Palazzina Grassi – Best Brunch in Venice

Italians are not very big on breakfast or ‘la colazione’, just an espresso and one piece of pastry will usually do the job. So what to do if you’re spending a weekend in Venice and you happen to be really into Sunday brunch like we are? After a bit of research we quickly filtered our options down to three upmarket hotel restaurants. Thank heaven that the first two places we called had already been booked out, so we ended up with a reservation at the magnificent five-star American boutique hotel Palazzina Grassi (alternatively Palazzina G) right next to the Grand Canal, very close to the Westernmost point of the San Marco neighbourhood, roughly 15 to 20 minutes’ walk from St. Mark’s Square.     It took us longer, because we didn’t find the entrance in Calle Morolin/Ramo Grassi right away, there’s not much in terms of signs and not a […]

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Two-Starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught

I had been enjoying two two-starred and several one-starred dining experiences over the past year or so without Ms B, because I was working abroad during most weeks, only coming back to London over the weekend. For a long time I had been planning on making this up to her, at least to some extent, by taking her out to a two- or three-star restaurant in London. Besides, our ten-year wedding anniversary was approaching fast, so time was of the essence. When we found out that two-starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught offered a “weekday dinner formule” for a mere £60 per person, including three courses, two glasses of wine, mineral water, and coffee, we immediately made a reservation. From several food-loving friends we had heard plenty of great things over the years about this fine culinary establishment on the ground floor of one of London’s most luxurious hotels. We […]

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M Grill Victoria

One of my major client contracts in my day job as regulatory consultant had just been extended for another year a few days ago after 6 weeks of relative limbo and just a few days’ work here and there. So Ms B & I decided to treat ourselves to a nice meal at M Victoria’s Grill, or “M Grill.” We had visited (and blogged about) it before, so we knew that we’d enjoy it. Former thespian and current CEO of M Restaurant London, Martin Williams, founded the group in November 2014 with the opening of the first M restaurant in Threadneedle Street (followed by M Victoria in December 2015 and shortly after by M Twickenham), after having been Gaucho’s Managing Director for nine years. (He has just returned as part-time advisor to Gaucho besides his day job at M to help save the embattled steakhouse chain that has recently been […]

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Deep Fall from a Michelin Star: The Terrace, Montagu Arms, New Forest

We usually do not write about bad experiences, but when we read a couple of weeks ago that the new head chef Matthew Whitfield had just replaced his friend and former mentor, Roux scholar Matthew Tomkinson, at The Terrace at the Montagu Arms, we decided to make an exception. When we visited last summer, we were aware that the restaurant had lost its Michelin star and that no one expected them to gain it back anytime soon. The ratings were still pretty decent and fine dining options in the New Forest are limited. Immediately upon arrival, staff advised us that because of major construction works inside the building, the work in the kitchen was slightly impaired and the menu reduced. During the first half of our stay, we were alone in the large, stuffy, ancient dining hall, during the second half three other couples joined, all well into their late […]

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Lovely Dinner at Launceston Place, Kensington, the Locals’ Favourite

Ms B and I enjoyed our recent visit to Launceston Place, one of Kensington’s most loved fine dining venues. Young and heavily tattooed head chef Ben Murphy has trained and worked at Koffmann’s at The Berkeley, the triple Michelin-starred Les Prés d’Eugénie (which is part of the ultra-prestigious Relais & Chateaux group, just like restaurant Lafleur in Frankfurt, which we reviewed here) in the south of France, as well as the equally three-starred Épicure Restaurant at Le Bristol in Paris, and London’s two-star Greenhouse Restaurant. As soon as we arrived, the friendly staff led us to our table. The atmosphere is elegant with plenty of light.     After short deliberation we decided to opt for the 3-course set menu deal for £30 per person. For starters, we chose seared tuna and pig’s head pate, for mains the grilled octopus on burnt leek with chive and chicken tarragon, and as desserts […]

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