London Eating--great seafood? St. John?

Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:24 AM
  #101  
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I've just returned from a whirlwind 3-day trip to London and want to thank everyone here for all of the helpful tips. After all the conversation back and forth about fish and chips, I regret to inform you all that I had but one lone bite of this dish--not at a chippie, but at JSheekey. So that will be one more reason to return soon!

We had 3 dinners and one lunch. I was astounded by the goodness of the food in London! Almost every dish was excellent!

Lunch--Green's, Duke Street (chosen by my sister who had been in London for a few weeks prior to our arrival)--the mixed seafood platter was the single best dish of the trip

Dinner--J. Sheekey--Dublin Bay prawns were right up there at the top of my list. Remarkable! Dover sole excellelnt, as was the smoked haddock and th fish and chips (haddock)

Dinner--St. John--fun, lively, relaxed place. I would return. Bone marrow and parsely salad (not on the menu) is truly an iconic dish.

Dinner--New Tayyabs--Great fun taking the tube to East Aldgate and walking around. Tayyabs is a scene--packed full by 6pm! 28pounds for 3 people; BYOB. Quality of meat on the famed lamb chops is not great, but overall I loved the place. Wish we had Indian/pakistani places like this one in the US! The best Nan I have ever tasted ("Peshwari Nan" on the menu) Makes me want to return to London and explore many other subcontinental eating spots.

We agree that service in London restaurants is not the same as it is back home...much less attentive. With food like we ate, we did not care.

Waitrose--Is there a better supermarket anywhere in the world?
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 02:59 AM
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Glad you got some good eats How amazing your brother in law is Andre Gregory. Vanya on 42d st is simply a great film. And I'm among the few people who actually saw his controversial productions at the Inner City Cultural in LA, and of course loved them. Hope you enjoyed at least some of your dinners with Andre himself while you were there.
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 03:48 AM
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Thanks for the report, eks ! So glad to hear you went to St John & had the marrow. I hope we will get there soon.

Interested to note your comment on service. We much prefer hands-off service to being bothered all the time. I don't want to be asked insincerely if everything is OK - if it's not, I'll tell them. And I can't bear the sort of place where someone refills your glass every 2 minutes. I think it's probably a question of what you're used to - maybe in general, Americans are used to (and so prefer) more attention, and Brits/Europeans are used to (and prefer) less ?

So - are you going to Ischia ?
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Hi Zeppole: I am going to pass on your comments about the LA productions! He certainly seems to have passionate fans! While l waiting on the immigration line at JFK coming home, a couple tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I had been at the Wally Shawn/Andre Gregory play the night before. They had flown over from NY just to see it!



Caroline: I think the service is more like that in continental Europe. It really did not bother me, because i agree about not wanting to be bothered with intrusions and solicitations for compliments about various dishes! Service is really not so important to me; the service at Tayyab's is pretty awful (waiters barely understand English, forgot to bring dessert, etc) but I did not care at all..it was part of the package.

I had not been to London in 20 years and simply cannot believe how the food has changed. The Indian food alone would be worth a trip! If I have some time, I will write a little report on the dishes we ate, etc. (I have to finnish the Piedmont report first!)

By the way, we wanted to go to Bentley's but it was not open for dinner on Sunday; my sister did eat there and thought it was absolutely superb!!! Yes, we are planning for ischia in September. I have to get my airline tickets soon...
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Old May 22nd, 2009, 04:29 AM
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Eks, thanks, please do pass them on, as well as my admiration for Vanya on 42d st. I was quite young when I saw the L.A. productions, which were designed as a school theater program but were so controversial our school classes were forbidden to see them -- so naturally I had to go! Driving by myself to the theater location was an adventure in itself because it was not all that long after the watts riots, and the theater was in a mixed-race neighborhood. I'm sure not sure what would have happened if I'd told my mother where I was actually headed with the family car -- rather than "I'm going to see a play" -- but mothers knew less in those days anyway (mercifully).

