Right this minute, toptable may be your best friend in the world. Mother’s Day is coming up on 3 April and we already know some restaurants that are fully booked for Sunday lunch. If you want to honour your mum or just give her a nice afternoon out, book now. Even the IT boys haven’t got a dedicated page up on the toptable site yet, so you’re still ahead of the game and can get your hands on a reservation at her favourite spot. We’ve done a little search already here for you to hone for your location. That’s the toptable service in a nutshell: free booking, happy mother, top reward points and you’re still in the will.
Looking Further Ahead
Not quite so life-changing, but still a lot of fun, the nominations for The Good Food Guide‘s Restaurant of the Year Awards. Vote and you’re in with a chance to win dinner for two — that always gets us. You can vote here or keep an eye out for nomination forms in restaurants that we’re sure they’ll be happy to tuck into your bill. The nominations close on 29 April, so there’s still plenty of time, but how perverse to be doing this during Lent, not exactly a hot time for living it up. Even if you’re not one who observes the season, an awful lot of us are working on our Speedo diets already.
Real Cold Food
Brave the retro-winter weather this weekend and head for Southbank Square on Belvedere Road in London for the Real Food Market for fresh, high quality, affordable food and products from forty carefully selected producers. There will be cookery demonstrations, actual livestock and al fresco hog roasts from Canteen. You might want to offer to turn the handle so you can hunker close to the embers. It’s Friday (11 – 8), Saturday (10 – 6) and Sunday (noon – 6).
We’re quite grumpy about the fact that we have never received our invitation for Westminster Abbey on 29 April, but we figure we’ll go ahead and tell you about this fun contest anyway. The Times is sponsoring a Royal Bake-Off competition for the best Wills-and-Kate themed cake with a first prize of Tea Royale for two at the London Langham Hotel plus an overnight stay for two with breakfast. Second prize is a royal themed jelly mould from Bompas & Parr and a copy of Baking Made Easy by Lorraine Pascal, which is quite a comedown from an overnight at the Langham Hotel. The criteria for success include: ‘needs to look good on the street party table’. Jane Asher has created a gorgeous cake that’s practically a street party in itself; you can see step-by-step directions on making it yourself here. We were thinking of something altogether more camp, like a giant glass slipper with a foot slipping into it wearing the royal engagement ring on its pinky toe. Competition rules are here.
New toptable restaurant signings:
Cocochan restaurant in London W1 can be found behind Selfridge’s though it’s a few thousand miles away in cuisine and ambience. Strikingly stylish, Cocochan’s chefs use the sous-vide method in their inventive dishes that borrow widely from all across Asia, from the subcontinent to northern China and all latitudes in between.
Eighty-Six restaurant is an absolutely gorgeous restaurant on the Fulham Road in South Kensington. It’s got former Bluebird chef Mark Broadbent in the kitchen creating a seasonally-changing modern European menu. Eighty-six is like a private members’ club with its superb style but with its doors open to us all.
Hanson’s Restaurant in the Fowey Hall Hotel atop the hills that look down over the charming Cornish town and the Fowey estuary could stop right there at location and views, but no. This is a family-friendly fine dining restaurant with excellent cuisine for the adults and healthful, appetising menus for the children. And if you need your baby’s bottle warmed, they’ll do it without blinking an eye.
Tony’s Italian Bar and Grill is one of Orpington’s most-loved restaurants a the winner of the local newspapers ‘Best of Italian restaurants’ in Bromley for the past three years. The decor may be clean and contemporary, but the food is prepared with classic recipes and timeless attention to detail that have earned Tony’s a loyal and enthusiastic local following.
The Saint restaurant occupies the lower ground floor of Glasgow’s Saint Jude boutique hotel just off Sauciehall Street. It’s a combination of pub and restaurant with bags of style and not a little glamour, but with down-to-earth pub classic food that pleases absolutely everyone. In the evening the menu expands to include more modern European cuisine, and there is live music Thursday through Saturday evenings.