The moody skies, bustling streets and steely skyscrapers – ah I love London. Although I travel into the city once or twice a week for meetings, events or shoots, there’s something about going on your own time, for fun that differs entirely to rushing around, toting a laptop and an Oyster card on a weekday. Suddenly you see the urbanscape through fresh eyes and the fact it’s a London date day is made all the better.
After walking down the aisle and having our first dance to songs from his first album, I’d bought Toff Ben Howard tickets for Christmas and it tied it perfectly with a little light lunch to a restaurant I’d been dying to go to for years – Beso in Covent Garden. Sitting on the busy Shaftesbury Avenue, the unassuming destination is the perfect place to pitch up and watch the world go by on their outside tables or inside perched upon a window stool.
I don’t usually cover restaurant reviews on TwentySixStyle.com and a Tom Parker-Bowls I am not, but with a penchant for Mediterranean cuisine (er, hello Italian wedding!), Beso was exactly what we had in mind on a quiet Friday afternoon. The industrial interiors of exposed brick walls and overhead pipes is exactly what you’d expect from a cool West End eatery, interspersed with abstract artwork and art deco-style light fittings I had my eye on for the house! It has a warm and inviting vibe without the rushed etiquette you so often get from a city centre restaurant. It was quiet and cosy.
Surprisingly, Beso has a strong vegan and vegetarian menu – think Crispy Padron Peppers on delicate flat bread with green garlic aioli and Crispy Cauliflower & Caramelised Squash – interspersed with fresh fish and the odd Welsh lamb cutlet complete with smoked aubergine Begendi. Torn between the gnocchi with forest mushrooms and hake fillet, I was told that I couldn’t have a mere smaller portion of the Italian delicacy as a starter which was disappointing and made my indecisive nature go into over-drive.
Settling for the Moorish Green Pea & Herbs Hummus, I was pleasantly surprised by how flavoursome a simple dip you could pick up from your local supermarket, could be. With whole chickpeas and a generous portion, I was still suffering from a mean case of food envy for Toff’s Crispy Southcoast Squid. But it was the main course that stole the show, cementing Beso as my new favourite lunch spot in Covent Garden – Steamed Fillet of Hake, slow cooked swiss chard, baby spinach & wild sorrel cream, washed down with a beautiful bottle of their finest red.
Two hours passed in a minute as we talked over our house renovation plans, dreamed about having a second home in the city and promised to have these London date days more often. We pretty much closed Beso down as we were the only ons left in the restaurant, scoffing our indescribable Valrhone Dark Chocolate Delice (with salted cream & raspberry sorbet) and watching the theatre-goers excitedly scurry towards the bright lights of the West End. I can’t think of a better way t spend a Friday afternoon…
Lunch gifted from Beso, with thanks