Bites: Numerology

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In a leap year it's not just calendar girls who are superstitious about numbers. In China the character for 4 is avoided in names and addresses - it's the same as for death.

In a leap year it's not just calendar girls who are superstitious about numbers. In China the character for 4 is avoided in names and addresses - it's the same as for death.

19:20, 19-20 Great Sutton Street, London EC1 (020-7253 1920). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner only. This is the latest bar-restaurant to open in London's Clerkenwell, hoping to attract loft-dwellers and virtual e-business millionaires. It's supposedly designed along feng shui principles. The kitchen tries hard and nearly gets its elaborate and wide-ranging dishes right (langoustine cappuccino £6.50, pumpkin risotto £8) - though it was still pretty patchy and expensive in its opening fortnight.

Bistro 21, Aykley Heads House, Durham (0191-384 4354). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner. 21 Queen Street in Newcastle was such a hit for chef Terence Laybourne - it's the best in Tyne & Wear, never mind Newcastle - he kept the "21" monicker as his small chain expanded across the north-east. The new chef, Adrian Watson, will keep the monthly-changing menu and specials board format of faintly retro dishes; how about cheddar cheese and spinach soufflé, followed by salt-beef and vegetable hotpot with herb dumpling? Two-course set lunch £12.50, dinner more like £40.

291, 291 Hackney Road, London E2 (020-7613 5675). Tues-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-5pm. 291 in the East End is a huge church converted into an art space, bar and brasserie. It's cool without being contrived, and the all-day brasserie is one of the best places to eat on the borders of Hackney and Bethnal Green. Faint praise you might say, but where else in E2 can you find smoked duck breast salad with mango and pear salad, followed by Moroccan seven vegetable tagine? Around £30.

7 The Square, 7 The Square, Aberfeldy, Perthshire (01887-829120). Tue-Sat dinner. Richard and Kirsteen Lyth's sensational little bistro is the talk of this small market town set in the braes of the Grampians. Although closed during February, this ex-Farleyer House team will reopen with another daringly modern and concise menu. The set dinner costs £19.50, but it's easy to spend double as dishes are so tempting.

Brasserie 44, 44 The Calls, Leeds (0113-234 3232). Mon-Fri lunch, Mon-Sat dinner. The canalside heart of Leeds has had a resurgence in the last two years, but pioneers Pool Court at 42, and less expensive next-door sibling Brasserie 44, are still among the best. The set lunches and early evening menus (6pm-7.15pm) are a steal at £9.75-£12.95, while going à la carte with hearty dishes such as salt beef brisket, Whitby cod or a "posh pastie" filled with potted duck and foie gras can cost two to three times this much - but it's still a bargain, and will satisfy even Yorkshire appetites.

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