5th View @ Waterstone’s – Book it

The 5th View @ Waterstones in Piccadilly is a real find, an oasis in the heart of the West End. It has however now “been found” by a lot of people, and has grown to handle its success. It now takes up the entire top floor.  The expansion is extensive, as well as a larger bar area and more seating, there is now an attractive Champagne and Seafood Bar, which can be booked for private functions.  To find somewhere stylish and quirky that delivers good quality food and top notch cocktails in a book store is unusual to say the least.

The expansion also extends to the menu in the main bar and food area, which now includes a range of breakfast options.

Plus I do love their carrot cake, especially when served with one of their lovely cocktails, a real indulgence.


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The Portrait – Worth a look

We have been to the Portrait Restaurant, in the National Portrait Gallery quite a few times now (for breakfast, brunch and lunch). It is on the top floor of the Gallery on the left hand side, going up the main escalator and taking the lift to the 3rd floor will get you there.

The place is normally busy and buzzing, so best to book. It also has a good view of Nelson’s Column.

We went for afternoon tea, taking up a special January deal of £12.50 per person for a Champagne Tea. A Bargain!


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Delfina – Spooky?

The Delfina Restaurant is rarely open to the public in the evenings or at the weekends. It’s focus is breakfasts and lunches during the week and event hires in the evening. So it was good to get the opportunity to visit on a Saturday night, only this night was Halloween and they were doing a special menu.


The room is designed to be gallery space and lit accordingly, making it rather difficult to change to a spooky environment for Halloween. Even the tables and chairs are white. The staff dressed up though and there was the odd giant spider and some very effective light projections of witches and bats. I must admit it was disconcerting being served by Dracula and when the waiter spilt some red wine on the white table I almost did not want him to clean it up, as it looked like drips of blood adding to the atmosphere, which needed a lot of help.






The dining space is quite large and all the guests had been seated at the back of the room which meant that you always seemed to be looking out at an empty restaurant. They really are not geared up for evening dinning, they actually turned away two walk ins at 9:45 and removed the rather small sign on the curtained doors advertising the Hal loween opening shortly after.  This is a real shame as the area could easily support another “full time” restaurant.

The menu was imaginative and it was surprising just how many of my favorite ingredients it included.

We started with what I assumed was locally baked bread, i.e., too nice to be store bought, with olive oil.  For my first course I had the scallops and blood pudding, this consisted of 3 large juicy scallops and  a few pieces of thinly sliced oatie black pudding, which I really enjoyed.  Next was a fig sorbet to clean our palettes.  Then for the main course I had the pork belly, it consisted of two flavoursome pieces of pork belly (both huge). We had also ordered a side order of chips which was totally unnecessary as the pork came with mash. For dessert I had the pumpkin pie.  We had a couple of  glasses of Prosecco and a bottle of rather mediocre wine. The total cost  including service charge came to less than £50 a head, which is very reasonable for the area and for the quality/amount of food.

I also could not resist taking a picture of the very generous cheese course left on the next table, it looked great when it arrived and you can see from the picture just how much of it was left.

The service was very quick, if it had not been for the wine, I suspect we would have been finished in less than an hour, as it was we finished early enough to pop across the road to one of my favorite bars, the Hide Bar for drinks.

In the Summer Delfina also use their outside space for BBQs.

Marks out of 10 for Delfina

Food 5.9

Service 4

Ambience 3


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Rex Whistler @ The Tate

Had afternoon tea in Tate Britain’s Rex Whistler Restaurant. It is actually a real bargain at £6.50 – just work out what the equivalent cost would be in the cafeteria next door to see what I mean.

The afternoon tea is not grand in the way it would be in a top hotel, but it’s a pleasant way to spend a hour or so.

The sandwiches were presented on individual cake stands, which also held a tiny but rather delicious piece of chocolate cake. While good value it was not something to go out of your way for.

They also have a breakfast menu. We made a return visit for the Full English breakfast, which is substantial but pricey.

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 5

Ambience 5.5

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Del’Aziz – expanding!

For a bit of everything Del’Aziz the Mediterranean Delicatessen and Brasserie is great, they have their deli counters (of course) and a really good selection of cakes (portion control is a problem though, sometimes bigger is not better!).  I have only been to the ones in Bankside and Fulham.




UPDATE : September 2010 – I passed by their new outpost  in Bermondsey Square yesterday during the annual Bermondsey Street Festival and it looked good.

Del’Aziz in Bermondsey Square
Del Aziz – Long Lane entrance

UPDATE : May 2011 – Finally tried the Bermondsey Square branch, it has outdoor seating at the front and in the Square, which is a great little sun trap. Identical formula and quality level as the other branches of Del’Aziz.

Marks out of 10

Food 6

Service 6

Ambience 6


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The Table – by design!

For a late breakfast or brunch away from the crowds, I would recommend The Table.

It is perhaps not somewhere you would find in passing, as it is located a couple of streets behind Tate Modern, housed within an architects’ head quarters. (I found it while visiting the offices as part of Open House London).  It is a casual venue with shared tables and a small outside seating area.

There is also usually a small selection of Cakes

The Table – upping its game!

The Table just gets better and better.  There was a real buzz during my visit today, see video :-

It was  busy when I arrived, but one of the waiters immediately spotted me and found me a space.  The service and the food based on this visit was actually better than I remember from earlier visits.   My sweetcorn fritters (which the waiter advised me would take at least 10 minutes to make) were just perfect. They were served with two lovely runny poached eggs as well – an addition that had not been part of the dish last time I ordered it.  The staff were really on the ball, a glass of tap water was provided within about a minute off asking for it, as was the bill.

The area (Southwark Street – near the Blue Fin Building) is much more lively now too, lots of restaurants and bars with outdoor seating.

UPDATE – The Table’s menu and chef has changed. The interior is slightly different as they have removed the area that used to be used to display cakes, so no longer somewhere to pop in for  just coffee and cake. It’s main focus is still breakfast and brunch type dishes, it is also now possible to make reservations.


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