All reader reviews by Bootsy
Went Friday night with friends & had a bit of a curate's egg of an evening. The pizzas are very ordinary and arguably the ones served in the behemoth that is Pizza Express (who as another below has pointed out, own Soho Pizzeria) are better - which is not saying much.
Service was polite but unpredictable and at times downright chaotic.
Atmosphere remains the best aspect of the place and although it was busy with a steady stream of punters waiting inside the door, the staff were happy for us to stay drinking at the table long after we finished our food which was appreciated.
The bill was modest, but given the quality of the food (the input costs of which must surely be measured in pence given the size of the pizzas and sparsity of toppings) it was about fair.
All in all, an ok option for 'middle-class fast food' which is what Pizza Express group restaurants offer. Would I rush back...not in a hurry.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Food 3 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5
I was taken here for a birthday treat and had and enjoyed it although whether it was enough for me to hurry back....I'm not no sure.
I believe that the way Benihana works is well documented, so I won't waste too many words on it other than to say it was entertaining in parts although one or two of our fellow diners didn't seem to be convinced. I guess that brings me on to the aspect of the evening that I never quite came to terms with which is what their clientele / target market is? The night we were there it was an eclectic mix of couples, businessmen, families, wanna-be gangsters and a liberal sprinkling of what were once called Sloane Rangers and are now a hybrid mix of very young but very rich Arabs, Russians and locals. I guess you could argue that it appeals to all, but I was left confused since the atmosphere was frankly a bit weird.
Food was good and our lively chef kept a steady supply coming from the hotplate, certainly no complaints in that department. That said, although I wasn't paying the bill I am aware what they charge so you'd hope that the ingredients would be top drawer.
All told it was an interesting change from the places we normally eat out and a great choice for a celebration, but I think that's probably all. If you're there for the spectacle then it's great, but for food I think you can probably enjoy better at slightly more modest prices elsewhere. Saying that, I guess that's the point, part of the premium is the dining "experience" and this place certainly turns it in to one.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8
We've had two meals here now, both have been taken on the hoof before heading next door to the cinema. Each time the staff have been very cooperative with seating and serving us quickly.
On my first visit I plumped for a (jalapeno) burger since it's usually a decent barometer of the quality of food you'll find elsewhere on the menu. Second time it was a spicy pizza whilst my gf had a salad. Each of our selections was well cooked using what felt and looked like good quality ingredients. Clearly it's not the sort of menu to set your pulse racing, but it's doing what it does well which is a lot more than some other local eateries can claim.
Bill is never going to be a cause for alarm here and we have tipped with pleasure for the reasons mentioned above. I hope that they keep their standards up and don't allow themselves to go the way of the, now defunct, Tapanco restaurant round the corner which started well but slipped into mediocrity fast!
It's also not a bad spot for a beer and bit of people watching if you've a few minutes to kill in central Wimbledon.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9
Made our first but sure not to be our last visit here over the summer on a busy Saturday night. The menu is a refreshing twist on 'traditional' Indian and the decor of the place is definitely contemporary - no carpets or looped cds playing in the background.
We shared starters of chicken and paneer both of which were very pleasant. For my main I went with a lamb shank - not something I would ordinarily expect to see on an Indian menu (although I would be the first to admit that's probably my naivety) and it was terrific with a load of meat on - almost too much for me. We gave dessert a miss as I recall since we had supplemented the main course with chickpeas and naan - both good - and black lentils -somewhat forgettable.
Bill was very fair and we were pleased to tip having received excellent service. A super find in SW London.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Ate here for the first time last month on a Friday night and enjoyed a very positive dining experience. We didn't book which was an error as it turned out but not a terminal one since we were offered bar-seats near the door which meant whilst there wasn't much to look but was better than turning on our heels which was the other option.
The menu was Tardis-like and a bit overwhelming but it all looked inviting. Our American waitress was very strong on customer service, no surprise there, and helped us to navigate a way through it. Ultimately we plumped for a range of dishes from across the board - unfortunately I can't recall exactly which ones.
