All reader reviews by Richard
Padron is in that East End/City crossover place near Petticoat Lane housed within a hideous 1970s tenement block that needs knocking down this instant.
Anyhow, popped here for lunch and got chicken with a romesco sauce, roasted veg (all the usual suspects, but fennel too! Hurrah!) and couscous (Spanish?!). Nonetheless it was a well presented, well seasoned and had enough variety for an office lunch - even if the asking price of nearly £7 getting into "that's a bit much for a takeaway lunch" territory. I will be back however, especially for the take-out stew that has beef, pork, chicken and morcilla along with other menu items that offer a change from the usual city lunch blandness.
The place was dead though, so come on City workers - I realise Eat and Pret are close, but for god's sake challenge yourself.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 6
Wow - what a room! Revamped in the art deco style and a pleasure on the eye. Had a very nice Meteor lager from the Alsace at the bar awaiting a friend. Starters of pate and pissaladiere were robust and at £3.50 the pissaladiere (much like many of the dishes on the menu) represents good value.
Mains of lamb with ratatouille and confit de canard were both full of flavour, although - like the dishes and sides we tried - seemed slightly heavy on the salt. Very nice bread and butter to accompany.
Service was quick to get us to order but the food was slow in coming - we'd been at the table an hour before our mains arrived, the starters having arrived quickly. Hopefully teething problems to be ironed out, and the service from the front of house to the bar and table service was friendly and - in this case -apologetic for the slowness. The room hums very satisfactorily with families and businessmen (and even a restaurant critic) when we were the there and as mentioned earlier the room is very pleasing on the eye even if below ground level.
At such ridiculously low prices I would like to come back to a) try more off the sizeable menu and b) see that the teething troubles have been ironed out.
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9
Enjoyed an excellent meal here with a friend. Braised pork belly with glass noodles was huge on flavour - the fat in the pork tender from a long braise. Sweet and sour pork did not hark of the fluorescent gunk you typically get - flat, lightly battered pork n a glorious vinegary sauce. Pork dumplings were average - quite thick-skinned and you can get better round the corner at Jen Cafe. Lamb skewers were dusted liberally in cumin and dried chilli and were best eaten as soon as served. Pink meat within was full of flavour.
Looking forward to returning to try more of the menu and dare my mouth with some more chilli. £20 a head for a full belly with a bottle of tsing tao seems like good value to me.
Monday, January 02, 2012
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Some excellent smooth ice cream here - have had the vanilla and pistachio so for and both top notch: the pistachio in particular was bang on for pistachio flavour and didn't have the sometimes chemical / artificial taste that can accompany pistachio ice-cream.
£2.80 for a miserly scoop though is daylight robbery; they need to take a leaf out of Gelupo/Scoop's book that offer up really generous overflowing scoops for a similar price.
Friday, August 05, 2011
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 4
Dropped by on a wet Saturday to find a busy place with very friendly staff and lots of families tucking in.
Went for a staple - the beef pho (£7.50). Generous amount of beef and very nice noodles that didn't tend towards mushy that has happened elsewhere. The stock itself certainly had the hit of aniseed that you expect but lacked a depth of flavour that I've had at other places (stand up, Thanh Binh in Camden and City Caphe for example).
Would like to come back and try other things on the quite short menu - even the manager took the time to ask me how the meal was as I left.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Food 6 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
Having moved from South to North London for a short while, first aim was to find a dim sum place. Yum Cha is pretty unassuming with the "usual" uninterested staff but turns out some excellent dim sum.
Prawn and chive and prawn and scallop dumplings with their tacky, translucent skins were fabulous. I've had better xiao long bao (shanghai dumplings) at Pearl Liang and Leong's Legends but these were still perfectly acceptable. Roast pork cheung fun was good - although I find it's pretty hard to mess this one up! A portion of broccoli in garlic sauce was very tasty but was maybe a little miserly.
Will definitely be back - especially with the carrot of 50% off on Mon-Weds dangling in front of me.
