Foley’s, Fitzrovia

I loved Palomar restaurant so was excited to hear about the Foley’s kitchen team, headed up by ex-Palomar chef Mitz Vora. The restaurant, in Fitzrovia, is set over two floors with an open kitchen downstairs so that guests can get a glimpse of the action.


The restaurant is cosy and welcoming, with stylishly designed seating and warm lighting. After a round of fruity cocktails we moved on to the food menu, which is split into various categories: ‘Bits & Bobs’, ‘Veg’, ‘Meat’  and ‘From the Sea’. The menu is eclectic with an intriguing variety of dishes. The chef’s creativity is immediately obvious from reading through the first section of the menu where tacos, potato fritters and ham hock all feature.


The starters were perhaps my favourite part of the lunch. Korean BBQ charcoal grilled chicken ‘burnt ends’ were addictively good served with a spicy vinegar dipping sauce. Aubergine with pomegranate, dates, chilli lime yoghurt and puffed quinoa was a suped-up version of Ottolenghi’s grilled aubergines, with a lovely sweetness from the dates and a contrasting zing from the lime and chilli. A little taste of Italy came in the form of Truffle potato agnolotti with cauliflower, rocket, hazelnuts and parmesan… a little out of place amongst the fusion menu of Foley’s but very tasty nonetheless.


The daily lunch menu offers some of Foley’s best dishes at the very reasonable price of £20 for three courses. I recommend the Pork Belly with apple and swede vermicelli, buttermilk and toasted cashews. It was a lovely piece of meat, cooked to perfection so the fat was melting away to give a lovely rich and velvety taste. The Keralan duck with ginger and parsnip puree was also a delicious main course, with accents of coriander and coconut reminding me of the Indian influence.


Desserts were a mix of unusual flavours and textures. Lemongrass, lychee and thai basil pannacotta was a little too much like solidified Thai curry, but the ‘Fat Boy Elvis’ was a more successful pudding. This decadent dish is made up of chocolate chip banana cake, banana cream, peanut butter nougat and bacon & strawberry jam. I liked the saccarine sweet mix of banana, chocolate and peanuts, though the jam was a little too much for me.

Every Sunday, head chef Mitz Vora hosts ‘off-menu’ tasting sessions for 10 guests at a time. These evenings are priced at £65 per person for which you will be treated to 6 special courses inspired by the flavours of India and the Middle East. If you can’t make it to a weekend feast, Foley’s is equally good for afterwork cocktails and small snacks with friends, or a romantic dinner for two.

More information and book a table here.

The Larder, Fitzrovia

There could never be too many breakfast spots in London. I am always on the lookout for new cafes, and am constantly amazed by the variety on offer, from healthy hangouts serving yoghurt and fruit, to venues offering indulgent towers of pancakes with all the trimmings. The Larder, in Fitzrovia, has a nice mix of post-gym snacks and weekend treats. I joined a group of famished bloggers to get the scoop.

This new all-day café & store comes from Executive Chef Diego Cardoso and his team, who focus their recipes on ingredients that are seasonally available. The neighbourhood eatery has a casual feel, with welcoming wooden sharing tables and shelves stocked full of delicious items. We devoured a banquet of: chia seed pots with mixed berries; ham & cheese croissant melts; and crushed avocado on toast. I particularly enjoyed the pastries which were flaky and buttery, just like they should be. The Larder have their own brand of coffee, created by the celebrated Dorset roasters, Reads Coffee. It had a smooth and rich taste and is on offer with a variety of milks for fussy coffee fans. A range of fresh juices provide customers with a morning vitamin boost.

Those working nearby will enjoy the lunch options, simple but tasty toasties, fresh salads showcasing British produce and house-made sausage rolls and sandwiches.

Tucked away in Pearson Square, just a short walk from Oxford Street, The Larder is ideally located for morning meetings or weekend catch ups with friends. With 35 seats there is plenty of space to get all of your friends together and share as many dishes as you can fit on the table!

