Le Café Anglais – Parisian Brasserie Meets London Shopping Mall…And it Works!

Le Café Anglais
8 Porchester Gardens
London W2 4DB
Website
Map
Online Reservations

Hors d’oeuvres from £4-5, Starters from £6-16, Mains from £14-27, Desserts from £5-7; set weekday lunch menu at £16.50, plus Sunday brunch & lunch set menus

Le Café Anglais has been lovingly created & takes inspiration from the best that Parisian Brasseries and British cooking has to offer. The menu is appetizing and broad-ranging; the food is simple, satisfying and well cooked. All of this is set against the rather grand backdrop of a light, airy and well-designed dining room and professional service. It certainly is hard to believe that the same space used to house a McDonalds, but thank goodness Rowley Leigh had the intuition and foresight to spot what was very much a diamond in the rough. This is a place you could take both parents and friends to, and have a good time either way.

Not your average mall dining

I first came across Le Café Anglais (LCA) before I really knew what it was. We were walking through Whiteleys, the London mall located on Queensway, and I saw a restaurant at the other end of the floor that the cinema is on. I peered through doors and thought it looked a bit too new and nice for the location (it somehow just didn’t fit in with its surroundings), but the menu looked rather appetizing and was certainly broad-ranging. It touched a nerve, but alas, these were the days before I was a food blogger, so I didn’t have a clue that the Chef Proprietor was none other than Rowley Leigh – a stalwart of the London food scene – and therefore didn’t give it too much thought after walking away and moving on to whatever else we were doing that day.

A few years later, I eventually realized that a place I had been reading a lot of good things about, which was located on a posh-sounding street called Porchester Gardens (and not in Whiteleys!), was none other than the same restaurant. Then, after seeing Chef Leigh in person at the Starter for Ten (Chefs vs. Critics) quiz show that was part of the London Restaurant Festival, and realizing that he really knew his stuff – both about cooking and the history of food – I decided I must get myself to his restaurant, and pronto.

Thus the scene was set, and we invited one of our good friends, Mr. S (who has made guest appearances before on this blog), to join us for the occasion. There was a bit of a kafuffle with our arrival. I had driven there and dropped off my two dining companions at the small street-level Porchester Gardens entrance, where you can take a lift up to the restaurant. I pointed up at the restaurant, saying that it was on the first floor. Well, my normal maniacal attention to detail had slipped, and as they instead decided to enter through the mall (much less glamorous, darling), they couldn’t find the place…because it’s located on the second floor. They called me during my nearly half-hour expedition to find a parking spot and I tried to explain to them where it was. They eventually got there and were seated, but it took me ages to get back. I arrived flustered and a bit out of sorts, but eventually everything got rolling.

The very smartly decorated interior: bright, airy, classy & comfortable

As a colleague from my office might say, the dining room is well impressive. And it is. It’s hard to believe that a McDonald’s used to reside in the same space. There is a very interesting article that Chef Leigh wrote himself in the FT in November 2007 just before the opening, which explains the vision and process of setting up the restaurant, and it is well worth a read. He will tell you in far greater detail, but in essence, they have managed to capture a number of the lovely design features of famous Parisian Brasseries throughout the dining space and it makes for a bright, airy, buzzy and very comfortable place to eat. I also love how they have honored the original art deco features of the building itself. It all works together seamlessly and is very classy. If you are interested, there are some photos, plus a video where Chef Leigh gives you a tour of the restaurant and kitchen on their website here.

Where to begin…

The menu is certainly ample, some might say portly, and offers a number of pleasant surprises all the way from the hors d’oeuvres (which precede the first courses) right through to the desserts. There is a lot to take in, plus there are a few first- and second-course specials each evening with the à la carte menu. I have to say that the waiters answered our questions knowledgeably and professionally and, with a little assistance, we had made our choices.

Red radishes for snacking

My late arrival meant I had missed out on a few little nibbles, but I did manage to snatch a red radish, which was fresh and got me in gear to begin this affair.

The perils of arriving late after trying to park a car in central-ish London on a Friday night – “No bread for you”

There was also a single piece of bread left – gee, thanks guys – so I made a quick grab for that too, and enjoyed it with a bit of butter. They were both very nice but not extraordinary. 7/10.

