Today sees Chris Pople leaving the grilled steak aside and instead getting to grips with London Living’s very own London Grilling.
Chris is the owner of the cultured taste buds behind the hunger-inducing and wit-filled Cheese and Biscuits blog, an online food-fest dedicated to showcasing the best (and sometimes, the worst) of London’s culinary hotspots. Whether you’ve a sweet tooth or an appetite for something savoury, Cheese and Biscuits is the place to see what’s hot, and what’s not in a most honest, candid and often rather frank manner!
Chris’s passion for food has even landed him the accolade of being included in London’s Evening Standard ‘1000 Most Influential Londoners‘ – so you’d better listen to what he has to say!
1. You’re King for the Day and London is yours for the taking. Where do you go for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
If I’m having a day of leisure I’ll generally opt to stay in bed until lunchtime, so I’m not really an expert on breakfast spots. But that old cliché, the Wolseley, is probably worth a punt if you really insist I get up early. For lunch, and assuming it’s a sunny day (I’m ever the optimist) I’d grab a pulled pork sandwich from Pitt Cue and eat it sat on the grass in Soho Square. For dinner, there’s no point holding back (I am king after all); so it’s off to Bob Bob Ricard for as much caviar, vintage vodka and lobster burgers as I can stuff into my royal face.
2. London is full of amazing food markets – what’s your favourite and why?
I’m not really much of a cook, so I lean towards the markets serving great hot food ready to eat rather than anywhere with fresh ingredients. And for that reason, Berwick Street is my latest obsession, home of the wonderful Banh Mi 11 and the Pizza Pilgrim guys. They are fantastic, cheap, and about ten minutes walk from my office – just long enough for the pizzas to cool down to an edible temperature.
3. Everyone has a secret London hangout – what’s yours?
I’m afraid the cat’s out of the bag with many of my favourite spots, but if I’m in Soho waiting for a dinner reservation and I need somewhere quiet, interesting and reasonably inexpensive to knock back a couple of Negronis, I’ll head downstairs at Polpo to their Campari bar. It’s a tiny, dark little space that has often has a bit of a drainage problem and for all these reasons I can generally get a drink pretty quickly. That doesn’t put me in that good a light, really, does it?
4. Your blog is refreshingly candid – so tell your worst ever London dining experience.
I have had so many utterly awful meals it would be hard to pick an absolute worst; if it wasn’t for a trip to Aberdeen Angus Steak House in Piccadilly Circus. It was such a soul-destroying experience, sitting on collapsing, threadbare seating under harsh strip-lighting, being served diabolically bad food by waiting staff who didn’t give a flying crap – right at the bottom of the heap of anywhere that will take your money for food in London. And I’m including the Rainforest and Hard Rock Cafés in that assessment.
5. If you could have three celebrities round for supper, who would they be – what would you ask – and what would you serve?
I find questions like this a bit odd. What would be the circumstances of having three random famous people in my house for an evening? Would I have to befriend them over a period of time beforehand? Or would they be forced somehow to come round to my house and eat my food under duress? I’m not sure I have the time or money for the former, or the gumption for the latter. Still, taking many unanswered questions for read, I guess Douglas Adams, John Lennon and John Peel would have a lot to talk about. If they weren’t all, you know, dead.