The food came quickly and was all of a high standard. When we asked for more wasabi we were greeted with a knowing smile - the modest amount already on the plates would have been more than enough since it is hot & nothing like the stuff palmed off to you in other Japanese chains - but we were on our first visit and will know for next time.
Bill was came to around fifty for the pair of plus at least three drinks which to me felt very reasonable. Happy to recommend and sure to return.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
First trip to Wallace & Co last weekend and it turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag. I was expecting, if not great then, certainly better than average things from the place, but I'm convinced we got them.
Things started a bit ominously with the wait for our drinks. It wasn't a difficult order and there weren't many other diners in the restaurant at that point to complicate matters, but we still ended up empty glassed far longer than was necessary. Service continued to be hit & miss - please don't clear anyone's plate whilst others are eating.
We skipped the starters and went straight to our mains since the menu wasn't setting our world alight (pâté, soup, crayfish cocktail & so on - not especially imaginative). The group went for a mixture of steaks, fish & chicken. Mine was the poussin which was well presented and cooked but lacked anything to really excite your palate - maybe it was a bad choice. Although the menu made mention of various vegetables etc 'in season' as far as I could tell all but one were conspicuously absent from what was on offer. Weird. Why mention them if you're not using them?!
We did have desserts which were again chosen from a fairly predictable list - chocolate brownie, sticky toffee pudding, ice cream etc. I get that this is a bistro / café not a restaurant, but I still think that someone could do more with this - what is seasonal or quirky about those?
Atmosphere was a bit flat since it was quiet. Bill was fine for two courses + booze.
I hate using the word 'nice' to describe anything since 99% of the time there is a better word, 'nice' says to me that the user can't think of anything to say about the subject since the impression it left was so neutral. Perhaps you will understand then when I said we had a nice evening.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6
Having missed out on eating at Reds in Putney before it closed, I thought I'd take the chance to grab a bite to eat in the Wimbledon branch. Given that GBK has now long since past its best I figured I would take Reds up on their proud boast to be home to the best burgers in town.
Two of us shared olives and calamari for starters - neither set our world alight but both were ok. I then had a burger and my gf a steak - mine was ordered medium rare hers medium to well done. Despite this both turned up undercooked, mine was very pink and hers rare. I don't mind a bit of blood and even though I thought about sending it back, I was hungry and tucked in. She made heavy-weather of her fillet which was well cooked but not what she asked for. In retrospect we should have sent them back and to be honest I'm not sure why we didn't so I am not going to dock marks for that reason - but will do so on that basis they got both orders wrong which is disappointing in a restaurant for which these are signature dishes. The chips and onion rings were both good.
Service was attentive and the staff pleasant. The atmosphere too was agreeable.
Bill was just shy of sixty pounds which for two courses and just a couple of drinks is at the top end of what I view as acceptable for what was a 'quick' dinner.
I would come back since I like the location as the staff made us feel welcome. I would though be more robust about making sure I got what I ordered.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7
Visited for the first time on Friday night a couple of weeks back with 3 friends. Broadly in line with the comments I read below, the experience was good but not brilliant.
Between us we had 4 burgers, chips, onion rings, coleslaw and gherkins. The burgers, fries and rings were good and latter two plentiful. Same can't be said of the coleslaw which came in a tiny ramekin and the single gherkin sliced into 4 - both a waste of money.
Service was good - our waiter was helpful and they were obliging about seating us without a reservation.
Atmosphere as another reviewer spotted is coloured by the, in some cases, slightly pretentious fellow diners, but it had no negative bearing on our evening and along with the restaurant itself I found it generally agreeable.
Bill on a par for what you'd expect of, what is ultimately just, a burger joint but with a mark-up for the location.
It's not worth going out of your way for, but you could do a lot worse and I'd be happy to give them my business again.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
I had heard generally positive things about the Butcher & Grill and finally got round to a visit with my partner in January. The food we enjoyed was of a good standard (I had veal, she had steak) and the general bonhomie of the place was pleasant.
The service was certainly nothing like that which the reviewer below received (although I note it was a year ago so perhaps personnel have changed) but was a little haphazard as we were left more than once looking longingly, and in vain, to catch someone's eye.
