The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

SHAN­NON BEN­NETT’S LON­DON Shan­non Ben­nett with Scott Mur­ray

(Hardie Grant Books, $49.99)

Let me take you by the hand, and lead you through the streets of Lon­don. For a city that is huge and can be hard and con­fus­ing to tackle, the prom­ise of that song is at­trac­tive.

Now Shan­non Ben­nett, the cel­e­brated chef re­spon­si­ble for Vue de Monde in Melbourne, is of­fer­ing to lead the way in a new book subti­tled A Per­sonal Guide to the City’s Best, co-au­thored with Scott Mur­ray. The em­pha­sis is on fine din­ing and lux­ury ho­tels, but there’s space too for neigh­bour­hood pubs and rooms with a view.

“I can tell you what Lon­don food is: warm, earthy and proper,” Ben­nett says. “Fish and chips are not just fish and chips any more. It is smoked had­dock, line-caught off the west coast of Wales, in a crisp beer bat­ter, with chips that are hand-cut from new-sea­son Jer­sey roy­als, cooked twice in bio­dy­namic beef fat.”

Among his tips: plan ahead for spe­cial meals; the best places are usu­ally booked well in ad­vance. And if you like fine-din­ing restau­rants but want to keep the bud­get in check, go for lunch; spe­cial deals are a Lon­don spe­cialty. The au­thors’ favourites in­clude Din­ner by He­ston Blu­men­thal in Knights­bridge, The Led­bury in Not­ting Hill, and Le Gavroche and Pollen Street So­cial, both in May­fair.

If the Lon­don trip’s still a pipe dream, whet your ap­petite with some of Ben­nett’s recipes. Try slow-roasted York­shire lamb shoul­der, veni­son wellington with creamed cab­bage, quail Scotch eggs or (more, please) trea­cle tart.

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