Starter 1: Langoustine Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes & Mint

I seem to be in quite a fishy mood this year, so I decided to go for one of the pasta dishes that contained langoustine. It arrived hot, colourful and with a nice aroma. The pasta had been cooked perfectly al dente and the tomatoes were sweet and fresh. The langoustines were also cooked well and the dish benefited from a touch of mint throughout. As my wife says, mint is one of those wonder ingredients, like garlic, and it certainly did the trick here to add a little bit more interest. It was a very more-ish plate of pasta and my tummy was ready for more. 7/10.

Starter 2: Blinis with Smoked Salmon & Pickled Herrings

My wife “Loved [her] whole dish. It was a great selection to open your appetite and was served with blinis, fresh cream and capers. The smoked salmon was excellent, most probably a gravlax, as it was fresh, delicate and not over-smoked. The pickled herrings were my favorite, with their sweet and sour marinade, and reminded me our time in Sweden.” 8/10.

Starter 3: Six Rock Oysters

I am a complete novice when it comes to oysters, but Mr. S is certainly not. He had been deliberating between getting the rock or native oysters (£8 versus £16.50 for six, respectively) and eventually opted for the rock ones given that they seemed to be such good value. They were served in the traditional French manner, from what I understand, with a nice dish full of shallot and white wine vinaigrette in the middle. Mr. S is not in the habit of sharing his food, so I didn’t get to try them, but he said they were some of the best rock oysters he’d had. High praise indeed, though I’ll refrain from giving it a numerical score as I didn’t taste them myself.

Main Course 1: Dover Sole & Side Salad

Sticking with my ichthyoidal theme, I chose one of the specials of the day for my main. It was a very simply cooked Dover sole. I opted to have it deboned (I am one of those people who is slightly thick when it comes to eating fish, and Mrs. LF always rolls her eyes when she sees me hopelessly failing at what should be the simple task of removing fish bones), and it was presented in a simple and nice manner. The fish itself had been cooked very well: it was soft, delicate and perfectly intact. My only quibble would be the absence of a significant sauce (I am used to having sole with a bit of a buttery and/or vinous sauce), but that said, it was certainly very good, and well ahead of other examples I’ve had cooked in this simple fashion – i.e. the sole that Mrs. LF had at Hereford Road recently, which lacked inspiration and was overcooked. 7/10.

I should also point out at this stage that the 500ml carafe of 2007 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Combes’, Marc Colin (£42) that Mr. S and I shared was exceedingly good, and certainly complemented my main course of sole very nicely.

Main Course 2: Spaghetti with Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Chilli & Anchovy

Mrs. LF said of her main course: “This is a dish that I make myself at home, and I really enjoy it as it is very comforting and satisfying. So, when I saw it on the menu, I went for it. Maybe you think it silly to go for something that you can prepare yourself at home, but since becoming pregnant, I have become a bit of a ‘freak eater’ and have gone off meat, preferring to stick to what I know I’m going to like. Anyway, this pasta dish was very strong in flavour with the garlic, parmesan, chilli and anchovy coming through well. The spaghetti was cooked al dente and had the perfect thickness. But after a while, I found that the strength of the anchovy overwhelmed the dish and made it very salty, too salty in fact. Otherwise, I thought it was very good considering it wasn’t mine :). One small complaint is that because I had asked for this dish as a main course (it is normally a starter), I thought they should have made the portion size a bit bigger than what they served me.” 7/10.

Main Course 3: Partridge Choucroute with Franks, Ventreche & Morteau

Mr. S was quite intrigued by a very exotic-sounding dish which caught his eye on the menu. It was explained to us that this was a dish inspired by the Alsace region of France and, given that Mr. S loves partridge, sausage and Les Alpes, it was a done deal. Again, no samples were offered to his friends, but he seemed to be in his own world with this course, only coming out of his solar system occasionally to tell us how good it was. So another winner for him, which unfortunately can’t get a score from me as only his mouth had the pleasure of consuming it.

Dessert 1: Queen of Puddings

Being American, I had no idea what a ‘Queen of Puddings’ was, but I was certainly intrigued by it when I saw it on the dessert list. The waiter explained that it was a breadcrumb and fruit base topped with meringue, and it sounded good to me. I was fairly blown away by the simple deliciousness and beauty of this little rectangular box of joy. Very British and very good. The breadcrumbs were mixed with a lovely jammy fruit – memory fails me but I am pretty sure it was peach, and if not it was apricot (I really should take notes!) – and the meringue was perfect on top, adding a sugary sweetness and a crunchy counterpart to the rather gooey innards. I really enjoyed this ‘royal’ pudding and would certainly have it again if I went back. 8/10.

