All reader reviews by Shappo

Red Sun

Please ignore Liz, she clearly doesn't recognise the charm of a great value homestyle restaurant. As a party of 3 last night we feasted on some excellent food, had a few beers and left with a bill of just over £60, a bargain in this part of town.

Sunday, June 12, 2011
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10

Galvin Bistrot de Luxe

Having just had lunch here for the first time in a couple of years, I feel like I have eaten my last (of many) meals here. The food is still fairly good, but lacks the finesse it once had, and the service today was really poor. Our waiter barely spoke throughout the meal. Amidst this awkward silence he was plonking plates down, whilst simultaneously appearing smug and disinterested. Who said men can't multitask?! The prices have all gone up and the quality has gone down, that may explain why it was quiet today.

Friday, November 26, 2010
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 3

Caravan (Exmouth Market)

They put coriander in their bloody marys. This tells you everything you need to know about Caravan. If you like your staff from the "too cool for" school, and love having one too many ingredients in everything you eat you'll love Caravan. Otherwise avoid.

Friday, November 05, 2010
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7

Royal China (Queensway)

Plus points are very good dim sum, and a wide variety of specials that change fairly regularaly. Unfortunately the downside is that the service can be brusque, and that they persist in trying to scam you on the service charge. I don't mind that service is included (even at 13% which is a bit steep for the level of service you receive). What I object to is the attempt to extort an extra gratuity from you by printing off a slip for you to add an additional "tip" when you come to pay. When I queried this practice they claimed it is for added security! This claim is a complete fabrication (I took the trouble to check this with my bank, it was not a security measure they had ever heard of!). I am sure many diners will fall for this ploy. I hope by writing this review I can at least prevent some people from being fleeced.

Monday, October 04, 2010
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


I'm not sure what part of Paris the previous review refers to, perhaps the part that had the riots a couple of years ago. I just wish I had read the reviews here before parting with my hard earned on what I think will be my worst meal of 2010. Quite an achievement in January.

Friday, February 05, 2010
Overall rating 0 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


It is said a good restaurant is 1000 little details done well. I think franklins managed about 600 of them at lunch today. In their defence the slightly shambolic service was probably down to the fact that there were only 2 people covering the bar and the restaurant. The food is very hit and miss, so after you have patiently waited to order, waited to get your drink, waited to get the bread you had to chase up because you're now starving, you get a plate of food which is nearly great.

It was a real shame that my venison starter would have been delicious if it hadn't been cooked to a dull and lifeless grey. My steak and kidney pie would have been fab with the addition of steak to compliment the delicious kidneys in gravy. The spring greens just needed a gloss of butter to really come to life. I hope they read this review, because I would love to go back, but only if they get up to about 800!

Friday, February 05, 2010
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 7

My Old Dutch (Chelsea)

What can I say...a huge pancake covered in industrial cheese, and cheap meat.

Thursday, January 07, 2010
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 2 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5

Dragon Castle

I wish the dragon in the name would breathe some fire into the room....i don't like eating in my overcoat! The dim sum are very good, and I have not suffered from the cold food some other reviews mention. The service is what I believe is politely referred to as "typical Chinese". I am always amazed that we have to put up with charmless, unhelpful service in Chinese restaurants. At my most recent visit the waiter refused to take our order for more food, as the kitchen was closed. This was at 4.35, when clearly stated on the menu is " dim sum available until 4.45". If I can't persuade a waiter to let me spend more money in his restaurant, it helps to explain why they can't afford to pay for more heating.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 7 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 7

Bluebird Restaurant

I think it's fair to say that this is a restaurant you will want to visit despite the food. It's in a great location, the room is glamourous without being too "cool" and there is a nice buzz. The food is very varied in quality, from very good to fairly poor. I have even experienced both good and bad food on the same plate! The service can also vary, and at times they seem very understaffed. Despite all this I keep coming back, I'm just not sure why....

