All reader reviews by Ph

Konstam at the Prince Albert

This was good.

Three of us had dinner a week ago. The best thing was baby courgette, its flower filled with blue cheese and deep fried in a tempura batter. Served with a fresh green salad and a sharp dressing. It made me dribble.

Sturdy flavours and ingredients and good portions. Most ingredients locally sourced of course - so all nice and fresh. Wine good and won't break the bank - a UK house white £13 or so.

Only gripes - by husband thought his fillet of sea bass was a tad overcooked and my friend's green beans were stringy. So, they're not perfect then, but they did well.

Service excellent. Friendly and competent.

We'll go again.

Friday, August 18, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6


Food excellent. Service although friendly was extremely, and consistently, inept.

The last time I ate here, food and service were excellent. So there seems to be a hit and miss element to the front of house management here - could be easily resolved with training and good supervision.

If you like beautifully and competently cooked French bistro food and can put up with reminding staff to bring you your menu/wine/water/whatever, then go. I will be.

Thursday, July 13, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 9 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8

Lindsay House

Forget the wannabe's and the pretenders. This is the real McCoy. I've rarely eaten better food. Lindsay House should be a benchmark for all restaurants - why aren't they all like this?

Eat here and you'll just realise what it's all about. Good ingredients, imaginatively but simply presented and beautifully cooked. I had languistine (barely cooked, melting and sweet), venison (rare and juicy) and a burnt sugar soufle (a 15 min wait and worth it).

But you know you're onto a winner from the outset - the amuse bouche have such attention to detail - but they're subtle - no sparklers or sprinklings.

I'm not usually effusive with my praise, so to set matters right there has to be some criticism somewhere. Let me think. The wine list could benefit from having more of a selection under £35 - all a bit pricey at the mo'. And because the room's small my Husband had a tendency to whisper and I couldn't hear a word he was saying. But given most of it was 'yum' and 'cor' it didn't really matter.

Turning back to the good stuff, the service was competent and the surroundings comfy - so no need to be afraid of the furniture - just make sure you speak up.

And cost? We pushed the boat out so it was £107 a piece including service. Worth every penny too. If that's too much there's a range of menus with differing prices. I'm going back to try the tasting menu asap.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

Bleeding Heart (Restaurant)

Within this price range, I'd say the food ranged from poor to average and the service was average to good.

For example, a 'tartare' of salmon with seawead was plain nasty - it was gritty - just like poorly rinsed spinach. Suckling pig, cooked four ways, was boring. It needed an apple sauce, or some gravy, anything to lift it - no discernable difference between the different cooking methods. I would've been happier with roast pork and crackling. Pudding was a chocolate soufle - but there was a ridiculous palaver with the waiter pouring over warm brandy and trying repeatedly to ignite it like a christmas pudding (which was fine by me, because after each unsuccessful attempt he'd top up the brandy).

The wine list is extensive, but I'd say 3/5 of it is beyond the price range of most people.

The service was attentive but not crawling or stuffy. But then you should expect that.

Came to £60 odd a head, including wine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4


Husband and I have been going to Banners regularly for the past 10, or even 15 years or so. Usually for breakfast on Saturdays. Book in advance.

Banners' breakfasts are consistantly good. Hot. Varied (from a fry up to re-fried beans and non-stop filter coffee). Good produce and excellent fast and attentive service. Highly recommended. Very good atmosphere.

Something comes over the kitchen in the evening tho'. Although the service remains excellent, the standard of the food is very hit and miss - and always has been. Avoid the flaccid chips at all costs. Last meal I 'consumed' (I left most of it) was Jerk chicken and fried plantain. What an unappetising greasy heap that was (sorry Banners fans, but it's true). Husband's lasagne had been re-heated 'til it was crisp 'round the edges and dried out. And his chips...yes, there were limp and greasy. Really horrible.

On the other hand, salads are usually good and fresh. And the steaks are usually nice and thick and cooked competently - 'tho avoid the sauces that come with them - they hide the flavour of the meat.

So choose carefully. Although, if you're going for the atmosphere, friendly service and a night out with your chums, the booze list is good and I dare say you won't much care too much about the standard of the meal you're eating. Tho' remember that you are paying for it and so say something if it really isn't up to scratch or nothing will ever be done about those limp chips.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 4 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 5


Another dependable local restaurant. Food usually consistantly good. At its very occasional worst - a tad uninspiring. For example: a lental and cabbage soup on the specials' board last weekend was in need of a good stock (tho' it could've been the vegetarian option I suppose, so was stockless). On the otherhand, the monkfish main dish, was excellent. As was its presentation with a nicely dressed rocket salad.

Varied dishes. Good wine list. Not cheap. But doesn't make your eyes water either. Lunch for two: three courses (one pud - very good fresh fruit cheesecake with crispy base) a bottle of wine, coffee - came to £80 or so.

Dinner a few week's before, came to nearly £90.

