Celebrity chef Shannon Bennett's Vue de Monde in Melbourne is considered one of the best restaurants in Australia and his empire includes the redevelopment of Burnham Beeches in the Dandenongs and Jardin Tan in Melbourne's Botanic Gardens. He worked in Michelin-starred restaurants across Europe, is a member of several prestigious culinary associations, is a mentor on Masterchef and a Miele ambassador. His new book (co-authored with friend Scott Murray), Shannon Bennett's London (Hardie Grant, $49.99), is the fourth in a series that has profiled New York, Paris and France. See hardiegrant.com.au
At the moment there are too many to just say one, but Lyle's in Shoreditch is always great. So is Michelin-starred Le Gavroche by Michel Roux Jnr, which serves classic French haute cuisine. And of course, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is always amazing and the Ledbury in Notting Hill, a two-Michelin-starred award winner by Brett Graham. See lyleslondon.com; le-gavroche.co.uk; dinnerbyheston.com; theledbury.com
English lamb, which has become synonymous with modern British cooking – and there are plenty of great representations of the classic roast lamb in the capital. And of course, the pubs. Many now serve locally brewed beer and they are still places you spend the afternoon or evening, but they now feature some of the best food to be found in Europe.
BEST-KEPT FOOD SECRET
Caravan Restaurant Bar and Roastery for amazing coffee. There are branches at Granary Square, Kings Cross and Exmouth Market with the main roastery at Granary Square. They are continually experimenting and exploring with blends, roasts and preparation methods. And Brett Graham's pub in Fulham, The Harwood Arms, the only London pub with a Michelin star. Set with old school hall-type wooden tables and chairs, well spaced, with deer heads adorning the walls along with all sorts of appropriate memorabilia, it reminds me of a 1980s Michael Caine film set. Dishes are written up on a board rather than printed on individual menus, but the food is as serious as any modern restaurant.
Also, Sat Bains, one of the best chefs in the country. He is not so much a secret but he should be better known. His Restaurant Sat Bains is not in London, but Nottingham. However, it's well worth the trip. See caravanrestaurants.co.uk; harwoodarms.com; restaurantsatbains.com
A great boutique hotel – and there are so many in London. All Firmdale Hotels, owned by Tim and Kit Kemp, Kit being an incredible designer, are brilliant – the Ham Yard and Soho hotels being just two of theirs. I love Shoreditch House, a club hotel in a converted East London warehouse; Dean Street Townhouse in a pair of converted Georgian Terraces in Soho, or for something more central, the century-old Connaught in the heart of Mayfair, which includes the two-Michelin-starred Helene Darroze restaurant. It's fabulous and so are the staff. See firmdalehotels.com; shoreditchhouse.com; deanstreettownhouse.com; theconnaught.grandluxuryhotels.com
BIG NIGHT OUT
I love J Sheekey Fish and Seafood Restaurant in Covent Garden. Famous for its fish pie and other great seafood, it's been in St Martin's Court since 1896. Last orders are taken at midnight, so it's a favourite with the West End theatre types. See j-sheekey.co.uk
BEST TIME TO VISIT
It has to be late September: cabbage season is in and so are still most of the late harvest summer vegetables. Brett Graham does some great dishes with wild game. Also the pubs spill out onto the streets if the weather is great.