‘Well-priced and skilful’: Masala Zone, reviewed

There are cursed restaurants and cursed women, and this makes them no less interesting. One is Maxim’s in Paris, which knows it – it gaily sells ties in a charnel house decorated for the Masque of the Red Death – and another is the Criterion at Piccadilly Circus, which doesn’t. One day it might meet

Fine food in a fine restaurant: Origin City reviewed

Origin City is a good name for this restaurant, whether it knows it or not. It is at West Smithfield, the only surviving wholesale market in the City of London (I do not count Borough, which is a snack shack impersonating a greengrocers and is only spiritually in the City). Covent Garden sells face cream

A taste of 1997: Pizza Express reviewed

As the government withers this column falls to ennui and visits Pizza Express. As David Cameron, who left the world stage humming, said of Tony Blair: ‘He was the future once.’ So was David Cameron, and so was Pizza Express: I bet they meet often. It was founded in 1965 by Peter Boizot, who shipped

Home cooking, but idealised: 2 Fore Street reviewed

The restaurant 2 Fore Street lives on Mousehole harbour, near gift shops: the post office and general store have closed, leaving a glut of blankets and ice cream, the remnants of Cornish drama. It’s a truism that Mousehole is hollowed out – tourism changes a place, and no one knows that better than Mousehole. Eating

A themed restaurant done right: The Alice, Oxford, reviewed

The Alice lives in a ground-floor room of the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, which venerates the fantastical and the savage, as Oxford does. The savage lives in the Randolph’s dedicated crime museum with cocktails: the (Inspector) Morse Bar. The Alice is named for two women: Alice Liddell, the daughter of the ecclesiastical dean of Christchurch

Serious about its whimsy: Sessions Arts Club reviewed

The Sessions Arts Club is a restaurant inside the Old Session House in Clerkenwell, a pale George III building where the criminals of Middlesex were once judged in splendour. It’s common for fine once-public buildings to become private buildings now: the old War Office on Whitehall will be, come summer, Raffles at the OWO. The

Eat here now: Darjeeling Express reviewed

Darjeeling Express lives at the top of Kingly Court, just off Carnaby Street, which was once the world-famous embodiment of Swinging London but now seems the global capital of the sports shoe. No matter – Kingly Court, which is built in the shape of a medieval coaching inn, is a happy nook: it is shut away,

All mirrors and monochrome: Mister Nice reviewed

Mister Nice is not so much a restaurant as a pre-dawn thought flung into the drag between Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street. Mayfair is becoming a drug for me, in that I both hate it and can’t stop eating here: a recent review was so poisonous that the owner telephoned, with fake bonhomie, to ask