Eating Out: Your usual table? Who eats where Jonathan Coleman Disc Jockeys

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The Independent Culture
IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to name my most memorable meal. All meals have their own fantastic qualities of selfness, be it a barbecue on a beach or a silver-service meal in a French chateau. I've had wonderful meals all around the world, from Japanese omelettes in Kyoto, cooked on a hot plate in front of me, to witchetty grubs roasted over an Aborigine's fire. I've also eaten at a Hawaiian luau, where they bury everything in the ground to cook it. By complete contrast, a two-week holiday in the Loire valley sampling its mind-boggling delights was a very formal experience, but equally memorable - especially as we worked out afterwards that our son Oscar was conceived during that blow-out tour.

In Britain the quality of food is 300 times better than it was in the Six-ties. I like a big, white plate with good, hearty food on it and the minimum of fluffy trimmings. British pub food is excellent, and the Queen's (49 Regent's Park Road, NW1, 0171 586 0408) and the Engineer (65 Gloucester Avenue, NW1, 0171 722 0950) do some beautiful, straightforward brunchy things. Breakfasts are also a good bet, although they usually end up being an early lunch for me. I love country house-type breakfasts and Richoux (3 Circus Road, NW8, 0171 483 4001) does a great kedgeree with scrambled egg and smoked salmon.

Because we have small children, an important thing when eating out is a family-friendly atmosphere. Some places are more welcoming to pets than children, and you end up hidden behind a potted plant or by the kitchen door. That's why I like Pizza Express (70 Heath Street, NW3, 0171 433 1600) - you can take anyone.

Having said that, it's not always a recommendation - I've encountered my worst ever food when my kids have forced me to pull into service station restaurants. They're family-friendly, but the meals are just awful. Plastic food, served in plastic containers by plastic people. And the worst thing is that they're everywhere, so you just can't avoid the experience.

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