
what looks like an outstanding dessert wine list - and food to pair
6. al waha, w2
claimed to be the best lebanese in town - said town including noura. of course i'm going to go check it out myself.
7. toucan, w1
looks like a place where you can get genuwine irish made guinness (it's not clear from the description), along with irish food. must try this quickly.
8. daquise, sw7
around the corner from the polish hearth club; similar menu.
9. quilon, sw1
keralan cooking once again, this time from the taj group (who at least know what they're doing). should be, at the very worst, competent.
10. tas, se1
turkish restaurant in the cut
11. czechoslovak house, nw6
the polish hearth club of hampstead? intriguing, this one.
12. lalibela, nw5
touted as a genuine, no-frills barred ethiopian.
13. assaggi, w2
waiting list is a month for this notting hill italian .. worth it?
14. ginger, w2
real bangladeshi food (now thats an idea).
15. rodizio rico, w2
anything like the real thing?
i guess i should also explain the 'simon bible' reference. you'll find in this book the india club, complete with a suggestion to try the chilli bhajjias; the great nepalese, viet hoa cafe, istanbul iskembecisi, ravi shankar, etc. so THIS is where our very own welsh - bengali has been getting his crazy ideas!