Raymond Blanc reveals his favourite eateries in London

On the eve of new Let's Cook! courses at his cookery school, TV chef Raymond Blanc reveals his favourite foodie spots in London.

My favourite French restaurant? There are so many to choose from, I won’t choose, but if you forced me, I would say my favourites have to be Le Gavroche and I’m also very proud of our little empire – Brasserie Blanc – which now has brasseries in and outside of London.
Various locations (www.brasserieblanc.com)

I was impressed and proud when first eating at Dabbous, Ollie is a former protégé of mine and has created some wonderful dishes then and now. A salad of fennel lemon balm and pickled rose petal, for example was really engaging - it looked lovely yet unfussy and very appetising. Everything was right. The textures and the well layered flavours, even the rose petals tasted delicious and were an integral part of this dish not just a garnish. Then the coddled egg arrived as it should be, nestled in fine straw, creamy and well textured with delicate tastes from the smoked butter and the wild mushrooms. The crumbled egg was perfect, its texture firm with large chunky bits inside. There was so much truth and deliciousness at the same time.
39 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 2SF (tel: 020 7323 1544; www.dabbous.co.uk)

Any market selling locally sourced produce is great step in the right direction. I was astonished that so much of our food is imported – where is the local produce? And our interest and knowledge of provenance? I work closely with the Sustainable Restaurant Association as well as organisations like the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and MCS (Marine Conservation Society) to ensure that food industry issues and sustainability are on everyone’s agenda whether you’re a politician or consumer. I love going to markets wherever I go, whether it’s Borough Market in London or a hawker’s market in Thailand to perfect Sanary-sur-Mer fish market Market in Provence.
8 Southwark St, London SE1 1TL (www.boroughmarket.org.uk)

London has not always been renowned for its cuisine but it certainly offers the most eclectic and varied cuisine in the world.  Is it the best? I think Paris or Rome would dispute this. But it is the most exciting and the most creative city at the moment and it is so exciting to see British chefs in London now amongst the best in the world. To name a few favourites: Le Gavroche – an institution, now in the hands of the son, who is doing his father proud. He has brought modernity and excitement to the cuisine. Club Gascon, Dabbous, Zuma, Zafferano, Locatelli, Zaika, Texture, Hakkasan, The Cinnamon Club, The Square. You see what variety there is – my list gives an exciting sample of the eating-out scene in London and reflects the breadth of choice and cuisine.
43 Upper Brook St, London W1K 7QR (tel: 020 7408 0881; www.le-gavroche.co.uk)

The London Cocktail Club, bien sur! JJ and James, winners of The Restaurant – our little programme that we did a couple of years ago, have a marriage of true minds – and talents. Their sense of creativity and entrepreneurial spirit is fast and furious, their curiosity is unending. I love them both and love working with them as I know what they present is always going to be fresh and different. They already have two cocktail bars in London and are planning a third - they are a joy to work with and they are making money. As I knew they would.
61 Goodge Street, London W1T 1TL. (tel: 020 7580 1960; www.londoncocktailclub.co.uk)

Raymond Blanc is sharing his expertise and kitchen secrets at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School with new morning and afternoon Let's Cook! sessions. The three-hour course aims to inspire students to create a seasonal three-course menu in no time. The half day's tuition includes tea, and a course certificate, and costs from £180 per person. (www.manoir.com)

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