All reader reviews by Steve B
I've eaten at the Junction Tavern several times and it's been consistently good on each visit.
Booking by phone has been easy. Friendly manager and staff on arrival. Menu is always interesting and changes frequently, perhaps daily.
On the last visit, the Sunday dinner roast chicken was excellent. Perfectly cooked and a generous portion with roast potatoes and other veggies. Perfect gravy too. We also had a very good vegetarian gnocchi dish and grilled tuna with lentils.
Starters and deserts also excellent all round. Nice hearty portion sizes also. I like the fact they they bring a bottle of tap water to the table (no pushing expensive bottled water). The drinks menu is well thought through. You can have wine or pints from the bar. Some good sherries recently featured as well.
The whole place is just well run with competence and efficiency in a nice relaxed setting. The chefs here really know what they are doing and the standard is very high. Service always friendly. In fact it's one of my favourite places to eat.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
Two visits within a month, each time with a group of four people. Excellent experience both times.
Firstly, staff were efficient at greeting and showing us to our table. Drinks and food orders taken in a timely manner and food arrived in a good time also even when the restaurant was full.
Dishes delivered on all counts. The classic moules and frites is as good as ever, although the fries while good are not quite as good as I remember in the past. My partner's burger was reported to be excellent. Rotisserie chicken was also very good indeed with a generous portion and well balanced, flavourful sauces. Love the big range of Belgian beers.
Belgo has a found a good formula and sticks to it. A great place all round.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Food was uniformly excellent, especially the pork belly and beans. I had an amazing dessert dish also which was a sort of bread pudding but extremely light and crispy - highly recommended. I liked the menu selection and the way the food is prepared and presented, just well made and simply presented.
The place itself is cosy, despite the freezing weather outside. We sat at the bar and were able to get a seat right away around 6pm.
Service was very attentive and friendly and well organised with dishes appearing in good time despite the place being quite crowded. My only negative is that there was a friendly but definite attempt to upsell us at each stage: suggestion to have a charcuterie platter in addition to starter, upselling on choice of wine etc.
Tapas is supposed to be small bites with a drink and not necessarily a full 3 course meal. In fact we were planning to have a light meal with several dishes so a tapas place should allow for both options.
Overall experience however was very positive.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Food 9 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6
This was my second visit and it was just as good as the first time. We had a group of six people. Everyone really enjoyed the food and the whole experience was great.
We were welcomed on arrival, coats were taken and we were shown to our table. Interesting amuse-bouche set the taste buds going for the rest of the meal. Starters and main courses were all well thought out and excellent. The combinations of flavours and ingredients were interesting and, importantly, worked together. These are dishes that the chefs have taken care over with attention to detail and getting it right. This is far from your standard Indian restaurant and a pleasant surprise. Deserts were as good as the main course.
We visited on a Friday evening and the place was quite bustling but the staff were very efficient, friendly and attentive. Food arrived in good time and was well coordinated. I like the modern, simple interior design also.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
I've been to Wagamama many times over the years. Overall it's a good formula and the concept works but the ramen soup noodle could be so much better than it is, especially for the price. Ordered the wagamama ramen the other evening. Looks good in the bowl with everything arranged nicely but the dish is completely soulless. The noodles were pasty and not cooked properly (soft, yet raw), the stock is just generic from a cube or concentrate and the other ingredients are look OK but flavour is disappointing.
The gyoza dumplings are more successful as well as some of the other noodle and rice dishes but the ramen dishes which is what it was founded on, are very mediocre.
I remember having ramen in Tokyo in a tiny place on the side of the street that we just found by chance and can still remember how good it was, years later. That's the standard.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Food 4 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4
Tried the brunch menu and ordered the American Breakfast. It was OK but only OK. Scrambled eggs were OK. Streaky bacon seemed to have been cooked in a microwave since was soft yet had a burnt taste. 'Pancakes' consisted one small pancake on the side which was very tough and had a zig zag of 'maple' syrup but didn't taste like maple syrup. One small spoonful of barbecue baked beans which you would never find in the USA for breakfast and two of those triangle shape frozen hash browns.
The venue itself looks great. They've done a nice job converting it over from the place that was there before and the atmosphere was good with newspapers available. Service was good.
