London eating, Venice and chums

Being back in blighty after an almighty long absence in various places, one recently met up with one’s great friend Regina Desserta. We lunched on the terrace of The Goring Hotel, that astoundingly elegant hotel just behind the Queen’s house in London. Yes, one does mean Buckingham Palace! Gadzooks!

As one’s long standing readers will know The Goring is a favourite spot of your dear Doctor. With it’s hidden garden it is a real gem and that is why it is firmly in your Doctor’s top ten. Eat in the bar/terrace, not the main restaurant which is also very elegant but more apposite for a formal lunch. Regina chose the crudités (uber healthy!) There it is above on the left. Pretty tasty!

Regina is a real foodie and so we discussed other places that should be visited. We decided that a visit to the restaurant at Tate Britain might be fun, it serves good food and has a fabulous wine list which used to have a reputation for being one of the best in Londinium. With it’s Whistler mural decorating the walls, this is a stupendous location to dine and one can indulge one’s arty side before or after, depending upon one’s alcoholic intake of course. Hurrah! One’s taste buds are atingle at the thought of a visit.

We got onto the subject of Venice and Regina suddenly was the veritable expert. Here’s what Regina suggests should you ever go.

Locanda Montin on Fundamenta di Borgo (near Eremite) in Dorsodouro. There are also in that area some tucked away places, I recall, on Calle di Traghetto. That is a narrow continuation of Calle Lunga S. Barnaba, which has Al Profeta (ordinary menu) and La Furatola (fish). I also enjoyed Alle Zattere on Fundament Zattere al Gesuati, and (cheap, or used to be) Trattoria della Donna Onesta near the Frari. I have also stayed in Cannaregio, and if it is still there Antica Mola on Fundament deli Ormesino near the Ghetto was good.

There are very grand places, especially near San Marco, including the now-over touristy Harry’s Bar, on Calle Vallaresso, the super-charged Tiepolo on Calle Larga XXII Marzo and Antico Martini near La Fenice.

The real treat is to take the boat to the furthest island, Torcello, see the ancient basilica with its mosaics and black Madonna, and eat at Locanda Cipriani, at a great price, or for less at Villa 600. And get the last boat back!

Anyhow, back on the subject. One then met up with Remington later that week and he waxed lyrical (quite rightly) about Dishoom. A fabulous Indian style eatery serving small sharing plates and the most delicious chai. Go on a warm, sunny day, the windows will be flung open and you will have a wonderful time whatever you order. One really must return soon! One should give credit to Sir Stephano Gustonovich Minaloski for finding it in the first place. That’s a daguerreotype of their tomato salad up there.

Then of course, Sir Cosmo Longstaff wants to go to Barafina just off Trafalgar Square. One has not yet visited but the queues outside tell one it is obviously 1) Trendy and 2) New. One hopes it is not 3) overrated 4) pricey 5) yet another disappointment.

Finally, one was orf to the theatre and paid a quick visit to Les Deux Salons. This used to be owned by Anthony Demettre who set up Arbutus and Wild Honey (still on the hit list). It is now owned by Conran who has set up some fabulous restaurants. It has had a makeover recently and looked slightly more sparkly. The good news is that when one cannot get into Cote around the corner, this is easy to get into, even on a busy Saturday evening. One can see them queuing at Barafina from the doorway. Chortle!  One only had confit duck and the flavour was excellent. Prices are a bit high but this is Central London. The maître d’ was a charming chap who mixed a mean lemon drop martini for one’s chum even though he had not heard of it before. The yellow roses were pretty too!

Well mes amis, that little ramble might have given you some ideas on where to go if in London or on an Easyjet flight to Venice for the weekend.

Finally, if you can find time…one would be awfully grateful if you could tell your friends about Doctor Lunch’s site if you think it’s useful!

Mange bien mes amis!

Categories: Anecdotes, Italian, London, Venice

Tags: , , , ,

5 replies

  1. For those gentlemen of gentlemen who have to trundle into the city daily to earn a crust, keep our economy buoyant, we can only hope to experience this type of venue..but nice to dream and share in others lunch time habits!!

  2. Many thanks to Regina Desserta for the Venice tips! We’re traveling there in October so this is very timely information.

  3. We’re currently in Venice and have tried several of Regina’s suggestions:

    Tiepolo is a wonderful bar! The cocktails are generously-sized and, if this were London, would qualify for inclusion in Doctor Lunch’s “Cocktails in London – Beware American chums” posting. And… it’s a very handsomely decorated room.

    Lunch at Antico Martini was memorable! The chicken stuffed with ricotta and spinach was among the trip’s highlights.

    Dinner at Harry’s Bar was a must-do, mostly out of curiosity and a need to see a famous landmark. As promised, it was both touristy and expensive… but, in fairness, we knew that before we entered the door. The pasta fagioli was the best I’ve ever had and, being Italian, I’ve had it many, many times. We found the recipe online and will try to replicate it.

    Thank you, Regina, for the tips!

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