Putting On The Ritz
Saturday, March 10th , 2018
The standard of pizza in London has risen dramatically ever since Franco Manca in Brixton Market and Santa Maria in Ealing began to educate people regarding the joys of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Now there are many such places, and a good one is Farina in Notting Hill, which has as its chef the former pizzaiolo at Santa Maria. With a proper oven going up to 500C and carefully rested dough, the authentic chewy, elastic base of a Naples style pizza is carefully delivered.
Bistro Mirey is a restaurant in Fulham delivering French food with a Japanese twist (the chef is French, the co-owner Japanese). Sadly, although the menu was intriguing and the waiters were friendly, the actual food was inconsistent and poor in places. I am all for local independent restaurants, but they do actually need to deliver, not just write an interesting menu.
The Harwood Arms has been a favourite of mine ever since it opened, a superior gastropub with a particular emphasis on game, some of it shot in person in Berkshire by the co-owner. It has a new head chef but the transition has been smooth, and we had another excellent meal, including lovely sika deer and some of the gorgeous lemon curd doughnuts that they make particularly well here.
I have written many times about The Ritz, and over the last few years the cooking has just got better and better. The vast kitchen means that there are plenty of chefs to make time-consuming sauces, and its buying power means that it can get top ingredients, such as live langoustines. This last meal was exceptionally good, with star dishes including salt baked celeriac with veal jus and black truffles, and a particularly gorgeous pear dessert. It took an unconscionable amount of time for Michelin to give the Ritz its first star, and I hope that it will be quicker to receive the second star that it clearly deserves.