Eleven, Lisbon

Eleven Restaurant is a project created by eleven friends, including the restaurant’s chef. Since opening in November 2003, almost ten years ago, this venue has been known as one of Lisbon’s trendiest eateries. The menu offers a fresh and vibrant array of Mediterranean and Portuguese cuisine created with an emphasis on seasonal ingredients.

Perched at the top of a huge hill overlooking expansive lush green gardens, the restaurant has a superior view of the Portuguese capital. The large windows ensure the dining room is bright and airy for the guests, a feature I appreciated as I always like to be able to see what I am eating. Diners can look over the whole of Lisbon, benefitting from the exuberant natural light outside.

Joachim Koerper is a creative chef with ample experience to head up any restaurant. After working in prestigious French and Spanish kitchens he brings a wealth of knowledge to the Eleven Restaurant.

It is a simply designed building, with plenty of space for large groups and parties. Upstairs there is room for private occasions and in the hall an impressive bookshelf is stacked with all the Michelin restaurant guides since 1903, a reminder of the lost star at this eatery.

During the week there is a reasonably priced express lunch menu, but we chose from the varied a la carte. After a lovely glass of Portuguese sparkling wine the meal commenced, a mix of fish, meat and vegetable dishes. The most memorable starter was the hot and cheesy risotto with Scallops. A creamy and comforting bowl that was surprisingly light and addictively delicious.

The pick of the mains was the Roast Lobster with soft polenta and green vegetables. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, it was a lovely special dish. My lamb with rosemary had a pleasant flavour but was rather dry and chewy.

Before rejoining the bustle of the city, we scoffed some puddings. I chose the selection of miniatures allowing us to taste all the options on the menu. A crème brulee roll (!) and a refreshing boule of coconut ice-cream with spun sugar were the two highlights.

Out of the main city centre this restaurant’s location is both a help and a hindrance to its popularity but it is perfect for groups or those wishing to enjoy a calm and refined meal whilst watching over Lisbon.

More information here.

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte, Canary Wharf


There is no menu to peruse at L’Entrecote… and yet customers return again and again to experience the magical French cuisine. Their secret? Magnificent steak frites… cooked to perfection, flavoured immaculately with divinely crispy skinny chips.

Canary Wharf is not an area of London I frequent – it is a maze of tall angular buildings. My friend and I didn’t manage to locate each other for twenty minutes, both confused by the unfamiliar surroundings. When we did finally unite, we got lost again trying to find this remote branch of L’Entrecote. The casual Parisian restaurant has a shabby charm, located just by the water with a view of the industrial skyline. The staff are, unsurprisingly, French and very accommodating and sweet.

Our waitress welcomed us with their set menu: Green Salad with Walnuts to start and Trimmed Entrecote Steak “Porte Maillot” with its famous sauce and frites for main. All that is left to do is decide on how you would like your steak cooked: medium for me, rare for my guest. They run a swift operation at L’Entrecote, speedy service and super efficient. The food was all delicious, high quality and minimum fuss. Our small salads arrived promptly, light and dressed in a lovely vinegary dressing, topped with a sprinkling of crunchy walnut pieces.

The steaks are brought in two rounds, to ensure all your food arrives and remains hot. The cut is quite thin so thankfully medium wasn’t too red for me and instead was perfectly tender with each mouthful full of flavour. The meat is coated in a delicious creamy sauce (a secret recipe) – it tasted like a spicier version of Bearnaise sauce… almost like a light curry sauce! The frites are divine, soft yet crispy, light and salty. I was a little disappointed to find mayonnaise wasn’t available, but I guess that compromises authenticity. The steak is served on small plates, and when we polished off our first helping, the next was already at our side ready to be devoured.

When the time came for dessert, we were accustomed to not having much choice, and I felt a little baffled by the long list of classic French puddings. After consulting our waitress we decided on Crème Brulee and Profiteroles to share. Both were made well by an in-house pastry chef… I particularly enjoyed the Crème Brulee which was creamy, light and sweet… the Profiteroles were scrumptious too, fluffy pastry piped full of whipped cream and covered in devilish dark chocolate sauce.

A must try for steak lovers… and I imagine this Canary Wharf branch of L’Entrecote is a life-saver for overworked bankers.

Visit the website here for more information and to book.


1 Lombard Street, Brasserie, Bank

1 Lombard Street is a stylish restaurant, brasserie and bar based in a beautiful old building on the doorstep of Bank Station. They seem to be having a bit of an identity rethink – unsure of how they fit into the City lifestyle they have introduced a live DJ to help create an inviting atmosphere for city boys (and girls) who may otherwise choose the West End for their Friday night celebrations. I understand the concept but the house style beat was very loud and in danger of ruining the sophisticated feel of the venue, it didn’t help that we were seated directly under the booming speaker.

The service was impeccable, several different waiters came over to introduce themselves, and I was flattered by the trouble they went to to please us. We were brought amuse-bouches between every course: comforting Jerusalem artichoke and truffle soup, red mullet with chorizo risotto, raspberry granita and a few petits fours to finish. Our waitress offered appropriate wine pairings for each course, which I always prefer to choosing a bottle.

After an exotic tropical cocktail, we ordered food from the extensive list. Though we were eating in the brasserie, dishes are surprisingly sophisticated with prices to match. My warm crispy duck leg with puy lentils starter was delicious… a generous portion and a lovely piece of meat with scrumptious crispy salty skin, the lentils were the perfect healthy accompaniment. My dad chose Fish soup with saffron mayonnaise (a rare treat for him as he rarely gets to cook fish at home) he seemed satisfied with the steaming bowl soaking up the juices with the accompanying fresh herb bread.

Mains were rather more difficult to choose from the list of tempting dishes. After our waitress described the Wagyu cow’s lifestyle (the animal is treated well and massaged) I was sold, and chose this luxurious beef rib-eye option. This kind of steak is very specialised… the meat is marbled with the fat to give a more tender and flavoursome taste. It was quite an experience, the taste was divine, though it was noticeably more fatty. As a steak lover, I am glad to have tried it. My dad chose the Veal Holstein, an escalope with anchovies & fried egg. It is a classic dish that is apparently the owner’s absolute favourite on the menu. It was a bit of a disappointment, sitting in a pool of oil and lacking any exciting flavour. Luckily we ordered a side of fresh spinach to freshen this rich dish.

Intrigued by the cocktail menu, I asked for a lychee and rose petal martini. It was amazing, presented in a stunning glass, with a sunset colour and extra sweet taste. The desserts were good, not sensational, but good, and certainly dealt with any sugar craving. I tried the crème brulee which was delicately flavoured with vanilla bean and my dad had the Mocha & Nougat parfait with chocolate sauce and banana and raisin compote. The parfait was delicious, nutty with a good texture but the mushy banana was unappetising and unnecessary, a strange addition. We finished the meal with fresh mint tea and strong coffee.

I certainly think 1 Lombard has the potential to be great – I’m just not sure they have worked out the perfect formula yet. I’d love to try the smarter restaurant soon and see how the food and atmosphere compares.

Visit the website here to book.