Your usual table?: Mary Quant, designer

Who eats where
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The Independent Culture
MY GARDEN in England is full of eating-out places, for heatwaves, warm September evenings or lunch on a frosty Christmas morning. I love food, I love cooking and I love eating. Eating outdoors is a particular passion - that is, eating trestle-table a la nicoise. In the old parts of Nice the family tables are out in the cobbled streets so that you can't drive past. They insist you join them at midnight on a hot July evening. So that's just what you do, abandoning the car. My favourite Nice restaurant is in the market. It's open mainly for the market people, and shuts in August. A basin of tagliatelle with basil, cream and fresh parmesan is placed on the red gingham cloth before you, to keep you quiet. This should be followed by a great daube of beef and mushrooms. You see the remains of the bottles of red wine from the tables going straight into the preparation of tomorrow's daube. End your meal with the blackest, most delicious pot au chocolat and espresso coffee.

One of my favourite restaurants is the Poissonnerie de l'Avenue (82 Sloane Avenue, London SW3, 0171 589 2457). It is also the place to find the best oysters in London. Peter Rosignoli, the owner, knows about fish, and the Kentish voices in La Maree, his fish shop next door, tell you that the produce has come straight from the sea. The cooking is classic, with the best fish and just the right sauces.

If you like oysters straight from the bed then it is worth the drive to Whitstable's Royal Native Oyster Company (Horsebridge, Whitstable, Kent, 01227 276856). The oyster beds can be inspected underneath the restaurant, as the pebble beach is lashed outside by the tide. It is a blissful place for a Sunday lunch, gazing out at the beach huts, all painted in Liquorice Allsort colours. And a quick dip in the sea before lunch adds to the pleasure.

! Interview by Anna Melville-James

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