More information about The Larder here:

Barnyard, Fitzrovia

If you are happy eating at an anti-social time then you might just get a table at Barnyard, otherwise you will have to queue with everyone else for hours. Ollie Dabbous is certainly playing hard to get… his first restaurant Dabbous is fully booked seemingly forever and Barnyard takes no reservations so you cannot get a seat without paying your dues in the line. By the time you get your hands on some food you are positively starving.

The young chef’s newest venture is very different in style to his first but the culinary creative streak is still very evident throughout the innovative menu and delicious dishes. With just 36 covers, this tiny venue has a cosy feel. Unlike the utilitarian Dabbous, Barnyard is immediately noticeable with a wooden fence containing the front exterior, corrugated iron walls inside, rustic plank tables… basic but charming decoration. It is a warm and welcoming place, I felt like I was entering Aunt Em’s house, in a scene from The Wizard of Oz. Staff are extremely friendly and unassuming, rare in a restaurant of such hype. They seemed in no hurry to usher us out despite the growing, groaning line outside.

Our waiter cheerfully arrived at our table with brown paper menus, “You got the memo then?” he said gesturing towards my red checked shirt, almost identical to the uniform he and his colleagues were wearing. It wasn’t planned but I was pleased to feel part of the Barnyard crowd.

Food offerings are listed simply with unusually flavoured shakes and shandies (beer cocktails) on the reverse side. The prices here are admirably reasonable, no item is priced over £12, most cost between 3 and 6. I assumed each would be tapas sized, but in reality they are much larger, the staff recommend two to four each depending on hunger. Ignoring the experts advice, we ordered nine between us. Of the drinks, the popcorn milkshake (with optional Bourbon) was a slightly nutty, comforting drink, but a little thin. I would highly recommend the Shandies, apparently the Country House Shandy is the bestseller but with an absence of Goose Island IPA, we chose Hedgerow Shandy and the Dandy Shandy which was my personal favourite. Light, refreshing and subtly hinted with fruity and spicy hints, these drinks are a genius companion to the cuisine on offer.

Just a week since opening, Barnyard already had established favourites on the menu, which we soon gathered were the chicken wings and popcorn ice-cream. Alongside these delights we ordered Homemade sausage roll with piccalilli, lard on toast, mince and dumpling, warm cornbread, cauliflower cheese, fresh fries, charred broccoli vinaigrette and corn on the cob with salted butter and meadowsweet. Unusual flavours are Ollie Dabbous’ speciality and they are employed throughout all these recipes. Everything was exceptional, but here are a few of the foodie treats we particularly enjoyed: the chunky hearty sausage roll encased in a flaky buttery pastry was addictively good, it would be an ideal lunch snack. I loved the floral buttery salty corn on the cob which arrived with a thick screw through the centre presented in a ceramic mug and lard on toast was rather unattractive – a gloopy sheen on crunchy bread, but the flavour was fabulously fatty and delicious. The chicken wings were the winner on the table though – spicy, succulent, tender and garlicky morsels of meat, and at £4 for four they really are a bargain.

Cauliflower cheese had a spicy kick which I guess is from mustard in the sauce. Fries were extra thin and crispy, not dissimilar to the McDonalds variety! The broccoli had a pleasant charred taste and was coated in a subtle, creamy sauce.

Desserts are priced at £4 each, we shared the famous popcorn ice-cream with smoked fudge sauce and the warm acorn flour waffle with chocolate and malt. They arrived within a few minutes, carefully presented, classy puddings. If you can only manage one to share, order popcorn ice-cream which is served soft and whipped accompanied by crunchy caramel popcorn and a slightly bizarre, woody, smoked fudge sauce. The waffle is more classic, served with a thick rich chocolate sauce and contrasting malt flavoured cream.

Casual, carefree with cheap prices and comforting food, this little barnyard is inclusive rather than exclusive. Another hit for Ollie Dabbous.

More information and see the menu here: