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Latest London Noshing

I have been trying to eat healthily this January in an effort to redress the holiday gastronomic overload...but January is just SUCH a good time of year to eat out! Restaurants are calm, there are no office parties or naff roast turkey set menus, restauranteurs are quite glad to see you as Jan. can be a quiet month...AND there are so many great deals around at the moment, too. So here's a rundown of where i've been noshing the past few weeks:

Bocca di Lupo I know I have written about this place before and you know I love it, but could it possibly get any better? Yes, because they have put a truly orgasmic dish on the menu: Crescentini (fried bread) with finocchiona, speck & squacquerone cheese. Washed down with a bottle of prosecco, this is my fave way to chase away the gloomy winter evenings, preferably sitting at the bar with my friend Gerard and gossiping about everyone we know.

I consider myself a one-woman pizza patrol- if there is pizza to be had, I'm there dude. There are many styles and toppings, and pizza is a very personal thing. And no, I don't like to share, so don't ask. I have heard there are people who do like to share pizza, but frankly they're bonkers. So I was excited when my friend Mark suggested we check out Pizza East, apparently the hippest thing to happen to Shoreditch since...well...Shoreditch. First, the food: my pizza was all crust, no topping. The circumference available for the topping was about 3 inches, and had just a few morsels strewn haphazardly...the Strawberry Blonde's pizza was meant to have veal meatballs and prosciutto...two meatballs rolled up, but no ham. The crust was enormous and way too chewy; for £11 a pie it was a complete and total rip-off. This, added to the apalling service, cacophonous atmosphere and drunk and rowdy punters, makes me think this place is a lot of fuss about nothing. If I want good pizza, i'll go to Maletti. Heck even Pizza Depress is better than Pizza East.

Thank goodness a cosy and gentle lunch at The Forge made the bad memories of Pizza East float away. I have walked past The Forge dozens of times; it's smack bang in Covent Garden, uber convenient for the theatre, and full of real, live Londoners. How refreshing! The main room is all brick and leather, the menu bursting with comforting classics. My simple crab starer was super fresh and zingy. And I hear the bar downstairs is a hidden gem for a civilised West End drink- the barman is American so I shall soon be popping in to test his martini making skills.

Yesterday the Strawberry Blonde and I took advantage of a fabulous offer on at the moment courtesy of the Financial Times- take a friend for lunch for a fiver. Yes, really. And the restaurants on offer are top notch- Pied a Terre, Le Cafe Anglais, Chez Bruce, L'Anima...check out the details here. We opted for our local, Acorn House. It's been ages since I've eaten there, and I felt ashamed of that fact becauseI really like the ethos- it's a social enterprise, eco-minded, seasonal and sustainable. Plus its founder, Arthur Potts-Dawson, is a charmer. The SB had roasted pheasant, dandelion, beetroot & redcurrant salad followed by the daily fish special: pan fried mackerel with cabbage and rhubarb compote. My thai cured salmon, then bhachu Tikki chaat with pickled carrot & sweet Tamarind made me waddle home with a very content full belly. Acorn House is a lovely restaurant with a radical remit, and i'll definitely go back.

So, what to look forward to? Fino for lunch on Friday, and off to Las Vegas next week..I promise lots of gut busting posts from Sin City!


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