From the other reviews perhaps the evening food is better.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Food 4 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6
The best burrito I have tried so far in London and a good size portion. Well prepared slow cooked pork, nice fresh salsa and guacamole, tortilla chips appear freshly made and are a cut above the norm. Almost on a par with Chipotle (USA). In my opinion, Chilango nudges ahead of Tortilla down the road and is way ahead of the very poor burrito I experienced at Wahaca Westfield.
The place appears well organised and ingredients are good quality. Very similar set up and menu to Chipotle. Nice modern restaurant decor and efficient staff.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Enjoyed a perfect, leisurely Sunday lunch at Village East.
We were welcomed by the friendly host at the door and shown to a table. Menu was interesting with a range of brunch, lunch and traditional Sunday roast options. The place just feels well run. It was fairly busy yet relaxed and attitude free.
Food was excellent. I had the roast beef Sunday lunch. Good portion of beef rump which was perfectly cooked and very tasty with great yorkshire pudding and veggies that came with it. My partner ordered a main course salad which was well constructed with freshly made ingredients and balanced with just enough dressing. Dessert of warm chocolate and walnut brownie with damson ice cream was just right.
Lovely cosy interior with clean lines yet warm design, perfect on a murky Sunday afternoon in November. Look forward to returning!
Monday, November 09, 2009
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 8
We didn't have a booking but the reception staff were very welcoming and showed us to a table right away. The place is big with a buzzy atmosphere with slight woody smoke aroma from the pizza ovens. Feels very much like the kind of place you would find in New York. Well organised, efficient operation with plenty of competent appearing staff with a feeling of a well managed operation.
Starter of squash and farro was pretty good and tasty. The pizza had a nice chewy, bubbly crust with good flavour although a bit on the dry side overall. Side salad (little gem lettuce with figs, hazelnuts, bacon and blue cheese) was very good - also very American in style, in my view. Food came quickly and service was efficient and friendly. Pizza prices a little on the high side but pretty positive experience overall.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 6
A hidden gem in Camden town, just a few minutes from the frenzy of the market. Simple, good value menu with well cooked dishes. Great summer rolls, the soup noodles are good with fresh tasty broth and also had the caramel chicken which was tender and flavoursome. Good service with friendly staff.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
The open plan kitchen is great to see and everything looks clean and well organised and busy. There is a brisk turnover of food and tables. Right from the first taste, everything we ordered was delicious. We ordered two different chicken dishes, Karahi chicken and chana chicken with some vegetable dishes also. Everything had depth of flavour, even the Zeera rice (rice with cumin seeds) was great. I don't think I have had Punjabi style food like this before and it was fantastic.
Service was quick and efficient. Jug of water provided at the table. Bring your own beer if you want. Excellent value for money too.
Very impressed! Looking forward to going back.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10
We were looking forward to visiting and happy to report that we did have a great meal here. The dishes were excellent and well prepared. I ordered roast partridge and my partner had lamb. The desserts were a really special highlight (banoffee pie that was perfect and not too sweet and a blackberry trifle that was very special). Overall the standard of food was very high.
Nice straightforward presentation and service too. No fussing about or pretension which was also appreciated.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
Nice clean, modern interior in Chinatown. Ordered seafood Laksa, gado gado and lady fingers (Okra). Food was pretty good overall and service prompt. Two points on the negative side however were that both the laksa and lady finger dishes were a bit on the oily side and the chili spice level on the laksa was turned up so high I could hardly taste anything else resulting a flavour that was a bit one dimensional. Seafood in the soup was pretty standard (fishcake, a few prawns, sliced scallop).
Will try a second time with different selection of dishes...
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7
Food for Thought is a long time favourite for me. It's an institution. The food is always very well prepared with good quality, fresh ingredients. The dishes are very flavourful and nice and substantial (something that is sometimes lacking with vegetarian choices). A standing feature on the menu is their quiche with mixed salad. The variety in taste and texture in the salads works very well. I also love the hot dishes and the deserts and have never had anything I didn't like here. Great fruit scrunches, fruit crumbles with cream and custard too. I will even go to Covent Garden specially to eat here.
I'm not even a vegetarian but I do love well thought out vegetarian food like this. I know that non-meat eating friends complain that just because you are a vegetarian, restaurants often assume you must be on some sort of starvation diet (eg just vegetables by themselves or some sort of 'diet' dessert). Not so here. Food for Thought proves it's possible to have both tasty, nutritious and wholesome vegetarian food.
