Thursday, 10 January 2008

Where to retreat after a bad?

I don’t know about you, but it takes me ages to find restaurants that I like, and once I settle there, they become comfortable favourites – places to go when you’ve had a bad day, safe in the knowledge that the familiar surroundings, friendly service and reliable food will somehow restore order to the world again.

The trouble is, I also seem to have a jinx on restaurants. Either the management changes, never to be the same again, or they change the décor and replace comfy, cosy surroundings with modern, anonymous ‘designer’ décor to attract younger punters. Or they close.

So it was with one of my favourites in Earl’s Court: the Pizzeria Venezia was reliable, good value and comfy, with friendly service. We never had a bad meal there. Unfortunately, it was a little off the beaten track, and never seemed to be as busy as it deserved. And then it closed.

So, we’ve been hunting alternatives. Masala Zone is a venture of the more up-market Chutney Mary chain, and provides affordable, good-quality Indian cuisine, but the interior is large, open and busy, so not good for retreating from that bad day (great for a gang of friends, though). More the thing is New Lotus Garden Chinese restaurant. It’s small and cosy, service is very friendly indeed, and the menu is familiar, with lots of favourites. But it’s popular, and it’s best to book, so you may not get in... Another alternative is the Warwick Arms pub which, as well as serving Fuller’s ales, has some nice snug corners in which to enjoy food from their in-house Indian eatery, which is very reasonably priced.

Alternatively, there’s always home delivery pizza, a bottle of wine, and then snuggling on the sofa watching the telly...

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