Competitions

Top-price ticket and a two-course meal for £45

On a roll at the brasserie

Roger Trapp reports on an advertising agency where all the cooks are creative

Restaurants: Where shall we meet in Piccadilly?

The Meridien, Piccadilly, which is already doing quite nicely food-wise with Marco Pierre White's Oak Room, has declared its intended dominance of the hotel-food market by opening another splendid restaurant on the same premises.

Victor Ubogu's favourite restaurant

Bath Rugby Club prop and former England international Victor Ubogu takes a no-nonsense, no-frills approach to eating out. "I like Langan's Brasserie for its consistency and ambience. It has such a relaxed atmosphere. The food is very good, and Richard Shepherd [chef and owner] is a top man.

Words: gally, v.

THE NOVELIST Patrick McGrath, editing Moby Dick in a TriBeCa bistro, looked up and read aloud about "that strange perplexity of inert irresolution, which, when the fishermen perceive it in the whale, they say he is gallied".

'Where's the haggis?' sniffs French diner as Conran opens in Paris

"ALCAZAR? It looks more like Alcatraz," said the balding Frenchman at the next table. "No I don't mean it. I'm just trying to adopt an English sense of humour to go with the food. How am I doing?"

THE 50 BEST PLACES TO EAT AL FRESCO

Each week in The Information, your essential entertainment guide to the next seven days, we invite an expert panel to share with us the fruits of their knowledge. This week, our foodie panellists reveal their favourite places to eat and drink outdoors, from hidden courtyards to country pubs. Nikki Spencer listens in

PULLING POWER

TRIED & TESTED: Fed up with crumbling corks and crummy corkscrews? Our panel goes in search of effortless withdrawal

Fake bistro tastes instant success

During its brief life, the Chilli Pepper restaurant boasted a Chef of the Year, a five-star rating for its atmosphere and - the icing on the cake - a Restaurant of the Year title. The only thing it did not have was any food.

There's brass in brasseries

BRAINFOOD

EATING OUT:Plain food, not vanity fare

THACKERAY'S BISTRO; 85 London Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN1 1EA. Tel: 01892 537 559. Tues- Sat, lunch12.30-2.30, dinner 7-9.30; average two courses pounds 17. Tues-Thurs, set lunch pounds 7.50, dinner pounds 8.95. All cards except Amex and Diners

Where shall we meet?: The Brixton Brasserie SW2

The Brixton Brasserie is the sort of ideal world you see in the movies but not much in real life, a place where staff and customers

Where shall we meet?: Cafe Lazeez, SW7

A modernist Indian restaurant is odd enough without adding the word 'bar' as well. The jazz-filled premises of this cafe-brasserie are a combination of stone, wrapped cloth and the odd highly carved Indian white-wood panel, with delightful triangular bar-stools and a handful of tables outside.

Where shall we meet?: The Soho Brasserie

The Soho Brasserie, 23 Old Compton St, London W1 (071-439 9301)

True Gripes: South of the border: Into a gastronomic wasteland

What is it about south-east London and food? Why is there this curious antipathy to the stuff when everywhere else in the metropolis has caught on to the fact that we're Europeans now and eating out can be eclectic and good value. Somehow the message seems to have bypasscd the burghers of the south-east. If it can't be fried, curried, boiled in a bag or slammed in a microwave, forget it. The map in the Good Food Guide says it all - a gastronomic wasteland. The south-east seems unable to rise much above pub-grub, kebabs and tandooris. Is it something in the water?

Where Shall We Meet?: The Dome, Hampstead

The Dome, 38 High St, Hampstead NW3 (071 435 4240)
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