Dessert 2: Poire Belle Hélène

What did Mrs. LF make of her très French dessert? “The pears were nicely poached and had the right consistency. But the pears’ flavor was a bit too mild and could have done with some kind of marinating beforehand to bring out the flavor a bit. The vanilla ice cream was creamy and tasty. Overall it was a good enough Poire Belle Helen.” 7/10.

Dessert 3: Mont Blanc

Being the mountain climber, skier and lover of Mont Blanc that he is, it was a foregone conclusion Mr. S would be ordering this very typical French dessert when he spied it on the menu. He said it was very good, and it was certainly presented in a cute and attractive fashion. But, sadly, no score for you, mont amour.

And a nice espresso to finish

The evening was topped off with a very decent little cup of espresso, and we couldn’t have been a more contented table.

It does what it says on the tin

I had high hopes for LCA, and I certainly wasn’t let down. Let’s make no mistake about it, this is not a restaurant that is gunning for lots of Michelin stars and it is not trying to impress diners with avant-garde presentation that will wow with style and uniqueness. Rather, LCA is a restaurant that has been lovingly created with a clear and very personal vision. It brings together the best of French brasserie ambience and cooking with classic British produce and influences.

From the half-open kitchen, from where Chef Leigh can survey the entire dining room, to the visible spit-roast, to the little design details throughout that you notice through the course of the meal, to the actual layout of the room – with distinct dining areas that are arranged in different manners, including some beautiful leather banquettes – this is a very grand backdrop for a good meal. On our visit, all of the dishes we had were well-executed, and I would guess that the other items on the menu would have been too…no mean feat given how many dishes the menu actually contains. Service was good, but not memorable, as we had more than two waiters looking after us throughout the meal. However, they knew their products and were generally friendly.

This is certainly a safe bet for when you want a nice meal but don’t want something with too much fuss and extravagance. The owners have created a nice little world within the rather odd home of Whiteleys, and once you’re there, you feel comfortable enough that you don’t really want to leave.

Rating

Ambience: 8/10

Service: 6/10

Food: 7/10

Wine: The wine list is mostly French, with a few token Italians thrown in for good measure. It is not a long list, but it is pretty well chosen. One nice feature is that a few wines from each region are offered by the glass, small carafe, large carafe and bottle.

For more about my rating scale, click here.

*Note: I have dined at Le Café Anglais, and it was for dinner.*

Le Cafe Anglais on Urbanspoon

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A Bit More Wining – Saturday at Vinopolis with Oz Clarke + Some Chefs, Critics & Tapas

oz clarke five wines for tasting

We spent a long and enjoyable Saturday at Vinopolis, first enjoying a wine tasting with noted wine expert Oz Clarke, then a self-guided tour of Vinopolis, then popping out for some satisfying tapas at Tapas Brindisa in nearby Borough Market, and finally a front-row seat at a Chef vs. Critics quiz show which included some of the UK’s best known food personalities

The Wine Wizard, Oz

For better or for worse, twitter seems to be my best friend as of late in terms providing access to some great food and wine experiences, and often for free!

As readers of the blog will already be aware, it was through an early leak of the booking line number from fellow tweeter @richardvines that I was able to secure a table at Pierre Koffmann’s pop-up restaurant on top of Selfridges.

More recently, I also scored two free tickets to a wine tasting with well-known wine personality Oz Clarke held at Vinopolis through a competition organized by none other than @vinopolislondon. I was very excited to meet Oz after seeing the first two series of his program with James May, where they first visited France and then California in order to educate the lager-loving petrol head about the merits of fermented grape juice. Oz’s down-to-earth attitude and no-nonsense (and, for that matter, no-pretence) approach to wine is refreshing and, in my view, well suited to today’s average wine consumer, who can easily be put off and alienated by wine experts preaching from upon high.

So Mrs. LF and I headed down to Borough Market for our 3pm date with Oz and five of his top wines for 2010. The event took place within the cavernous vaults at Vinopolis, which are used for their own events and I presume would also make an excellent venue for corporate events and other private shindigs as well. The vaults originally stretched from Vinopolis’ location (just a few steps Northwest of Borough Market) Eastward down the river all the way to the end of Tooley Street and were the center of the British wine trade in Victorian times up through the beginning of the second world war.

As you can see below, it is quite a cool space, and so it was that…

...the stage was set...

