Monday, 25 January 2010
Living in Surburbia means that there aren't many stylish, decent restaurants to visit. But, there's some great pubs and a lot of them are now upping their game (and their prices!) and producing some great food. Nevertheless, if you fancy getting togged up and having a special night out, I always feel I need to go into town. But you end up spending a fortune on cabs, or sitting on filthy tubes and paying ridiculous prices just for the privilege, of which I am not always convinced it is. Of course, you can't beat the thrill of places like J Sheekey's, Bentley's and Hakkassan; they really are worth the effort, in my opinion. And Shoreditch has always been one of my fave places to hang out, although not necessarily where I'd go for a special meal; until I discovered Les Trois Garcons and Shoreditch House that is! But dining locally has always been a bit dull, like you've settled for second best, or you're broke, so have no choice. Until recently that is, when I was asked to review Willow (dodgy name, I know) in Winchmore Hill Road, London N21. I went with a girlfriend because I didn't think my husband deserved my company that night. We had a lot of catching up to do, so staying local suited us perfectly. However, once inside, you could have almost (not entirely though of course, for reasons I'll leave you to work out) forgotten you were in Winchmore Hill. Willow is really quite stylish. There are things missing for me, (they need to address the soft furnishings and dying plants) but without being too picky and pedantic, we were really both quite impressed. Fantastic cocktails, as good as any I've had in Shoreditch, and a particularly lovely restaurant upstairs. They've got it all sorted up here, including the food. There were elements that weren't great, like the Gnocchi (appalling actually0 and the Cremé Brulée (think thick packet custard), but the rest of it (Sea Bass and Fillet of Beef)was very good. Good enough for me to go back. But then, we're not exactly spoilt for choice in suburbia! Read my review at www.N21.net and decide for yourselves - local or not......?