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Tsk - typical bloody chain restaurant. Same old same old. I jest. Popped in here twice in one evening (!) to have a quick nibble and then late-night drinks and dessert. Taking a similar format to their other places, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Relaxed dining, friendly but inobtrusive staff, great menu to graze from at prices varying from about a quid to a tenner. On our first flying visit during their soft opening period we tried two of the meatballs (lamb, spicy pork with fennel). The former was dense and the latter lighter, but both with great flavour - you can't go wrong with fennel and pork. Also got stuck into a tomato salad that hallelujah contained superb tomatoes that you could actually taste as well as some cracking olives.
2nd visit later for dessert and we turned into teenage girls and ate gelato in cones with nutella pizzette. One of the guys also got stuck into a Fernet Branca.
Great atmosphere, and handily sort-of on my way home from work. Which could be dangerous.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8
Always nice finding a local gem. Wandered in here sporting a semi-hangover with pangs for noodle soup. Got a fair-sized bowl with vast amounts of wonderfully savoury char siu in a superb stock with mushrooms, seaweed, carrots and pak choi (£5.50)
What led to a follow up visit was what was coming out of the kitchen to other diners (only 20 covers, but it was full by 12.30) - crisp, non-oily duck spring rolls and what looked like immaculate vegetable and prawn tempura. Said follow-up visit resulted in a yaki udon packed with everything under the sun - salmon, prawns, squid, mussels and char siu again, really fully flavoured, kicking Wagamama firmly into the next postcode. Probably not quite up there with the wonderful yaki udon from Slurp in South Wimbledon, but excellent nonetheless - and at £5.95, wonderful value.
Service attentive and friendly - the older guy behind the counter afforded a smile on both visits, something that can be hard to come by at times in oriental places!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10
Looks great from the outside - the busy piles of steaming pots in the window. Had a chicken won ton noodle soup. Alarm bells started when a pre-poured soup was pulled from an oven.
Soup contained a selection of mixed veg (cabbage, edamame, mushroom, peppers) with 6 fair-sized but nondescriptly meaty and quite gummy wontons that probably got their texture from sitting around in said oven for while. Would it hurt just to add them at the last minute?
The soup itself was pretty grim - a thin, flavourless thing that didn't really inspire and completely lacked any good savoury edge (I suspect came straight from a packet) and I ended up chucking away some of it.
But maybe I'm expecting too much for £4.25. Service very friendly - shame the food didn't match up.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Food 3 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5
Hooray for Herman. Given that a good friend of mine lives down in Munich, it was great to have the chance in London to have some authentic leberkase albeit in a baguette not a traditional "kaiser" roll.
When I asked for sweet mustard that often goes this, they reached below the sauces on the counter to bring out a jar of Handlmeier's finest. Will definitely be back - a welcome addition to what has traditionally been a fairly naff row of shops right by Charing Cross station.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 7
Stumbled past this place on the way to my usual, Leong's Legend in Macclesfield Street and decided to give it a try given the dumpling-making table at the front.
Slightly odd menu with a lot of the chinese classics and only a few (mainly xiao long bao) dumplings with assorted fillings. Opted for a singapore noodles that was very well executed and not too oily, and also the standard pork xiao long bao.
The dumpling skin on the xiao long bao was probably a little tougher than the gossamer-thin skins at Leong's Legend but the filling - both the pork and a gravy I felt were superior, which was a pleasant surprise, and at £5 for 8 of them was decent value. Pretty standard "neutral" service for Chinatown, although the room was pretty dark. Would definitely return if only for the dumplings.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Food 7 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 7
Dammit! Having really enjoyed the set menus at Arbutus and Wild Honey I was really looking forward to the pre-theatre menu but ended up rather disappointed.
The terrine starter, quite reddish in colour was almost sticky in its consistency with quite a strong, rich flavour - one slice was too much!
