Locally sourced what?

On my travels recently I met up with my daughter in the city of Juno’s birth, London. Where to eat? So many choices (if you can afford most of them). Avoiding the bog-standard see-them-everywhere chains isn’t a difficult decision to make; but then you are faced with the culinary equivalent of the dreaded ‘estate agent speak’, where language seems to be the vehicle for promoting more of a smoke-and-mirrors confusion than aiding your powers of decision-making. It’s a competitive world, this restaurant business, and nowhere moreso than in the centre of one of the world’s leading cities.

Modern European does what it says on the tin. Fusion conjures up visions of either some kind of scientific experiment or an industrial procedure, either of which should cause alarm if you are purely focused on eating. Brasserie keeps the industrial metal vibe going. Bistro is something now applied to so many different places that its origin as a small cheap Parisian eatery has long since been lost. You can choose by country of origin, as London seems to have more types of cuisine than there are countries on the planet these days; but then you find yourself meeting up at a railway terminus without a Masters Degree in local culinary geography, so walk the streets and take pot luck is the most likely order of the day. Then there is the question of whether you are looking at a stand alone restaurant or is it part of the expensive boutique hotel next door (and does that matter anyway)?

You can always decide on the criterion of available budget; but some external menus are either written in small font size with dim lighting, or the pricing doesn’t easily correlate to each item, and the hidden extras just might surpass the cost of the main meal.

Where is my trusted feline advisor when I need her? This is the moment where Juno would undoubtedly be referring to me as ‘indecision central’ or ‘the resident knowledge gap’. Previous experience of the area of Bloomsbury does nothing on the night to speed the decision, but at least my young companion is no car driver so the long lost art of walking is not beyond her ability. At last, we walk through the Dickensian Woburn Walk


… and stumble across an advert for Italian-British fusion at the simply named Number Twelve. It was not clear until you search for the rest room that this is part of the Ambassadors Hotel, so be prepared for a degree of elegance in decor, layout and quality of the food. This is definitely not your basic and simple bistro, and despite being tucked away in an isolated corner the service was welcoming. The window table was next to frosted glass with seating backing up to the window, so it is not going to be a place where the passers-by get to decide on whether they try it out based on gawping at what you are eating! The fillet steak and grilled salmon main courses were very well prepared, and despite having six chips on your plate it has to be said they were large and perfectly cooked. As for the side of chilli spinach, what a delight…

Number Twelve Bloomsbury

Not a cheap eating option, but if you are in the mood to savour some quality this is definitely a place worth checking out. However, I am left baffled by the menu and advertising claims to locally sourced ingredients… as Juno would have most definitely reminded me, the only locally sourced ingredients in London are concrete, tarmac, glass and exhaust fumes. Whether you are in for the surf or the turf options, until we speak again don’t let your eating be put off by culinary estate agent speak!