Food blog: Dirty Bones; Fable; Carluccio's
★ Flavour Spy | Dirty Bones
The biggest disappointment when I reach the foot of the glossy red-tiled stairwell leading beneath Kensington to Dirty Bones is the discovery it's not a seedy jazz club.
There's no red-lit stage. No shade-wearing jazzers. And no filthy trombone stylings.
What there is, though, is a painfully cool little dive replete with doggy-themed cocktails, the inevitable hot dogs and a couple of bony delicacies.
In addition to a comfy little bar area, there's a geometric print restaurant, much tiling and the ubiquitous exposed tungston filament lighting.
Despite coming across as a bit of a one-trick pony, there's a bit of depth
especially in the cocktail department (try the turbo choc-chip milkshake dubbed 101 Dalmations £9).
Some of the food's good too. Highlights include the Asian hotdog and fried chicken (both a little overpriced at £8).
But mac 'n' cheese should have been served hot rather than tepid and padron peppers are too dull to mention (both £4).
Go now while the dogs are hot; there's a danger this one might melt away.
Dirty Bones, 20 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4EP, 020 7920 6434, dirty-bones.com.
★ Drink Spy | The Fable
If you're the sort who wishes Wharf beats and feast fest The Parlour was just a wee bit more user friendly rejoice.
Let me tell you a story of The Fable or, failing that, a parable, a yarn and an old wives' tale.
Well, actually not the last one. It's doubtful anyone much over 40 is being groomed by Drake and Morgan's newest City outlet.
It's similar to the Wharf setup but the new place's cavernous size (capacity 1,000 over three floors) means it's a less concentrated narrative.
Dense in words, thanks to book-themed wallpaper, its nevertheless light on content, preferring the affectation of literature than offering any to read, say.
A book-built booth reduces tomes to fetishistic objects rather than usable items.
Still, to be overly critical would miss the main plot line of Fable.
It's a place for relatively well-heeled suits to meet with the assistance of a forcefully fun cocktail list.
"You're going to give me 100% positive feedback," quips our lead barman, pulling his reddest rag available and waving it in front of my face.
Well, not quite. While several of the cocktails we're served are downright delicious, a couple are thuggy and ill-conceived.
Dodge the White Wine And Grapes, a pear-drop, acetone-scented tipple that's fun for a nanosecond.
But go for the Honey And Mustard Picnic Fix, pictured, a potent blend that's crying out for a honey garnish.
The Fable, 52 Holborn Viaduct, London, EC1A 2FD, 0845 468 0105, thefablebar.co.uk.
★ Signing | Antonio Carluccio
Just a head's up. Everybody's favourite greedy Italian will be in Canary Wharf at 1pm on May 22 to sign copies of his new book Pasta.
The visit coincides with Carluccio's Pasta Festival, which runs from May 19-July 20 in all the brand's stores and will feature new dishes.
Carluccio's, Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5AJ, 020 7719 1749, carluccios.com