I think at my age Tartuffe would have been a shock even if I'd seen it done in powdered wigs, but Gregory's production was a great introduction. He resigned in protest over the next production -- and rightly so -- but it was a real loss to what little cultural scene LA had. Anyway, he probably left many students with a sense that theater was dangerous -- and that was a good thing.
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 01:11 AM
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Zeppole that is a good story! I will certainly pass it on to "the director!" Now we will have one more (of many) things to discuss when we meet again!
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 07:15 AM
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So glad to hear you had a great trip, eks! Sorry we just missed each other but I'm sure you had a very busy schedule. I very much wanted to see the play on Monday and tried to get tickets but apparently it wasn't on that day. How did you enjoy the play itself?

funny you haven't been to London in 20 years. I am so smitten with it now that I had to wonder if I had changed or London had changed.... obviously both! After about 8 trips there in the past 25 years, this trip has made me a full fledged Anglophile. I ended up eating at Boxwood cafe, Arbutus, and Masala Zone, all of which I would recommend. The first two are Gordon Ramsay restaurants (Boxwood in Knightsbridge and arbutus in Soho).
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Old May 23rd, 2009, 09:36 AM
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Hi Ekscrunchy
I was in London in May and went to Rock and Sole plaice before a show on the west end. Honestly, no offense to those who love it, I thought it was of very poor quality. Neither the fish nor the chips had any crunch and both were unsalted. On the other hand, I did try North Sea Fish and Chips and it was the best fish and chips I have tasted. The chips was absolutely amazing, had the right amount of salt and crunch ,many walked in to order just to chips only, very generous portion too. the fish was also very fresh and very tasty. I highly recommend it, it felt and tasted very authentic.

Have a great trip
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Old May 24th, 2009, 03:12 AM
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You're supposed to put the salt on yourself!

And just to add a bit of perspective the North Sea restaurant is about twice the price of the Endell St place.
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Old May 24th, 2009, 09:39 AM
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Oh, how could I forget to mention!.... I also ate at the North Sea restaurant with C_W; it was outstanding! The most amazing presentation of fresh fish in fish and chips, and delicious.
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Old May 25th, 2009, 10:52 AM
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NCounty: "Smitten" also describes my feelings for London! I hope to return, soon! After all, I did not make it to a real chippie!!!

Here is the article about the play by John Lahr from this week's (June 1 issue) NEW YORKER (I think Zeppole will enjoy reading this, too):


http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critic...h_theatre_lahr
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Old May 26th, 2009, 04:40 AM
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I would add that if you intend to eat the large portions in the North Sea Restaurant you should take the precaution I did. Bring a doctor with you that can work in ER and do CPR.
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Old May 26th, 2009, 06:30 AM
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Another recommendation that I received )and will save for next time) is the golden Fish Bar on Farrington Road.

I think I wrote above that I ended up only with one taste of my partner's fish and chips--at J. Sheekey! Not exactly the corner chippie but marvelous nonetheless!
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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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lol, C_W.... my eyes definitely widened at the sight of the fish! the large portion was certainly huge. Bring your appetite.

eks- we must both plan return trips to sample more chippies.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:35 AM
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Yes!!! Will take any excuse to return!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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Thanks for that link. I'm looking forward to it after my pizza on the lungomare!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 11:05 AM
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Oh, Zeppole, how I wish I were there with you on that Lungomare! Enjoy--both the article and the pizza! Warm regards!
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Old May 27th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Thank you again for that article. I hope the play receives a triumphant welcome in NYC.

Come on over! We're booked for half of June and July, but not again until September. You're always welcome.
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Old May 27th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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I tried to post this last night when I first found this thread. It was all helpful but the part that really gets me is that eks, your BIL is Andre Gregory! That is amazing.
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Old May 28th, 2009, 03:29 AM
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Zeppole: Thanks so very much. One of these days I might take you up on that! I passed along your comments and my sister told me that he enjoyed them very much! This thread really veered off the original topic!

There are quite a few reviews of the play in the English papers, available online. The reviewers all seemed to agree that Wally was a genius, but there were a few humorous comments on the play itself. Thank goodness they all seemed to admire the directing!
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