The bill was never going to be cheap, but we didn't expect it to be and this was a special occasion so no complaints, but you certainly would notice a dent in your wallet if you dined out here regularly.
Overall it's great that this place is in the Village and is going well since it adds something different and slightly unusual. Would I go back, yes, but probably not until there's another occasion worth celebrating.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Been to Zeitgeist for beers several times now and eaten here twice. It's a proper German pub staffed by Germans and by and large populated by Germans, particularly when there's Bundesliga football on the TV when it gets packed and a little rowdy (but in a non-threatening way).
The beer is excellent, the food is good quality and the portions are authentic ie. large. The schnitzels are to be recommended. Just remember when you order that even though they put codes on the menu, these don't seem to serve any purpose and you need to know the names of what you want when you go to the bar to order. You will get table service for your beers providing the place isn't too heaving.
Will definitely return and recommend.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9
Passed a very pleasant evening here on a Saturday night just a few weeks ago. The food was good and the service attentive. The only thing lacking was atmosphere which was probably due to the sparsity of fellow diners. Whilst this meant we were well looked after it must be a concern for the proprietors given that weekends should be every restaurant's prime time.
The bill was very fair and my overall impression was positive. I'd have no qualms about coming again or recommending to others.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8
6 of us ate here on a Friday night recently & had a good if not wonderful experience. The food I would say is fair for its type - we shared our traditional starters which were much of a muchness and I followed with a lamb dish which was better. The portions are fairly generous and the staff were cooperative about keeping bread and olives topped up.
Service was not at all bad - a bit chaotic with at least 3 or 4 staff serving us at various times but overall it was ok.
The venue itself is a little cramped but has character although they need to monitor the music volume - at one point even though we were miles away from the speakers we were having to speak loudly to make ourselves heard.
Price was about GBP25-30 for shared starters, main, coffee & a couple of drinks. I was happy paying these prices but would be reluctant to pay any more.
Overall an unremarkable but pleasant eating out experience. Would I go back, yes, but would I seek it out specifically, probably not.
Friday, February 17, 2012
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6
Six of us ate here recently on a Friday night and enjoyed a very pleasant evening. We shared starters of traditional Italian antipasti and breads, the quality was generally good and the food well presented. Similarly we selected between us a variety of mains including pizza, pasta, gnocchi and chicken. The consensus was that all were well cooked and full of flavour. We skipped desserts since the mains particularly were filling.
Service was attentive but not intrusive although the waitress didn't appear especially familiar with the menu. It may be she was new. The atmosphere was dominated by the music played since it wasn't busy and in my view neither added to nor took away from the ambience of the restaurant.
The bill, including drinks & coffee, came to around £35 p/h which whilst not cheap represented value for money in my view. They included 12.5% service charge which we paid, but I would prefer it if restaurants left this to the diners’ discretion.
I am often sceptical about eating in Italian restaurants in England since the quality is in my experience at best variable, but this is surely one of the better ones.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8
This is an occasional lunchtime and evening haunt given its proximity to the office. The ales are generally interesting, well kept and rotated regularly which is appreciated as a non lager drinker. The back bar is also well stocked as are the fridges with interesting options to tempt you with as the evening wears on. The management seem to have the balance right on bar staff as it's rare to wait long for a drink.
It is often crowded in the evenings, especially on Friday, but the atmosphere is generally convivial and in summer particularly the outside decking is a welcome outlet for smokers and non-smokers alike.
Having eaten lunch there a few times now I would have to say it’s a little hit and miss. I've enjoyed some excellent fish & chips a couple of times but also some pretty insipid sandwiches and noodles on others. Noodles I can forgive getting wrong (just about) but surely someone it’s not too much to ask for someone to inject some life into the paninis? Service at lunchtime, especially when dining in a group, can be interminably slow, so arrive early - you have been warned.
All in all, it's better than a lot of pubs in the area when it comes to its food & drink and just about commands the above average prices it charges.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Eating at Bistro 1 is a bit like flying EasyJet in that it's a great little restaurant for those dining to a budget and who accept that some of the frills will be lost along the way.
