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Eat London: All About Food Paperback – 16 Mar 2007
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Both authors between them know every foodie corner of the capital and bring a range of age and experience to the book. Contains complete listings for each area. Book jacket will fold out into a map of London locating every place featured in the book. Special features include itinaries and fun things to do. London is enjoying being the food capital of the world this is a very timely and comprehensive guide. Special photography by Lisa Linder gives a real sense of atmosphere and streetlife.
About the Author
Terence Conran is the owner of 29 succesful restaurants (and counting...) and is one of the world's leading designers, furniture makers, restaurateurs, retailers and founder of the Habitat group of stores. He is Chairman of Conran Holdings, the parent company of his retail and restaurant businesses and Chairman of Conran and Partners, his architecture and design practice.Peter Prescott is a young restaurant consultant with clients in London and Moscow. He has been banqueting manager at Grosvenor House and Claridges, operations director for Anton Mossimann's UK restaurants, general manager of Bluebird Gastrodome and UK operations director of Conran restaurants. He is mad about food, drink and anything connected with cafs, bars, restaurants and food stores.
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Most entries give a bit of history and background as well as the full address and an overview of what to expect when at the restaurant. A few are just the name and location with a throwaway comment. Sometimes the comments on the food (eg. shipped in, not prepared on the premises) or environment (eg. high noise level) are not so flattering, and the reason for the entry is the iconic surroundings and fascinating history; it is a place that one should visit for the experience as much as anything.
As members of a loose collection of Londoners spread around the outer suburbs who have met together in the middle for a meal (lunch or evening) a few times a month for the last few decades, we have eaten at a good number of the establishments listed, and having checked the entries for these we both tend to agree with the opinions presented. There are also quite a few excellent places we have eaten at not listed, so please don't consider the book as exhaustive, it is more as a way to get started without too much risk.
The table of contents points to fourteen local maps scattered through the book as the headline pages for the following section with the entries clearly spotted and identified, which makes searching a lot easier, and almost renders an index redundant. The right-hand page margin serves as a reminder of where one is when browsing the entries. There is, however, an overall index at the back, but one needs to know what is being searched for to be able to use it effectively.
The pictures help to spread a bit more info and we recognised several places long before we found their listing in the tiny text. Occasionally the restaurant entry is accompanied by an illustrated recipe for one or two of their featured dishes, but these are unexpected treats and not something one would expect to find frequently.
I only have one criticism, which is that the type is very small and either excellent eyesight or both reading glasses and good light are essential to be able to enjoy browsing this otherwise excellent book. It is not something easily read on the jolting tube.
1. Balham, Battersea, Brixtorn, Clapham, Dulwich
2. Barnes, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Wandsworth
3. Bayswater, Kensington, Notting Hill
4. Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Pimlico
5. Brick Lane, Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Whitechapel
6. Camden, Hampstead, Holborn, Islington, King's Cross, Primrose Hill
7. Canary Wharf, The City
8. Chelsea, Fulham, South Kensington
9. Clerkenwell, Farringdon, Smithfield
10. Covent Garden, Soho, The Strand
11. Dalston, Hackney, Hoxton
12. Fitzrovia, Marylebone
13. Mayfair, Piccadilly, St James's, Westminster
Each section starts with a hand drawn map, with the restaurants and shops marked on it and places of interest. The section is then full of pictures, quotes, recipes, information on the restaurants and shops and ends with a 'More places to visit in the area'. It is a very curated book and doesn't give you much idea about how much it costs to visit the restaurants - there are other books for this but on the whole the ones I recognise are medium to expensive - London isn't a very cheap city to eat out in. Its a very nice book and I know that some of the choices are ones that I like. I think I will use it as a source when visiting areas I'm not familiar with or if I want to visit a really good Italian delicatessen.
The book uses different typesets, photography, illustrations or maps which give the impression of being hand drawn, to provide all the detail anyone could hope for on restaurants, eateries and cafes, there are quotes and content from chefs describing how they like to cook and their thoughts on food or eating in London. In addition to being a travel guide of sorts this book also provides recipes, stating how many they serve, giving a breakdown of the ingredients and then instruction on how to prepare the food.
These are good and I suspect easy to follow (I have not prepared food from the recipes) but I think are a surer guide as to whether or not you would wish to eat at the restaurants which prepare this sort of food rather than preparing it yourself, that's just my view though as there is no detail lacking for anyone who would wish to give it a try. As a book I really enjoyed reading this, the photography is a joy to behold too, I plan to share it with my brother who travels to London often and to give it a careful read when planning my own next trip to London but for the "armchair traveler" or "foody" this is an excellent book too.
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Beautiful photographs and all arranged by area, so it's almost a...Read more