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Be afraid. Janet's on the stump

In Islington South and Finsbury, former home of Tony Blair, the main parties have all chosen female candidates. Janet Street-Porter met them

Bistro Bruno Loubet, St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road,

The woman at the next table is looking mournful. “This used to be the best Italian restaurant in London…” she says, plaintively. I’ve only just put my bottom on the seat and picked up the menu. It is overwhelmingly French. Oh dear; is this meal doomed to failure?

Dans Le Noir? 30-31 Clerkenwell Green, London EC1

"It's just the thing for Hallowe'en," grated the Independent Magazine's top brass, in their don't-even-bother-arguing way. "Instead of reviewing a normal restaurant, where people eat a romantic meal with knives and forks in discreet lighting, you'll go to that place where everyone dines in spooky total darkness, you'll think you've gone blind and you'll pour red wine down your front. Shut the door on your way out."

On The Road: It was as normal as a club in London, only in Rio the

I had an evening to kill in Rio, and I wasn't going to spend it on Ipanema beach. Stunning though it may be, I was tired of its white poodles, snooty looks and glossy brand name superficiality. The Rio I love is boho more than bistro, samba more than bossa nova. So as the sun sank over Guanabara Bay, I headed inland to Santa Teresa, where cobbles clamber over steep hills between the city centre and the forests of Corcovado.

The war zone: How the notorious London neighbourhood they call the 'V'

One year on from Ben Kinsella's murder, the area of London's King's Cross where it happened – known simply as the 'V' – is as bleak as ever. Is there any hope for the youngsters growing up in this brutal atmosphere? A man called Beef, who spends his days patrolling its streets, thinks there is

One Minute With: Jake Arnott

I'm in my office in Clerkenwell. I look out on to a gloomy courtyard and backstreets which are laughingly called Mount Pleasant.

More headlines

Oliver! Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London

Well, is it a great musical? Yes. Is Rowan Atkinson any good as Fagin? Fairly good, fairly funny, but he can't sing very well, and keeps missing the beat. And what about Jodie Prenger, the people's choice as Nancy on the BBC television talent show I'd Do Anything? Oh dear.

Real food: Wild at heart

Until the Romans arrived in Britain (bringing with them straight roads, under-floor heating and the onion), we had all been quite happy to perk up our food with two other members of the Allium family – leeks and garlic leaves. However, as soon as we got our teeth into the onion, we rather abandoned our native garlic in favour of the Mediterranean interloper. But the wild garlic hung on in there and still comes up in our woodlands every spring, looking beautiful with its delicate white flowers and elegant lush green leaves.