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The Chap Dines

The Chap Dines

Great British Restaurant

‘GBR’. It sounds, does it not, like something out of the Sixties? ‘Great British Rail’, at best, or ‘Godawful Bloody Rations.’ So at first glance, the none more upmarket Duke’s hotel in Mayfair – on impeccably swank Duke Street no less – might be forgiven for giving their new premier restaurant another name. With none other than the brilliant Nigel Mendham at the helm, skilfully defying the dictum that no man called Nigel save Mansell, Planer or Williams can be capable of anything worthwhile (we’ll ignore Farage), one awaits both an interesting concept and delicious food. And thankfully, mes élèves,… Keep Reading

The Chap Dines

Simpson’s in The Strand

Lunch at somewhere as legendary as Simpsons-in-the-Strand cannot be taken at a hurried pace. At least half an hour should be spent on pre-prandial chit-chat with the knowledgeable Joshua, Senior Bartender in Simpsons’ tastefully refurbished upstairs cocktail bar. Thankfully the extent of the refurbishment seems to have been no more than a lick of Farrow and Ball and some new upholstery on the plush sofas and armchairs. From a selection of imaginatively constructed concoctions that refer to the glorious past of Simpsons and its venerable historical guests, I chose an ‘Artful Dodger’ (Dickens was a regular) purely because the word… Keep Reading

The Chap Dines

Petits Pois

I used to live near Hoxton, many years ago, before it was gentrified. I remember when just mentioning its name elicited a giddy thrill of horror amongst polite people; one friend of mine, unironically, told me that I was ‘very brave’ for going there, unchaperoned, after dark. How times change. Now, it’s no longer the epicentre for all things trendy and sophisticated, but it’s also crawling with top-notch bars and restaurants. And they don’t get a lot better than Petit Pois, a take on a traditional French bistro that serves up food as good as you’ll find anywhere round here.… Keep Reading

hawksmoor borough
The Chap Dines

Hawksmoor Borough

The cry went out round SE1. ‘Hawksmoor’s coming to our part of town’. Excitement could be seen writ large on the faces of each carnivore at the magnificent treats that lay in store. ‘The finest meats, exceptional wines and cocktails and a wonderful setting – what could possibly be better?’ The answer, you will be unsurprised to hear, is ‘not much’. The latest outpost in Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s empire does everything that you’d expect from this superbly accomplished group of restaurants, but adds a few twists that show that there’s plenty of life in the concept yet. The… Keep Reading

sophies-soho
The Chap Dines

Sophie’s Soho

Sophie’s steakhouse in Chelsea is one of those places that’s called ‘a London institution’, but then so was Bedlam, and nobody would think of going there any more. Yet the comparison is an unfair one. Sophie’s, which first opened in 2002, was ahead of the curve of the apparently never-ending Goodmans and Hawksmoors that came after, and acquired a deserved reputation for excellent steak, top-notch cocktails and a clientele who might occasionally have been known to don pink shirts and red trousers, and perhaps be called things like Hugo and Henrietta. Yet now Sophie Bathgate – the eponymous Sophie –… Keep Reading

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