We all know the importance of this even without listening to property gurus Kirstie and Phil bang on about it to hapless house-hunters all over the country. With a potential house purchase you’re probably wondering what the community is like, what your transport options are, whether the high street has a decent smattering of shops and if you’re like me, where the nearest supermarket is. I imagine it’s much the same when you’re looking for your restaurant location, though perhaps minus the supermarket worry. So when I arrived at Queenswood in Battersea Square, I was a little stumped. I don’t know the area well at all but looking around, I’m hoping the owners know more than I do because honestly, it feels like it’s in the middle of not much else.
To get there, we took a leisurely stroll from Clapham Junction which took just under 20 minutes, coming from Battersea Park station will take you closer to 30 minutes but I suppose there are bus options too. We’re just not really bus people, especially on a Friday evening during peak hour. At the Square there’s a handful of other restaurants, the most memorable being the rather swanky London House, one of the Gordon Ramsay empire which was reasonably busy, while the others were hardly occupied. This doesn’t feel like an area you stumble upon. So are these red flags or red herrings?
After a year in London, there are a couple of things that irk me about eating out in this exciting behemoth of a city. Size is one of the more minor issues but sometimes I do find myself longing for the easy little stretch of Wellington’s restaurant zone. The fact that people happily queue for over an hour for a table anywhere still bemuses me, and I also have a love/hate relationship with the trend driven nature of things. I’m over the London markup but still not quite over how easily I’ve accepted that if dinner for two is under £100 we’ve got ourselves a bargain.
But, and it’s a very big but, all is forgiven for the simple pleasure of having so much choice. What are you craving? Where do you feel like faux-travelling to? Pick your cuisine, pick your price range and there’ll be something for whatever mood you’re in. It won’t all be good- how can it be, but at least you can choose something else next time!
I don’t watch much tv these days. I could blame it on a certain someone hogging the screen with a constant stream of football, golf, NFL, snooker, darts even but the truth is there’s not much that manages to grab hold of my pea-sized attention span. The only exceptions are the occasion crime drama (really got into True Detective and Broadchurch) and, drum roll please… food shows. That didn’t come as a surprise to anyone did it?
All it takes is an episode or two and I’m already hooked on those cooking competitions, my favourites are quickly found and I’ve decided who the villains are. I could easily spend an afternoon putting up with Jamie Oliver enthusiastically talk me through a 15 minute meal I know will take twice as long, and if there’s a marathon of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations on? Well that’s me for the night.
So it seems I like to watch people cook. It’s my inherent nosiness that needs to know how someone turned a celeriac, pigs ears and blueberries into something edible, or how chefs meticulously plate the most pretty dishes. I’ve noticed that more restaurants seem to be opening up their kitchens and making them visible to the dining room- this is a trend I welcome. A well-oiled kitchen shouldn’t have anything to hide during service, and I can get dinner with a show.