The bustling Northcote Road just got a whole lot more bustling with summertime weekend pedestrianisation. Hurrah! So we’ve really got no excuse to not sashimi over to the newly opened Kibou opposite The Bolingbroke gastropub and Uncommon deli. It’s a Japanese hot kitchen, ramen and sushi bar inspired by Tokyo’s canteen style drinking dens. This is their second branch: Kibou launched in 2013 in Cheltenham, home of fine breeds (and that’s just the Ladies’ College).
It’s a gastronomic education for sure getting to know our hosomaki (thin sushi) from our futomaki (fat sushi), our tataki (seared fish) from our temaki (cone shaped roll) not to mention donburi (rice bowl). And we’re stretching our vocabulary, adding korokke which means croquette, ebi for prawn and hamachi for yellowtail. It feels like half the Battersea postcode is jammed in here tonight. We’re not complaining. Course after course arrives, each plate resembling an arrangement of origami sculptures. The nigiri is young and we are kibou (Japanese for filled with hope) in Kibou.
My Favourite London Hotel… Well, where we are sitting, my own of course! However if I am in traditional mood there is something rather special about walking into Claridge’s. But have you seen the secret garden at Number 16? I love sitting outside having a glass of rosé there in the summertime.
My Favourite London Restaurant… The service and quality of beef at the Rib Room is sublime; the atmosphere at Scott’s is perfect; but Balthazar gets it right every time!
My Favourite Local Restaurant… It has to be The Fulham Wine Rooms. They have a great charcuterie with awesome wines as well as a proper restaurant. They get it right! I’ve regularly dined there since it opened a couple of years ago. You can choose wines to taste from a wall of wine bottles. The team are so well informed too.
My Favourite Weekend Destination… Bovey Castle on Dartmoor, Devon. I love hiking and Bovey Castle is pretty remote. It’s great to escape for a few days from city life.
My Favourite Holiday Destination…South Africa, but a recent trip to the Maldives was a dream holiday. I also travel a lot with my career.
My Favourite Country House…The Pig, in the New Forest. You can dress up or down, put on your wellies, sink into the most comfy sofas, just relax. It really feels like your home from home. The food is great – they even have their own forager.
My Favourite Artist…Monet. In 2007 I was invited by the director of MOMA to visit the Monet show in New York at 7.30 in the morning. One huge room full of Monet – and me! It was the ultimate private view.
My Favourite London Shop…Peter Jones – what would I do without it? It has everything! Where else is there?
My Favourite Fashion Designer… Louise Kennedy. She has an atelier on Merrion Square in Dublin but I discovered her shop in Belgravia near where I used to work. Her clothes possess timeless elegance. They have the flexibility of being off the peg but then they are tailored to fit.
My Favourite Charity…Age UK Hammersmith and Fulham. It is inspirational. Charity is more than just giving money. We’re cooking Christmas lunch for the aged at my hotel. We’ve guaranteed to raise funds to pay for tax and insurance for their minibus for the next three years. It’s so important to support a local charity.
My Favourite Pastime… Time spent with my fabulous little family.