London

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

Matisse trumps Picasso Photo: Getty

Andrew Marr

11 April 2015

So far, what an infuriating election campaign. We have the most extraordinary array of digital, paper and broadcasting media at our fingertips — excellent political columnists, shrewd and experienced number-crunchers,… Read more

Bus Conductor

'I will call the police!': My close encounter with 'revenue protection'

4 April 2015

‘Make yourself a happy bunny this Easter with cheap tickets and egg-cellent deals!’ chirped the Abellio train company advert. I use Abellio’s Greater Anglia service regularly from London and was… Read more

William Hogarth’s ‘Night’, in his series ‘Four Times of the Day’ (1736), provides a glimpse of the anarchy and squalor of London’s nocturnal streets

Dickens’s dark side: walking at night helped ease his conscience at killing off characters

21 March 2015
Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London Matthew Beaumont

Verso, pp.496, £20, ISBN: 9781781687956

In England, walking about at night was a crime for a very long time. William the Conqueror ordained that a bell should be rung at 8 p.m., at which point… 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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The myth of the housing crisis

28 February 2015

There is no such thing as the English countryside. There is my countryside, your countryside and everyone else’s. Most people fight just for theirs. When David Cameron told the BBC’s… Read more

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Bet on a swift Grexit

21 February 2015

‘Will Greece exit the eurozone in 2015?’ Paddy Power was pricing ‘yes’ at 3-to-1 on Tuesday, with 5-to-2 on another Greek general election within the year and 6-to-4 on the… 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

Steve McFadden

EastEnders wanted to show Thatcher’s Britain. These days it would make Maggie proud

14 February 2015

Albert Square full of Thatcherites? You ’avin a larf? No, it’s true. EastEnders, conceived 30 years ago partly as a means of enraging the Conservative party, has blossomed into a… Read more

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Murder, mystery and sexual obsession

14 February 2015
Second Life S.J. Watson

Doubleday, pp.432, £14.99, ISBN: 9780857520197

Few first novels are as successful as S.J. Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep, which married a startling and unusual premise to a tightly controlled and claustrophobic thriller. Its only… Read more

Foxy Lady

The Tooting poisoner and the relentless rise of the urban fox

7 February 2015

Cowering in the corner of a pet shop, I edged towards the door to try to escape as a stranger yelled at me. The man’s face was so puckered up… Read more

Winston Churchill leaving Westminster Pier, with Harry Hopkins, John Winant, and William Bullitt Photo: Getty

Powers of persuasion: how Churchill brought America on side

7 February 2015
Sleep in Peace Tonight James MacManus

Duckworth, pp.368, £16.99, ISBN: 9780715649350

In time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death comes this pacy novel about his attempts to persuade the Americans to join the war. It is January 1941; President Roosevelt’s… 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

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Quaglino’s, the vampire brasserie

24 January 2015

Quaglino’s is an ancient subterranean brasserie in St James’s, a district clinging to the 18th century with cadaverous fingers. It was founded in 1929 by -Giovanni Quaglino, who once wrote… Read more

UK Braced For Further Storms As Rain And Snow Bring More Flood Misery

How long will it be before the climate forces us to change?

17 January 2015

This time last year, homeowners in Oxfordshire and Berkshire were recovering after storms had brought down power lines and blocked roads. Soon, power cuts were the least of their problems.… Read more

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David Sedaris was right: litter is a class issue

17 January 2015

David Sedaris is my new hero. Not because he’s such a funny writer, but because he’s obsessed with litter. He told a group of MPs last week that he spends… Read more

Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, 18th Duchess of Alba Photo: Getty

Nicky Haslam

10 January 2015

I was once bundled into a police car in Palm Springs to explain why I didn’t have snow-tyres on my pick-up in the red-hot California desert. I don’t remember the… Read more

Enoch Powell

The deep instinct that Britain’s immigration debate still ignores

10 January 2015

The issue of immigration won’t go away, because it threatens the soul of the nation. Nobody in political authority uses such language today, because they are unsure of the validity… 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

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Twentysomethings: you won’t miss being poor. But you will miss not knowing what you’re doing

13 December 2014

What I miss most about being very young is the cluelessness. It’s enormously liberating, cluelessness. The boundaries of life are simply not comprehended. The boxes into which others will put… Read more

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Penelope Lively’s notebook: Coal holes and pub opera

13 December 2014

I have been having my vault done over. Not, as you might think, the family strong room, but the place beneath the pavement — the former coal cellar — pertaining… Read more

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Edie Campbell’s catwalk notes: the joys of the hunt ball, and mystery of Grozny fashion week

13 December 2014

It seems as though I have just been on some grand tour of the absurd. It helps that I work in fashion, quite possibly the most absurd of all industries.… 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

Beer

A middle-class show-off’s guide to craft beer

6 December 2014

Looking back, it seems astonish-ing that the metropolitan middle classes took so long to embrace beer snobbery. The craft beer habit combines the characteristics of three long-established sources of small-scale… Read more