Arbutus 63-4 Frith Street, W1D 3JW A stylish, modern newcomer and the star of many dazzling reviews. Lots of interesting wines by the glass and tasty mains in the 15 bracket. Good for a special occasion.
Bar Music Hall 134 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AR, Tel 0207 729 7216 Mainly DJs but nice jazz on Monday nights and a varied selection of continental beers. Foodwise though stick to platters of antipasti (8) as the rest (burgers, steaks) are mediocre.
Le Café du Marche Tel 0207 608 1609 An old-fashioned, romantic favourite of ours, with frequent live music and hearty French food. The food is on a 30 pound 3-course set menu basis though, so not a budget option. Beer is limited to Stella though.
Fig & Olive 151 Upper Street, N1 1RA, Tel 0207 2605 A nice café/bistro type place with a long and varied menu and a tempting display of cakes by the door. Would be nice for casual lunch, and gets a bit more atmospheric (dimly lit) for dinner.
Fifteen 15 Westland Place, N1 7LP, 0871 330 1515, http://www.fifteenrestaurant.com/ The illustrious Jamie wasn’t there, of course, but the staff all sounded as pukka as him, and so did the menu. The food was nice enough, but the bill added up to too much.
Leon 3 Crispin Place, E1 6DW A nice mini-chain of Mediterranean cafes, with menus pasted in to old cartoon annuals. Order a bunch of meze and chuckle away!
1 Lombard Street Brasserie EC3V 9AA, Tel 0207 929 6611 A city brasserie for city business lunches. A nice building and a menu which treads an all-pleasing line between more interesting (salad of quail) to the comforting (bangers and mash).
Malmaison 18-21 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6AH, Tel 0207 012 3700 A hotel restaurant that manages to be cosy and trendy, serves good food (incl good value set menus at 16 for 2 courses) and is a good bet when other places are shut.
The Morgan Arms 43 Morgan St, E3 A very lucky chance discovery deep in residential Bow. The nibble selection (13) was a bit average, especially the bread, but the mains were good – juicy scallops, hearty fish stew. The atmosphere is a nice mix of elegant and casual and there’s a decent selection of beers and ales.
Ubon Canary Wharf A business lunch venue, with set meals around 20 mark.
White Swan Pub & Dining Room 108 Fetter Lane, EC4, Tel 0207 242 9696. http://www.thewhiteswanlondon.com/ Owned by the same people as The Well in Clerkenwell and the Gun in Docklands. A city boys’ bar downstairs and a posh, white-table clothed, mirrored restaurant upstairs. Food is good, but not cheap (16 for mains)
Wolfe’s Bar & Grill, 30 Great Queen St, WC2B 5BB, Tel 0207 831 4442, http://www.wolfes-grill.net/ A surprisingly good place in touristy Covent Garden, with good set price menus for 15.50.