It’s the end of the year again. And with this comes the dreaded New Year’s Eve. Between you and me, I have always hated New Year’s Parties with their forced happiness and there is nothing that puts me to sleep more efficiently than knowing that I have to stay up. I have given up on New Year’s Parties entirely now – usually going out on the 30th and getting awfully drunk and then being very happy to go to bed at 9 on New Year’s Eve.
What I detest even more than this dreadful party are New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t make them. I know that I don’t keep them. In fact I know that – if for example I decide to go on a diet to lose two kilos – I will from this point constantly think about food and put on more weight than I was intending to lose. If I tell myself I look good as I am and don’t need to lose any weight, the pounds will drop. Whenever I decide to stop my (now only social) smoking I start smoking three times as much, but I spend days without a single cigarette whenever I allow myself to smoke as much as I want. I am a living example of the wonders of reverse psychology.
Girl’s night out at Bob Bob Ricard
So instead of making a list of New Year’s Resolutions which I will break oneÂ after the other (stop smoking, drink less, do more (any?) sport, be tidier,…) I decided to make a list of things that I actually want to do, namely visit all the restaurants I missed out on in the last year(s). I will be very happy with this list I think
But before starting with my restaurant list there is one resolution I have made recently (NB: independently of the new year) and this is that I would like to learn cooking. I am so passionate about food and ingredients, it’s such a shame I can’t make use of this passion in a more productive way. This is something that really needs to change and I intend to do this by
(1) trying myself on easy recipes (I am a scientist, I am used to doing experiments after protocols, and what is a recipe different to an experimental protocol anyway?)
(2) learn from my mum who is a very good cook and I really don’t know why I haven’t picked up any of her knowledge yet
(3) take a couple of cooking classes, the first of which is going to be the Vietnamese cooking class by Uyen from Fernandez & Leluu. (I am already booked)
But there will be still loads of time to go to restaurants and this is my list now of places I haven’t been to for one reason or the other and I just NEED to go. (so if you want to take me out, which I would very well deserve, then take your pick )
So, here we go:
- Loads of apparently very good and reasonably priced Italians have opened in the past year and I have missed out on virtually all of them. In fact I have only made it to Zucca (which is on my Top 10 restaurants of the year list, to be posted later in the year).
Sea Bream at Zucca
Next year I shall go to Tinello in Pimlico, Trullo in Highbury as well as Polpo and its little brother Polpetto. I will also finally learn that you can’t get into Bocca di Lupo without booking in advance.
Talking about not so reasonably priced Italians – I REALLY want to go to L’Anima.
- Covent Garden – usually a paradise for tourist traps – has raised its game dramatically this year . I have made it to Dishoom which I really liked and I thought was excellent value for money. However, I did not yet eat a perfectly cooked steak at Hawksmoor nor did I take advantage of the amazing pre-theatre offer at Les Deux Salons.
- There are restaurants you could call London institutions and, shameful as it is, I haven’t been to the ones listed here (among others). There is Andrew Edmunds in Soho and, for classical and Michelin starred British food, St. John Restaurant in Farringdon. The most embarrassing however is that I still haven’t been to Tayyabs, which is said to be one of the best (and cheapest) Indian restaurants in London.
- There is an excellent choice of wine bars with amazing food – from Tapas style to restaurant style dishes. Some of the best ones I have been to this year is Terroirs (which I appear to have never written up) and Vinoteca, both of which have recently opened a new branch, namely Brawns in Bethnal Green and another Vinoteca in Marylebone. Both very high up on my New Year’s resolution list (which admittedly is getting longer than anticipated, I might have to give up on the cooking at home thing and should better quickly get a job as banker or stock broker or plastic surgeon).
Steak at Vinoteca
And finally let’s not forget about 28-50 Wine Workshop & Kitchen, I really have no idea why I haven’t been there yet. Must be some unforgivable lack of focus because it sounds like a place I would absolutely love!
- I have always very much enjoyed Japanese food and love it even more so since I have been to Japan this August. There are a huge number of well-regarded Japanese restaurants in London and I have missed out on most of them. Since I have read Catty’s beautiful review I have desperately wanted to go to Dinings. And how good do Atari-ya and Sushi of Shiori sound?Â A rather recent addition to the Japanese dining scene in London but apparently none the less outstanding is Yashin Sushi at High Street Kensington.
- you know I am Austrian. And therefore I should be something like an ambassador for Austrian cuisine. I haven’t reviewed a SINGLE AUSTRIAN restaurant on my blog. How shameful is this? I shall therefore very very soon go to Bistro Delicat, which has been very well reviewed, and I hope they do a decent Wiener Schnitzel.
- I have done really well this year to educate myself on Sichuan Chinese which is my new found culinary passion (Chilli Cool, Ba Shan, Baozi Inn, Empress of Sichuan). My dim sum knowledge however is still nothing more than rudimentary. Mr. Noodles has just published this amazing list of best dim sum places in London and I shall visit a whole lot of them, for example Dragon Palace in Earl’s Court, Pearl Liang in Paddington, and Phoenix Palace in Marylebone. The year of the Dim Sum it shall be! Even though Mr. Noodles in not so convinced, I have always wanted to try Yauatcha, 2011 might be the year.
my favourite Sichuan dish – green beans with pork, at The Empress of Sichuan
And there are other, much loved and blogged about places that I can’t miss out on for veryÂ much longer. For some French flair and cuisine there is Bistro Bruno Loubet in Clerkenwell and Galvin La Chapelle at Liverpool Street. I think I also just have to go to Vijante for some indirect El Bulli experience, I need a lot of special occasions this year it seems…
Last but not least some more Asian delights for me to achieve such as the Michelin-starred Indian Amaya, or the equally Michelin-starred Hakkasan (why is no one ever taken me to Hakkasan I wonder?) and some more achievable options such as Siam Central for Thai, Rasa for Kerala-Indian, Cafe East for Vietnamese and Mandalay for Burmese.
So this is all I can think of at the moment. Please let me know what is on your to do list for 2011, I am grateful for every inspiration. I am so looking forward to 2011!