Taste of things to come

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The Independent Culture
l The Holland Park eaterie Julie's (0171 229 8331) is a favourite haunt of Prince Edward, Richard Branson and Madonna. It is also celebrating 30 years in business, and to entice customers to take part in festivities, a three-course lunch is on offer this month at the special price of - you've guessed it - pounds 19.68.

l One of the capital's newest luxury hotels, One Aldwych, has just launched its own ultra-modern restaurant, Axis (0171 300 0300). Leather floors, a gallery bar and one of London's largest murals are just some of its alternative features. And the food isn't bad either, with globe-trotting chef Mark Gregory (once New Zealand's Cultural Ambassador) offering an eclectic menu from around the world.

l If you're up North and you've ever wondered what it would be like to eat in the middle of a tropical rainforest - complete with swinging monkeys, trumpeting elephants and cascading waterfalls - then look no further than Manchester. Europe's second Rain-forest Cafe (0161 864 4220) opened on Thursday in the Trafford Centre.

l If there's any hint of an Indian summer this month, head for Edenbridge in Kent. Honours Mill (01732 866757) - the restaurant owned by swimming champion Duncan Goodhew and his brothers - has just added a huge balcony to allow for al fresco dining. This picturesque establishment, in a converted water mill by a pond, offers top-quality Modern European food.

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