London according to Heinz Beck / 2

Continuing our walk with the chef from La Pergola and Apsleys, with afternoon teas and great dinners

27-04-2014
The Thomas Cubbit – this pub is one of Beck’s

The Thomas Cubbit – this pub is one of Beck’s favourite spots. In the second part of his story, he continues to guide us through the streets of the British capital. He has been working there for five years: with his Apsleys, tel. +44.020.7259.5599, he’s been the fastest chef to conquer one Michelin star in the history of this town’s restaurant scene

(see part one)

Days at Apsleys start very early and finish very late. If I don’t feel like moving, I enjoy a drink at The Library Bar inside the Lanesborough Hotel. In fact, I feel happy to work inside one of the most prestigious and exclusive locations in town. Moreover, one should not underestimate its elegance with regards to one of London’s musts, the afternoon tea, that is. Every day, at Apsleys – A Heinz Beck Restaurant,we follow this tradition by offering our guests the best blends, often bought at auction. Since 2009 it has been receiving "The UK Tea Council Award of Excellence” and can boast the presence of a skilled tea sommelier. All our teas are offered together with a delicious selection of sandwiches, freshly baked pastries and small focaccias, also available in the gluten and dairy free version for those suffering from celiac disease.

In the evening, after the service, it may happen that together with my staff we go to the Thomas Cubitt, a pub on Elizabeth Street: it’s a traditional place, a sort of country house, always crowded and very lively. They offer excellent cocktails and tempting dishes. Try their Fish&chips with pea purée and tartar sauce...

Restaurant Ottolenghi in Motcomb Street stands out thanks to its Mediterranean cuisine with oriental influences. Simplicity and freshness are the main characteristics of the great and scenic buffet

Restaurant Ottolenghi in Motcomb Street stands out thanks to its Mediterranean cuisine with oriental influences. Simplicity and freshness are the main characteristics of the great and scenic buffet

A walk around Victoria Station will necessarily take you to Poilane, also on Elizabeth Street: it’s a Parisian style boulangerie opened across the Channel by Lionel Poilane, a man for whom bread is a mission and a passion. Poilane owes his fame in part to his talent, but also to his meeting with Salvador Dalì who commissioned him various objects and sculptures made with bread... Just think that it took Poilane two years to get the permit to use a wood oven in London! Still, he made it, in 2000, thus exporting his tradition. Today his activity has been successfully taken over by his daughter, Apollonia. Their bread, strictly wood-oven-baked, is a must.

William Curley’s pastry shop, awarded four times for the best chocolate in England, is one of Heinz Beck’s tasty retreats

William Curley’s pastry shop, awarded four times for the best chocolate in England, is one of Heinz Beck’s tasty retreats

Another family that found their dimension and success in London is that of the Ottolenghi. Yotam, born in Jerusalem to an Italian father and a German mother, was able to successfully create a mixture of Mediterranean cuisine with rich oriental scents and influences, where lemon and garlic are happily married to rose water and pomegranate juice. As a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, I could not miss trying the Ottolenghi restaurant on Motcomb Street. All the dishes are so fresh they do not need to be kept in the fridge and are choreographically placed on a buffet together with large boxes of fresh fruit and vegetables that are used as a decoration for the restaurant, which is extremely simple. The dessert buffet is simply extraordinary: on my last visit I had to keep from ordering another portion of cheesecake.

I’m a chocolate lover, as those who have read “L’ingrediente segreto” know... Whenever possible, I stop at William Curley’s shop on Pimlico Road. I love their traditional pastries, as well as their genius blends that are a result of William’s and his wife Suzue’s experience and career: they unite English, French and Japanese style. For instance, try the Toasted sesame chocolates, with Japanese black vinegar or the matcha tea ones... they’re truly delicious.

2. the end


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