It’s been quiet on the blog recently but we’ve been continuing to make some great local culinary discoveries.
Few restaurants in the area so regularly feature in top food guides as the Artichoke in Amersham. Being closed on Sundays, we booked in for Saturday lunch a few weekends ago. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the home of fine dining; the service is top notch from the moment you walk in while the menu exudes quality. It’s priced accordingly without being prohibitively expensive. Definitely worth a visit for a special occasion.
Another weekend took us again over the border to Buckinghamshire; this time to Chesham on the Metropolitan Line. Curiously, Chesham is the largest town on the Amersham branch of the Met Line, however the path of history has meant that rather than a mainline stop is it an infrequently served station at the end of a single line spur of track from Chalfont & Latimer. Despite the relative inconvenience of reaching this farthest flung outpost of the tube network, our visit revealed some surprises. Chesham’s high street isn’t bad, but it’s the old town which is the biggest highlight. Based on recommendations we tried out the Queens Head, famed around these parts for its Thai food. It lived up to the reputation and was a fine old pub with it. Round the corner there’s also a Chess River walk to be had.
Hatch End high street is a funny yet appealing place, containing as it does a preponderance of home furnishing stores and restaurants. Following an arduous day of sales shopping it was time to try out one of the many eating options on offer. Having already tried Hatchetts (intrigingly 70’s appearance and clientele) and ASK (good service and surrounds from this chain) it was time to try another option.
We decided upon Delisserie, a spot we’d already marked out due to its breakfast and lunch offerings, although on this occasion it was an evening meal we were in much need of. The menu is a largely meat-based affair with central European influences. Dishes range from steaks and burgers to salted beef and Hungarian goulash to substantial deli sandwiches. The speciality is the salt beef, which although new to us is, as I understand it, broadly similar to jerk or corned beef, albeit prepared in a different way.
“Always keep your hook in the water: where you least expect one, the fish will be found” (Ovid)
Thus it was that we discovered Fishworks Seafood Cafe last night on Marylebone High Street. The front section of Fishworks, in the manner of its Roman ancestor, is dedicated to the sale of fresh fish and shellfish. The aroma is almost opaque. You could spread it on toast. I’ve walked past here many a time without even realising that one can eat here. A small, unassuming white-lettered sign says ‘Seafood Cafe Open’ on the glass behind the fishmonger. The glass itself slides open to allow the freshness of the fish to be demonstrated to diners before they select it from the menu.
We were seated (“You can have it for two hours”) fairly near to the fishier bit of the establishment, but our fears that the smell of the fishmonger’s would hang over us like the Great Stink of 1858 were happily just about unfounded. Continue reading →