Tuesday, January 05, 2010
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6

Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House

Great oysters, a decent pint of guiness and excellent bread...what more do you need! As an informal venue for fun evenings with friends WBOPH is ideal, it's not cheap, but the ingredients are of a very high quality. Particularly good was a small dish of razor clams with chorizo and broad beans, an unusual and very successful combination. Service was well meaning but a bit sketchy, still with such good seafood avaiable this is a small niggle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

Bocca di Lupo

Ladies and gentlemen, it is with regret I have to inform you that the emperor is not wearing clothes. This restaurant fails to even come close to some of the critical accliam it has received. The seating at the bar is cramped and the counter too high to eat at in comfort. The staff are stetched, leaving a little to be desired in terms of service. The food is seriously underwhelming at best. It speaks volumes that the best dishes are those where the kitchen is least involved. Even the coffee was overextracted with barely any crema, a disgrace at £2.20 for a single espresso. Spend a little more and go to locanda locatelli. His outfit really is magnificent!

Friday, August 14, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4


Please pay no heed to the reviews below, they are clearly posted by people who have never eaten Italian food before.....

Anyway, this is a decent enough trat for the area, not a place for an occasion. If you want really good food go elsewhere.

Friday, August 07, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6

Franco Manca (Brixton)

This place is great, but very simple, and it's charm lies in it's pizzas. I live in the area and eat here regularly, but I wouldn't suggest a trip across town (unless you REALLY love Pizza!). Come prepared for a queue, and a pretty lengthy wait. When you are eventually seated (on a hard pew) you may well be in the market passage, which can be a bit cold and often smells of fish and/or dope! If this does not put you off you will be rewarded with a big plate of the most fantastic pizza I have ever tried. It really is amazing, and does live up to the hype. The homemade lemonade is also knockout, but the wine could strip the paint off a batteship and is to be avoided at all cost (but as its only about 7 pence a glass feel free to try for yourselves)!

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 10

Prince Regent

Decent enough food, but a little pricey. Can get very busy at weekends, and the service gets very sketchy when this happens. Worth a try, but I prefer the Florence down the road.

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5

Taro (Brewer St)

A regular haunt for cheap tasty lunches. I particularly enjoy the Chicken Yakitori, but pretty much everything I have tried has been decent. Service is functional, and the room a bit packed, but what do you expect for £6-7 a head!

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 9


Arbutus is a serious contender for best value lunch in London! It offers good food, with excellent ingredients sympathetically prepared, fairly good service and a superb wine list.

However, I note that other reviewers expect the dazzling "Michelin" experience such as one enjoys at Claridge's. A single Michelin star denotes "very good cooking in its category", Arbutus does exactly that. If you want something "flashier" (and in my experience more expensive) might I suggest you go elsewhere.

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8

Notting Hill Brasserie

We have been to this restaurant so many times it's silly! The reason for all the repeat visits is simple...the food. It is superb. Why there is not a Michelin Star is beyond me...and at lunchtime this is without doubt the best value for money in London! I cannot recommend this place highly enough...Just go!

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

The Glasshouse

Sunday lunch and the dining room is half full....not an auspicious start! However we were greeted warmly at the door by an extremely personable Maitre D', and any hesitation we had quickly disappeared. Service here was exceptional, and we felt a bit more personal (less forma?) than it's sister Chez bruce.

Food here is very good, using excellent quality ingredients. I kicked off with Vitello Tonnato which was as good as I have had anywhere. My wife had a salad of endive/blue cheese/beetroot and caramelised walnuts that was absolutely delicious! What followed for me was less successful, the assiette of pork. Although all the components of the dish were excellent, they did not hang together as a cohesive whole, leaving the dish ultimately unsatisfying. More successful was my wife's Cod which she polished off with gusto! We were too full for pudding, so this gives us an excuse to return! I must also mention the sommelier who was informative and has some excellent suggestions. They have put together an excellent list here, particularly the choice by the glass. Recommended.

