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News Bites

Breaking stories in foodie land, one mouthful at a time

Written by . Published on February 1st 2012.

News Bites

IF there is one thing that unites rival mayoral candidates, then it is a good bandwagon. Both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson have joined the campaign to save Gaby’s, the 47-year-old Jewish/Middle Eastern institution at 30 Charing Cross Road, threatened with closure because the landlords won’t renew the lease. A theatreland institution, the luvvies are on the march in outrage to save their bean and barley soup, falafels and chicken liver salad…and one of London’s last original, as it were, delis.

They could always move to the Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, which has been bidding to make an innovative name for itself with its food offerings. Notting Hill’s trustafarian favourite, the all British Bumpkin, has joined Omar Allibhoy’s Spanish Tapas Revolution to make a mark…your shopping diary is marked…perhaps they would need a theatre too.

Bermondsey’s burgeoning reputation for good places to eat has attracted Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace who is putting in his retro diner at what was Alfie’s at the Bermondsey Square Hotel. Wallace, who hails from near-ish by Peckham, is promising Spam fritters, boiled beef and carrots, lobster thermidor and Angel Delight.

Gordon-RamsayGordon Ramsay's not looking happy

Gordon Ramsay’s Maze has lost another head chef. After Jason Atherton moved on to do his own thing at the excellent Pollen Street Social, James Durrant is off to the picturesque Test Valley in Hampshire. He takes over the 18th century Plough Inn at Longstock and is taking another ex-Maze colleague manager Janet Cage with him.

Meanwhile for you restaurant history buffs…The Times of India reveals that the first Indian restaurant in London was opened in 1810, by Sake Dean Mohamed from Patna. It was the Hindoostanee Coffee House in George Street. Alas, it proved too hot for Marylebone and Mohamed moved on to open a “shampooing” bath in Brighton, a pioneer of the spa…which made him his fortune. 


And for the statisticians among you…the world’s tallest restaurant is officially At.mosphere – yes that is a dot, geddit? – at 422 metres high stretched over two floors, mind if we are getting picky on the 122nd floor of the Buri Khalia, Dubai. The lift takes 60 seconds.


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