What the ex­perts rec­om­mend

The Week - - Leisure -

Piecaramba! 11a Parch­ment Street, Winch­ester (01962-852182) Dur­ing my ca­reer as a food critic, says Jay Rayner in The Ob­server, I have some­times re­ceived men­ac­ing re­bukes “from what felt like the para­mil­i­tary wing of the Pie Lib­er­a­tion Front for dar­ing to re­fer to a casse­role dish with a pas­try lid as a pie. Heresy!” A true pie, of course, must be fully en­closed in pas­try – like the “won­ders” of per­fectly cooked golden short­crust be­ing served up at Piecaramba! (“a jolly arch name for a bloody good pie shop”). Some of the pies on its menu are sourced from the well-known Piem­i­nis­ter; oth­ers from the Hamp­shire farm­ers’ mar­ket stal­wart Mud Pie; but many more are pro­duced in their own kitchen. All are bel­ters – and crack­ing value at £5.50. A slow-cooked beef pie oozes with “dark, savoury tones” and rich gravy. A game pie of par­tridge, pheas­ant and veni­son is sweet with red­cur­rant jelly and “the airy waft of bay”. There are ex­ten­sive veg­e­tar­ian and ve­gan op­tions, and all the accompaniments – creamy mash, mushy peas boosted by a lit­tle chilli, onion gravy, pars­ley sauce – are very fine, too.

Meal for two, with drinks, £25 (if you re­ally try).

Cer­e­mony 131 Fort­ess Road, Tufnell Park, Lon­don NW5 (020-3302 4242) This ex­cep­tion­ally wel­com­ing new veg­e­tar­ian place in north Lon­don is “one of the most ex­it­ing small restau­rants I can re­mem­ber open­ing in years”, says Giles Coren in The Times. By any mea­sure, Cer­e­mony is “out­stand­ing”: the dou­ble­height space an airy de­light, the kitchen and floor staff “lovely”, the cock­tails set to be “leg­endary”, and the food “orig­i­nal, light, colour­ful and full of love”. We first went for brunch, and en­joyed a smoky tofu scram­ble, silky and rich with pow­er­ful red chilli, “won­der­fully fluffy” sweet potato pan­cakes with maple syrup and a poached egg, and a huge heap of wild mush­rooms on toast with eggs on top. So back we went for din­ner, and be­gan by down­ing a cou­ple of “ex­quis­ite” cock­tails, a “bril­liant” crisped, breaded duck egg and some de­cent starters. Then the “bang on” mains: a “bright and golden” sweet potato curry that’s full of “depth and in­ter­est”, and (even bet­ter) a white bean broth with cavolo nero and “lus­cious, gnoc­chi-like dumplings”. Trust me: this place “is go­ing to be huge”. Our starters were £7-£9; mains £14-£16.

Where to eat in Lis­bon

It might seem “crazy”, says chef Nuno Men­des in the FT, but “in Lis­bon you start the day with a cus­tard tart” and a cof­fee. This is a city that stays up late, so we need a break­fast that “keeps peo­ple go­ing”. At the best places, they pro­duce the tarts in-house. You could try Gar­rett, Man­teigaria or Con­feitaria Na­cional. For lunch, go to the “old-school” Zé da Mouraria to try a one-pot dish such as oc­to­pus rice or bean stew with cab­bage and chorizo, or a baked fish and veg­etable pot. Cantinho da Paz does authen­tic Goan cui­sine, and Taberna da Rua das Flores serves dishes from Mozam­bique and An­gola with Por­tuguese flavours. Mar­tim Moniz is a “fun area”, home to Nepalese and Chi­nese mar­kets. In the evening, head to the Adamas­tor district to sit out­side at a nice kiosk, weather per­mit­ting, and en­joy the sun­set with a cold beer. Tasca da Esquina does amaz­ing Por­tuguese dishes; The In­sól­ito serves food and drink un­til late at night; Nunes does fan­tas­ti­cally fresh san­tola (crab), red prawns and clams.

Cer­e­mony: “out­stand­ing” by any mea­sure

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