All reader reviews by LT

Just St James

Had an early dinner here on Friday. The general ambience of the place is nice, although "welcome area" is a little odd, being a thigh-high wooden dining table (as opposed to the usual little podium that most restaurants have) with exposed racks of coats behind it and the bar behind that. It looks a very ad hoc and rather messy.

The menu is best described as "modern British". I had the scallop dish to start and my dining partner had the langoustine tails. The starter portions were a little small: I was given two small scallops accompanied by ribboned courgettes and raisins. I think pairing scallops with raisins was a mistake, as the harsh, in-your-face sweetness of the raisins detracted from the subtle sweetness of the panfried scallops. My partner's langoustine tails (four small ones) came in a frothy puddle of sauce. What is this obsession with froth?? I was not too taken by his dish - the langoustine was a little fishy. We shared a Chateaubriand of veal for main. This was a good dish. We were not asked how we wanted the veal done, so medium-rare was imposed on us. The meat was served on a bed of watercress salad, and accompanied by a bearnaise and peppercorn sauces, as well as a very generous dish of chunky chips. Despite being rarer than we would normally choose (it was much closer to rare than medium) the meat was very tender and flavoursome. The bearnaise was very good; the peppercorn sauce a little watery. The chips were excellent: lovely golden crip on the outside, melting fluffiness on the inside. The size of the main course more than made up for the paucity of the starters so we didn't have much room for dessert. We shared the ice-cream: lemon, orange and papaya&ginger. The ice-cream is homemade but a little on the heavy side.

All-in-all a good meal. The servers were very pleasant, although they could be better briefed on the menu. Very good value on the 50% off deal. Not sure I'd be happy to pay full price. I think my starter was around £11 on the menu and the chateaubriand main is £21.50 per person.

Monday, February 13, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5

Sakun Thai

We eat here pretty regularly. On a good day (I guess it depends on the chef) this place serves the best Phad Thai I've found in London. On any other day, it's still pretty delicious. The other dishes (stir-fries, other noodle dishes, starters...) I've tried have all been tasty although their crisy duck is still better done in Chinese restaurants. Don't expect much from the decor but this place is good value (for London). Cheerful service to boot.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 8

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