After dinner – during which we talked about how great London’s food scene is – we walked along the avenue, with Deb trying to remember which of the grand houses was the home of Dame Phyllis of Holland Park – that would be PD James to mystery fans.
Then along came a few TV chefs who did their best to bring British food up to scratch. There was Elizabeth David, Britain’s answer to Julia Child (with an equally fascinating background); the throaty Fanny Cradock and her husband Johnnie; Australian Graham Kerr, and of course Robert “first take your marble slab, then your parsley from the Dordogne …” Carrier – an American who decided to settle in Britain.
When I worked in London in the 80’s, we knew where to go for good food. There were great ethnic restaurants all over the place. But what has put London on the map in recent years is the re-imagining of traditional dishes, bringing them bang up to date with contemporary tastes, and not only on the tongue, but in presentation and with fresh organic ingredients.
That evening we had dinner at The Summerhouse alongside the Grand Union Canal in Little Venice. Fresh baked cod with organic green beans and lovely little new potatoes – the perfect dish to eat while watching the narrowboats ply their way back and forth along the waterway.
Finally, the following morning before going down to Sussex to stay with my mother (and get back to work on my next book!), Corinne and I had breakfast at The Wolesley on Piccadilly.
Originally built in 1921 to house the Wolesley motor showroom, the building later became a branch of Barclays Bank, before being remodeled into a restaurant in 2003. The architecture is grand without being intimidating, and the staff incredibly welcoming – and let me tell you, the French toast with blueberry compote is not to be missed (I had the gluten-free version!).
And now it's back to work ....
Have a lovely weekend. While you're reading this, I'll be en route to the USA, on my way home.