Monthly Archives: June 2014

The Grazing Goat, Portman Village, London

IMG_1014[1]As the sun beats down on Oxford Street, harried shoppers streaming past bright, shiny shops blaring music from their doors, The Grazing Goat, just a few streets away, basks in its oasis of calm. Tucked into the salubrious Portman Village, it makes the most of its situation with a handful of tables outside, perfect for watching London luvvies totter past on high wedges as their bear-like, pedigree hounds take them for a stroll. The clientele match the location, with well-heeled couples and their Mini Boden’d babies, perfectly plucked gym buffs and a rugby team’s-worth of chinos all stopping by for cocktails, European beers and some seriously good food.

After a night in their smart, townhouse rooms (with a fabulous bed, Farrow & Ball walls and walk-in shower room) we rose early to make the most of the breakfast menu. The space outside extends into the bar, with great windows that open out to let in the morning sun, so our bed heads were soon being soothed by the summer breeze and some seriously good coffee. The menu is a sight to behold, with every brunch combination you could hope for – made to order omelettes, granola, pancakes, the full English – as well as beautiful morning cocktails that will banish the last of the hangover. The ingredients are carefully sourced, with Severn & Wye smoked salmon, Bath Pig chorizo and Fivemiletown cheese all featuring, and the rest is as local, organic and free range as you’d hope.

Finally making a decision, we opted for the 3 egg omelette with chorizo and the wonderfully stacked avocado, goat’s cheese and sundried tomatoes on sourdough, both delicious and served in good-sized portions. More coffee and fresh mint teas helped to wash it all down, and the proper salted butter and extra homemade bread made the Egg Poacher’s morning complete.

This being London, it’s not cheap – but the quality is so high you don’t begrudge the price. In such a prime location it would be a shame not to treat yourself and stay the night, though you might forgo Big Ben in favour of mining the menus for all the wonders that they can provide.

Price: from £3.50 (sourdough toast) to £12.50 (the full English). Rooms from £205 per night.

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Cookie, Southside, Glasgow

While it may seem somewhat redundant to write about a place that’s recently closed, Cookie has been held in such high esteem by those who’ve been that I couldn’t help but add it to the collection; who knows, someone might pick it up as a rallying call for it to open its doors once again??

IMG_1255[1]In the wonderfully named Strathbungo – an up and coming, close knit community in Glasgow’s southside – Cookie is a haven for foodies, families and a host of Scotland’s own hipsters (like England’s, but with better accents), serving freshly made goodies with an Italian bent. On a typically biting spring day the long windows were invitingly steamy, the sounds of coffee percolating and good-natured chatter bringing you in from the cold. Small tables and long booths were filled but the head waiter soon made space, bustling across the room while holding the stream of hopeful diners at the door with good banter.

Once settled it was time to turn to the well-thumbed menu, a lengthy read full of Scottish ingredients – black pudding, tattie scones, haggis – and one incongruous continental option. Being back in the homeland I had to opt for the Full Scottish, full of earthy flavours accented by sweet roasted tomatoes with rosemary and accompanied by strong Italian coffee. The Haggis Hen spoke well of her Veg Volcano (veg haggis, French toast and a poached egg) and the Sassenach in the party deemed the poach eggs “sublime”.

And it’s not just breakfast – there are prints and books from Cookie’s resident artist Conzo Throb and a popular night called Chef Wars where Glasgow’s up and coming chefs fight it out one course at a time (much to the delight of the lucky locals); the menu stretches to lunch and dinner and there are fresh deli options ready to take home. Hard to fathom why such a great spot has to go. I for one will look in hope for news of its re-opening.

Price: from £3.95 (French toast) to £8.50 (Full Scottish).

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