Unusual Bars and Restaurants (book launch)

unusual bars and restaurants

July 4th 2012

Last night I took Audrey to a book launch – Rachel Howard’s Secret London: Unusual Bars and Restaurants.

garden museum

In keeping with the unusual theme, the launch was held in the café at the Garden Museum, a deconsecrated church (St. Mary’s) and burial place of John Tradescant (credited as being, “The first great gardener and plant-hunter in British history”). One would imagine that the museum is in fact still a church and aside from a small sign on the door it’s not signposted.

garden museum interior

The launch was very well attended by an informal and very friendly group of people,

rachel and angelos

some of whom I know from the St. John restaurant in Smithfield (including Rachel’s partner Angelos).

gin and cucumber tea

After saying our hellos, we made for the drinks and were delighted by the gin and cucumber cocktail served in a tea cup, like something from Alice in Wonderland.

veg box

I thought the food presentation was absolutely brilliant, reminding me of weekly organic veg box deliveries in the UK.

beetroot and walnut dip

Among other things, the veg boxes contained an outstanding beetroot, garlic, parsley and walnut dip. Beetroot, combined with the other ingredients gave the dip a savoury, nutty flavour.

warm camembert

The food sensation of the evening was the delicious oven warmed camembert, containing little pieces of garlic and rosemary. The most popular dipping food for the cheese, was a hot baby potato, but the celery, carrots, crisps and radishes were almost as divine when dripping camembert. I will definitely be making this at home!

rustic tomatoes

In keeping with the garden theme, there were rustic vine tomatoes on wooden boards

cream tea

and wonderfully light scones – little cream teas with strawberry jam, cream and a fresh strawberry on top.

chocolate and pistachios

I must confess to forgetting to try the chocolate and pistachios – I did mean to, but the camembert kept calling me back – the next thing I knew, it was all over and we were standing outside…

sorrel and francesco

Sorrel Ferguson did a amazing job with the food (above with Venetian TV historian, Francesco da Mosto).


The Garden Café is in: The Garden Museum, Lambeth Palace Road, SE1 7LB

… the café is vegetarian and I loved the food!

About Mad Dog

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20 Responses to Unusual Bars and Restaurants (book launch)

  1. Woweeeeee. So sorry to miss it
    … Glad to have Mad Dog keeping me in touch with it though with great photos and words. Happy to accompany you on a return outing x

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    Short of having a friend in London, this book would be the perfect guide for me should I return to London. I’m not one for the tourist spots and I tend to avoid crowded eateries when I can. I don”t think I’d face either problem if I followed the book’s recommendations. First, of course, I’d have to check out The Garden Café — and I wouldn’t leave until I tried the chocolate and pistachios!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks John – I kept think all evening, that I’d try the chocolate at the end. To my palate it doesn’t seem to go with camembert or gin!

  3. Fabulous place, wonderful food – so nice to ser such creative veggie nibbles. I will definitely be trying that beetroot dip too!

  4. The Ferguson family are amazing. I’m so impressed by the food at the event. Fantastic flavours, brilliant presentation – just the best. Great post keeping me in touch with the few things that I miss of London. Thanks.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Roger – we all went for a drink on a barge afterwards, the Tamesis Dock. I don’t remember quite so much about that 😉

    • Audrey Evermore says:

      Roger, Sorrel mentioned to us that the scone recipe was her Grandmothers! They melted in one’s mouth like Melting Moments ! MD doesn’ usually eat the sweet options on any menu, but even he indulged more than once on this occasion !

  5. I haven’t been to the garden musem in ages, thanks for the reminder, it’s such a quirky almost forgotten about place!

  6. What a fantastic feast! Did everyone get one of those little boxes?? I’d like to think so and I’m certain I could polish one off all by myself 😀

  7. I need to go there! it looks like it was an incredible evening and now I am craving camembert …

  8. peasepudding says:

    the presentation is lovely and unique, that camembert would have me going back too. I have 3 homemade maturing at the moment, trying to resist and wait till they really are very ripe.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks – Sorrel (the chef) seems to be very talented. I hope your camembert turns out well – you must resist until they are ready 😉

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