The Providores & Tapa Room, Marylebone

Chef Peter Gordon started cooking in his homeland of New Zealand, then in Australia before moving to London in 1989 to share his eclectic fusion cuisine with the Brits. He has won many accolades since with his restaurants The Sugar Club (Notting Hill and Soho) and The Providores & Tapa Room in Marylebone. The Providores has become a breakfast favourite for me, providing a friendly space for weekday meetings and weekend catch-ups with friends.

The Providores & Tapa Room

Earlier this week I joined a group of keen foodies at The Providores for a morning of menu trialling. The current breakfast menu features dishes like Grilled chorizo with sweet potato and miso hash, a soft boiled egg, garlic labne and star anise cashew nut praline and The Providores iconic Turkish eggs with whipped yoghurt and hot chilli butter.

In the mood for something sweet I opted for French toast with roasted pineapple, mango, Oxford honey mascarpone, smoked streaky bacon and blueberries, accompanied by Volcano coffee and freshly squeezed fruit juice. The ingredients were perfectly compiled on the plate, a contrast of tropical fruit, salty bacon, soft and sugary french toast and whipped mascarpone. It was indulgent and delicious, an entirely new take on the usual french toast recipe. As I was enjoying my hearty breakfast I heard murmurs of admiration from the nextdoor table, who were tucking into the Turkish eggs… and promised myself I’d have that dish on my next visit.

More information and book a table at The Providores & Tapa Room here.

Dirty Bones, Shoreditch

The new Dirty Bones in Shoreditch is a grown-up, more glamorous alternative to the other branches in Kensington and Soho, though there is still a hit of grunge in the dark decor and DJ set up. The all-American restaurant has taken over a gorgeous Grade-II listed building in central Shoreditch and has smart leather seating and a glitzy bar to lure you in. Known for their strong cocktails and indulgent menu of US classics, the offering here has all the same recipes with a few extra dishes (like Cheeseburger Dumplings) added.

Dirty Bones Shoreditch

I visited on a Monday lunchtime, bringing along my brother to help with the inevitable feasting. Totally overwhelmed by the large menu we let the waiter pick his favourites for our meal. His choices were flawless, a nice mix of meat and veggie dishes which complemented eachother well. Our favourites included the Beef Short Rib with salted caramel & burnt onion sauce, crispy shallots and spring onions. The tender meat fell easily off the bone coated in a sticky sweet-smoky sauce and topped with tangy spring onions. The blissfully simple but wonderfully tasty Crispy Lamb Fries were also a hit, flavoured with a spicy sauce and a hint of miso with a scattering of crunchy lamb bites.

Dirty Bones Shoreditch

I was beginning to tire of burgers, until I ate ‘The Mac Daddy’ an extravagant bun filled with a 6oz patty, pulled beef short rib, mac & cheese and homemade BBQ sauce. Juicy and moist with a rich cheesy sauce, it was as good as it looks.

For dessert I recommend ordering the Milk & Cookies, a simple pudding with a chewy chocolate cookie and refreshing creamy milk ice-cream. We loved all the cocktails that were put in front of us, but the winner had to be ‘Mutt’s Nuts’, a perfectly balanced short drink with Woodford Reserve bourbon, cinnamon & vanilla infused maple syrup, Angostura bitters, lemon and apple.

Visit Dirty Bones for a quiet weekday lunch to really relish the food, or head there at the weekend when the music adds a fun atmosphere to the venue.

More information and book a table here.

Weekend Brunch at Sardine

Alex Jackson first worked with Stevie Parle at Dock Kitchen before heading up the kitchen at Rotorino. He has recently brought his culinary expertise East to open up his first solo venture, Sardine, with a concept inspired by the flavours and recipes from the South of France region.

Sardine Restaurant

It is a modest restaurant, tucked away on Micawber Street, nearby to Old Street Station. The dining room has a homely feel, with colourful bunches of flowers on each table and a mural on the back wall. We visited on a quiet Sunday morning to try the weekend brunch menu.

Sardine RestaurantSardine Restaurant

With so many London establishments offerings brunch now it is easy to get overwhelmed by where to dine on your precious weekends. Sardine has a regularly changing menu which certainly doesn’t follow the crowd. Extravagant dishes such as Artichoke, Egg, Tuna & Tomatoes Nicoise and Onglet Steak with Fried Egg and Trompette de la Mort feature.

After a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice and a much-needed French Press coffee we turned our attention to the menu of tempting treats. First we opted for a plate of the sweetest late summer figs with yoghurt and honey, which was topped with fragrant dried rose petals, a delicious combination. Struggling to choose, we ordered a few hot dishes to sample: 24 Month Comte Fried Sandwich, Potato Cakes with Herbs, Creme Fraiche and Pickles and a Breakfast Cassoulet.

Sardine Restaurant

The food was a triumph, high quality ingredients, cooked to perfection. The fried comte sandwich is must, oozing mature, nutty flavoured cheese, I could have happily had it for lunch every day this week. Potato cakes were lighter, and with the creamy sauce and pickles felt almost Scandinavian in style. Cassoulet was a bold and luxurious dish, packed with white beans, pork belly, duck, blood sausage and egg, balanced in taste and texture, but a bit too much for a morning meal for me.

Sardine Restaurant

With family from Provence I feel very fondly about the traditional cuisine from this special area of the world. Sardine encapsulates the vibrant colours and flavours of the cote d’azur, which will make you dream of warmer climes whilst sitting in a rather more grey corner of East London.

More information and book a table here.