...the stage was set...

...then was filled.

...then was filled.

The audience was ready...

The audience was ready...

...and Oz’s eye was on the prize.

...and Oz’s eye was on the prize.

I wasn’t exactly sure of the format of the session, but it ended up being a lot of Oz doing what he does best: storytelling. In fact, he is a master storyteller, which makes sense given his earlier career in theatre with such troops as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal National Theatre and The Old Vic, amongst others.

While we did taste each of the five wines he had selected – usually with him nonchalantly asking the audience “Shall we have a swig of this one?” or something similar – and while he did offer some brief and insightful thoughts on how he thought the wine tasted, what I remember most are the accompanying stories he used to bring the countries and wineries that these wines came from to life. It was brilliant entertainment that was educational at the same time, and everyone seemed to be having a good time, Oz included. Although I did wonder if it would be a bit boring for him doing two further sessions of a similar nature that same afternoon, complete with book signings at each. But, alas, I guess these are the trappings of success, eh?

Oz’s storytelling reaches its peak as he recounts the gales he experienced while at a vineyard in Northern Chile

Oz’s storytelling reaches its peak as he recounts the gales he experienced while at a vineyard in Northern Chile

You can find my brief notes about the wines we sampled below, some of which were pretty outstanding for their respective price brackets.

  • Roederer Estate Quartet, Brut Sparkling Wine NV (Anderson Valley, California)
    • Notes: Very fruity (notably pear) with beautiful miniscule bubbles, a tad of toastiness and serious depth. Interesting to note that, according to Oz, there are about 7 million bubbles in each glass of champagne (to be fair, though, he didn’t know which poor sod had been sad enough to do that research). Fair value at £19.99 in my view, as it is comparable to decent entry-level champagnes, if not a fair bit nicer than some of them.
  • 2008 Villa Maria Cellar Selection, Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)
    • Notes: I have tried the 2007 ‘normal’ version and thought it was a great, classic Kiwi Sauvignon. This wine had a light and bright appearance, a nose of apple, lime and fresh grass, and on the palate it was dominated by greens as well (green apples, grass, nettles, even green pepper). The bottle has a screwcap, which Oz rather likes as he believes it is better for fresh, young white wines and obviously far more consistent than cork. A fine Sauvignon for £10.19.
  • 2005 Kooyong Estate, Chardonnay (Mornington Peninsula, Australia)
    • Notes: For me, this was the clear winner out of the five. It was a marvellous chardonnay, with a golden, rich straw color in the glass, a slightly citrusy and floral nose (plus some butter), and a little streak of refreshing acidity along with some fruitiness to balance what I thought was mostly a creamy, buttery, smoky and nutty depth. It had excellent length. Not inexpensive at £18.95, but it was one of the better chardonnays I’ve tasted recently, and certainly compares strongly with white Burgundies in the same price range. I wasn’t all that shocked to see that it was Oz’s #1 wine for 2010 in his new book when I opened it up after getting home.
  • 2006 Vina Falernia, Syrah Reserva (Elqui Valley, Chile)
    • Notes: A lovely deep, dark red in the glass, with a lot of smoke on the nose. On the palate it was again smoky, with notes of cigar tobacco and also some blackberry fruit. It was a very intense wine, and I agree with Oz in that it does have a very Northern Rhône feel about it. Cracking value at £10.95 in my opinion.
  • 2006 Yalumba ‘The Scribbler’, Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah (Barossa Valley, Australia)
    • Notes: To be honest, I forgot to write anything down about this wine as I was a bit caught up on one of Oz’s stories. Oz says it “has a fascinating initial flavor of blackcurrant and mint, scented with a few drops of eucalyptus oil and a scrape of lemon zest. There’s some decent rasping tannin too and the whole experience is hugged by plump, chocolaty Shiraz.” Literally couldn’t have said it better myself! £14.99 a pop.
Oz and Laissez’s Big Wine Photo

Oz and Laissez’s Big Wine Photo

After the session, we purchased a copy of his pocket-sized 2010 wine guide and I had a brief conversation with the big man himself while he signed our book. I have used his 2009 guide quite a bit this year, and found his recommended wines to be very good for the price in general, with the exception of one or two which didn’t suit my taste. So I am much looking forward to taking advantage of his 2010 guide, which seems to be composed of much different wines than last year’s collection of 250 recommendations, although some of the same producers do feature heavily in both (i.e. Tim Adams, Primo Estate and Villa Maria).

