Sunday, January 29, 2006

A few of my things I like... and one I don't

I’d hate to think anyone thought I was a pessimist. I don’t want this blog to be a moaning blog so its time for some recommendations. After all, one of my “not a new year’s resolutions” is to give people more positive feedback.

Sorry for those of you outside of London, I live in London so these recommendations may seem a little London centric - at least one isn’t.

Dav Flavin exhibition at the Hayward Gallery . I like Minimalist art and this is the best such exhibition to come to London in recent years. Its already been to Washington, Chicago and Dallas, it goes onto Paris and erh, somewhere else in Europe I can’t remember.

City Car Club - not just in London, and there are other car clubs around. I got rid of my car over 2 years ago now. I travel mostly by public transport but when I need a car I can rent one for an hour or a week from the Car Club. I don’t have to care about insurance, servicing, tax, fuel and so on. Costs me about £1,200 a year in membership, rental costs and for occasions when I hire a regular rental car. Compare this with the AA’s estimate of £5,000 a year to run a small car. Saves me money and time.

There are three cars in my area and I have the choice of two types. I’m hoping they will improve their customer communications this year - in the past they’ve had a tendency to move cars, replace them or even remove them and not tell the members.

(I’ve been meaning to blog about the car club for a while but there is always something more pressing.)

Three restaurant recommendations:

  • The Glasshouse in Kew. Almost a local for me, easy to get to but not that cheap (£110 for 2 people, three courses with wine). Been here a couple of times in the past two years for celebrations.

  • Savoir Fair on New Oxford Street - only discovered this a couple of weeks ago. Its like one of those little unpretentious restaurants that seem to exist all over Paris - although it has a downstairs that makes it a bit bigger. Food is classic French but unlike so many French restaurants in London they are not exclusive, a good selection of New World wines. Relatively cheap for this part of London (under £30 if I recall correctly) but good quality.

  • Brasserie Roux - this has got to be the greatest bargain in London. It’s a Roux franchise inside a hotel so you have to hunt it out inside the Sofitel on Pall Mall. Again, two visits in the last two years have been equally good. The food is great and if like me you go for the pre-theatre menu its is a bargain - £20 for three courses and half a bottle of wine per person. At this price, with this quality it is unbeatable, if it is I’d like to hear where!

The website I’ve just referenced London Eating is pretty good too, only wish they could remove restaurants when they cease to be.

On the subject of websites, I’ll let myself go negative - O I know I said I wouldn’t! But this one is so bad.

Went to the Royal Opera House website to book some tickets before. This site is awful, I’ve used it before and it was awful then. If ever a website was developed to deter people from booking, to give the impression that “we don’t need your sort here” this is it.

As much as I love Opera and Ballet I think the Royal Opera House does its best to deter people and make it an exclusive pastime. The website excels at this. Why o why did successive Governments repeatedly bailed them out?