Alastair Little, 136A Lancaster Road, London W11 (020-7243 2220). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun lunch. Alastair Little's name doesn't just belong above his two simple but impressively effective restaurants between which he divides his time, he's one of the architects of Italian-influenced cooking in London. This, the off-centre sibling of the original Alastair Little in Soho, delivers focused plates of, say, warm salad of smoked herring, potatoes and parsley, bucatini con polpette and Tuscan fish casserole with cod, cuttlefish, clams and bream. The set lunch is £15 for two courses, £18 for three; dinner's more like £30 without wine.
Gordon Ramsay, 68-69 Royal Hospital Road, London SW3 (020-7352 4441). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner. You know Ramsay – or if you don't, you feel you do. His restaurant consistently scores top marks in every guidebook. You can't book more than a month ahead, so start ringing early in the day for that table. The small, comfortable, carpeted dining room may be decorated with suburban glass, but the cooking's in a class of its own, and the staff skilled enough to make you feel completely at home. The set-price lunch is £35, à la carte dinner around £75, tasting menu £85 all without wine. This week's scheduled opening of Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's (020-7499 0099) at the Mayfair hotel has been put back to October 22.
Paul Heathcote's Restaurant, 104-106 Higher Road, Longridge, Lancashire (01772 784969). Wed-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner, Sun lunch and dinner. While the Simply Heathcote's diffusion brasseries now number three – in Preston, Manchester and Liverpool – this has the chef's full name, the more evolved repertoire on which he made his reputation, but less of his attention. French classical skill plus local ingredients equals exemplary evolved earthiness: Goosnargh chicken and ham hock terrine with bitter herb salad, plum and apple chutney; black pudding, braised suckling pigs' trotters, quails' eggs and red wine sauce just for starters. Lunch is a mere £16.50 for three courses and coffee; dinner à la carte is around £50 without drink.
Restaurant Martin Wishart, 54 The Shore, Leith, Edinburgh (0131-553 3557). Tue-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner. Chef and patron Martin Wishart has rapidly established his restaurant as one of the leading lights in Edinburgh. With a stone floor, modern paintings and black Venetian blinds, it's attractively minimalist, and pleasingly lit. The menu's thrillingly short, the cooking stunningly good, the service unfailingly thoughtful. Typical dishes: lobster and truffle ravioli with buttered Savoy cabbage and light shellfish cream; Buccleugh beef with artichokes, French beans, Lyonnaise potatoes, red wine and shallot jus; Armagnac parfait with poached pear and praline biscuit. £30-£35 for dinner; set lunch is £13.50 for two courses.Reuse content