All reader reviews by whipped
I've eaten here twice in the last few weeks. The food is undeniably lovely: it's beautifully cooked, and presentation is no afterthought either. But - and it's a big but, I think - it's too expensive. I very much believe that all meat should be organic, fish should be responsibly-sourced and we should, where possible (and without depriving ourselves unduly) eat seasonally. But bearing all of this in mind - and assuming that these are tenets that Honey & Co also agree with - I still can't work out how a baked aubergine, stuffed with tomato sauce, orzo pasta and a few crumbs of goat's cheese, delicious though it was, can appear on a lunch menu for upwards of £10. My friend had a lamb shwarma: a reasonably sized (i.e. not huge) portion atop a pitta and laced with pomegranate and fresh herbs, but again, priced well north of £10. To reiterate, good ingredients shouldn't be cheap (especially meat), but as a fan of the Ottolenghi & Moro cookbooks, this is the type of food I prepare at home time and again, and I am still scratching my head as to why a new opening such as this is charging so much. Especially given the relaxed, plain, student canteen-vibe of the room. Yes, it's streets ahead of the likes of Yalla Yalla, but price wise, it's a bit of a shocker. We had three mains, two of which were vegetarian, two lemonades, a lot of tap water - and a bill for £37.50 (not including service). I work really close by and would love it to be a regular place to eat, but unless some lunch specials start appearing, it sadly won't be.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5
Couldn’t agree more with the negative reviews: food is lovely, but service is absolutely appalling. We ate here last Saturday on a post-theatre booking – 10.30pm. We had to wait twenty minutes to be seated (passing the time in the godforsaken ‘bar’ upstairs – a previous reviewer likening it to a youth hostel is spot on): when we did sit down there were plenty of free tables, so why the wait? Well, this was a precursor of things to come. Our mains took a good half hour to arrive, by which point the restaurant was practically empty. I’ve worked as a waitress and I feel miserly to gripe about staff winding down towards the end of their shift, but come on - do your job, serve people! There was no sense of urgency whatsoever..
We were on the fixed-price menu so felt duty bound to order desserts. Luckily we did so while our mains were - eventually - cleared, otherwise, who knows? We’d no doubt still be there now, waiting…
I’d forgive the slow service if it wasn’t for the smug arrogance of the whole crew, not bothering to check on diners in what’s a pretty small room. We also suffered from a particularly overbearing waiter. I’ve been to all three St John outposts and can safely say we wouldn’t again bother with this one, ever. Also, the air con is kept shiver-inducingly high.
(The 1 for service is for the paper bag they gave us to decant our uneaten doughnuts into.)
Monday, September 03, 2012
Food 8 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6
Pizza excellent, but the overall bill is that much more when compared with Franco Manco in Chiswick, so doubt it would become our local. But we'd definitely return. Service really good too.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
We had a late booking here on Saturday night. Positives: staff very obliging when we were running extremely late, and they held our table for us with no problems. Restaurant had a nice feel to to it - very lively. Negatives: very difficult to find (okay, maybe not so much if you're from that locale - but we're not, and a good map on the website would have helped). Food very average. I absolutely love Terroirs but the cooking here seems no match. A lot of the (nicer-sounding) options had sold out by the time we arrived (which was, of course, our fault), and what we did order was very underwhelming: some salame (fine in itself, but how good can salame be?), quail (quite bland, as was the aubergine accompaniment) and cod with chickpeas (hard, undercooked chickpeas in a lovely broth, with okay-ish cod). We finished with cheese: three tiny morsels for £10. Pricing overall is too high, I feel. Doubt we'd return.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5
Came for a dinner with a friend last Thursday. It was my second visit, and while undoubtedly there's a nice buzz about the place (rare in itself for this part of town), I hadn't been that impressed by either portion size or service when I'd last been in, during a quiet-ish lunchtime not long after they'd opened. I arrived first and was duly plonked at my table, with no drinks list to speak of until my friend arrived about 10 minutes later. We decided to share a carafe of Languedoc rose, at £11. The (rather charmless) waiter urged me to reconsider this choice, stating that this option was 'very sweet'; surprisingly, the next choice up came not in carafe size but as a bottle - at £28. Note to Riding House Cafe: upselling like this is not cool. Especially when the chosen wine arrives and is not sweet in the slightest!
Our mains didn't take long to arrive - I toyed with the sea trout, but it sounded like a carb-free zone, and the sales rep, sorry, waiter, confirmed that I'd definitely need sides with it. So I had a Halloumi/sweet potato and chickpea thing - pretty unremarkable fodder that you could knock out at home in half an hour (the nice thing about the meal was that it came with a portion of broccoli, and I didn't even ask for it!). My friend had the chorizo hash, comprised of very little chorizo, but lots of hash. Her dessert, a chocolate parfait, was better than mine, a sundae: the latter looked the part, but was nastily sweet and full of what appeared to be broken biscuit at the bottom if the glass - I do love a sundae, but they're really not hard to get right. This one was yuk.
I'd agree with the Marina McLoughlin review: I would come back here again, but only for a drink or two, as it has the atmosphere down to a tee. Just be prepared to swerve the upselling at all times.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7
We had lunch here today. The fish and chips were really nice, but be warned: we timed it, and it was 55 minutes from ordering to actually receiving our food. I wouldn't usually be that bothered if we were given an idea it would take so long, but no. When I asked if there was a problem with the order, I got a very defensive response, followed up with details of how their deep fat fryer only fits in one fish at a time. Just a hunch, but why not buy a bigger deep fat fryer in that case?! Because I can't remember the last time I waited so long for lunch - unacceptably long, and we certainly wouldn't go back.
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Food 7 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5
"the idea that in Paris you would catch any French man or woman accepting this is laughable" - Er, there is a Relais de Venise in Paris. So clearly those discerning French types do, ahem, accept it!
It's sad, really - this is one of the nicest and best-value restaurants I can think of in London. I ate there with my husband on Saturday night - our fifth visit, I think - and we had, as usual, a fantastic meal. And a fantastic time: the atmosphere is what really makes this place. The steak is always cooked to perfection, the chips are great and the sauce is delicious. Desserts and cheese are always excellent. I am not going to go down the path of justifying why my opinion is correct by stating exactly how many restaurants I have been to and how I am a seasoned 'foodie'; all I can suggest is that you ignore the detractors below and visit this place. It's worth a cold, half hour queue, which is exactly what we did on Saturday night.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10