Pie at the Sanctuary pub

The Sanctuary pub in Tothill Street, Westminster, together with its adjacent hotel, is owned by Fuller’s. That means it specializes in pies. It does a bar special of 3 pies each accompanied by a recommended ale. This time, however, the choice was for a five-spice duck pie, which came...

Apple and cherry compote

It is a simple, but a very good dessert. Peeled and chopped apples simmered with stoned cherries in a mix of creme de cassis, lemon juice and orange squash (no sugar added). Cooked until the apples are soft, then cooled and chilled. Brilliant with cream. It does help to...

Sea bass at Fish Works

I often go to Fish Works in Swallow Street, Piccadilly, which specializes in excellent fresh seafood. This time the choice was oven-roasted sea bass, baked in lemon, thyme, olive oil and sea salt. It is served whole or filleted, and the choice was filleted. It was very good indeed....

Heliot Steakhouse in the Hippodrome, Leicester Square

Heliot Steakhouse in the Hippodrome Casino at Leicester Square is remarkable, in that the bar and restaurant tables are on a balcony that overlooks the main gaming floor. So diners tuck into their steaks while looking down on the action at casino and card tables below. I ordered a...

Cambridge Chop House 10th birthday

The Cambridge Chop House celebrated its 10th birthday by a special purchase of Syrah sold at £16 per bottle instead of £26. I’ve been going there since it opened on King’s Parade in Cambridge, and have had many excellent meals over the years. This time I began with salted...

Caramel and sea-salt biscuits from Harrod’s

Christmas is a time when you indulge in nice stuff you might go easy on at other times. Among my best this year I was given a box of “all butter, caramel & sea-salt biscuits” (aka cookies) from Harrod’s. They were crumbly, sweet and firm without being too hard....

Exquisite mackerel at Roux, Parliament Square

Steve Groves is head chef at Michel Roux’s Roux at Parliament Square in the heart of Westminster. I went for lunch on Monday and had the most exquisite mackerel starter I have ever eaten. It came with heritage carrots, citrus and sesame. Then I went on to the dry...

Blueberry pancakes

In the UK and Europe pancakes usually means crepes. In the US, they are light, fluffy and with a spongy texture that soaks up toppings such as maple syrup. My favourites are blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, and these were served at La Concha hotel on Duval Street. In...

Chicken tenders, fingers or nuggets

There is a difference. Chicken nuggets are usually made from minced-up chicken (which may be from different birds) pressed into patties, breadcrumbed and deep fried. Tenders are from strips of chicken meat from below the breast, breadcrumbed or battered and deep fried. The term “fingers,” although sometimes loosely used...

Pinchers and legendary crab

Pinchers on Duval Street in Key West in quite an institution. They don’t take bookings, and the place is very popular, so we went early. After the starter of conch fritters, shared, we hesitated between Alaskan king crab and snow crab before choosing the latter (which cost less). It...