All reader reviews by Amanda

Island Grill

My boyfriend and I took some family out to dinner here a week last Friday. We'd visited once before and had a surprisingly splendid meal and so decided to retest the place to see if it could also offer consistency. This time we had cocktails at the bar which were excellent before sitting down for dinner. Service was high quality with plenty of bread and pouring of wine/ water without us even noticing. I had the pea and nettle soup to start which arrived in a glass cup (despite the fact that the soup was warm) and with a light airy topping of whipped natural yogurt to add some zing. The main courses were just as good with a traditional mini beef wellington that was fantastic. And just to let you know the desserts/ English cheeses didn't disappoint either. A truly enjoyable meal.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Zuma

This is one of those busy restaurants where there is a large hum in the room from all the chatter and many people just come in to drink at the bar. The surrounding are very nice and minamilistic but some soft furnishings wouldn't go amiss to absorb some of the noise. My boyfriend and I booked a table in the corner furthest from the bar but still found us shouting at each other in the hope of having a romantic conversation. this was not helped by the fact that the waiter decided to use the wine cooler at our table (despite the fact that we had saki not wine) for all the other nearby tables giving him the opportunity to interrupt us every few minutes or so. Fortunately, the surroundings have not effected the food which was delicious. The menu is vast and as no help is offered to find your way and help choose a suitable amount we decided to opt for the tasting menu (not cheap at £92 per person). However, it was money well spent as were received (a little too fast) succession of fresh fish (amazingly flavoursome), sushi (too much horseradish but otherwise excellent), sushimi, fois gras (combined with a spicy dip to balance the richness), wagyu beef (be prepared to think this is the best beef ever) and a selection of delicious desserts. We opted for saki rather than wine to bring out the flavours and despite the rumour that there is a saki sommelier on hand to advise you we were never offered this service. To summarise, the food is fantastic but the service is mediocre and you'll need to take throat lozengers with you if you want to chat to your companions all evening.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 10 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8


Angela Hartnett at The Connaught

This restaurant is a fantastic. The food was wonderfully imaginative and Harnett's British/ Italian background comes out in the flavours on offer. I had pasta to start (not something I had envisaged ordering before we arrived) and then Hake (quite amazing) for my main. Every taste was a delight which was heightened by the great service and the lovely wood panelled setting. The staff did not even raise an eyebrow when my boyfriend and I asked to share first his dessert and then my cheese. They were more than happy to provide us with two sets of cutlery and slightly larger portions and even asked us which we wanted first (British versus French style). To note, this restaurant is dressier than a lot of the trendier places so use this as an excuse to treat yourself to cocktails at Claridges first.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Tandoori Nights

After wandering past this local restaurant and seeing the crowds on a regular basis I felt it was time to test out this supposed local wonder. Pinned to the windows are cut outs of the many reviews praising this restaurant and so it looked like a guaranteed good curry. Fortunately we were seated away from the door, where other diners had to share their space with locals waiting to collect takeaways in the rather cramped surroundings, and received popadoms and starters that were very good. Then the main courses arrived of which we had ordered a couple of old favourites - always the best to compare restaurants on. Whilst the ingredients were obviously very fresh the dishes lacked in flavour and spice. The balti that I ordered tasted more like a tomato sauce you would have received in an Italian restaurant. Whilst I can appreciate that this restaurant is trying to supply something slightly different and appeal to diners with possible more refined and subtle taste buds I had come here to enjoy the curry dishes that I have grown to love in the UK and so was bitterly disappointed that the dishes ordered were almost unrecognisable. After that the evening just went down hill with the restaurant's staff managing to lock everyone in for a good half hour just after we had paid the bill. No free drinks or service of any kind were offered whilst we waited for them to figure out how to unlock the door. A mediocre night in all.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5


Patara (Oxford Circus)

I went back (yet again) to this restaurant on Friday and (yet again) I was not disappointed. The service is still excellent, the food is divine and the ambience is wonderful whether it's a romantic meal for two or a larger group. If you're going for the first time try the satay to start (delicious), and share the black cod (delightful) and red curry with beef (moorish) with someone who preferably is on a diet and so won't eat much! To note, I am informed that all the Patara's (there are three in total) have the same menu so whether you choose this branch or another you should have a wonderful time.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Lindsay House

Corrigan's restaurant provides simple but stylish surroundings as if you are eating in his front room. Tables were well spaced providing a romantic setting for two but we were rather perturbed by the 'Pizza Express' like card on each table advertising Corrigan's latest cookbook (are we to presume that sales are not doing well that they need to flaunt it so blatantly). Food was fresh and well presented with the always enjoyable experience of the little extras (a whole assortment of amuse buche and also a pre-dessert). Our expectations were heightened by the fact that we'd watched Corrigan just that week in 'Great British Menu' where he had concocted some wonderful dishes but in the restaurant itself I wasn't so overly impressed. Don't get me wrong, the food was very good but parts of it were served a little too al dente for my liking and other than the amuse buche they lacked the 'wow' factor. However, my boyfriend ordered the venison and I have to admit to being particularly jealous of his choice when it arrived. All in all, this is a good restaurant but personally I would call upon some of Corrigan's competitors first if I had to choose.

Thursday, May 25, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6


Patara (Oxford Circus)

Delicious. This is Thai food at its best. I'd recommend the chicken satay to start and a red or green curry for main. Or even better go with a larger party so that you can all try a bit of everything. Your taste buds will be revelling in all the delights, and the service and surroundings were good too.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Notting Hill Brasserie

What can I say - this place is wonderful! The boyfriend took me here for the first time on Valentines and I should have known it would be amazing from the fact that he was so eager to revisit. The atmosphere is cosy and romantic and the lighting is just right for an intimate meal; the food was delicious with some interesting twists, excellent ingredients and well thought out dishes; the service was attentive but subtle with the owner even coming over for a polite chat at one point; the wine we chose was gorgeous; the jazz added a wonderful background vibe; oh, and the date was okay too! The restaurant is non-smoking but the bar isn't so if this is an issue ask to be seated well away from the bar when you book. Other than that you can't fail to have an amazing time.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Sea Cow

I actually went to the Sea Cow in East Dulwich and as the restaurant isn't listed I am posting my review on here. Having driven past this regularly and having read the reviews below I finally managed to fit in a visit. It wasn't as upmarket as I had envisaged and despite the chance to purchase a bottle of wine and eat in this did feel like more of a cafe than a restaurant. Plus, as it was Friday night the place was chocker so we ended up grabbing take-away. However, despite the lack of opportunity to eat in the food was delicious. The cod and chips were well cooked with a lovely light, crisp batter and the organic salmon was beautiful. Not cheap but worth the queuing.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5


Belvedere

This is a beautiful restaurant and the food was superb - all the old English favourites made posh. I went for Sunday lunch and had a wonderful time enjoying the light ambience, the jazz pianist and the good food. The wine list was also especially good. The Sunday lunch was three courses for a set price and the portions were generous - so starve yourself beforehand and leave plenty of time for a walk around the Kyoto garden in Holland Park afterwards!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Le Chardon (East Dulwich)

If you're looking to go for a romantic, relaxed meal with fab food this is the place to go. It is wonderfully French so expect to take your time over the courses and chat with the waiters. The fish soup is to die for and the duck with honey sauce was especially good. The menu is extensive so there's something for everyone and lots of reasons to go back again. I live locally and can easily see this becoming a regular treat - it's just so difficult to resist. They also do lunches and even breakfast so there's no excuse not to visit.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Island Grill

Amazing food and wonderful service. Just wished we'd gotten there early to partake in some cocktails first. Will definitely be back.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


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