CITY: Food writers write about food for a reason: most can't cook. Ken Hom, the Chinese American cookery writer, is a notable exception. For proof, try braised aubergine at Imperial City, Royal Exchange, Cornhill, London EC3 (071-626 3437). The vegetable is deep fried, then slow cooked with chicken stock and a well-judged seasoning of garlic, ginger, vinegar, soy, spring onions and bean paste. The upshot is earthy, warming and delicious. The vast new dining room is difficult to find: the City is strict about signs in front of the Royal Exchange. But it is likely to be full. Open peculiar City hours: 11.30am-8.30pm Mon-Fri.
SHEPHERD'S BUSH: The late Peter Langan used to say that the three most important things for a restaurant were location, location and location. He was wrong. Consider Chinon (25 Richmond Way, W14 071-602 5968). It is in Shepherd's Bush. The streets are a one-way maze, punctuated by piffling roundabouts. Parking is hell. Yet Chinon works because of its food. Chef Jonathan Hayes is talented and also very playful. So squid might come on a sheet of pasta, dyed black with squid ink, the cap stuffed with a tomato fondant, pine nuts and pesto sauce. Rare and admirable generosity shows in thickly cut liver, its texture firm, flavour excellent. Approx pounds 30 for 3 courses, wine, coffee, service and VAT. Open lunch Mon-Fri, dinner Mon-Sat Access, Amex, Visa.Reuse content