A competent effort, relaxing, and therefore value for money.

Bar and anti room leading off it very smokey. Main restaurant at the rear fine and airy - with artwork.

One ladies loo for the entire bar/restaurant. Couldn't swing a cat in it (should you want to) you bang your knees on the sink as you sit down - or hover - a bit of a wellie job too by 9pm - knock your head on the towel dispenser as you stand up. Needs sorting. So wait 'til you get home if you can.

Haven't experienced anything other than friendly and attentive service.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7

Bistro Aix

A quick update to my review below. As I chomped happily through my rare and juicy steak (with chips and a well dressed salad) the other week, I was oblivious to my husband's thoughts about his meal. I was concentrating too much on enjoying the £12 bottle of house red. Very fruity.

My husband didn't complain at the time, so I don't feel too sympathetic with him, but since then he's practically run out of words to describe the awfullness of the risotto with which he was presented. I'm getting fed up with it. Apparently it was one of the worst things he's ever tasted and he can't imagine how a chef would ever plate it up.

So, it seems that the message is, Aix can be a little inconsistant. And, if you're unhappy with something, say so. How can they even begin to make amends if you keep mum? Granted though, if you've had a hard day you may not feel like asserting yourself. And why should you? (Well, because you'll have to pay for the meal - adding insult to injury).

Monday, February 20, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5

St John Bread & Wine

Good non-fussy tasty food, loads of bread, excellent wine and attentive, prompt service. Starters - languistines - a sharp plate full - £8. Main - rib of beef (warm and delicous) and a cold green bean/onion salad - £16. Steamed pudding - treacle and orange I think - £6. A bottle of Gamay £16. Water. A brandy. There were four of us and it came to £45 per head (we had more than one bottle of wine!). We had a good time chatting and eating - no pressure to get out - we took up a table for 3 and a half hours. A friend who has an allergy to nuts was catered for and looked after.

The only blot was when I arrived (early) there was a large carousing group of very loud and somewhat intimidating men (they were very drunk and therefore had lost their sense of boundaries) who thought everyone wanted to hear them shout football songs and Christmas caroles. Don't know what was going on - rather than boot them out the clearly miserable and embarrassed staff kept on providing them with drink. They'd been there since Lunchtime apparently - making a nuisance of themselves. Anyway, they'd left before a bulk of the evening diners arrived - which was a relief. (They'd kept on asking diners if they were bothering them - clearly worried diners saying 'no, no, not at all' -see what I mean? Intimidating. I was just relieved that they didn't ask my opinion - I have an expressive face, so perhaps they didn't need to.) For this reason I'll mark St John down a few points - it was poor management. But I hope that this was just a one off. For all that I would go again.

Monday, December 19, 2005
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7


Last week my friends and I were 'turned around' in an hour and a quarter. Too quick, too noisy and far far too uncomfortable. The banquet seating is plain nasty - too low for the tables (even for a tall bird like me) and has no support for the back - I began to wonder if this was a deliberate ploy to stop customers staying too long.

As for the food - having tried the tasting menu before - I went for the a la carte - red mullet, beef, and chocolate pudding. All very good - as you'd expect - competent stuff. Expect to pay £12 for a starter £18 £20 for a main and £6 for a pud. My friends thought their 'tapas' were okay but a bit bland here and there. Wine by the glass (chosen by the somelier) about £12. Bottles of wine - well you can pay as much as you want to. The final bill rankled a bit given that we weren't made to feel especially comfortable or welcome.

Waiting staff - couldn't hear a word they were saying (what's with the loud music?) and they were all over us like a termite convention in a wood pile. My previous visit to Maze, the service had been prompt, friendly and subtle - they got us out of there in two hours - but we hardly felt it.

I won't go again - the atmosphere is a little desperate and doesn't encourage a comfortable time with friends.

Friday, December 02, 2005
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 6

Bistro One Ninety

I ate here last night, with my husband. The food wasn't all bad - I had a steak for my main course and it was rare as I had asked and tasty. It would've been nice had I been given a knife that was sufficiently sharp to cut through it though. My husband enjoyed his cod too - pan fried and juicy - and he's very picky when it comes to fish.

Yes, overall the food's overpriced and the service isn't as good as it should be. Not all the dishes worked either. The scallops with peas and bacon were overpowered by the bacon. And it was the one scallop cut into three pieces trick - as if customers don't notice! Puddings were so so. Good wine list.

We were the only customers in the restaurant - and still the waiting staff had to ask us which dish we'd ordered. I know, a bit picky of me, but for these prices I expect more. Oh, and the background music drove me mad! For example, What's his face singing "Show Me The Way to Alma Dildo" - and Madge singing something from three years' ago. It was a constant, low grade, irritation.

So, to sum up, okay Bistro food. Not horrid at all. Staff pleasant enough. But must do better to justify the gasp-inducing bill.

Thursday, November 24, 2005
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 2

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