A perfect speck in the Ionian Sea – is how the writer Durrell lovingly described Corfu. It is hard to disagree with him, with its lush countryside, perfect turquoise seas and warm Greek spirit.
The White House perched on the edge of the rocks of Kalami village, just round the corner from the Rothschild residence. The taverna is accessible by car or boat, I would highly recommend the latter. Traveling by sea is the easiest most stunning way to see this jewel of the Ioanian. What better way to walk into a restaurant than with sea legs and drenched in sun and salt. The restaurant has the most idyllic spot, clinging to the rock face with sky blue views to infinity and beyond (well Albania!)
The menu matches the view – perfection! A delightful selection of all the Greek favourites with a few special twists. I never tire of Greek dips and treats to start and some grilled fresh fish drenched in lemon for main, of course accompanied by a fresher than fresh salad. To start, as well as tzatziki and marinated anchovies , we had grilled halloumi, dripping with greek honey and an abundance of sesame seeds for added flavour and all round deliciousness. What better way to wash down these gems than with a glass of prosecco which they topped with fresh strawberries . For me these small touches make all the difference. For main I had a large fresh tuna salad, simple, yet so effective. When on holiday salads just seem to taste different and are much more exciting. I put it down to the freshness and quality of the simple ingredients; tomatoes bursting with juice, cool, crunchy cucumbers, red onions and all drenched in cold pressed olive oil from the vineyards of Corfu and lemon juice from the tree you can see from the table. All of this while watching ‘our’ boat bob up and down in the crystal, diamond scattered Ionian Sea. It is hard to want anything more.
The sun is shining in London! You are re-considering your love affair with the city, especially after previous days of torrential downpours. Where can you make the most of this city when the sun comes out to play? Where can you dine al fresco? Is there a restaurant that takes you on a mini-holiday? Yes yes yes! The Summerhouse is all of the above. It is located literally on the canal in Maida Vale, just moments from Little Venice. Can a single restaurant really elicit the feeling of being on holiday, I hear you cry? I would say The Summerhouse on a sunny day is as close as it gets. As soon as you step inside, you could be at any magical beach-side restaurant. The decor has a strong nautical theme. I love the black and white photographs of people having a blast on the beach. The overriding vibe is relaxing and simplistic.
Seated at your hopefully waterside table, admiring the boats occasionally floating past and blocking the buildings opposite, you have to have some kind of reminder you are still in London. You will cast your eyes over the menu, if the ambiance and decor so far has not taken you to your special holiday place. Then surely the menu will tip you over the edge. Fish, of all varieties, calamari, smoked salmon, popcorn shrimp and chowder make up the starters. For mains, the fish really gets going – baked whole, shellfish linguine, fish and chips, fish pie, I think you get my drift. I chose the seabass for two people baked in salt and served whole, simple, with potatoes and greens. It was delicious, high quality and as fresh as though I was on a Mediterranean beach. One of my party who ordered the fish pie described it as ‘THE BEST.’ To tide you over after placing your food, expect a basket of fresh focaccia and real butter, such a treat!
Order a Knickerbocker glory for dessert, in keeping with the holiday spirit. You won’t be disappointed! The cheese board is also most appealing, I enjoyed a wide selection of cheeses and high quality biscuits.
So here it is, the place to come when the sun shines, your very own riviera in London – the London Riveria! Sit back, waterside, watch the boats go by and sample some of the best fish in town.
The plane ride to Corfu is the baseball hat crew vs. the panama hat possey, in other words Cavos Crusaders vs. Agni Adorers . My first trip to Corfu and I was somewhere in the middle, albeit further towards the panama hats. I think most would agree when they think of the restaurant scene in Greece they immediately picture traditional tavernas serving taramasalata, Greek salad and moussaka, nothing better. Or is there? Soon after landing in Corfu i became aware of the ‘foodie’ village – AGNI, more a beach side than a village, consisting of 3 tavernas, all similar vibes. We chose Taverna Agni and soon realise that boat was the best way to arrive here, the restaurant has its own jetty as well as a taxi boat service from the nearby towns. The menu was very similar to any standard Greek taverna but the food was far from standard, rivaling some of my best meals. If you don’t order fish here, you won’t order it anywhere. The seafood platter is a dream or just order a large bass or bream for the table and all dig in! The starters cannot be glossed over, lightly fried courgettes and sardines stuffed with feta cheese were highlights oh and the chalked up dessert board is too alluring to turn a blind eye. the restaurant was over spilling in late September, compared to most of the other restaurants at this time of year, that boarder on boring due to being so empty. Taverna Agni was full of fun and buzzing even in low season. At first glance this may look like your typical Greek seaside taverna, well it is definitely one of the best I have been to!
