All reader reviews by Paulo Gonšalves


I went to Garufa tonight with a large group for a friend's birthday. The welcome was friendly, the atmosphere and decor great, and the wines hearty. The food was good but +ridiculously+ overpriced. I ordered a rare rump steak which was far too gristly and tough to cut. Not a good cut of meat. Others seemed to have better luck. My friend ordered the salmon with roquefort sauce at £16. At that price expecting a decently-sized piece of fish would not be too over the top. What was delivered was half a small thin fillet of salmon and three lonely broccoli florets. All tasty, but £16? Come on guys - get a grip. Sides of chips were very good, but all the sides were again tiny portions and overpriced. £4 for one grilled pepper. The Humita norte˝a - fresh corn, onion, basil, and butter cooked in oil - sounded great but turned out to be a tiny saucer with a very thin layer of the above spread over it. And a whopping £4.50 for the pleasure! Desserts were tasty, with dulche de leche featuring in many. If they can get their pricing to match their portions and quality I might return based on the atmosphere and other good points, but otherwise this will have to be a one-off visit.

Monday, December 14, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 2

The Mercer Restaurant & Bar

Dropped into the Mercer for dinner yesterday evening. Had a very warm welcome from the friendly staff. Our reserved table had mysteriously been occupied by others (the waiter seemed surprised!) but we were quickly offered a decent alternative. The atmosphere and decor were comfortable and chic, without being stuffy - very New York. My friend had seared scallops as a main and I had the roasted monkfish tail on creamy curried Shetland mussels - we shared sides of creamy mash, curly cale and roast carrots (including purple carrots - and we were regaled with the - surprisingly true - tale of how the Dutch were the ones who patriotically bred the orange carrot!). The ingredients were fresh, perfectly cooked and very tasty. Both the scallops and the monkfish tale exquisitely tender. The creamy curried sauce complimenting both the monkfish and the mussels particularly well. Desserts were equally delicious, and all was washed down with an excellent value but refreshing South African Chenin Blanc. A very pleasant evening all-round!

Friday, February 29, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

Marcus Wareing at the Savoy Grill

I treated my girlfriend to dinner at the Savoy Grill on the 4th of November (a Saturday) and we both had a wonderful time, largely thanks to the exceptional staff. We were warmly welcomed and immediately made to feel at home. We dined from the £55 a-la-carte menu, but were delighted by the complimentary delicacies which were provided throughout the meal. My only reservation is in relation to the scallops which I had as a starter, which were somewhat bland compared to their menu description. My main-course of steak was perfect though, and my partner's starter of smoked salmon (extremely generous) and main of cod were both consumed with relish. Desserts were exquisite and a fine conclusion to the evening. Service was exceptional, and contributed significantly to our overall enjoyment of the evening. I look forward to returning for further gastronomic pampering!

Monday, November 13, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7

Desperados (Greenwich)

We were lured in by the friendly manager with offers of complementary strawberry shots and margheritas. These promptly arrived, and were delicious. Service was friendly and efficient. Two of our party ordered monkfish kebabs, of which they had unfortunately run out, but the manager talked them through the other options, recommending the sea-bass instead. Our meals arrived in good time, sizzling, well presented and tasty. We had a lovely meal and were presented with complementary shots of banana liqueur with Baileys with our very reasonable bill. The atmosphere was festive, but not overwhelming. Cocktails looked colourful and amazing. All in all a great experience and we'd definitely go back.

Monday, August 28, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

Tiffinbites (Moorgate)

Grabbed a tiffinbox comprising Lamb Rogan Josh, green pea masala, and pilau rice as well as a separate packet of small tandoori chicken pieces with chutney for lunch.

The lamb was delicious and tender, and the rice decently cooked, if overheated. Most disappointing was the green pea masala - peas were distinctly under-cooked, despite even their brief spell in a high-power microwave, and were very tough. Left largely uneaten. The chicken bites were delicious and not too dry, however the laughable amount of chutney provided (about a thimbleful) was woefully inadequate to the task. What is annoying is that this fact should be so easy to spot and rectify, yet the supplier is willing to leave the customer short-changed.

So, overall a gratifying experience but with several important shortcomings which the restaurant could easily remedy (and hopefully will!).

Thursday, May 11, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6

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