While the big names of London’s best bars and restaurants may have the pulling power, more often than not it turns out to be the city’s hidden gems that have something a little more to offer. And, where the major museums and art galleries continue to boast some of the world’s best and biggest exhibitions, sometimes room for a little quiet contemplation away from the throng can go a long way. With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to the very best of secret London – a wealth of the city’s most unusual and original things to do, to help you keep away from the crowds and spend some time in ways a little less ordinary. Just keep it under your hat, yeah?
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La Dame de Pic London
The first UK restaurant from French megachef Anne-Sophie Pic is located at the Four Seasons hotel in the City. That alone should tell you all you need to know. It’s ostentatious. It’s really frickin’ expensive. There’s foie gras and lobster on the menu and a fat book of a wine list. The room is palatial and the mirrored walls give the place a sprawling MC Escher vibe. Finding your way to the loo when smashed would be a nightmare. A starter of skinned little tomatoes in an intensely flavoured consommé was marvellous: sweet-savoury and almost cakey in taste. It came with a sublimely light burrata ice cream. A mouthful of both tomato and cheese concotions taken together screamed ‘ethereal pizza’. Deep green pasta parcels stuffed with air-light goat’s cheese were equally fab – not, thankfully, overpowered by the matcha-infused broth poured over them. It was all very clever stuff, as you’d expect for a mind-boggling £23 (the toms were only a quid less). If only the mains had been as good. The breast meat and a smoky side dish of grilled legs in a Brittany pigeon dish (£41, please) were excellent. But a tiny slab of foie gras needed proper searing and the promised coffee notes in the sauce were entirely absent. A cut of John Dory (£38, ta) was also cooked well, but it remains a boring fish. You can’t fault the skill displayed here. This was meticulous cooking, close to being great but just falling short on punchy, memorable flavours. And almost maniacally pricey, too: two starte
Venue says: “Taste of La Dame de Pic London is back! Try a five-course mini taster menu for £45 per person. Available Monday to Saturday, 6.30-7.30pm.”