Remember you heard it here as I sample and report back on some of the best kept food secrets in town
Bob Bob Ricard
If you want sheer decadence as well as absolutely delight, Bob Bob Ricard is famous for each table sporting a button reading ‘press for Champagne’ as well as its ‘all booth’ ambience. As you can imagine the British/Russian menu is sumptuous as well as the fine wine and cocktails. Wallow in sheer luxury in this glamorous restaurant in the heart of Soho.
Where: 1 Upper James Street, Soho, W1F 9DF
‘A stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus, out of No 1 exit and continue to walk straight were the perfect directions. You can’t miss its distinctive front entrance on the left of Sherwood Street, with the distinctive style reminiscent of Paris of a bi-gone era, consistently reflected within its vast haughty walls. The Brasserie sprawls proudly across its basement level alongside its Cabaret Club, The Crazy Coqs, and rather than confuse you, if you want a French meal at a meagre £10.50, you can order two courses in the Brasserie and then book to see one of its acts in the club. It is also perfect for lunch when shopping or in the evening as a pre-theatre dinner.
Where: 20 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1F 7ED
I have recently been re-introduced to this iconic restaurant in Covent Garden by my friend Debbie Arnold, who has a table in her name. I was a regular in the nineties when performing in the West End, and it has held its own in spite of steep competition over the years. But classics never date and Joe’s never does. A great supporter of the arts and the homeless charities, you will always see a familiar face either from theatre or TV and as our very own national treasure Joanna Lumley says ‘when in doubt eat at Joe Allen, they will take good care of you’ and the food is always absolutely fabulous.
Where: 2 Burleigh St, London WC2E 7PX
This authentic Persian Restaurant has become one of the most recommended places in town to experience Persian food at its best. I was taken there impromptu by my new friend Gudrun Jonsson, a wonderful biopath and holistic practitioner, who lives nearby in Napier Street, after having reflexology. It is always a good sign when you are recommended personally and also see local Iranians and foodies sampling the mixed mezze of strained yoghurt, freshly walnuts and mirza ghassemi (smoked aubergine, garlic and tomato). For our main course, we had the grilled kebabs – chicken with saffron and lemon. Other sides include warm bread, and basmati rice –with raw egg yolk, butter and herbs if required. The spiced tea was really refreshing, and the service is great too with friendly staff who look as if they really care about their customers.
Where: 10 Russell Gardens, Kensington, London W14 8EZ