Design Restaurants recently caught up with with one our celebrity members, Sanjeev Bhaskar of ‘The Kumar at No 42’ and ‘Goodness Gracious Me’, fame. Seen more recently as Dr Prem in BBC’s ‘The Indian Doctor’ Sanj shared with us his top 10 favourite restaurants – along with some great insights. Look out for Sanj later in the year in a new series of The Kumars.
My fav top 10 restaurants – in no particular order:
Legendary celeb spot eaterie. Basic British grub well made and fairly reasonable considering the clientele. The last time I went, I had duck and watercress salad to start, then bangers and mash followed by sticky toffee pudding. Almost a school dinner but somewhat altered by the fact that Joan Collins was on the next table.
Meson Don Felipe
A tapas bar close to the Old Vic. I’m a big fan of Tapas and the whole taster menu/sharing vibe that goes with it. This place does it well and you can never get through all the things you want in one sitting but it always does enough to make you want to go back.
Modern Indian Cuisine. A little pricey but a unique experience fashioned by Atul Kochar, the first Indian chef to be awarded a Michelin Star. No doubt for his delicate use of spices. I had the Tandoori Macchi, a baked minted John Dory. Spectacular.
Vasco and Piero’s Pavilion Restaurant.
Family run Italian restaurant just off Oxford Street. Run by the same family for some time I gather from the Monty Python boys, who used to eat there back when they were making their seminal TV show. They still eat there now. It’s small and busy with simple dishes that change regularly without losing any quality. A good wine list helps the afternoon/evening along.
A modest restaurant in Camden Town, discovered by mistake when Terry Gilliam and I were trying to find a convenient local when we were short of time. The food was excellent with the stir fried okra and mango a particular hit that night. Also the Indian spin on cocktails – a Mohito with Indian spice added lived long in the happy memory.
An extremely large Chinese restaurant based in London’s Chinatown almost as famous for the rudeness of the staff as it is for its food. If you go prepared, the rudeness is almost like seeing a Vaudeville act, abrupt, almost surly but with immaculate timing. The food is excellent though and judging by the number of Chinese diners, as close to authentic as you’re going to find in London. This isn’t a place to dally however as the impatient waiters will start to clear up as your last flailing chopstick reaches the proximity of your mouth.
Burger and Lobster
A new-ish eaterie in Soho that does exactly what it says on the tin. The choice is either a burger or lobster (Or a lobster roll). It has a sort of diner feel to it and there’s no bookings, so factor in waiting time if you’re going at peak eating times. A substantial wine and cocktail list offsets the simplicity of the eating menu.
This restaurant sits at the top of the Centre Point building in London. The food and drinks are both good but what set is apart are the views from what is, one of the tallest buildings in London – at least one that has a restaurant at the top of it. After your meal it’s worth climbing one floor up to an observation level to see how many landmarks you can spot. If you intend drinking then perhaps venture up there beforehand.
Franchised noodle bar that always serves good food that tastes fresh, delivered to your table promptly and with no fuss. Also has health conscious juice concoctions that make me feel slightly superior and healthy when I leave.
Various outlets throughout London that I invariably pop into when I want a quick meal that I know will be reliable. Good street food starters and an excellent vegetarian thali with the ubiquitous Mango lassi (A sort of yoghurt smoothie) normally sorts me out if I can’t get near home cooked comfort food.