The revered and influential journalist AA Gill has sadly died, following a brief battle with cancer. In remembrance Urbanologie have researched the (often) hard-to-please Sunday Times restaurant critic’s favourite London fine food eateries.
Former lawyer and blogger-then-turned (self-taught) chef Mikael Jonsson opened Hedone in July 2011, and instantly established itself on the London dining scene with outstanding reviews from including AA Gill – giving out a rarely dished out double five-star review for food and atmosphere in the Sunday Times. Most recently, Hedone was awarded a Michelin star, making Jonsson the quickest Chef to ever receive this with no professional training. The food at Hedone stands out thanks to Jonsson’s extensive knowledge and extensive sourcing of the finest ingredients matched by “sophisticated techniques” to create refined and unique flavour combinations and where no two days are ever the same.
Will Lander (behind The Quality Chop House) and Daniel Morgenthau (previously of 10 Greek Street) have brought this acclaimed all-day restaurant to Great Portland Street. The chef heading up the kitchen is Merlin Labron-Johnson, having spent the last 6 years in ‘Michelin-starred exile’ in Switzerland and France and working as a sous-chef at In De Wulf, Belgium (described as one of the world’s most noted destination restaurants). The menu showcases his style of food – light rather than heavy, but still full of robust flavours which AA Gill described as the “best of modern eating, with the nonsense, pretension and snobbery left out” and awarding it a double five-star review.
Anglo is a Modern British fine-dining spot from head chef Mark Jarvis (formerly at The Bingham, Blueprint Cafe, Zuma, Texture and Le Manoir) and Jack Cashmore (from Sat Baines and also of Belgium’s In De Wulf); billed as accessible modern British fine dining with ever-changing menus that update weekly – served amongst relaxed minimal interiors. The menu updates weekly – keeping local seasonal produce at its core. A A Gill recounts that the meal delivered “the most accomplished thing a kitchen can achieve: classic flavours made harmonious, but also beguiling and ingénue fresh” and was given 5 stars for food.
Occupying an urban space in London’s Fitzrovia, Dabbous is the restaurant that has stunned both critics and diners since it opened in 2012. Behind the sheet metal door, acclaimed chef Ollie Dabbous creates light, modern European (small) dishes that are both sophisticated and delicate; that are in stark contrast with the restaurant’s industrial decor. “The food is kept so close to the soil, the hedgerow, the pool and the tide, but is still as romantic as a fairy ring … Each of us were properly, lovingly, unforgettably gobsmacked” A A Gill gushed.
A rustic institution much loved by its local regulars, Riva is renowned for simple, well-prepared Italian cooking. Presided over by its charismatic owner Andrea Riva it specialises in the Northern Italian dishes of the Lombardy region. Polenta and risotto are a speciality and Riva is also famed for its use of truffles and has become a serious foodie haunt and favourite of chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay as well as Fay Maschler and AA Gill among others – “The place I go to most often is Riva, an Italian restaurant in Barnes. I’ve been eating there twice a week for 15 years and I haven’t seen a menu for 12 years — the food just arrives.”
Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day and nowhere is that fact more appreciated than at the Wolseley restaurant in London’s Piccadilly, where AA Gill dined regularly (at a central table) and even went so far as to pen the book ‘Breakfast at The Wolseley’. Founded by celebrated restaurateurs and founders of some of London’s most iconic dining destinations – Jeremy King and Chris Corbin – the Wolseley is a cross between the “traditional robustness of the Parisian brasserie and the gloriously grand but cosy comfort of the Viennese cafe”.
According to an interview in London’s Evening Standard, the restaurant critic and writer also enjoyed talks hosted at The Frontline Club and loved The Chelsea Arts Club.