The Queen has a cracking local restaurant in the Goring hotel, a two-minute carriage ride from Buckingham Palace, says Matthew Norman`
Here, without being stuffy or pompous, for all the tails and dinner suits, they treat everyone like a monarch. Wife and mother kicked off with plump, perfectly cooked asparagus, served hot with a fine hollandaise sauce, while my father and I had the glazed lobster omelette. The arrival of this signature dish, enticingly browned on top and a rival to the Arnold Bennett as Finest Piscine Omelette Available to Humanity, had been heralded by a waiter bearing a bottle of Tabasco. "If I recall, sir," he said (a Finnish chap, he had seen me only once before, and that years ago), "you enjoy Tabasco with this dish." You will never find better service. In honour of the Queen Mother, whose favourite it was, we also shared Eggs Drumkimbo, a medley of boiled egg and seafood served en gelée, which was superb. The main courses were impressive, so three of us thought, in the plain, unfussy culinary style reportedly favoured by Her Maj. Roast Suffolk chicken with spring greens "absolutely tastes like chicken, comfortingly delicious", said my wife in mild shock, "and the sage and onion stuffing is fabulous". My father loved the meltiness of his slow-roasted Romney Marsh lamb breast, with wild garlic and shallots in a red wine sauce. A small judgmental chasm was opened by the Beef Wellington, which I thought faultless, but my mother found chewy and not rare enough.
Price: A three-course set lunch is £47.50
Pickering in North Yorkshire has all the right attractions, including a quietly handsome inn on the high street says Christopher Hirst
A starter of potted pork accompanied by rhubarb chutney is about as fancy as he [chef Darren Clemmit] gets. Arriving in a Le Parfait preserving jar, Alison's substantial serving proved to be delicate, smooth and perfectly seasoned; like rillettes but without the fibres. Our main courses were hard-core Ginger Pig. Alison's "roast Levisham spring lamb rump" was immaculately cooked, pink but not bloody. Served on a disc of spinach-enhanced Puy lentils, the plump slices had a sweet, subtle, lingering flavour. The contrast between the crispy surface and juicy, rosé interior is the most powerful argument I know against the cheffy fashion for sous vide cooking. I went for chargrilled rib-eye of Longhorn beef at a slightly startling (at least for North Yorks) £23.50. Accompanied by twice-fried chips and a punchy green peppercorn sauce in a doll's house saucepan, it was steak perfection, miraculously tender and deeply tasty.
Score: Food 4/5, Ambience 4/5, Service 4/5
Price: About £120 for two, with wine
Rhiannon Batten is bowled over by the breakfast at Tantallon Place, a bed and breakfast in Edinburgh
When I heard about a B&B in Edinburgh that sources its food organically, makes its porridge with Stoats oats, and plies its guests with jams and marmalades made from fruit the owners have picked themselves, and bread delivered by their master baker daughter, I booked in. Tantallon Place isn't perfect. Though spotless, some of the decor and bed linen is dated, and although the tea tray comes with fresh milk, one of the best selections of teas I've ever come across in a B&B, delicious home-made biscuits and a fabulous plate of fresh fruit, the coffee is instant. But for the price, it's a steal. And breakfast? I had a temporary wobble when I spotted jars of shop-bought jam on the table but, over the next hour, a pinnied Mike brought out a feast of freshly squeezed orange juice, fruit salad, home-made rhubarb compote, steaming porridge, home-made marmalade and, of course, the famous toast. That day's offerings included Caroline's rye and sourdough, Lucy's soda bread and a surprise wild card spelt loaf from nearby Falko.
Price: Doubles from £60 per night, singles from £45 per night, B&B
Frankie Dettori's new venture, Sette in London's Chelsea, is a steady runner but nothing out of the ordinary says Fay Maschler
Slices of prosciutto, soft as pink silk hankies, draped on carta di musica bread presented at the outset, were destined to be the highlight of the meal. I thought it was a bit forward of Reg when he asked for more, but I was glad he did. Pappardelle - wide pasta ribbons - had the look and texture of chamois leather. They might have come in handy for cleaning the car windscreen if they hadn't been covered in pale green sauce. Veal chop, a dish of the day, also carried the taint of burnt fat from the grill. Calves liver with butter and sage served on a pile of spinach was miles better. Coffee granita with a scoop of mascarpone, a dessert of the day, was both appealing and considerably more interesting than anything on the printed list.
Price: A meal for two with wine and service is about £125