Wine guide authors & publishers: how can you can make your readers’ lives easier?

Wine guide authors & publishers: how can you can make your readers’ lives easier?

One thing I would suggest, both for Oz, and for other authors (and publishers) of such annual guides, is to make their recommendations more usable for readers. For example, while they do list which suppliers carry each wine at the end of the description, there is no way for you to easily find which bottles out of the hundreds in the book are available at, say, Waitrose or Tesco when you walk in.

At the beginning of the year, I actually created my own spreadsheet, which is broken down by supermarket/wine shop (the ones I tend to visit the most), and what wines are available at each place that I have found interesting from all of the different wine magazines, guides and books I have read as of late. It is a fairly simple thing to do, but it is extremely time consuming and labor intensive for the consumer (and only geeks like me will take the time to do so).

So, my suggestion to publishers and authors is simple: include an index in the back of your book that is organized by store. It should just be a simple list with the largest national supermarkets and wine merchant chains in bold and all of the wines in your book that are sold at each store underneath (organized by white, rosé, red, sweet), along with the page number that the detailed review can be found on. There is no need to include all of the smaller/independent wine shops in this index if there are tons of them mentioned in your book/guide, but it would be great if the next time we walk into a supermarket or major wine merchant, we can be armed with a list of wines we might be interested in buying without having to commit the information to memory or create Excel workbooks :).

…In any case, the tasting session and chat with Oz were great, and Mrs. LF and I both enjoyed our time very much. But it turned out that our day at Vinopolis wasn’t over just yet. The kind people there had given us complimentary tickets for a tour around Vinopolis itself (which I had done before and enjoyed doing again), and also some more free tickets to attend the ‘Starter for Ten’ quiz show, which was one of the London Restaurant Festival events, that happened to be held at Vinopolis in another of their many private function rooms. With the prospect of seeing such chefs as Richard Corrigan and Rowley Leigh fight it out with critics including Giles Coren and Matthew Norman, we would have been stupid to pass the opportunity up.

So, after winding our way through the Vinopolis tour, we headed to Borough Market to get a spot of early dinner before the quiz began.

Briskly to Brindisa

Unfortunately, the market had pretty much wound down by the time we headed out, but fortunately Tapas Brindisa was open, and somehow they had a table for two. Perfect! I had always wanted to eat here given how popular it seems to be amongst foodies, but this was the first time I’d actually tried, so I was excited.

After perusing the menu for a while, we decided on a few dishes and they came out very quickly, with the exception of my sardines, which I checked on twice, and after assuring me they had been ordered (twice) finally appeared about 10 minutes after all of the other dishes had been polished off (?!).

Spanish Potato Omelette (£4.50); Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Allioli & Fresh Mint Sauce (£8.75); Onion & Rocket Salad with Pear, Quince & Kokos Vinaigrette (£3.20)

Spanish Potato Omelette (£4.50); Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Allioli & Fresh Mint Sauce (£8.75); Onion & Rocket Salad with Pear, Quince & Kokos Vinaigrette (£3.20)

First to arrive were the omelette, lamb chops and salad.

The potato omelette was surprisingly good for being such a plain dish. I thought it was seasoned well and it had a very good texture of half egg, half soft potato. Mrs. LF agreed, and enjoyed it mucha. 7/10.

The lamb chops were also well seasoned and nice and moist, though they had spent maybe a minute too long on the heat for my liking and were just barely pink in the middle. While there was a fairly spicy allioli to accompany them, I didn’t particularly like it and ate them solo for the most part. They were fine, but didn’t have that extra flavor hit to make them stand out and be memorable. 6/10.

The salad was the disappointment of the bunch. It was really a salad of red onions, with not much rocket and the pears being almost nonexistent. But the thing we both noticed (and still remember) was that it had a very strange taste permeating throughout. At first, we thought it must have come from the quince, but then again quince is a fruit, and that didn’t make any sense. I thought it tasted like corn nuts, but slightly sour ones. Maybe it was the ‘Kokos’, but I don’t know what it/they are. In any case, neither of us liked this distinct flavor. 3/10.

Pan Fried Padrón Peppers (£5.00)

Pan Fried Padrón Peppers (£5.00)

Despite at first glance all looking alike, there were a couple different types of peppers on the plate, some of which had a wicked little kick (Mrs. LF’s nose began to run), and some of which were very mild. They all had a rich, sweet taste and a nice sour acidity to boot. We only ordered them because the huge and rambunctious table next to us had a plate of them and they looked too good to pass up. Plus Mrs. LF fancied eating them with her omelette, which did turn out to be a good combination. We really enjoyed these green little guys. 7/10.