Four of us recently had dinner here on a Friday night and found the experience to be generally very positive. We were served promptly, received by and large good food with friendly service. Sure one or two of the portions were a bit meagre, but I refer back to my comment above and when you're having three courses for less than ten pounds, it's hard to complain to vigorously.
Even when the waitress managed to spill my glass of red wine, she was quick to replace it and the manager went one further and gave us a bottle as a goodwill gesture which was appreciated.
Don't go in here expecting to have your socks knocked off, but if you go with friends and a relaxed approach to an informal eating experience then in my opinion you'd have to go some way to better it within a stone's throw of Covent Garden.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10
I enjoyed my first visit to Savoir Faire just a few weeks ago and I very much hope it will not be my last. The ambiance of the place was very pleasant and the service and food were both of a generally high standard.
I chose the chicken livers followed by lamb whilst my partner had aubergine then the special which that day was cod. Both of my courses were beautifully cooked and whilst the aubergine was apparently a little disappointing, the cod was a definite improvement.
I didn't pay the bill on this occasion so can't comment, but I did note that prices seemed fair for the area and service was not included. This is something which I wish more restaurants would do as I know that when service has been good but not smuggled into the bill I invariably tip more than I would when obliged to do so.
In the heart of the West End in a location where they could get away with pedaling ordinary, overpriced, food to tourists they have resisted the temptation and then some. A real find.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7
Like the reviewer below, my visits to this place are restricted to those times when my arm is twisted by colleagues. I have eaten and drunk here on several occasions, most recently last week when we went for lunch.
The sandwich I ordered I'm almost certain was a shop bought number cut into quarters and given most such sandwiches retail for around the £2.50 mark, it must have been a very special piece of lettuce and cherry tomato since they were the only two other items on the plate and I think I paid about £7.50 for it.
I suspect this place survives by virtue of its location alone. For my mind the wine, food, atmosphere and service are all as forgettable as each other.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Food 0 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 1
I ate here back in October '10, the previous visit having been about a year earlier. I am sorry to report that standards appear to have slipped. Our first visit was filled with hearty food, good beer and a general feeling of a job well done. Our second visit was made up of disappointment in the main as both the food and the service appear to have taken a turn for the distinctly average. My meal arrived whilst not cold certainly a long way from hot, whilst my partner's failed to turn up at all. When we pressed them they delivered the wrong dish! The waitress was apologetic not least since the original order then needed to be prepared 'from scratch' and consequently I had long since finished mine before hers arrived. No refund or discount, just a mumbled apology.
The location is great and even though it is not cheap for what is after all a very basic service, I remember thinking after our first meal that Steins had the balance about right. On the strength of our last outing the see-saw has tipped the other way and it now feels like you're paying over the odds for the setting and novelty factor.
I sincerely hope that Steins up their game before the summer to avoid the restaurant being added to the long list of those guilty of resting on their laurels.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Food 4 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4
6 of us went for dinner here on a Friday night not long ago and found the experience to be broadly in line with those below. Food - ok, atmosphere - pleasant, service - variable, value for money - just.
Between us we ordered four steaks and two had the Chateaubriand. I can't speak for the others, but I found my steak to be acceptable but no more. The pepper sauce tasted like it was straight from the packet, so I dodged the majority of it. The biggest disappointment was the Chateaubriand which was so modest that I am pretty sure I heard it apologise on arrival. At £25 per person for two cuts each, the shared portion of pomme frites & salad hardly made up for the conspicuous absence of meat on offer. My fellow diners did raise this, but were met with no more than the customary Gallic shrug.
The service we received was a little chaotic (our drinks order sent to another table etc) and the maître d’ spent most of his time drifting in and out when his floor staff could have used another pair of hands. That said, our waitress was friendly and obliging where possible.
I'm left feeling undecided about Le Bouchon. They seem to have delusions of grandeur that are unbecoming of what, in France, would be a ten a penny small town bistro. If they would bring the prices down 20% and up the portions and service by a corresponding amount my feeling is they would endear themselves to their customers far more.
