FOOD&DRINK London Lite Wednesday, 7 October 2009 23 thetopchefseat Posh nosh: Nigella Lawson is a regular at iconic seafood restaurant Scotts Litebites Foodanddrinknews North LoNDoN isnt exactly starved of restaurants, but still this big, bold Greek kitchen is worth seeking out, especially to judge by the numbers packing out the dining room of this cavernous converted pub. With the joyful, well-fed buzz of people of all ages and origins, its like being on a Med holiday. We half-expected Meryl Streep to burst out of the kitchen singing Mamma Mia! Instead we got our ace waitress: feisty, warm- hearted and opinionated. Under her guidance we chose well. We greedily dunked bread into the 2.95 melintzanosalata (try saying Greece is the word: the tasty meze-style menu at The Carob Tree in Highgate is great value that after a couple of ouzos), a delicious fresh aubergine and garlic dip. Pork keftedes (4.45) followed: juicy, plump and gently spiced. thick slices of griddled haloumi cheese (4.95) demanded a second portion. the menu is meze-style picknmix, with main- sized specials such as steak and fish from the grill. We had halibut that tasted fine but seemed a bit steep at 19.95 when everything else was great value. trying to be authentic, we went for a bottle of Greek red wine -- which proved to taste a little too authentic. the waitress cheerfully switched it to rioja without complaint. We didnt bother with dessert (the only pudding on offer was baklava pastries with vanilla ice cream). the sole duff element in the whole meal was a supposedly Greek feta salad (4.25), but turning out to be over-refrigerated and topped with pallid tomato segments, it was about as Greek as I am. Which is not at all. Even so, while the Carob trees cuisine isnt entirely the real Greek, the welcome that they give you certainly is. LaRUsHKa IvaN-ZaDeH THe Carob Tree 15 Highgate road, NW5 (020 7267 9880). Dinner for two including wine, 65 Go on, be a rebel WEVE had Underground Rebel Bingo, now we have its twisted sister, Rebel Dining. The brainchild of promoters Charlie Vanillaface and Shay The Chef Ola, the Rebel Dining Society launches its series of four fortnightly events tonight at Camp (City Arts and Music Project) on Old Street. Expect music, art and an overload of innovation with ex Fat Duck chef Jorge Arango behind the stoves. Sign up at Artandfoodat45 ART and food combine in the Wallace Restaurants exclusive new package. Available on Friday and Saturday nights until 24 January, the package offers a private view of new Damien Hirst exhibition No Love Lost, followed by a lavish French feast at the Wallace Collection restaurant for 45-55. The Wallace Restaurant and Wallace Collection, Manchester Square, W1, 020 7563 9505 Itschocolatetime! CHOCOHOLICS rejoice! Next week is National Chocolate Week -- a great excuse to indulge. The pick of the week can be found at the UKs first chocolate show, Chocolate Unwrapped, at the May Fair Hotel on 11-12 October. Look out for tastings, demos and samples from top producers such as Melt and Rococo. Tickets 12.50 in advance. Out of this world FRESH from sending their candied gingers into space (yes, really), Artisan du Chocolat has created a cute new Space Collection to celebrate. We love the retro-style milk chocolate spaceman, 9.50, and the planet of flying saucers with popping candy, 12.50. Available at Chelsea, Westbourne Grove and Selfridges outlets. HILaRy aRmsTRONG Wellequipped Potato Smasher THE season of comfort food is now upon us -- and what could be more cosy and comforting on a cold autumn night than bangers and mash? For perfect, fluffy mash give the Smasher a bash. The spring-loaded mechanism takes the strain, while the base holds your potatoes in place so you wont be chasing them round the bowl. Joseph Joseph Smasher, 11.99, at the weekend for long, raucous lunches with their bambini. Great fun. Who goes there? Fergus Henderson, Raymond Blanc. Ciao Bella, 86-90 Lambs Conduit Street, WC1 (020 7242 4119) MirchMasala WitH seven branches and counting, Mirch Masala couldnt be more different from the posh indian res- taurants that win all the gongs. Yet any number of the capitals most celebrated indian chefs will confess to a soft spot for these cheap and cheerful canteens. Vivek Singh of Westminsters Cinnamon Club is a fan of the gutsy, fiery curries (4-6.50). the breads are a meal in themselves, particularly the flaky keema (2.50) or garlic naan (1.50), both the size of a car hub caps. Service is fast and friendly. Who goes there? Vivek Singh, Quo Vadiss Sam Hart. See Sushi-Hiro CHeFS cant resist the tough love treatment at Sushi-Hiro. its not that the staff (all three of them) are rude, they just do things their way. Lunch is served from 11am-1.30pm. Be five minutes late at your peril (as Heston Blumenthal found out). theres no tempura or noodles -- the only thing served here is sushi. the chefs choice of nigiri sushi or sashimi never fails and is a steal at 18.95 for the deluxe selection. Note: its cash only here. Come prepared. W h o g o e s t h e r e? H e s t o n Blumenthal, Anthony Demetre of Arbutus and Oliver Peyton. Sushi-Hiro, 1 Station Parade, W5 (020 8896 3175) NewDiamond NeW DiAMONDS popularity dates back to Marco Pierre Whites enfant terrible days when hed regularly take his brigade for a Chinese midnight feast. ex-Marco chef Jason Atherton, now holder of a Michelin star at Maze, still orders the same: Chilli squid (7), salt and pepper pork ribs (5.50) and the good old beef curry (5.50). the venue is nondescript but it opens late, its cheap and theyll do you an ice-cold tsingtao. Perfect. Who goes there? Jason Atherton, Mark Hix, Gordon Ramsay. New Diamond, 23 Lisle Street, WC2 (020 7437 7221)Tasty: raymond blanc is a fan of Ciao bella Fan: Heston blumenthal likes Sushi-Hiro ClassicGreekexperiencewontruinyou index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html36.html37.html38.html39.html40.html41.html42.html43.html44.html45.html46.html47.html