The intense flavours continued with the main course shepherd's pie that contained some rather unwieldy chunks of lamb a really intense gravy and extremely buttery mash on top. Too much richness and flavour!
Dessert was their immaculate floating islands - a cylinder of meringue floating in custard - that I've enjoyed at Wild Honey before and lucky was immaculate as the same dish there - a good end. I'm sure that on a better night the £15.50 three courses would represent great value.
Shame, but will give it another try - maybe of the a la carte next time. Quite like the restaurant and how it's been decked out - must have cost a fortune. One waiter we had was clearly on his first night - rather nervous!
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Oh dear. Service was friendly enough, but the food didn't cut the mustard, and was pretty slow to arrive.
£7 potted shrimps to start. But rather than the usual shrimps served in cold, hard, shards of butter they were just warm shrimps on a piece of toast. Bizarre. Maybe this is their unique take on this but no thanks!
Main of roast chicken was dry and lacking in flavour and the roast potatoes dry, not particularly crisp either - but saved by a gravy that had good savoury flavour. Interesting stuffing with chicken livers in was different but let's be honest the main part of the dish was a failure.
Wouldn't really have much of a desire to go back there.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Food 3 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4
Given some of the horror-show reviews and being turned out on to the street by the owner as they were still busy despite an 8pm booking, I have to say - it's not that bad. I've never had pesto at an Italian so thought I'd try this as a starter. Spaghetti perfectly al dente, pesto with some bite so one would hope it might have been home made. Pizzas well seasoned and not too heavily thick. Serenaded with limoncellos at the end as there was a birthday in the party.
Food wasn't special but nothing to really moan about. Service very friendly after the initial blip. It was full from 7pm-10pm which is fair enough a sign that they're not that bad, surely?
Sunday, February 27, 2011
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Oh dear. Quite a cavernous place with strip lighting in the arched ceiling that hurt the eyes. When I popped in at 12.30 this Saturday there was a family of three. And me. With room for maybe 80 covers.
Had dim sum - fried turnip cake was an interesting change from the dumpling staples and the har gau was ok - I sometimes wonder whether it's possible in any case to do this badly. Prawn cheung fun had a good flavour but was sloppily falling apart as I tried to eat it, siu mai fairly tasteless but the xiao long bao were the poorest excuse of what can be stellar. No gravy within the dumpling, dry and topped with a pea (?!).
Service efficient but uninterested. I can see why the place is so empty. It's actually quite a nice "space" there, shame it couldn't be used better.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Food 3 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 5
A delight to find an independent noodle place to stand out from the ever-growing chains (Samurai, Wasabi, Itsu etc.). Had a £5.50 noodle soup with won tons and char siu. Well-spiced and flavoured char siu, the stock was flavourful but lacked that real savoury edge (he said, trying to avoid using the ubiquitous "umami"). The won tons however were really superb and generously filled with prawns and pork. Will definitely be returning to try some dim sum. Very friendly service too.
Friday, December 31, 2010
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Ahh a restaurant that splits opinion right down the middle. No flouncing and giving it 0s for everything on account of bad service here. Popped in at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon to find myself the only non-chinese person in there - a very good sign, or so I hoped.
Char siu cheung fun and prawn har gau were spot on, the pastry char siu parcel was too sweet, but the fried dumplings (chinese gyoza equivalent) were crispy, not greasy and with a well-seasoned dense pork filling. I'll save the best remark for the pickled radish and pork dumplings - three large, yielding balls (!!) containing a crunchy, punchy five-spice seasoning. A new one for me and a real winner.
Just to reflect on the comments below - service quick, perfunctory but nonetheless polite despite it being 90% full. 5 dim sum plates plus orange juice and chinese tea - £17. Well worth a visit if you happen to be (find yourself?!) in Canary Wharf of a weekend. I have luckily moved in across from this place for a month so will undoubtedly be back.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
City lunch options can tend to be slightly uninspiring so joining a long queue into recently-opened City Caphe gave me hope that we had something good on offer. And so it was.
