So here we are, with back with Best Bites II. I asked another set of superb people their favourite places to spend their money on a meal out. One such person was Jess from Tat's favourite Deli, D'ambrosi, who gave us great insight into how hard it is for restaurants, cafes, and the like. An already challenging industry has become even more complex with exorbitant electrical costs, rising food prices, and staff shortages - so three cheers to all those keeping the doors open and creating exquisite dishes. I hope the below will pique your interest and get some dates in the diary.
Harriet Baylis, Production and styling for events, shoots, films and ideas.
Founder of MARAZUL Clothing
I live in Cornwall, so it would have to be Rocket Store in Boscastle for the most delicious lunch and cosy dinner with friends at St Kew Inn friends have just opened up Flora on The Lizard, which is a truly beautiful treat.
Howard Byrom, Societique
The Woolpack in Slad. But then, this it’s hardly a secret. Above and beyond the finest pub in the land, I find myself doing the most outrageous detours to swing by for lunch or dinner casually. It’s always worthwhile - they know how to look after you—best quality cooking in the most relaxed environment, where the world and his dog are welcome.
Lucy Mayers, Senior Interior Designer At Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler
In London, I’d probably say Ida’s. It’s the perfect Neighbourhood restaurant, with beautiful food, casual and unpretentious.
If I’m a bit more flush, then I’d say Straker’s on Golbourne Road, as that’s my treat restaurant. Again a neighbourhood restaurant, but with mind-blowing cooking, a really well-thought-out wine menu, delicious cocktails and a buzz that feels like you're being spoilt without being spoiled, the London food scene can feel more flash than substance, and this is the opposite of that.
Jane Badu, Founder Of We are Nomads
I loved Dory's in Margate.
The menu changes regularly and is based on what has been caught that day. I loved that it felt special, timely and fresh. Small plates mean that you can choose between lots of exciting dishes.
Joe Armitage, Designer
I've just discovered the Lasdun restaurant at the National Theatre, which was launched this year by the chefs behind the Micheline-starred Marksman Pub. I've always loved the Southbank growing up in London, and the restaurant provides a fantastic addition to this cultural hotspot with spectacular grub!
Celia Coke-Steel, founder of Pixton & Co
I would probably say either The Gunton Arms pub in Norfolk for their steaks cooked over an open fire and the interiors ( Robert Kime) or for a real splash-out dinner in London, it has to be The River Cafe- nothing beats the food or the atmosphere there and it never fails to be good on every level so well worth saving up for!
Heta Fell, Director of Social & Community Impact at Nike
River Cafe - a table outside for the perfect sunny Sunday lunch in the summer with my family and friends.
Kol - for the beautiful food, decor and drinks that transport you to Mexico City. Every dish is a delight, and the pairing menu is perfection. The mezcaleria downstairs is the ideal spot to carry on the conversation late into the night.
J.James Mackie, Interior Decorator
After much deliberation, it has to be the Wolseley at it’s a place I return to again and again, be it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The lofty Secessionist beauty of the room, enlivened by the dynamism of an always interesting crowd of diners, is irresistible. I have a feeling their breadsticks and butter might be the best in London, as is the steak tartare, which I have with a martini (though not for breakfast !)
Liberty Nimmo, Founder Of Nimmo Skincare/ Tat Farming & Gardening Correspondent
The Fox at Broadwell: Local veg, local, well-produced meat, local folk and a lovely village. It doesn’t break the bank, but it feels a real treat.
Ruth Sleightholme, Decoration Editor At House & Garden
I love the Fiori Truck in Forest Gate - a Pasta truck that has now parked up a bit more permanently in an arch off Cranmer Street. The staff are exceptionally lovely, the wine is delicious, and simple bowls of super tasty and well-cooked pasta are exactly what I want to eat pretty much every time I go out! Not too expensive, considering how treating and atmospheric it is (fairy lights, chilled and convivial atmosphere). Eating outside is an option, and there is an entertaining contrast between the lovely atmosphere of Fiori's seating area and the diorama of passing dramas - and sometimes scuffles - of life amongst the
arches. Fiori Truck
Emily Cameron, Creative Director At Ffern
Sometimes it feels like all the lovely old pubs have vanished from our towns and villages, replaced by gastro affairs with bright lights and uninspiring menus. Not so at Woods in Dulverton (a small town on the edge of Exmoor). Here you’ll find everything you could wish for: charming interiors as well as simple and delicious food made with wonderful ingredients from the pub’s own farm. I can’t think of a better place to spend an evening!
Jesse d'Ambrosi, Co-founder Of D’Ambrosi
We’ve both really enjoyed Brat (Redchurch st) excellent execution on simple lovely dishes, consistently good, and all friends whom we’ve recommended have equally enjoyed.
I was going to say the place we lean on out our way (Cotswolds) is Joy Kitchen in Gloucester, nothing to look at (and Gloucester has little other draw), but it was a solid, budget-friendly dim sum spot in an area otherwise lacking in ethnic foods. But alas, us little guys are dropping like flies. We were there recently but are now permanently closed.
Polly Wilkinson, Host of Carnacalla Cottage Sennen
So I would have to say. In London, I love the ease of the Rochelle Canteen as it’s in my neighbourhood and offers a peaceful retreat from the busy city streets. I find the garden particularly soothing, and eating outside under the vines gives a feeling of foreign warmth. In Cornwall, I have two loves. One is the Roundhouse in Penzance, a coffee shop my friend Joel runs. He bakes the most delicious focaccia and has the sunny kind disposition of an apostle. The way he greets all at the top of the Causeway head is heroic, and his coffee is delicious. It’s a weekly ritual to pay him a visit.
My other love is Flora new yard, set in the stable yard of a country estate Tim Spedding and Louise Roedkjaer has a small but exquisite restaurant/bakery. The produce they work with is exceptional. Their food is the most complex simple dish you will eat, it’s beautifully presented, and you finish every morsel that’s put down in front of you.