No1 Duke Street Richmond

A recent newcomer to the Richmond restaurant / bar scene is No 1 Duke Street, and it is a very welcome addition indeed. If you imagine, Soho House meets urban cool, then you’re kinda there. Outside there is a lovely courtyard with welcoming blankets and overhead heaters to keep out the chills while inside, spacious tables, comfortable chesterfield like seats and a roaring fire make for a great feeling of coziness.

The staff are very attentive but in a friendly, smiley way and every time I’ve been in, I haven’t waited more than 3 minutes to be served, even at busy times.

The drinks menu has a good selection of medium priced wines and a well thought out, if slightly small cocktail list.

On the food side, for breakfast I had Eggs Benedict which was scrummy with a nice light sauce, whilst my partner went for the Breakfast Sourdough Bruschetta, which was packed with tomatoes, spinach, avocado, shaved bacon and breakfast mayo, again totally delicious. For dinner, the menu offers a great selection of dishes with starters such as Baba Ghanoush with flatbread, Pork and Fennel Meatballs or delicious Cauliflower Soup. For mains I went for a very tasty House Burger with a tangy sweet sauce, other options to tickle your fancy were Slow Cooked Short-Rib, or great Moules and frites, mmmmm!

At weekends they have a very cool DJ who plays music mainly from the 90s which suits people of a certain age, (like me) !

If you intend to visit over the weekend it might be a good idea to book, as most of the tables seem to go pretty fast, give it a try and let me know what you think.

No 1 Duke Street TW9 1HP

no1 dukestreet.com 

#no1dukestreet #coolbars

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Goswell Road Coffee

160-164 Goswell Road, London EC1V 7DU

Stopped here very briefly for a coffee the other morning with Holly’s dad Robert and we were not to be disappointed. It’s a sort of Friends meets chilled out internet space, lots of comfy sofas and boho types scattered around thinking about life and poetry (well that’s what I thought)

I had a Flat White and Robert had an Americano, both the coffees were served promptly and had just the right balance of smoothness and richness, the coffee comes from Papua New Guinea and is treated with respect by the barista who sang its praises to me.

Next time I’m down in hipster central, I know where to get a good coffee….oh and free wifi.

Goswell Road

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Jackson and Rye

Jackson & Rye Richmond  1 Heron Square TW91EJ

Recently, Holly, Harry and me went along to the new Jackson & Rye restaurant in Richmond, and, we went on a Tuesday school night as a special treat for Harry to reward him for a very good school report, clever dude! Having heard mixed things about their Wardour Street branch I decided to go and see what it was all about for myself.

Jackson & Rye

As the Richmond branch has just opened we availed ourselves of a 50% discount we were sent and to be honest I’m glad we did, because it was a bit of a mixed bag as far as the food was concerned. We were met by very friendly staff and asked if we would like a cosy booth or a table in the main area, we chose the booth. No expense has been spared on the refurb and it is reminiscent of one of those upper west side NYC restaurants, plush booths, low lights, well stocked bar and welcoming atmosphere, sort of.

Menu has the usual fayre you would expect to see on an American leaning bill with starter offerings such as  Hot Shrimp and Grits, (don’t really get grits on an evening menu as they are usually eaten at breakfast in the states) but they do go well with shrimp, Roasted Sea Scallops and Tuna Tartare. Mains included, J&R Cheeseburger, Crispy Crab Cakes and a selection of Steaks.

We decided since we had the discount to go BIG so Harry had Popcorn to start, followed by the Burger and Marshmallows for pudding, He gave the burger 8/10, I had Crab and Avocado salad to start, I know it’s served cold, but it was mega cold, as if the whole thing had been sitting on the plate, on a shelf in a fridge along with others waiting it’s turn for the table, it was so cold that I could barely taste anything and it arrived with 3 minutes of ordering now that’s pretty fast!

Jackson and rye burger
Harry’s Burger
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The cheesecake and marshmallows

My main was Steak and Eggs, now not sure where the steaks come from but it certainly isn’t from my local butcher, as it didn’t have any of that aged flavour you get from great meat. I had cheesecake for pudding. Holly went for the grits, followed by the Crab Cakes which she pronounced not bad with a good sauce.

Washed down by a Rye for me and white wine for Holly, Harry had the house lemonade.

Without doubt, the best part were the puddings they were really, really good and service excellent.

So all in all not an unpleasant experience at £65 (remember this was 50% off) not sure if I would have be too happy to pay the full amount in the future. After our 3 courses, we needed that walk home!

