Tag: French

It’s not often we head to Vauxhall in search of the hottest new food spot, but when repeated friends insisted we take the trip, we went to Counter under the Vauxhall arches to see what the fuss was about.

Nestled literally under the train arches (opposite Sainsbury’s for those not familiar with the area), is Counter, the all-day bar and brasserie serving a mix of French and American dishes.

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It’s London’s longest restaurant (remember this for future pub quiz knowledge), and decked out in antique mirrors and glamourous art deco-style lighting and as soon as you’re inside it all feels a bit more a trendy neighbourhood in New York rather than, errr, Vauxhaull.

Now down to the food, it's open every day so whether it's morning brunch with the papers, lunch with friends (there's a £10 two-course option with wine), dinner after work or cocktails, it’s there.

There’s a large menu and although it wasn’t the most adventurous we’d seen, everything we had was well-put together with deliciously combined flavours.

From tortillas stuffed with creamy avocado cut with a tangy yuzu vinaigrette and cold smoked melt-in-your-mouth pigeon to classics such as French onion soup, pate and caeser salad. Not forgetting the indulgently-wonderful deep fried mac and cheese balls which we’re still having dreams about.

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There’s a good-sized menu to choose your main meal from, from classic American dishes of burgers and fried chicken to delicately put together fish dishes of sea bream and halibut.

The fish we had was simple yet beautifully presented with flavours that complimented each other expertly while the burger was akin to those you might find at the likes of Meat Liquor or any of the other London favourites with dedicated fans. And both come with a range of fresh, colourful sides – the sprouting broccoli with bacon was our favourite.

When it comes to the sweet options, we weren’t disappointed with twists on the classics to please even the fussiest diners. Think perfect French pastries blended with indulgent-American desserts and you’re about there.

So, a blood orange tart with rhubarb topped with popping candy or Banoffee banana bread with dulche de leche popcorn – have you ever heard such a inviting phrase?!

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It feels like somewhere which would fit in more comfortably in central London but that’s why we love it because of the way it’s landed with a style which will hopefully encourage others like it to come to the party.

No longer is Vauxhall just a grimy hub for passing through on the way to a nicer neighbourhood, Counter has successfully planted it on the map as a place to visit.

I don't normally tread on the film reviews here but today I was asked by a friend last minute if I wanted to join him to see Eden after a meeting we attended. Given that my Saturday nights are currently as exciting as an old mans trip to the post box and back I said yes.

I vaguely remembered seeing the trailer awhile ago on a Daft Punk fan blog and thinking it looked interesting, and being a big French House music fan I was very curious about what I originally thought was a film about the rise of the side-chain disco scene and Daft Punk.

What I got was a very long but beautifully honest coming of age film for men in their 30's with a progressive but emotionally slow paced look into the life of Paul, who starts of simply as a young man who loved noting more than escapism, music and chasing the two of those things with his friends.

He stumbles upon the dream of becoming a DJ and with a friend starts making his own music, bumping into young and undiscovered Daft punk along the way. Things go well for a while as you would expect for anyone with that affiliation in the scene back then, however the story then starts to focus deeply on his friendships, addictions and relationships along the way rather than the film becoming a voyeuristic Daft Punk biopic.

His naive choices on said focuses become apparent as he struggles to discover the true sources of happiness, investing everything in the wrong places and ultimately struggling to grow from a young man with a dream into a grown man with healthy connections and a place in an ever changing world.

I didn't plan to see this film, but it was much welcomed into my life. Mia Hansen-Løve did an amazing job at creating a film based on her brother Sven Hansen-Løve's own story and his involvement in the music scene with great love, truth and insight only a sister could understand. Obviously the soundtrack alone is worth the entry fee as it will have you back home digging out some classics to inspire the rest of your week as you truly look into yourself and ask, what am I doing with my life? and stand as a reminder of why clubbing and getting wasted should not be on that list now you're an adult.

I enjoyed a nice walk home past the drunken lads and dolled up girls drinking from my bottle of water thinking "maybe being a boring old man is not such a bad thing. Must remember to post them letters tomorrow"

free burgers in London big fernand

Putting the va va voom into burgers, Big Fernand is coming to shake up the capital with a burger joint big on French flavours and Parisian savoir-faire when it opens on the 10th March in Fitzrovia. What’s more, those lovely Frenchmen are handing out 100 FREE hamburgés dailyto the most keen foodie fans that travel to the restaurant during opening week.

Simply don a moustache, stripy t-shirt, or both* and get yourself down to Percy Street for the grand opening from 12 noon on 10th, 11th or 12th March and you could bag yourself a FREE hamburgé.

Serving the crème de la crème of hamburgés, Big Fernand will use artisan buns, made in London using a French baker’s secret recipe, locally-sourced Charolais and Aberdeen Angus meat, unpasteurised French cheeses such as Tomme de Savoie, Raclette or Fourme d'Ambert as well as freshly chopped herbs and home-made sauces created by Chef Thomas Boutin.

Served blue through to well-done, there will be five classic combinations to choose from including beef, lamb, chicken and veal. Alternatively, customers can ‘build their own’ with over 3,840 distinctly French possibilities.

Vive les Hamburgés! 

Terms & Conditions:

*To receive a free hamburger customers must be wearing either a stripy t-shirt, or a real / fake moustache, or both and turn up at Big Fernand from 12 midday on 10th, 11th or 12th March 2015.Free hamburgés will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis while stocks last.Big Fernand reserve the right to refuse service.

Big Fernand, 19 Percy Street, London W1T 1DY

 www.bigfernand.co.uk / www.facebook.com/BigFernandLondon

the social eating houseThe Social Eating House in Poland Street is a French meet British dining experience set over three floors and encompassing a bar, restaurant and dining counter for those speedy eaters.

The vibe is relaxed here and the restaurant is dimly lit with its mirrored ceiling- perfect for late evening dining.

Favourites on the menu have already emerged to be the The CLT (we can sense some possibly confusion in reading this if you arrive after a few too many wines), a crab, lettuce and tomato “sandwich” without the sandwich.

The kitchen is run by ex-Pollen Street Head Chef Paul Hood and he has offered a great fixed menu with two courses at £18. It includes starters such as Salt cod fishcake, lemon butter, chive cream and mains that include Silver Mullet bouillabaisse, raw fennel salad, saffron potatoes.

On the cocktail menu we spotted a rather delicious sounding Slap ‘n Pickle priced at £9 and made up of Tanqueray gin, apricot brandy, kummel, lemon juice, sweet pickle brine, juniper pickle shortstack.

58 Poland St, London W1F 7NR