So apart from the burger ribs trend that has taken London by storm again this year, what else? PERUVIAN.
Ceviche was something that ashamedly I had not really tried before and what better place for my first time. Ceviche is buzzy and vibey, as soon as you walk in you can tell you are in for a good night. The food menu is divine, the sea bass in wasabi tiger’s milk and scallops with pomegranate were personal favourites along with the quinoa salad and the octopus and chorizo skewers.
You have to wash down your food with pisco sours, they are truly the perfect accompaniment. There is such a fun atmosphere in the restaurant as people excitedly try these seafood concoctions but also the service is flawless, upbeat and perfectly attentive, they wanted me to leave with a spring in my step, which I certainly did. It is the freshness of the fish mixed with a variety of fruits that re-sets your taste buds. The restaurant is small, so best for small groups or couples who fancy letting their hair down and trying something new.
I am obsessed and so is Giles Coren, welcome to Peruvian paradise!
The Hut on the Isle of Wight, what are you thinking? A small wooden shack serving plain sandwiches and walls ice creams? Think again.
The Hut is located in Colwell bay near Freshwater and a stones throw from The Needles, the best part about the hut, the best way to arrive is by boat, weather Simon Cowell style super boat or smallest floating device you can find. I arrived courtesy of a friend’s valiant rib. We let down the anchor and were escorted ashore by one of the owners (YOU HAVE TO MAKE A RESERVATION) this is a small beach which you can imagine used to be low key and fairly undisturbed with a hut providing cold drinks and ice creams. That hut has been turned into something special; I kept making comparisons to Mediterranean equivalents. Most of the seating is outside, everything is whitewashed with glimpses of blue in the logo, water glasses and plates. The actual hut has been kept perfectly simple but with wonderful attention to detail, the door handles are large knots of robe the pull cord light switches have a beach hut on the end, the cutlery is served in a perfectly sized brown paper bag with the blue hut label stamped on.
The menu is similar to the decor, simple yet exactly what you fancy. It is dominated with seafood, mussels, crab, prawns and lobster, alongside meaty favourites ham hock for starters and a classic burger or pork belly for main. I went for gazpacho to start and half a lobster for main but as usual tried tasted a few others from either side. You cannot wrong with the lobster served with garlic mayonnaise and real chips. Washed down with a supreme Italian prossecco, take me BACK. The desserts didn’t blow me away; I had raspberries in white chocolate sauce. We arrived at the restaurant at 1:30pm and didn’t leave until 5pm that has to be the sign of a fantastic dining experience. Even if you have to row from the mainland this place is worth it.
When people think about eating out in Brighton, I guess it is fish and chips on the beach. When I am in Brighton I like nothing more than HOME home cooking, so it is almost a chore to drag myself out to a restaurant, very unusual for me. So it is typical that the Brighton restaurant scene is colourful and varied following hot on the heels of London vibes with its own hippy beach style.
However there is nothing hippy and nothing fish and chippy about Riddle and Finns, this is Brighton’s own chic seafood and champagne bar, nestled in the cobbled South Lanes (the lanes closest to the sea) you cannot go wrong with your order. For pure decadence the lobster sea food platter BUT the seafood linguine, catch of the day and fish pie are also great options, enjoy with a chilled glass of BuBBLeS. This is probably not what most people would associate with Brighton, it reminds me so much of Randle and Aubin in Soho, with its bar seating, tiled walls and good upbeat music.
R and F does not take reservations instead just show up, more than likely put your name on a waiting list and explore the Lanes (or go wild on the pier) they will call you when your table is ready. The best type of queuing. This is champagne seafood but with lashings of sea air, perfect for a special treat at the weekend.