Harry Good News: Burger was nice and juicy
Daddy Good News: Friendly staff and great puddings
Daddy Bad News: Food a bit hit and miss

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The Aleksander Pub

The Aleksander Pub, Richmond Road TW1 2NP

On Friday, the gang and by the gang I mean, Holly, Harry, Jon, Gabi, Carrie and me all went to The Aleksander Pub in Marble Hill, as Harry is a huge fan of their Calzone. The pub run by Roger, who is ably assisted by Richard, who know a thing or two about pizzas and calzone have had a woodfired oven installed to deliver an authentic taste and boy, does it work. We settled into a great table at the back of the pub, away from the live music and it was perfect, as last time we were there we sat too close and it was a little loud for conversation. The menu is Italian with a great selection of starters, mains and 12 pizzas to choose from.

We opted for stuzzichini, which is a selection of little starters and at 3 for £10 was the perfect choice for our group with varying tastebuds, we opted for arancini, spinach wrapped in bacon, beef with a sesame seed crust and sweet pepper dip and a couple of plates of their homemade focaccia with oil. Harry and I voted the beef the best and the finger licking pepper dip the perfect accompaniment. The photos don’t do the food justice, we were sat in a very dark corner!

For mains, Harry and Jon went for the “Man calzone” in other words the one with the beef as opposed to the vegetarian option. When it arrived, Harry looked at the huge thing of loveliness on the plate and challenged Jon to a 50p on who would finish it first.

Ed’s Easy Diner

Soho, Moor Street, Old Compton Street, Soho London W1D 5NG

This was the first Ed’s to open in the United Kingdom and it set the benchmark for all that is good in American diners and the ones that were to follow. I first went into the Soho branch in 1991 and was blown away by the quality of the burgers on offer, the triple thick milkshakes and fries covered in gooey cheese.

I now take Harry in there every time we are in London, and have been doing so since he was 6. He has always had a great palate (loving strong cheeses, sushi olives and salami) so it is no surprise to me that his fav order is Ed’s blue cheese burger with cheesy fries and oreo shake. I have the same. I know, I know, it’s decadent, but when you are having father and son fun times why not? Harry loves putting his 20p into the mini jukeboxes on the counter and selecting Elvis, again and again! You only have one life live it large.

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Zoran’s Crab Spaghetti

Zoran runs a great delicatessen and restaurant in the village of St. Margarets in Twickenham and his background as a trained chef really comes through in his choice of products not only in the deli, but on his daily menu board in the restaurant. Read my interview with Zoran here.  If you’re not in by 12.30 you may have to wait for a table as it’s a very popular hangout for locals and those working across the road in Twickenham Studios. Zoran and his staff are very friendly and he always has a good story to tell if he has the time, in between cooking in the open kitchen downstairs or directing his busy staff. He runs a tight ship, but it shows in not only the service, but the quality of the food. You may have to wait a little, but with everything cooked from scratch you’ll be happy to read the paper and watch the locals. Oh, and PLEASE eat their homemade polenta cake with creme fraiche on the side, it’s insanely light and yummy.

Zorans

Zorans

Zorans

Avoca Café

Avoca Café, Suffolk Street Dublin 4 Ireland

Every time I go home to visit my mum and sister in Dublin we always find time to visit Avoca. Perched on the top floor of a haberdashers in busy Suffolk Street and a stones throw from the popular Grafton Street, Avoca never fails to impress. Usually full of an eclectic group of Dubliners and better informed tourists you usually get a seat within 15 minutes and then you won’t want to leave.

Using the very best of Irish ingredients the chefs prepare everything from  a traditional Irish breakfast, the best you’ll eat in Ireland, to a lunch menu comprising such delights as Castletownbere crab salad with apple, fennel, pickled cucumber, a Middle Eastern mezze of spicy minced Wicklow lamb, hummus, tabbouleh, baba ghanouj, beetroot tzatziki & pita and Confit duck leg salad with pears & blackberries, feta, mixed leaves & blackberry vinaigrette.

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Hei Hing Cafe and Noodle Bar

Hei Hing Cafe and Noodle Bar South St, Isleworth TW7 7BG

Popped in to the Hei Hing recently with Harry and Holly after it was recommended by Carrie and we were not disappointed. The owner, who hails from Hong Kong really knows his flavours and his menu reflects this. He mixes it up a bit with starters such as Kimchi, which are Korean pickled vegetables with a sweet and sour taste, curried samosas and satay chicken. I loved their deep fried calamari with spiced salt which tasted divine and was perfectly balanced.

Harry, as is usual in any Asian restaurant will always try the miso soup and he certainly wasn’t complaining when a small bucket sized bowl arrived in front of him, packed with onions, tofu and seaweed, he set about the task with relish and, this was only the starters. Holly opted for the chicken satay and I managed to steal one, they were moist with a tangy sauce with just a hint of chilli.