Picture of cod, chips and minty mushy peas at St Barts

St Barts Brewery, Farringdon, London

Type of food: Gastropub

St. Bart’s Brewery is a craft beer gastropub located opposite London’s historic Smithfield MarketIn addition to serving a selection of lager and beers (including some from the local Camden Town Brewery), they also serve English wine and cider from the Kent based Hush Heath Estate and Winery. The menu changes regularly and the food includes bar nibbles such as Scotch eggs and Welsh rarebit and more bistro style food including steak tartare and salad Niciose (with seared tuna loin). The space is large and there are two floors – the top one is the formal dining area but you can order food to eat on the lower floor.  Continue reading

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Brighton train station

Bond St. Coffee, Brighton, UK

There are many coffee shops in Brighton, from international chains to smaller chains such as the excellent Taylor St Baristasto independent shops. If you are a coffee connoisseur, then a trip to Bond St. Coffee is a must: these folks take their coffee very seriously. Bond St. Coffee is an independent shop and is located (as the name suggests) in Bond Street in the North Laine.  Their coffee is roasted by Horsham Coffee Roaster and they serve speciality coffees from around the world – the menu changes regularly. You will find expresso based drinks such as the Americano and wonderful long black and milk based espresso drinks such as latte and cappuccino on the menu. You can also have tea and hot chocolate too. They also serve a selection of cakes and pastries from local suppliers.

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Nusa Kitchen, London

Nusa Kitchen, Barbican, London

Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Nusa Kitchen, which has three shops in London, was established in 2004 by Patou Sekhon and her son Mark. The inspiration was one of Patou’s childhood memories of growing up in Singapore – the delicious soup served at her school tuck shop. My memories of the school tuck shop are cheap crisps and sweets, we certainly didn’t have home made soup! Nusa Kitchen originally served Asian inspired soups but has since expanded the menu to include salads, coconut rice boxes, breakfast and desserts. There is also a great choice of vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and dairy free options on the menu. Continue reading

JSW Restaurant Petersfield

JSW, Petersfield, Hampshire, UK

Cuisine: British

JSW is currently one of a handful of Michelin starred restaurants in Hampshire and is located in the small market town of Petersfield. JSW are the initials of the restaurant’s chef and proprietor, Jake Saul Watkins, who attained his first Michelin star in 2002. We visited recently on a fine Summer evening for dinner. The restaurant is housed in a former 17th century coaching inn and is inviting and modern with crisp white tablecloths and wooden beamed ceilings. There are also a few elegant line drawings on the wall – the artwork opposite me was that of a female nude, a tasteful one of course! There is no background music which may be a little disconcerting if you’re one of the first to arrive. Continue reading

The Italian Bar and Grill, Portsmouth

The Italian Bar and Grill, Portsmouth, UK

Cuisine: Italian – American

The Italian Bar and Grill is housed in an elegant listed building on Great Southsea Street and is an independent Italian-American restaurant. The building is steeped in local history and I couldn’t resist including a few notes on this at the end of this post for anyone interested. We have visited The Italian Bar regularly and it is one of our favourite places. The menu is big and features typical Italian-American classic such as creamy pastas and various takes on pepperoni pizza, as well as burgers, salads and grills. They also do Sunday roasts. The food is cooked to order which has meant that understandably, we have had to wait for our food during busy times. Continue reading

Inside the cafe at Charleston

The Outer Studio Café at Charleston, Firle (near Lewes), East Sussex, UK

Type of shop: English café

I visited Charleston, the beautiful South Downs countryside home and retreat of the Bloomsbury Group, a few weeks ago on a glorious early summer day. The house and gardens are open for around seven months a year and feature designs and art work by the artists Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. The house is a museum piece with the rooms presented to look as it did when it was lived in and entrance on most days is by guided tour only. A visit to Charleston is a must for anyone with an interest in the Bloomsbury Group or early 20th century English art.

Charleston House

Charleston House

Refreshments were required after my guided tour and where better to stop than than the on-site café, The Outer Studio Café? The cafe is open from midday and is housed in Charleston’s out-buildings which once functioned as the family laundry, apple store and garage. Continue reading

Berwick church sign

The Cricketers’ Arms, Berwick Village (near Lewes), East Sussex, UK

Type of food / drink: Pub food and real ale

We went to The Cricketers’ Arms in Berwick Village in East Sussex recently while on a trip to nearby Charleston House and Gardens, the beautiful retreat for the Bloomsbury Group. The Cricketers’ Arms is a traditional flint walled country pub that serves a number of Harveys real ales. It was first established as an ale house in the 17th century. The pub is set in a lovely cottage garden and is situated at the bottom of the South Downs. The setting is idyllic and peaceful. It was a warm and sunny early summer day so we sat in the garden. Continue reading