Tag Archives: Bar

Frank’s Cafe

16th September 2013

I probably shouldn’t say things like this (as it’s a bit embarrassing for me), but I do think that some places make you feel cooler than others.  When there’s an atmosphere, a location, a buzz that’s exactly right and appears effortless.  

Frank’s Cafe is one of those places.  Before I continue, just get a look at this view.

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A couple of weeks ago, a friend of mine called some last minute birthday drinks and so a group of us met at Frank’s on a Thursday night.  This was before autumn set in, and the evening was clear and warm.

To get there, you make your way to Peckham multi-storey carpark, and then climb all the way to the Level 6 rooftop.  It feels a little strange pacing through the concrete slopes and stairs on foot, but as soon as you come out into the open air it all makes sense.

Frank’s Cafe is open from July through to September and is part of the Bold Tendencies Sculpture Project.  This means that there are some interesting pieces of art to have a look at if you go and visit.

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The sunset and city skyline were stunning, and the wide open space was full of Londoners enjoying the late summer weather.

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There is a bar under tarpaulin which efficiently churns out drinks (I am reliably informed that you can now download an app to place your drinks order before going to pick it up) and an open grill.  The food is specials that change daily along with an assortment of finger food – sardines, olives, smoky nuts and so on.

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We sipped on Campari cocktails and snacked on hummus with hunks of bread.

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And then settled in to watch the night arrive.

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You can find the Frank’s website here.  They’re closing for the year on September 29th, so you’ve still got time to go.  

If the chill has already got into your bones and you don’t fancy wrapping up, then make sure it’s on your list for next summer!

Frank's Cafe and Campari Bar on Urbanspoon

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Shrimpy’s

5th September 2013

My friend E recently found herself in need of a place to stay at short notice.  As luck would have it, I was off to Cervinia at exactly the right time.

So she moved in to my house and kept A company while I was away.   Ideal.

Anyway, the point of the story is that E very kindly took A and I out to dinner to say thank you for having her.  Totally unnecessary but extremely generous.  So I can now thank her again in this post… and tell you all about it.

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We had been talking about going to Shrimpy’s ever since it opened last year, and somehow never managed to make it.  This meant that it was with more than a little excitement that I approached The Filling Station at King’s Cross.

The reason it’s calling The Filling Station, is that it actually used to be a BP petrol station.  How’s that for alternative?  What’s been retained is a very cool, edgily industrial location for dinner and drinks.

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You follow the signs around the back and find Shrimpy’s with a long bar under an overhang ceiling, open to the air.  There’s inside restaurant tables as well, in a quirky and welcoming space.

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Think painted walls, brass pineapples and spiky cacti on the windowsill.  The tables are decorated with a mantra.

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I really like the retro water glasses.

Yummy popped corn nibbly things arrived, and I ummed and ahhed over the menu like always.  Shrimpy’s serves Tex-Mexy/American/Seafood type food.  Basically, it’s hard to put it in a box.

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And this is what we decided on…

Chicharon – if you like pork scratchings, you need these in your mouth.  They are a spicy, smoky, crunchy delicious treat, and the guacamole that comes with them works perfectly.

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Frickles – deep fried, pickled chillies – are you a gherkin fan?  These are like the naughty version of gherkins.  So, so moreish

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And now for the main parade – E and I had the soft shell crab burger and A had the cheeseburger in a bonnet.

The crab came with avocado and chilli and it more than met my expectations.  It was fab (fab crab, see) – if you go, definitely order it.

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Look, burger in a bonnet – too cute.

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On the side we had hot macaroni and fries.  The macaroni really rocked my world.

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I thought the service at Shrimpy’s was great – the staff were all lovely, water was constantly topped up and all of my silly questions about the food were answered.

The view across the way…

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Obviously, there was room for pudding.  If you go to Shrimpy’s make sure you leave room for pudding.

Banana and peanut butter sandwich

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Meringue, hibiscus syrup, chantilly and pineapple

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I think the photos pretty much do it justice.  I was way too full (but happy) by the time we were done.  Like this happy giraffe.

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That’s pretty much all, except to say thank you E for an amazing meal!  And does anybody want to go back with me?

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Shrimpy's on Urbanspoon

The Lockhart

11th July 2013

Last night I went for dinner at a new restaurant, and I left feeling absolutely certain that I would return.

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The Lockhart serves upmarket US Southwestern food and has taken a calm, gentrified approach to the ambience and flavours.  There’s no tacky tourist Tex-Mex here; the décor is a soothing palette of white walls, exposed brick and thoughtful, quirky features.  

I made my way towards Marble Arch from Edgware Road, and with the weather still being lovely, I found H sitting at one of the tables outside.  

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We had lots to catch up on, and managed to successfully be those annoying customers who don’t read their menus.  We did however quickly wolf down the scrumptious baked jalapeño and cheddar scones that were brought out.

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The side plates are charming old fashioned china, each with different patterns.

Having lived for some years in Texas, I have a serious soft spot for this type of food and I was definitely a bit overexcited at what was on offer.  Nachos, tortilla soup, enchiladas – the favourites are all there, but the plates coming out of the kitchen looked healthy, fresh and beautifully presented.  Forget that bright orange cheese...

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By the time we were ready to order and our very patient waiter had answered all our questions, it was getting a little chilly and we migrated inside (typical Brits!).  

But not before the man at the next table had informed us that the chicken wings were ‘as good as crack’…now there’s a review!

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The tables and floorboards are polished wood, the napkins are linen and there are tea lights dotted around. 

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Look at the ceiling…

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I ordered a Strawberry Fields cocktail – vodka, fresh lime juice, strawberry, cucumber, basil and black pepper.  There are some deadly sounding tequila cocktails on the list – if only it wasn’t mid week!

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We started with some ‘crab hush puppies’ which came with cajun dipping sauce.  These are breaded balls of brown and white crab (one of my greatest weaknesses) and they are actually miniature bites of crabby heaven.  (Not sure if that reads right, but I’m gonna go with it).

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For main course, I had one of the sharing boards – how could I resist the combination of lobster and nachos?  Also, why have I never thought of the combination of lobster and nachos?

So here it is – Dunny’s lobster nachos: native poached lobster, crisp tortillas, piquant pepper salsa, house smoked mozzarella, dorset cheddar, and fresh guacamole.

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I was a bit worried at first that I wouldn’t get full up, but these nachos are packing some serious stuff.  Each one – lobster, cool sour cream, tangy salsa – I think I could live on these.

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H had the seabass, which came with lobster, mexican chorizo, crayfish bouillabaisse and summer greens.

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On the side (strongly ignoring the mac’n’cheese) I went for succotash, an ole Southern favourite.

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It was a smoky, bacon-y mix of corn and beans and I was very pleasantly surprised.

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After scraping our plates and talking a whole lot more, we popped downstairs to check out the bar.

It’s genteel take on a classic American bar, with a subtle nod to the saloon in the low lighting and wood details.  There are more tables as well, which I have no doubt will be filling up fast over the weekend and coming weeks.

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The Lockhart has been set up by two Texan couples who live in London.  They have done a beautiful job and I would highly recommend putting it on your list to visit.

It’s my dream to help set up a restaurant like this one day…

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Lockhart on Urbanspoon