|To find out more about me, I am afraid you are going to have to read the book! |
In the meantime, here are some little snippets of 'best and worst' bits for you to enjoy. All opinions are of course my own through experiences I have had and this section will be regularaly updated, so please do check back:
Best Meal: I have a penchant for eating out and have luckily through my work had the opportunity to sample many fine restaurants, but my absolute favourite has to be: Les Papilles in Paris http://www.lespapillesparis.fr/EN_index.html. This is by no means the most expensive restaurant in the world; on the contrary, it’s a wine cellar with a few tables cramped into it, where they serve a daily set menu of whatever is fresh in the local market that day. This restaurant to me epitomises Paris and is always my first stop off – Book in advance, especially of a weekend, or better still weeks in advance to ensure a table. Average price is probably approximately £30 per person, excluding wine.
Worst Meal: This accolade has to go to Harry’s Bar in Venice, where for the price of a small mortgage, I was served possibly the worse meal I’ve ever eaten and still came out hungry. It did not help of course that the pompous waiter gave no assistance whatsoever with the all ‘Italian’ menu, so I ended up just guessing and making bad selections. Sometimes a restaurant can become too full of its own importance and at least at the point I visited, this was one such restaurant.
Best Cocktail Venue: This is a very hard category to choose from, because there are so many places serving delicious cocktails around the world. I hate to return to Paris again for the winner, but Harry’s American Bar, Paris as made famous by the late Ernest Hemmingway really does win this award hands down. (Just be careful as they mix their cocktails very strong – you have been warned!) So when you visit next visit Paris, just tell the cab driver 'sank roo doe noo' and he will take you straight there.
Worst Cocktail Venue: This has to go to my local Frankie and Benny’s restaurant who have absolutely no idea how to mix a proper cocktail.
Best Night Out: Most definitely visiting the Opera in Prague. It was a real Hollywood moment stood on the steps to the Grand Opera House in a long evening gown, about to light up a cigarette, when three men jumped forward with a lighter ‘A classic unforgettable moment’! This was followed by a delicious meal at Café du Paris, Prague with scrumptious huge scallops – my absolute favourite night out ever. (Glad to say, long since kicked the smoking habit).
Most Embarrassing Night Out: In a bar with six relatively good looking famous French men in Monte Carlo (see this week’s blog 12), they insisted I sing a song at a karaoke despite my protests to the contrary at how bad I am at singing (I have been known in the past to clear a room and I do not jest!) Unable to get away with it, they soon ate their words and took such pity on my lousy terrible performance they had no choice but to join in – ‘earth please open up and swallow me’ (still shudder at the thought now)!
Where I like to hang out in London: I love the King’s Road and I used to eat at least twice a week in New Culture Revolution noodle bar when I was a local resident. On a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon, Chelsea Farmers Market is a good place to chill out with a drink and even better to people watch! Going into Sunday evening, my very good friend and friend to all celebrities Ciro Orsino owns a pizza restaurant on Beauchamp Place, Knightsbridge, with live entertainment in the evening and pizza’s to die for. It’s open every day, but Sunday’s always has been my favourite night to visit.
Camden can also be a great place on a Sunday to soak in the atmosphere and pick up a bit of funky jewellery and accessories. Don’t bother packing lunch as there are lots of kerb side restaurants, serving Thai and other great food to enjoy. Failing this, another great foodie market which is a must to visit is Borough Market; I am salivating just thinking about it.
If you are after fine dining and you can find a member to invite you along or a good hotel concierge (unfortunately this is a pre-requisite ;) Harry’s Bar, London, does a great seafood platter, the best I’ve tasted. It is a very understated venue serving the world’s most rich and powerful. Larger hotels like Claridges and The Dorchester have great restaurants; however I prefer something more intimate, like Scalini’s in Knightsbridge, or the singing waiter at Signor Sassi, even Pont de la Tour is worth a visit. For all media luvvies, Soho House is a must, as is Soho itself with lots of funky bars and restaurants, I really could go on. There is just so much to do in London and for a first time visitor, I really do envy your voyage of discovery.
Finally Mayfair, oh how I love Mayfair and its history. I particularly love to wander around the warren streets looking at all of the blue plaques on the town houses of those noted souls who came before us. If you are partial to a flutter, famous casino’s such as Aspinal’s can be found here; although you have to know where to look as the name is never mentioned above the door. Mayfair upholds the reputation of a traditional ‘English gentleman’ in my eyes. You are still able to get a cut throat shave even in our new 24 hour society; service remains polite and courteous wherever you go and it is awash with old English pubs (Guy Ritchie’s, spit and sawdust pub the Punchbowl, to name just one). Having ran a little shop in Mayfair’s Shepherds Market, this area will always remain close to my heart and is easy to miss if you don’t know of its existence. So look it up; you will not be disappointed with its quirky shops, bars, restaurants and coffee shops. A little known secret is to visit early in the morning and you will see almost every London Black cab driver getting their morning breakfast and coffee from Piccolo’s sandwich shop! (They will not thank me for this - but they do know a good deal).