Tucked away in a Soho side street, Alistair Little is the kind of restaurant you discover by accident but keep on going back to. The low-key facade and plain decor are regularly refreshed with changing artworks that can be bought by those tempted to look up from their food for more than a minute.
The space is bright and minimalist, with tables crammed into every crook and corner, lending it a real buzz during busy lunchtimes, while the evening atmosphere tends to be less frenetic and more expansively paced. It's perfect for eating with a favourite client who likes good food and a simple setting.
The food can be described as English with a twist - often Mediterranean or Japanese. Certain ingredients are regulars and played with, goat's cheese and beetroot being featured in different ways over a three-week period.
The crab and avocado salad was a triumph of presentation with perfectly tamed lettuce posing in a two-inch deep circle on top of the rich crab and avocado base. Juicy, pink lamb cutlets with Mediterranean flat bread, humous and fresh broadbean and feta salad were both refreshing and filling, though the flatbread had to be wrestled with.
Puddings are seasonal and change all the time; highlights include rhubarb and passion fruit mousse.
Where: Frith Street, London WC1
Contact: 0207 734 5183
How much: £29 a head/three course lunch