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Good food in, er, Watford

Friday, February 15th , 2013

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The area around Rickmansworth and Watford is not the first that one associates with high quality food, but a couple of knowledgeable people had recommended Colettes at The Grove to me. The 40-seat restaurant is in a very large luxury hotel complex, with chef Russell Bateman having worked at some of the top restaurants in the UK and abroad. The food is modern British, and there were some really fine dishes, such as well-judged beef tartare and an excellent scallop dish. Service was silky smooth and the wine list was unusually good and fairly priced. I hope the locals appreciate it.

Da Nang Kitchen is a simple Vietnamese restaurant in Hammersmith. King Street has a large number of restaurants sitting cheek by jowl, but perilously few that you would actually return to. Although the cooking standard at Da Nang is rather erratic, the best dishes, such as a simple but very capable egg noodle dish, are genuinely good, and the friendly service and moderate pricing allow the diner to forgive some inconsistency. Worth a look if you are in the area.

Sauterelle (pictured) has a lovely view, another of the ex-financial centre locations that have served as the home to many London restaurants. The Wolseley used to be a Barclays Bank branch for example. Sauterelle is in the D&D restaurant group, and offers pleasant if unambitious modern British cooking at an acceptable price point. The food was a little uneven at my visit, though a quail starter in particular was very nice. This is not a restaurant aiming for Michelin stars, but it is certainly a more than acceptable place for a meal if you are in the City of London. The setting of the atrium of the Royal Exchange building is a very fine one indeed.

I enjoyed another fine meal at Apsleys, the Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in the Lanesborough hotel. Chef Heros de Agostinis has now been in place for over six months, and he is is hitting his stride. There were several really top notch dishes this week, such as superb tempura of langoustines, and in particular really stunning, airily light, gnocchi. The food here has for some time seemed to me more two Michelin star level than one, and continues to improve. 

The final Michelin country guide in 2013 (France) comes out in a couple of weeks, though there may or may not have been a leak this week. As some of these leaks turn out to be false I will wait until the proper guide arrives to discuss the results. So far there have been just four new 3 star Michelin restaurants globally this year, so the question is whether France will add to that tally (rumours suggest that it will; we shall see).   

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