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Focus on-trade: Rounding up

Published:  18 January, 2007




Roast, Floral Hall, Stoney St, Borough Market, SE1 1TL
Get ready for Roast, a brand-new 100+ seat restaurant in London's Borough Market. The market is already a haven for food lovers, and Roast looks set to take full advantage of this, opening for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday, as well as for Sunday lunch. The food will be in the capable hands of head chef Lawrence Keogh, formerly of The Avenue and Bluebird. As the name suggests, meat is central to the menu, and suckling pigs, birds and ribs of beef will be cooked on a spit. The restaurant is keen to reflect the breadth and depth of British cooking and will also offer seafood, lighter grills and salads. The strong British theme has been carried over to the wine list, which has been compiled under the supervision of Peter McCombie MW and promises to recognise the advances made in recent years by English vineyards.


Boulevard Bar and Dining Room, 57-59 Old Compton St, W1D 6HP

This latest addition to super-trendy Soho is the third venture of Ian Shaw, owner of Boulevard Brasserie and Boulevard Deli, near Covent Garden. A casual brunch menu is available every day until 5pm (all day Sunday), while an la carte option includes dishes such as grilled Dover sole with lemon and herb butter, and black loop belly pork with bramley apple pure, gravy and a bread sage stuffing. Nigel Trebble is the head chef, fresh from Soho House. There's an extensive, French-heavy wine list, or if cocktails are more your thing, mixologist Will Pike has put together a varied selection. Resident DJs are in the house' on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.


The Living Room W1,

3-9 Heddon St, W1B 4BE

The Living Room team is expanding with this month's opening of its flagship venue, The Living Room W1 in the West End. The menu is a real mix including just about everything - from spiced potato wedges, to bangers and mash, through to top-end options such as 21-day-aged fillet steak. A point of interest for music fans is the location: a former post office made famous by its appearance on the cover of David Bowie's album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. The 17m-long ground-floor bar includes traditional living-room elements in keeping with the ethos of an alternative living space.


Kilo Kitchen and Bar,

3-5 Mill St, W1

Taking the place of Noble Rot is this French-style brasserie with a twist: a name that refers to a range of dishes available by the kilo, presumably meant for sharing, including langoustines, mussels and clams, and plateaux de fruits de mer. Head chef Julian Owen-Mold is no stranger to the venue, having run the kitchen at Noble Rot since 1999. Food will be served until midnight Monday to Wednesday, and 2am Thursday to Saturday. There's also a basement den and disco for after-dinner dancing.


Origin, The Hospital, 24 Endell St, WC2H 9HQ

After only a year, Thyme's out and Origin's in. Adam Byatt remains as head chef, but his new project is a more laid-back affair. Current culinary trends are very much adhered to,

with an all-day, grazing-style menu that offers a series of small dishes. The name of the restaurant refers to food provenance, and the idea is to use traceable products and independent farms. There are 12 wines available by the glass to encourage diners to experiment with matching. A library list will also be available offering fine and cult' wines.


11 Abingdon Road,

11 Abingdon Rd, W8

This 100-seat restaurant is the third London venue for Rebecca Mascarenhas. With an emphasis on informality, head chef Greg Blampied will produce a modern British menu with dishes such as veal saltimbocca and pan-fried Cornish plaice. The wine list is relatively short, with a good by-the-glass selection.


Zakudia, River Level, 2A Southwark Bridge Rd, SE1 9HA

Portal, 88 John St, Clerkenwell, EC1

Kiwi Kitchen @ Baroque, 94 Uxbridge Rd, W13

Volt, 17 Hobart Place, SW1


Southwest England stole the limelight at the AA Hospitality Awards, held at The Dorchester Hotel earlier this month. The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (Wiltshire SN8 3JP) came away as the overall wine award winner, with a list you just don't want to put down'. At this family affair run by chef/proprietor Roger Jones and his wife Sue, the focus is on attention to detail, and the menu changes daily. Meat dishes include English partridge with apple and Sauternes jelly, and Salt Marsh Welsh lamb. The wine list includes more than 800 bottles, and the restaurant often hosts wine-tasting events.

Just down the road from here is The Windmill (Salisbury Road, Marten, Wiltshire SN8 3SH), a new addition to the AA's Restaurant Guide 2006, which describes it as a classic country restaurant on the way up'. The menu varies seasonally and concentrates on simplicity, using home-produced, organic and locally sourced ingredients. A European influence is reflected with options such as crab tortellini, and desserts include Valrhona chocolate fondant served with orange syrup. And with close to 500 bins, the wine list here may start to put some pressure on The Harrow.

Another AA winner from the southwest is West Beach Restaurant (Pier Approach, Bournemouth BH2 5AA) - Best English Seafood Restaurant. It's open all day, with an alfresco option in good weather. Seafood highlights include oysters (rock or native) matched with Krug Champagne, and Beluga caviar matched with Ketal One Vodka.

Moving even further west, the AA's Best Restaurant in England award went to the new angel (2 South Embankment, Dartmouth TQ6 9BH). Chef/proprietor John Burton-Race (interviewed in Harpers, 23 September) must be a very happy man: in the past year, he has had a Michelin star, a new TV show, a book in bookstores and now the AA has named his restaurant the best in England. The menu offers dishes such as Diptford duck egg with organic bacon, and grilled Brixham turbot with barnaise sauce. The wine list is a decent size with an emphasis on southwest France, the result of a year Burton-Race spent living in the region.