I wouldn't rule out another visit, but I won't be rushing back.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Food 4 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 5
What can I add that hasn't been said before? Answer - not much.
I brought my partner here for a special occasion lunch and enjoyed one of the finest restaurant experiences I have enjoyed anywhere. Food was exquisite and the service faultless. The management were friendly and engaging as were the waitresses.
I realise it looks lazy to give tens across the board, but I can't think of anything I would have changed.
Simply can't recommend this hidden gem highly enough.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10
Recently popped on impulse on what turned out to be their Wednesday Rackin' Ribs Night. There were a few other folks in who clearly were more clued up than us since most seemed to be taking advantage of this mid-week offer, and the atmosphere was generally quiet but pleasant nonetheless.
Following the lead of those around me, I opted for the ribs & my partner had a burger. My food was good (shame about the meagre coleslaw portion) & the burger also not at all bad. Same can't be said of the dessert - I first ordered banana split only to be told they'd run out of ice cream (!), so opted for the baked cheesecake which came out a bizarre mix of microwave warm and freezer solid.
Like the review below, service was a bit hit and miss. Initially good, it tapered off and we too ended up looking longingly (and in vain) about the place when it came time to pay. Bill was, as you'd expect, very reasonable.
Henry J Bean's is a bit like a tin of Ronseal - it does exactly what it says on the tin - & what you get is not going to win any prizes, but will do a job.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8
I was getting tired of hearing how good this place supposedly was, and so finally got into gear and ate here on a Monday night a couple of months back.
Given there were only two of us plus just a handful of other customers for company, the atmosphere was non existent, but I accept it was a Monday. Service was predictably prompt and the food arrived (almost too) quickly.
I have to say that whilst I'm no tapas aficionado, much of what we were presented with tasted to me like it had either been prepared many hours (or maybe days) previous or it was not 'out of the frying pan etc' but more like 'out of the fridge into the microwave'. Regardless, it was largely pretty bland. At least half the meal-time was spent drinking our wine and staring at half-finished food.
The bill was, for my mind, at the top end of acceptable for what was in truth a pretty forgettable experience. I have eaten at Destino close by on the Upper Richmond Road and found that both the atmosphere and more importantly the food are preferable.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Food 3 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 3
Recently ate here for the first time in a little while having moved out of the area some years ago. We had booked for a Wednesday night and I'm glad we did, since by 8pm the restaurant was already looking full and the atmosphere buzzed pleasantly with chatter from groups of all sizes and ages.
The food was, as ever, delicious. Between us we had a range of dishes including the always excellent salmon starter, 2 mains and a number of sides (aubergine + spinich & paneer both recommended). Everything I tasted was terrific.
Service was generally good, although it tailed off a little as the evening wore on and the restaurant filled. This is a problem not restricted to Ma Goa - I think all waiters fall victim to a dose of the cash symbols lighting up as new customers walk through the door. Waiting staff (& management) everywhere would do well to remember that even though the difference between you choosing dessert/coffee may only be another few quid on the bill, it may well be the difference between when (or indeed if) you return. To put it in context, this was only a minor gripe in an otherwise very enjoyable evening.
Whilst not inexpensive, the bill represented good value for money and 3 of us left with smiles on our faces.
Pleased Ma Goa is going strong, and I look forward to my next visit.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8
Curse my luck. Went on a (first) date with a girl and met her in a pub nearby. We had a few drinks, the conversation flowed and she suggested we find somewhere to eat that wasn't the pub we were in. I agreed and so we followed our noses until we stumbled across this place. Menu looked ok & they had space, in fact it was pretty quiet. We should have known better, good (even average) restaurants are rarely so empty.
Can't bring myself to relive the full trauma of the experience but suffice to say that the service was ordinary, the food terrible (think microwave meals from the supermarket) and the bill extraordinary given the service and meals received.
Needless to say, this rather knocked the wind out of our sails. I never saw her again! Not blaming the restaurant entirely, but I can say hand on heart it's one of the worst eating experiences I've had not just in London but anywhere.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Food 0 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0