Douglas Blyde

Douglas Blyde

A former documentary man, Douglas Blyde is utterly gripped by gastronomy: driven by a love of good taste and fascinated by that almost nocturnal, nervously energetic breed known as chefs. He longs, one day, to own a pristine restaurant, boutique hotel, almost mythically revered vineyard and a vast chocolate factory

  • Tabbouleh recipe from London's Ozer

    Sunday July 26th, 2009

    From humble beginnings in rural Turkey, the charismatic Huseyin Ozer has become known for overhauling London’s approach to Turkish cuisine. In addition to hearty grills and roasts, his menus offer a lighter range of game and seafood dishes and even a ‘healthy set menu’ of sprightly mezze including subtly spiced falafel, leafy tabbouleh and virtuous broad bean salad…

  • Semplice

    Sunday July 26th, 2009

    As the name suggests, Semplice is about (meticulous) simplicity. A generous starter of fat pappardelle was glossily spun with racing green baby spinach and earthy, springy chicken livers. Such an unequivocally peasant Italian effort ironically came from head chef Marco Torri’s Japanese sous chef. Despite their lobster plates, it warranted envious looks from my à la carte friends.

  • Saltoun Supper Club

    Friday July 17th, 2009

    ‘The Saltoun Supper Club’ takes place each week at Arno’s home in Brixton, converted into a prop for pleasure dining. The décor bears testament to an artists eye – a nude of a tall, girlie figure by Tracey Emin clings, arms by sides, to the hall wall; on the stairs, a moneybox by Gilbert & George invites financial fuel with the words, ‘pay up and f*** off’.

  • Levi Roots – I Slayed it My Way

    Monday July 6th, 2009

    Following a memorable musical pitch, Levi Roots, 50, won BBC’s ‘Dragon’s Den’ with his potent ‘Reggae Reggae’ sauce. In exchange for a 40% stake in his business, he secured the support of millionaire ‘Dragons’, Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh – not to mention £50,000. We skanked ove to talk to him

  • The Waffle House

    Monday July 6th, 2009

    Catching jasmine scents beside a stream, I sipped a thick malty milkshake from a narrow straw, which thoughtfully slowed the flow. Organic flour is ground upstream between French Burr stones. These contain quartz crystals meaning sharp grinding edges which won’t chip into the flour. With every tinkle of the service bell, hungry anticipation grew.

  • Rowley Leigh - Toast 'Anchovy'

    Monday July 6th, 2009

    Rowley Leigh, the chef portrayed by critics and colleagues as a ‘founding father of modern British cooking’, generously takes time over lunch to expound his philosophies. Just don't ask about bloggers though

  • Freggo

    Friday July 3rd, 2009

    Timely for our heat-wave. Bedecked in purple, marble and mirrors and brought to you by ‘Gaucho’ Freggo represents the first U.K. outlet of the South American staple, known there as ‘Freddo’.

  • My Path: Richard Bigg of Camino

    Saturday June 27th, 2009

    Richard Bigg, 46, has been described as ‘the grand druid of hip hangouts’. He founded Shoreditch’s  ‘Cantaloupe’ bar in 1995 followed by ‘Cargo’, ‘Market Place’, ‘The Big Chill’ and ‘Camino’. He lives in Sussex with his wife and two young children. Douglas Blyde meets him at Camino in Kings Cross, London, in his  Observer Food Monthly’s Bar of the Year 2008, over silken octopus, gooey croquettas and succulent veal belly…

  • ‘40:30’

    Friday June 26th, 2009

    Expecting ‘Pea’ and mint soup, my father looked startled when he received almost bare crockery (albeit by Thomas Keller). He soon relaxed when this was flooded at table with chilled, softly textured liquid that captured the verdant spirit of an English garden. It came with a crusted tuille of polenta and fresh, yielding Parmesan custard, served separately. Inspired and invigorating

  • Franco Manca

    Sunday June 21st, 2009

    Noisily chatting in a great many accents, the long queue of hungry customers snaked towards a funk of odours. Amidst the scaly perfume of a fish counter beached in sunshine.They came for this: the cosy, welcoming, tempting aromas of sourdough momentarily torched at 500 degrees…

  • Is Prosecco Worth Prosecution?

    Monday June 15th, 2009

    Our man with a taste for wine Douglas Blyde looks beyond the bubbles in the land of Prosecco. A cheap alternative to champagne? Maybe we've been drinking the wrong stuff

  • No. 20 at Sanctum Soho Hotel

    Sunday June 14th, 2009

    Past 3D cameras and an increasingly famous commissionaire, ‘No. 20’ is the restaurant at Soho’s ‘Sanctum’ Hotel. This is London’s answer to Paris’ boutique ‘den of opulence’, the Hôtel Costes. Chic and shiny, dining room details include crocodile-skin chairs (not crocodilette), taut, bronzed banquettes, glass sheathed pillars and positive photo panels by the MOD’s official artist, Xavier Pick.

  • China Tang

    Saturday June 6th, 2009

    Five months after the actual event, I was being treated to a birthday dinner at The Dorchester’s Cantonese, ‘China Tang’ which takes its name from Sir David Tang, clothes designer, gold-miner and cigar aficionado – Cuba’s Honorary Consul no less.

  • The Company Shed

    Friday May 22nd, 2009

    If Kirsty Young invited me to name my desert island dish rather than disc, I would probably say “shellfish”, which seems apt. A recent craving for crustaceans took me to Essex, but not as you know it. Colchester’s Mersea Island is just five miles by two of tidal salt marsh

  • River Cafe

    Monday May 11th, 2009

    The River Cafe is now apparently, 'legendary'. Our reviewer swims against the critical tide by suggesting it may be for all the wrong reasons

  • De la Warr Pavilion

    Saturday May 2nd, 2009

    Bexhill on Sea may not be as well known a foodie destination as Bray or Marlow, but it may just have the most unique restaurant of them all. At least when you look at it.

  • Real Food: Health and Happiness

    Monday April 27th, 2009

    Philip Lowery, Director of the Real Food Festival, talks to Douglas Blyde on time travel, ‘ros boeufs’ and guilty Ginsters pasties…

  • Fat Duck Restaurant

    Tuesday March 24th, 2009

    Three days following a fun lunch at Heston Blumenthal’s revamped ‘Little Chef’, I was at ‘The Fat Duck’ for the strangest lunch of my life. Linen guides rate it the world’s second best restaurant and despite it being in Berkshire, one guide even describes it as ‘London’s finest’.

  • The Double Club by Fondazione Prada

    Saturday March 14th, 2009

    I ventured to ‘The Double Club’ on a double date. The west meets the Congo (and vice versa) in this temporary venture, produced by Prada. Down a dark cobbled alley behind Angel tube, it was an unlikely find. A Victorian warehouse is awning to three spaces woven by artists and graced by fashionistas. The mind behind is Carsten Höller, a German gripped by Congo-mania..

  • Corrigan's Mayfair

    Monday March 2nd, 2009

    Richard Corrigan’s life has been defined by pathos. From tending roots, shoots and sorting cows from sows, to tussling chicken-crazed foxes, he rose from the bog where electricity was anathema, to cook for the Queen. In rehabilitating dowdy ‘Bentley’s’, the barrel-tummied Nimrod also roused interest in food ‘from our islands’. An almost evangelical ingredientism continues to eat into his latest venture.