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7

Royal China (Queensway)

The Royal China chain offers very good dim sum at reasonable prices. The Bayswater branch is the one I have visited most regularly, and has been consistently good. The dining room is great, all gold and black laquers, although could probably benefit from a bit of TLC as it is starting to look a bit tired. Service is efficient and brusque as one expects, food arriving promptly and piping hot. Having said that, there are much better places to eat dim sum in London, notably Yauacha, and my personal favorite the Dragon Castle. So if you are in the area and fancy some good dim sum this place is ideal. If the quality of food is paramount head elsewhere.

Monday, August 03, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7

Satay Cocktail Bar & Restaurant

Busy little restaurant on coldharbour lane, lunch for a fiver. Can't go wrong can you? Well yes you can if you end up in satay bar. I can honestly say this us one of the worst meals I have had for some time. A duck pancake with hoisin arrived ominously quickly and nuclear hot. Microwaved cucumber so hot it could melt Tarmac is not a wecome addition. This was followed by the worst massaman curry ever. All the right ingredients seemed to be present, but none of their flavours. It was like eating in black and white! This may be a cheap meal, but it's still not worth it. Avoid.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 0 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 5


I always tend to ignore reviews that start "we went to x restaurant for ....'insert your special occasion here'.... ". There is nothing wrong with going out for a special occasion, I like to do it as often as possible. It's just that with so many factors coming into play on the big night (apart from is the restaurant up to scratch) that perhaps this is not the time to consider writing a review. Just a thought....

So on to the restaurant, this is a sure bet for 3 Michelin stars in the very near future. The food is the equal of his mentor's at Royal Hospital Road, the staff nearly as polished, the whole experience one of luxury and refinement. The room is a bit "clubby" but without being stuffy. Try and avoid being seated in "Siberia", an annex at the back where you will miss the full buzz of the dining room. Food is first class, from the foie gras amuse bouche through to the "great british" custard tart. Although not cheap, with careful ordering and a bit of self control you can eat as well here as you can anywhere in London, and get change from £100 a head. This is one of the best meals we have had, and I will go again as soon as I can! p.s. my wife and I ate here on friday...the special occasion was lunch!

Monday, July 27, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

Made in Italy (Chelsea)

After reading such glowing reviews we expected great things, and indeed the food is pretty good if you stick to the basics. A few niggles however. Anti pasti portions were very small. At £6.50 each we felt short changed, and I'm not overly keen on them using tinned mushrooms in their dishes. Main courses of pizza and pasta were standard trat fayre. In no way do they come close to the hubristic reviews here, and they would be shamed if compared to pasta dishes at river cafe/locatelli/theo randell etc...but they are much cheaper. One disaster dish was the insalata rustica. It was advertised as a delicious sounding rocket, asparagus, goat cheese salad. What arrived on the plate was one small slice of goats cheese quartered, 2 (also tinned) asparagus spears halved, and a childs fist full of (undressed) rocket - very disappointing. Service was slow, unattentive, and at times surly. It culminated in the waiter spilling a full glass all over the table. He didn't feel the need to apologise, we didn't feel the need to tip. Next time I'll go back to Olivio.

Thursday, January 22, 2009
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 4

Mela @ Herne Hill

Judging from the reviews posted below, I can only assume that Kevin, Kartin (should that be katrin?) and Martin are the new owners. If not they have a very peculiar writing style - since when did a waiter become a steward, or have we set sailon HMS Curryhouse?!!! I am particularly impressed at the "punters" knowledge of the culinary tastes of the Prince of Wales - how lucky that the 3 monkeys has such well informed customers!!

Th food here is standard curry house fayre with the benefit of more elaborate menu descriptions rather than any improvement in quality. If you want an authentic experience I have found none better than the Mirch Masala in Tooting. If you want an a meal based more on image than taste this is the place for you.

Do leave plenty of time as service is a bit slow, and go easy on the booze as it is expensive. Won't go back...too many other places in this area that are worth trying out.

Sunday, May 28, 2006
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 3 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 0

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