Where: Notes, St Martin’s Lane Central London
What: A chain of speciality coffee, food and wine bars around London.
Thoughts: After googling coffee bars in central London this was the first on the hit list after I had discounted the big three (Starbucks, Nero and Costa). Coffee was on the cards when meeting my friend for a post-work catch-up however, the day had taken its toll and so our chosen tipple was selected instead, from the wine list. A very decent and modestly priced wine list, we both had the Malbec – usually an expensive choice but £5.50 for a 125ml glass (we had three). Tap water was topped up by attentive waiters and although there was an overall bustle and busyness about the place it was the perfect setting to have a good conversation without having to shout to be heard. It should also be noted that the sharing plates of food being served around us looked delicious and will definitely be sampled next time.
What : Murder on the Underground by Mavis Doriel Hay
1934 When Miss Pongleton is found murdered on the stairs of Belsize Park station, her fellow-boarders in the Frampton Hotel are not overwhelmed with grief at the death of a tiresome old woman. But they all have their theories about the identity of the murderer, and help to unravel the mystery of who killed the wealthy ‘Pongle’. Several of her fellow residents – even Tuppy the terrier – have a part to play in the events that lead to a dramatic arrest.
Why: I – and I suppose the whole of London – couldn’t help but notice the vast marketing of this book and its adornment in most bookshop windows – also a colleague had bought a copy and failed to finish it so I thought I would give it a go.
Thoughts: A cosy and delightful murder mystery that trundles along and welcomes you into it’s gossipy bosom. Don’t bother reading this if you like a fast-paced thriller or any type of violence in your crime as you won’t enjoy this book at all – I however loved it and felt like I’d been invited to afternoon tea with Miss Marple.
Where: Polpo, Soho London
What: Small Venetian Plates, Proseccco and Spritz (according to the menu)
Thoughts: Wandering aimlessly in the afternoon around Soho London the stomach started growling slightly, with the idea to go to Pix for some Spanish tapas my companion and I ended up walking past Polpo first – we had the cookery book at home and had tried out some successful recipes so decided to try the real deal.
Sat at the bar we ordered Aperol Spritz to start followed by
- Chopped Chicken Liver Crostini – course, delicious and packed an offaly good punch
- White anchovy and smoked mozzarella Pizzetta – the base was so thin, almost like eating a big crisp. Light and tasty although couldn’t ascertain any smokiness in the cheese.
- Cod Cheeks with Lentils and Salsa Verde – I have been wanting to make this from the recipe book for ages and it didn’t disappoint. The cod cheeks were lightly battered and had a nice crispy edge until you bit into the pillowy meat and the lentils were rich and smooth without being mushy or over-cooked.
- Zucchini Parmesan and Basil – this was a ribbon sliced, cold and refreshing salad a lovely balance of fresh flavours and a nice side to the cod with lentils.
Price for two people was £43 including service so not going to break the bank balance especially for what is in essence deliciously cooked food with seasonal ingredients – perfect for an un-planned and informal late lunch.
Also would recommend the cookbook…