The Frontline Club

On an otherwise unremarkable street near Paddington Station lies DonQui’s home away from home in London…


…this is the Frontline Club.


On the ground floor at 13 Norfolk Place, London, W2 1QJ, is the excellent Frontline Restaurant which is open to non-members. While most of this part of London is given over to quick eats and the occasional good Middle Eastern or Malaysian establishment, Frontline offers excellent modern British cuisine. Fresh ingredients are often sourced from the Suffolk/Norfolk borderlands not far from DonQui’s home paddock of Southwold.


The menu is relatively small with a few standard classic dishes and an ever-changing array of more interesting choices. Tonight DonQui opts for a deliciously simple dish of gnocchi with wild mushrooms and pecorino cheese. It is utterly delicious and quite satisfying, the cheese adding a lovely tang to the velvety mushroom sauce.


Upstairs is the cosy members’ clubroom and bar. It is a perfect place to sit back, relax, have a drink or three and do a bit of work at the same time. DonQui is not the only one with his lap top open and a pint of Adnams beer (brewed in Southwold) by his side. There are also a number of rooms and it is in one of these where DonQui will rest his head tonight.

William H. Russel’s boots and gloves from the Crimean War

The club was founded by war correspondents and caters particularly to journalists who have worked on the ‘frontline’. The restaurant and club are decorated with iconic photographs of war and  conflict while the members clubroom housed bric a brac brought back by journalists from the Crimean War in the 1850s to modern Afghanistan and Syria.

One of the iconic war photos adorning the walls – this from the Vietnam War

As DonQui has a bit of a history trotting around various war zones with the media he feels quite at home here. You do not have to have had such experiences to become a member. If images of war and conflict put you off your dinner, however, you may not feel quite as at ease here as DonQui does.


The Frontline hosts an interesting series of talks, screenings and workshops which are also open to non-members.

In 2010 Vaughan Smith, the Frontline’s founder, offered refuge to Julian Assange of Wikileaks. This caused quite some consternation amongst many members, DonQui included. Fortunately the Club distanced itself from Vaughan’s personal support for Assange. This did not prevent the American journalist James Kirchick from slagging off the club in The Spectator, as place “where members preen like latter-day Hemingways amid lovingly curated war-reporting memorabilia.”

Maybe DonQui fancies himself as a latter-day Hemmingway. Whether true or not he rather likes the place.

Chocolate Indulgence

Earlier last year DonQui visited Bakewell. While there Duchess treated him to a day long Chocolate making course at Harrington’s School of Food and Drink.

choco course.jpg

Apart from making some rather delicious treats, DonQui learned quite a lot about chocolate and how to use it.


Generally speaking DonQui tends to concentrate on savoury courses, often going without dessert, having cheese instead or simply making a fresh fruit salad. Now, despite a slightly expanded Christmas waistline, he decides to put his chocolate skills to the test and try his hand at making a chocolate mousse.

With apologies for DonQui’s usual lack of precision measurements, his recipe is as follows:


good quality dark chocolate broken up into bits (about 2/3 of a bar)
a knob of unsalted butter
3 egg whites
2 egg yolks
a splash of whipping cream (or liquid double cream)
a scoop of caster or icing sugar


bain marie.jpgGently melt the chocolate and butter in a bain-marie (in a bowl over warm water)

Whip up the egg whites until they form stiff peaks then gradually add in the sugar, continuing to beat it all together.

Beat the egg yolks and set aside

set asside.jpg

Warm up the cream until just short of boiling

Take the melted chocolate and butter mixture off the head and gradually add the warm cream, stirring it gently until well mixed. Then add the beaten egg yolk and do the same.

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the stiff sugared egg whites. Mix it all together but not too vigorously as that will collapse the egg whites.

in fridge.jpg

Spoon into serving dishes, sprinkle with a bit of unsweetened cocoa powder on top and put in the fridge for at least 6 hours.