I pigged out on the fresh Goi Cuon spring rolls with their springy wrappers (£3.75) and also my first try of an excellent Banh Mi (£3.85) - I'd read a lot about how crusty the Vietnamese baguettes tend to be and this didn't disappoint with a pork and pate filling given extra zing with coriander, chillis and thinly sliced carrot and cucumber along with a chilli sauce. A lot more challenging (and flavourful) than your average ham and cheese baguette. Pho (£5.75) also on offer - that's for my next visit.
Friday, November 05, 2010
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
Every town has one of these quirky, friendly local restaurants that know what they're doing. I've been four or five times with friends and family and it never fails to please. From the home-made chorizos to the excellent steaks and roasted chicken. The steak platter is quite a challenge for two...
One particular visit my parents had their soup of the day - a simple vegetable soup - which for its simplicity was wonderful. We asked how it was made and the chef was kind enough to come out and chat to us as to how it was made.
The reviews below (all bar one toys-out-of-pram review) are testament to an excellent friendly local.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
A 2nd visit confirms that despite the name change (Inn Noodle to Noodle Oodle) the same quality is still there. Had a the doughy la mien noodles with char siu (BBQ pork) with greens and a very savoury, tasty stock. Still my favourite place for noodles in London.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8
A review that contrasts the only other review on here. Quite simply the best noodle soup I've had in London. Why? Firstly, freshly made noodles, secondly an excellent, flavoursome stock, thirdly the won tons in the soup (pork+vegetable) were veritable bursting with flavour.
Given its location in that awful part of Oxford Street close to Tottenham Court Road, I wasn't expecting much but got a throughly pleasant surprise. It's not a hidden gem given its location but I urge you to try. Superb. Service brisk and courteous, restaurant uninspriring but when the food delivers it shouldn't matter.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Food 10 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7
Bit of a disaster, unfortunately. The entire restaurant were subjected to 45 minute waits for food without an apology (very poor form) which gave a slightly stifled atmosphere. Asked for a beer mid-meal, and had to ask twice. Asked for the bill - had to ask twice. It's a shame as the food, when it finally arrived, was pretty good. A very flavourful lamb passanda, excellently moist chicken shashlik and a spiky chilli chicken massala. Shame that the lamb passanda was only tepid. Moderately priced, and aiming for the "well presented" end of the curry market.
Unlike some who post on here, I'll refrain from throwing a wobbler and giving it all zeros on account of the fact that there is some promise in the food. Shame about the service. My two friends who visited with me pointed out that they'd had two prior meals here that were good.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Food 8 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 5
Good but not great. Spurred on by a review from Jay Rayner that he'd been tipped off regarding the quality of the dough, I popped along with 2 friends. Starters were slow in appearing (bordering on 30 minutes) and apparently were slowed owing to my order of pasta to start (pasta doesn't take 30 mins to cook)! Excellent al dente pasta when it did arrive (with tomatoes and prawns) but my friends' bruschetta was burnt on the base - not great. Garlic bread was light and doughy but maybe slightly over powered with garlic. Can't argue with the aforementioned dough, though.
A second bowl of bread and olives was put down in between starters and main that signalled another long wait for 3 pizzas, that eventually came after another 30 minutes. Fortunately the company was good, so this isn't a big gripe for me: but I can imagine other diners would get agitated at this sort of wait. Pizzas excellent - a strong tomato sauce with generous amount of mozzarella on my margherita and again that excellent dough. Not being a dessert person, I am looking for the perfect gelati/ice cream so tried their vanilla ice cream that was average at best.
I'd definitely go back again, but won't be rushing back. Atmosphere was lively, especially in the kitchens - one of my friends could see into the kitchen from her perch and could see all hell letting loose in there - finger pointing, the lot. Maybe we caught the restaurant on a bad night. £34 each for 3 courses and 2 bottles of wine between three of us represents quite good value for Clapham.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Food 7 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7