Pan Fried Sardines with Red Onion Salad & Chilli (£6.50)

Pan Fried Sardines with Red Onion Salad & Chilli (£6.50)

The sardines finally arrived and they were alright too (they certainly were very nicely presented). The fish was soft and meaty and had a nice flavor to it, and I enjoyed the hints of chilli. The skin was pretty soggy though, and seemed to be intentionally so (don’t know if it’s supposed to be for fried sardines?), which didn’t make it all that pleasurable to eat. All in all, another solid but uninspiring dish. 6/10.

I have to say that I did rather like the place overall. I enjoyed the buzzy atmosphere, the quick turnover of tables, and it seemed like everyone there was genuinely having a good time. It is certainly a good place to come with friends and spend a leisurely weekend afternoon. They also have some decent Spanish and Portuguese wines available, both by the glass and bottle. We didn’t order that much, but what we did have was generally cooked well, although from the dishes we chose, I didn’t really see what all the fuss was about. When in the area again, I would definitely go back to try sample more of the food.

Tapas Brindisa on Urbanspoon

Chefs vs. Critics & One Confused Host

After the tapas, we headed back to Vinopolis to watch the quiz show that pitted four famous critics against four well-known chefs. In true University Challenge style, the event was hosted by none other than Bamber Gascoigne, the original host of University Challenge before Paxman began residing over proceedings in 1994.

Another empty stage at another of Vinopolis’ private rooms

Another empty stage at another of Vinopolis’ private rooms

Richard Corrigan (Corrigan’s Mayfair & Bentley’s) and Thomasina Meirs (Masterchef Winner and of Wahaca fame) arriving to take their places

Rowley Leigh (Le Café Anglais) and Thomasina Meirs (Masterchef Winner and of Wahaca fame) arriving to take their places

The questions had been designed by Fay Maschler, one of the two key organizers of the London Restaurant Festival, and were actually quite difficult, with a number of them baffling the chefs, the critics and audience alike. There were some obscure music-related questions (one where the contestants had to name the composer of songs that ostensibly had something to do with food) and also a few image-based questions (one where they had to name what restaurant was being pictured).

Confound this newfangled technology, thinks Bamber

Confound this newfangled technology, thinks Bamber

The most amusing part of the whole evening was the fact that the very posh and measured Gascoigne could not for the life of him figure out how to change the contestants’ scores correctly. He kept giving points to the wrong side and detracting them from the right one. The audience kept heckling him, but he just didn’t seem to understand how the heck to work the controls. The tech guy from the back of the room had to interject a number of times, coming up to the stage and changing the scores for him. Gascoigne did seem to keep correct scores by writing them down on a piece of paper (old school indeed :)), and one of the organizers in the back of the room was paying attention to every detail and seemed to have the same score as Bamber. I’m not so sure they had it right, but it made for a lot of laughter and fun for the audience.

Giles Coren was licking his lips at something...however there was no food to be seen

Giles Coren was licking his lips at something...however there was no food to be seen & can't we have a smile Toby?

The chefs got off to a bad start, but it was neck-to-neck at the finish – at least they had a good time

The chefs got off to a bad start, but it was neck-to-neck at the finish – at least they had a good time (can't remember what Thomasina was laughing about)

Rowley Leigh (Le Café Anglais) seemed be by far the most knowledgeable of the chefs, while Richard Corrigan only seemed to know the answers to questions he wasn’t allowed to answer, continuously ringing his buzzer during the other side’s bonus questions, which was also quite comical

Rowley Leigh seemed be by far the most knowledgeable of the chefs, while Richard Corrigan (of Corrigan's Mayfair and Bentley's) only seemed to know the answers to questions he wasn’t allowed to answer, continuously ringing his buzzer during the other side’s bonus questions, which was also quite comical

In the end, the hour-long quiz was extended by about another half-hour or so and was quite enjoyable for all, especially the audience. We were glad to have been able to see these two often hostile factions let down their hair and have a good time in the spirit of friendly competition.

After a very long day out, mostly spent within various parts of Vinopolis, and with probably a bit too much wine involved (we had complementary cocktails before the quiz show too :)), we headed back towards London Bridge station to get some z’s.