Food

First he brought limp salad, and now it’s drizzling

The pitfalls of picnics (and how to avoid them)

4 July 2015

Strange, isn’t it, that despite having such famously terrible weather, we Brits are so fond of a picnic. It’s something to do with making the most of what sunshine we… Read more

The Ivy has lost its sparkle

The new Ivy doesn’t have the old magic (if there ever was any)

27 June 2015

The Ivy is a Playmobil-style faux-medieval restaurant in a triangular building opposite The Mousetrap; of the two, The Ivy is more ancient and threatening. It has mullioned windows, a photogenic… Read more

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A fantasy world with its own perfumed air: the Colony Grill Room

13 June 2015

The Beaumont Hotel is a bright white cake in the silent part of Mayfair, where the only sound is Patek Philippe watches, tick-tocking. We are in the eye of the… Read more

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Fenchurch in the Sky Garden – like going for dinner in Total Recall

30 May 2015

Fenchurch is a restaurant that is scared of terrorists. It cowers at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, a skyscraper which looks like an enormous and unfashionable Nokia 3120 mobile… Read more

Le Perche: every farmyard looks like a painting

Beauty, tragedy and black pudding: the delights of Normandy

16 May 2015

I am compiling a list of the best black puddings. It began in Spain when I encountered my first morcilla de Burgos, a rich, spiced black sausage bulked up with… Read more

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There’s only one place to mourn another Labour loss

16 May 2015

Ed is a plank. He was always a plank — and now he is in Ibiza being a plank. Plankety–plankety-plank: goodbye to our most recent terrible leader — and who… Read more

Garlic-new

The surprising power of garlic

I’d better declare a conflict of interest straight away: I am rather taken by anything to do with garlic, have researched it for more than 30 years, and am particularly… Read more

Just deserts

Could any cook help me overcome my terror of tapioca?

9 May 2015

There are those who claim that this column is idiosyncratic. They have seen nothing yet. I am about to mention a subject which has never previously appeared in any drink… Read more

(Photo: Liavittone)

The Portrait restaurant: a secret glade of stone and brick, suspended above Trafalgar Square

2 May 2015

The Portrait Restaurant lives at the top of the National Portrait Gallery, London. It is fiercely modern, but likeable. You ride an escalator into a void, glimpse the raging faces… Read more

Does the English language need a Norwegian lesson?

25 April 2015

‘Ten Norwegian phrases that don’t exist in English but should,’ said the headline. So I had a little look, as the writer on the internet, one Kenneth Haug, intended. Here’s… Read more

The Ivy Chelsea Garden

The Ivy Chelsea Garden: Richard Caring has finally built a restaurant I admire

18 April 2015

The Ivy Chelsea Garden is a restaurant inside an Edwardian house disguised as a Tudor house on the King’s Road; it was formerly the fetid Henry J. Bean’s American Bar… Read more

La Coupole

A cemetery with cocktails: La Coupole and the spirit of the brasserie

4 April 2015

La Coupole, Montparnasse, is the grandest and most famous of the old pre-war Parisian brasseries; that is, if you have an Esprit Brasserie loyalty card, as I have, you can… Read more

28 March 2015

Service record The government is to form a design panel to improve motorway services stations. These have not always charmed the British public, not least the very first: Watford Gap… Read more

Cheeky Squirrel

What to do with a squirrel (without getting prosecuted)

21 March 2015

Gardeners are up against it. There are thousands of garden pests, exciting new ones discovered every day, and few remedies left with which to fight them. The wonderful cure-all chemicals… Read more

Kitty Fisher’s: proof that the PM has good taste in restaurants, if not in friends

21 March 2015

David Cameron is too cowardly, or too cynical, to debate with Ed ‘Two or Possibly Three Kitchens’ Miliband — which depends entirely on the breath of your own cynicism —… Read more

The Grill at The Dorchester - night time panels detail HIGH RES

Is the Dorchester the designated grand hotel for fat people? The portions at its new grill say so

7 March 2015

The Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, is a cake floating in space. All grand hotels create a parallel universe in which their guests are returned to some great gilded and unnatural… Read more

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Rowleys is Did Mummy Love Me Really? food – and it’s perfect

21 February 2015

I think Rowley’s is the perfect restaurant; but I am really a gay man. Rowley’s is at 113 Jermyn Street (the Tesco end). It was made in homage to the… Read more

Alain Ducasse Photo: Getty

Rivea: a London annexe to the world’s maddest expensive restaurant

7 February 2015

Rivea (stupid name) is in the bowels of Bulgari in Knightsbridge, a hotel which looks like a vast Virgin Upper Class lounge. It sits opposite One Hyde Park (stupid name),… Read more

Meals on wheels Photo: Getty

I want to do for field rations what Jamie Oliver did for school dinners

17 January 2015

Hell’s Kitchen My ambition to open a fish and chip shop in Mogadishu has not happened yet, though I remain optimistic. Food, I’ve decided, is the thing to go for… Read more

Cereal Killer Cafe, Brick Lane Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images

The real reason there’s a queue outside the Cereal Killer Café

10 January 2015

The Cereal Killer Café is a temple to cereal on Brick Lane, east London. It serves only cereal — and also Pop-Tarts, which taste like pavements smeared with chocolate — and… Read more

Masterchef: The Professionals: Marcus Wareing, Gregg Wallace, Monica Galetti Photo: BBC

How to win MasterChef - and why salmon is the fish of the devil

13 December 2014

If ever my near-neighbour William Sitwell is killed in a bizarre shooting accident and I end up taking his place as one of the guest critics on MasterChef: the Professionals… Read more

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The most preposterous restaurant to have opened in London this year

13 December 2014

Somerset House, a handsome Georgian palace on the Thames, was once the office of the Inland Revenue, and the courtyard was a car park, but that particular hell is over. Instead… Read more

The Old Coastguard

The hotels trying to turn Cornwall into Kensington

29 November 2014

Mousehole is a charming name; it is almost a charming place. It is a fishing village on Mount’s Bay, Cornwall, beyond the railway line, which stops at Penzance, in an… Read more

Mummy Exhibition Opens At The Art Science Museum

A buffet in an Egyptian tomb

15 November 2014

Atlantico is a vast buffet inside the Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort Spa and Casino in Gran Canaria. The Lopesan Costa Melonoras Resort Spa and Casino — or, as I will… Read more

11/00/2001. Film "Harry Potter and the philosopher's stone"

Barry Humphries

8 November 2014

Do fish have loins? Last Tuesday, in a pretentious restaurant, I ordered a ‘loin of sea trout’. It looked just like an ordinary piece of fish — a bit small,… Read more