All reader reviews by TM

L Restaurant and Bar

We went here last Saturday night after having "discovered" it on London Eating with the 50% off food offer.

The service was pleasant from beginning to end and the atmosphere was mellow and wam all evening. We had tapas to begin with, baby squid with chilli and ginger sauce, this tasted brilliant but they were all clumped together and we did have to pick the battered pieces apart somewhat.

This was followed by the veal with mint truffle sauce and the seared foie gras with mango and ginger. These were utterly sublime, with exotic flavours layered together... for the main courses we had monkfish and shellfish Catalonian stew and seabass baked in parchment paper. The stew got good reports opposite me and the seabass was big and hearty and very tasty, despite being a little buttery for my liking and lacking a little in accompanying greens... there were greens available as sides but I didn't order them as there would simply be too much to eat.

For dessert we ordered the dessert platter for two which in reality is far too much for two people. It is better suited to three or even four as a tiny taster platter. There was creme brulee, cheesecake, strawberry sorbet, chocolate fondant with vanilla icecream, and lemon tart. The vanilla icecream and cheesecake were too rich and sweet for my liking, and the lemon tart was so sour I winced. The creme brulee, however, was made to light perfection and the strawberry sorbet was divine. The chocolate fondant was delicious but as we were trying everything a couple of teaspoonfuls for both of us sufficed, rather than the brownie-sized puck on the platter. Most customers wouldn't complain about large portions so I guess for some it is no bad thing...

All in all, a great experience and we'll definitely go again. Recommended to all.

Monday, July 16, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9

Les Trois Garcons

My friend insisted on going to this place on our joint birthday last Tuesday, which I was less than happy about owing to the mixed reviews.

The negative reviews were closer to my experience than the good ones. The decor is interesting, ambient and impressive when one first walks in but afer a couple of hours the fun wears off, and the heavy green velvet curtains coupled with plastic bling around half the resetaurant feels oppressive and chintzy. The service was very slow, and the food, although not bad, came in tiny portions and were overpriced compared to London restaurants which serve similar dishes.

We were a group of seven, and most of us ordered from the evening menu which offered two courses for £25.00. Before our dishes arrived we were all given complimentary mushroom and onion veloute, which was a pleasant touch, but it was salty and the fact that it came in a shotglass was more naff than cute. For the main course, I ordered pan-seared seabass with Mediterranean vegetables and white polenta. The fish was flavoursome and had lovely crispy skin. The portion of vegetables was tasty but on the small side - we're talking about a portion that would fit in my hand. The white polenta did not resemble any other polenta I had seen before - it was more of a saucy taste and texture rather than a solid one. It was delicious as a sauce but there was too much of it to be poured onto the other things in the dish, and it tasted too acidic to be eaten on its own. In terms of the main course, I was lucky. A friend sitting opposite ordered gnocchi and had no more than seven to ten pieces of it on her plate. Ridiculous.

For dessert, I ordered a selection of sorbets: mango, pear, and melon with a piece of caramelised banana. It was delicious, except for the melon which tasted too sweet and artificial. A friend sitting next to me ordered the cheese which just stank, but that's just my taste.

The waiter was inattentive most of the time and downright slow. From ordering the dishes, to ordering the water and then waiting for the food, and our bill, it just took ages. There was however one lovely touch which would make me consider going back again, and that was when the waiter brought us tiny cake canapes for our birthday, about one inch cubed each, chocolate cake with icing, marshmallow, and sponge cupcake. Adorable!

The bill came to over £230 for seven, four of us had two courses, the rest had one course and a tea/coffee, and about 5 of us had a single glass of wine. In any other restaurant of the same standard of food and service I would expect about a third of that total shaved off. I would consider going back again, but won't be returning in a hurry. If you haven't been and don't mind splashing out on sitting in interesting decor, try it at least once.

Friday, July 06, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 2

Cafe Koha

This is what most restaurants in London aspire to be like. Welcoming, atmospheric, homely but not overbearing, reliable, and serving rich food!

I often eat here and there are several dishes I would recommend. The squid starter is a favourite, and their salmon, sole, chicken and venison main courses are excellent. The service is very good, and their head waiter (an Italian guy with glasses) is so welcoming and friendly.

If there's one thing I could fault Koha for, it's the extra salt added to their dishes. If you're sensitive about your salt intake, request to not have any salt added... Also, they put on a £1 cover charge in addition to the service charge; I believe this is because some people turn up just for drinks...

All in all, definitely recommended.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

Busaba Eathai (Wardour St)

This place used to be good, but over the years the portions have shrunk and the service wittled down to brusque syllables. The food can take up to half an hour to arrive, and the bill usually takes ten seconds. The waiters seem to only want you to order as much as possible and get you out. Overpriced. Don't bother.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 6 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 4

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