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The Chap Dines

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The Chap Dines

Roast at Borough Market

Borough Market came to everyone’s attention in the 1990s, when Jamie Oliver pointed out that British food is actually rather good, as long as you spend vast amounts of cash on each ingredient. The market continues to thrive, anachronistically at odds with the vast developments that have taken place around it in Southwark. The change to the market itself is the proliferation of cafes, bars and restaurants in the area immediately surrounding the market, replacing the greasy spoon cafes and sawdust-floor pubs that would have been there originally. A more recent development is the addition of restaurants above the market,… Keep Reading

ivy-in-the-lanes
The Chap Dines

The Ivy In The Lanes

Keith Waterhouse once described Brighton as ‘a town that looks as if it’s helping the police with its enquiries.’ This barbed, if undeniably once accurate, comment seems somewhat outdated in 2019. Yes, there are still parts of Sodom-by-the-Sea, as it was once dubbed, that have the authentic seediness of the dive about them. However, there are now many more that do credit to any bustling metropolis, thanks to a combination of a lively and well-heeled populace with good taste and the far greater range of places for them to spend their money. Chief amongst these is one of the most… Keep Reading

cinnamon-kitchen
The Chap Dines

Cinnamon Kitchen

London’s Cinnamon Club is something of an institution, set in the former Westminster Library and teeming with politicians, journalists and ladies who lunch. Its sister establishment in Oxford, Cinnamon Kitchen, is situated in the rather less grand-sounding Westgate Shopping Centre. But this is Oxford, where everything is nice and shopping centres are nothing like other such establishments. Westgate was built on the site of a 13th century Franciscan Friary (of course) and boasts branches of shops like Loake and Burrows & Hare, as well as an architecture trail charting the history of the Friary. Of the 20,000 objects unearthed during… Keep Reading

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The Chap Dines

Kaspars Seafood Bar and Grill

Where does one go for lunch to mark that fateful descent from one’s early fifties to one’s mid-fifties? Wouldn’t it be tragic to choose some achingly hip joint in Shoreditch, Portland or Berlin, where the menu, mostly consisting of kimchi, is printed in braille on a rusty vintage advertising sign? The venue for such an occasion would have to be old, stylish and with décor unchanged since the 1930s but still spruce – much like the birthday boy. An establishment where the menu is unpretentiously classic (without a twist), printed on quality velum in legible-sized print. Ideally situated on a… Keep Reading

boisdale-belgravia
The Chap Dines

Boisdale of Belgravia

You cannot miss Boisdale of Belgravia. The strawberry-red frontage stands out like a Highland hunting lodge amid the upmarket estate agents (a set at Albany for £4.3 million, anyone?) and the fly-by-night delicatessens that look like reckless gifts from hedge-fund managers to their trophy wives. En route to our lunch appointment we paused to pay homage to the good old days of Belgravia by admiring the plaque outside Lord Boothby’s house of ill repute on Eaton Square. Once installed at the Macdonald bar under the friendly auspices of a jovial Scottish barman, we were introduced to the modest selection of… Keep Reading

hawksmoor-borough
The Chap Dines

Hawksmoor Borough

By now, Hawksmoor Borough has delighted and beguiled a vast number of carnivorous types. Excitement can be seen writ large on the faces of each meat-eater at the magnificent treats that lie 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 London outpost in Huw Gott and Will Beckett’s empire – now present in Edinburgh- does everything that you’d expect from this superbly accomplished group of restaurants, but adds a few twists that show that there’s plenty… Keep Reading

cinnamon-club
The Chap Dines

The Cinnamon Club

The epistle that I received from this magazine’s editor was a tragic one. “I regret to inform you that I have been taken unwell, following an unfortunate trip to Cornwall. You shall have to do the next review as a solo endeavour.” This was enough to bring a tear to my eye, although my sorrow was swiftly dampened by the knowledge that I would be lunching, albeit with less elegant company, at the Cinnamon Club, the doyen of London’s sub-continental restaurants, situated in the shadows of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. If Gymkhana is a dashing son and… Keep Reading

san-carlo-regent-street-london
The Chap Dines

San Carlo St James’s

When one turns up for lunch at one of Piccadilly’s more salubrious establishments, one expects a certain level of decorum. Waiters with white shirts and whiter smiles; napkins that have the freshly pressed gleam of the dry cleaner about them; and, of course, the readily offered cocktail, in this case a sublime Bellini. What one does not expect is to see one’s dining companion in a Pearl Jam T-shirt, however freshly laundered it might be. ‘Sorry’, the handsome chap opposite me smirks. ‘Laundry day.’ Nonetheless, the London outpost of San Carlo is sufficiently interesting and versatile to be able to… Keep Reading

galvin-at-the-athenaeum
The Chap Dines

Galvin at the Athenaeum

The Galvin brothers, Chris and Jeff, have quietly taken over much of London’s dining scene over the decade, and yet they’re not household names. It’s doubtful now that they ever will be, and that probably suits them fine. With their growing portfolio of restaurants encompassing everything from Michelin-starred fine dining to upmarket pubs, it’s interesting to see what their latest opening, a relaunch at the Athenaeum, will accomplish. Will it be dwarfed (literally and figuratively) by their top-floor establishment round the corner, Galvin at Windows, complete with its celebrity maître’d Fred Siriex? Not a bit of it. The Athenaeum has… Keep Reading

cancun-grill-doral
The Chap Dines

Cancun Grill Doral

Mexican cuisine in Britain has, for many years, experienced the unfortunate reduction to the role of fodder for hen parties and twentysomething birthday bashes. The restaurants themselves have been partly to blame, decorating them in too-bright colours and offering cheesy chaps in sombreros and fake moustaches as entertainment. The new wave of Mexican eateries in London swerve away from this by offering street food in a simple cantina atmosphere, but fine dining Mexican cuisine is not easy to find outside of Mexico City. Unless you happen to be in Miami, Florida, where new chain Cancun Grill has two branches, the… Keep Reading

grand-hotel-eastbourne
The Chap Dines

The Mirabelle

The Sussex seaside town of Eastbourne is an odd place for a gentleman, especially two chaps dressed as if auditioning for a regional theatre production of Death in Venice. My dining companion and I shuffle along the seafront, bright linen suits attracting the glare of the sun; the confused glances of the mostly octogenarian citizens making us eager to reach our destination. Upon sweeping into the elegant gardens of the Grand Hotel, built in 1875, we immediately feel safe in the lee of bright white Victorian architecture and bustling concierges. The Mirabelle is The Grand’s main in-house restaurant for guests… Keep Reading

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

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