Saturday, 6 December 2008

HOT: Daylesford Organic, 208-212 Westbourne Grove, Notting Hill W11 2RH

The Daylesford Organic empire continues its sweep through the most affluent areas of London - landing recently in Notting Hill. In fact, I almost missed its shopfront, as it sits arrogantly next to the very similar-looking 202 cafe (which is presumably aiming for very similar clientele). At 10am on crispy-cold Saturday the new kid on the block was already bustling with perfectly coiffed brunchers, so we were moved to the downstairs Raw Bar (although no raw food is served before 6pm). If you're not inspired to eat well here, as you're surrounded by cookbooks, jars of gourmet goodness and thin beautiful people, then I'm afraid I can't help you. Notting Hill residents Gourmet Chick and her regular consort James each had the eggs benedict and wild mushrooms on toast while I went for the full carb diet of potted shrimps with heaps of extra sourdough bread (free!) and a nicely chilled carob and nut milk smoothie.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

HOT: The Ledbury, 127 Ledbury Road, Notting Hill W11 2AQ

Twas only appropriate that a Tranzie send-off/Brendan's early 30th birthday present should have a gastronomic flavour to it. Hence, our appointment with the one-Michelin starred Ledbury, helmed by the friendly sous chef Nathan (chef Brett was on holiday). My meal started with half a dozen deliciously soft bread rolls, scoffed down due to intense hunger and work-related anxiety. We then progressed through a three course meal interspersed with random little inter-course treats. My starter was an imaginative 'risotto' of finely diced squid and my suckling pig was perfectly crisp. My dessert souffle was preceded by a pre-dessert (I love the concept of a completely superfluous course) and then BOOM! Out came a steady stream of souffle, mini creme brulees, gingerbread cannelloni...then another souffle, a chocolate pave and a 'Happy Birthday' decorated brown sugar tart. In the face of seven (!) desserts and delicate petit fours as well, I instantly regretted my six bread rolls and broke out into a fat sweat. At the end of the eating, my desperate bid for a digestive aid meant a call for peppermint tea, and then, like the perfect Chinese restaurant, our meal was capped off with a bowl of cheerful mandarins.