Don't come here expecting some sort of candlelit, white table cloth restaurant ( I think that's what one or two of the other reviewers below were looking for). It's a very small but cosy and friendly space that manages to turn out great food in a high rent area of Covent Garden that is dominated by chains or more expensive places. The lunchtime trade, when I usually go, is brisk and so you will probably have to sit on a table with other people and squeeze in a bit. There may be a short line and people are usually in a hurry to eat and go and the servers aim to be quick and efficient, so just bear that in mind. They also do take away (get that from the counter upstairs).
Tip! I try to avoid the peak time and go a bit earlier or later when the crowds are less.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
Pretty good overall. Probably one of the best US mex style burittos I've had in London. Very similar look to the restaurant and menu as Chipotle in the US but not quite up to the same standards (eg pork had a bit of a chicken stock cube flavour) however the guacamole was very fresh which is a good sign and the rest of the package was very good. Efficient service too. A great find.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7
I like this place. The food is fresh tasting and the variety of sushi, vegetable and other dishes is good. Agree with the other reviewer below on the hand rolls. Also the tempura hand roll are great! Nice relaxed atmosphere also. Good value for money.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Had an excellent meal at Market. The staff were so friendly and welcoming. All the dishes were excellent. We had a crab, parmesan and chilli tart to share as a starter. A deep wedge of tart packed with crab meat, wonderful thin, crisp, pastry and simply served just slightly warm. Great. Chicken and ham pie was as good as I was hoping it could be (a rare find) and a nice generous size. My partner's rib eye steak and chips was also very good. Puddings were great. The place was full by the time we were finishing yet the service was prompt and the dishes came at the right time and the staff were on top of everything.
This place does so well what so many other restaurants do badly. Great food, confidently cooked with no fussiness, none of that mean portion control and inept service. Just highly competent all around. It looks to be successful and deserves to be. The prices were good for such a high standard. Can't wait to go back.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Just as we were giving up hope of ever finding decent Mexican food in London, after many sad attempts, we came across Taqueria...
The food was just great. We only tried 4 items: fish tacos (pescado), skirt steak tacos (Carne asada), Frijoles refritos and some Mexican rice and plantains. All were excellent. Simple yet skillfully prepared by a chef that clearly knows what they are doing. Fresh ingredients with a good balance of seasoning and textures. The fish was perfectly cooked with a crisp batter and great chipotle mayo. Shredded white cabbage is the genuine garnish also. The skirt steak was nicely charred on the outside and pink in the middle.
The dishes were a little pricey for the size (these are small tacos) but here I was happy since the quality was so high.
Service was efficient and straigthtforward and dishes came promptly. Look forward to visiting again.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
We had wanted to visit the Covent Garden branch for ages but didn't have the patience to stand in the queues so were excited to be able to get a table without waiting on an early midweek evening. The restaurant is on the outside terrace at the Westfield Mall. Cool interior and nice ambience.
The menu looks interesting with a mix of smaller dishes and more substantial dishes. We went for the more substantial since we were hungry.
We ordered the chicken enchiladas and steak burrito with chips guacamole and salsa to start. Guacamole was OK but a bit off green colour. I was hoping for some nice fresh pico di gallo with fresh zippy flavours but the two salsas we got were a bit dull. A chipotle one and a tomatillo, I think.
My chicken enchiladas came quite quickly which was good. The chicken filling was OK but the tomato sauce on top was a bit soupy in both taste and appearance. The green rice with fresh coriander that sounded so fresh and interesting on the menu appeared to be 'easy cook' rice that was definitely undercooked and rather dry and hard with green flecks but no taste of fresh coriander. Overall nothing special and not very substantial either.
My partner's steak burrito was OK but a bit strange. The flavours didn't seem to be Mexican at all somehow. Also the same dry, hard rice inside.
Overall we were a bit underwhelmed and felt it wasn't particularly good value for the money.
Having lived in the States for 10 years I have been spoilt by the huge range of Tex mex and Mexican offerings over there, not all great but many are really excellent and great value for money with fresh, zesty flavours that you expect in Mexican food so it can't be that hard to do.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4