All reader reviews by JMS

Valentina (Putney)

Went on a quiet Sunday night. Service was pretty slow but my spaghetti vongole was really yummy although the clams themselves weren't great. Would definitely go back but they must improve the slow service, and also get rid of some tables. They've crammed so many in and it was quite desolate as the restaurant was mostly empty.

Monday, March 05, 2012
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7

Tom Ilic

A conversation with Tom on Saturday:

TI: So how was your dinner

Me: Really good, everything we ate was fantastic. I had a lot of pork.

TI: Pork? Yes, pork is good. I like pork. All of the pork is for eating.

Me: I had a lot of belly pork. And Crackling. Very nice and crispy.

TI: Yes thank you. I am glad you have enjoyed it.

Me: (gushingly) The food here is much better than where my husband took me for my birthday. La Trompette. (staring pointedly at husband)

TI: Yes, very nice of you to say. They have Michelin star. Sorry today we have not enough staff.

Me: Everything was lovely and the slightly slow service was not a problem. Why have you opened this wonderful restaurant in the middle of nowhere - come to Putney!

TI: (walks away as he notices a customer on crutches hobbling out without paying for his bill for his table of 7 as he had waited too long for the bill to arrive, shouting 'here is my mobile number - send me an invoice'...)

So to sum up our evening at Tom's, I would say that the food is outstanding. I wanted to eat pretty much everything on the menu. The location is I suspect cheap (clever business gamble during the 'credit crunch') and the lighting way too bright. But the food. Yummy!!

ps - Don't you think the term 'credit crunch' sounds like a breakfast cereal? I'll have some credit crunch, bananas and cold milk please. Please spread my toast with a slight helping of panic and hysteria. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9

Jom Makan

"Alamak!" - An expression of surprise: used to express surprise, annoyance, or derision. In this case, wholly directed to the food at Jom Makan.

SIgh. Yet another gastronomic catastrophe, on par with the BN by-election catastrophe at Permatang Pauh yesterday (yay!). The food here is bad. Nothing fresh about the food, although it certainly was fast. Restaurants like these give Malaysian food a bad name. Such a shame as Malaysian food really is fabulous - by far my favourite.

The restaurant has just opened and yet no sign of any Malaysian chefs in the kitchen to ensure quality, esp in the critical start up period. And the waiting staff were all Eastern European. Perhaps that's why I was given a small bowl of chillies in oyster sauce to go with my noodles.

In a word, Alamak. Jom Makan? I'd rather not, actually.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 2 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 4

The Swan

We walked to this pub all the way from Putney. It was a beautiful evening and we had a lovely walk along the river with our one year old daughter. Yes, we were bringing our baby with us but she is beautifully behaved (no, really!) and falls asleep in her stroller as mummy and daddy get stuck into their food and drinks.

We called up before we left home to say we were coming for dinner and did they have a high chair and space for a stroller. Yes, was the answer. So we trotted along merrily, walking through the grotty bits of Acton Lane to get to The Swan. I was starving by the time we got there and the waiter smiled brightly at me as I stepped in. I could see people sitting out eating in the garden and it looked lovely. Then my husband walked in with the baby and the waiter said 'Oh, sorry no babies after 7pm' after which I smacked his bottom with a frozen lamb chop and expressed my displeasure at having walked for over an hour only to be told No Food At The Inn If You Bring Your Baby. Well, he could have told me that over the phone. We did phone ahead to ask (although it was my husband that did the calling I might add)

So, lessons learnt from this episode; a) never assume that the foreign waiter on the phone understands that when you say you are coming for dinner this evening and ask if they have a high chair and space for a stroller, you mean you are coming for dinner and bringing a baby. He could perhaps have assumed I was very short. I'm not; b) Never let your husband make important calls.

No idea about the food. Sorry. And the bit about the lamb chop is entirely fictional.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Overall rating 0 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0

Rasa Penang

Ouch Douglas! No axe to grind unfortunately, and being Malaysian, believe I have a fairly good understanding of Asian food, particularly Malaysian (believe it or not!).

I stand by my review that the food we were served was truly awful but seeing as I have not been back since, am unable to comment on any improvement in quality.

Saturday, April 19, 2008
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 0 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


My husband and I tried the tasting menu on Saturday. The thing is, while the food was faultlessly prepared, I couldn't help but get the feeling that Trinity was mean...

Lobster cocktail to start was lacking in lobster, fabulously crispy little morsels of mackerel with a lovely sweet caper sauce (but such a cheap fish!), some decadent foie gras (but mixed with less pricey chicken livers for the parfait - very good indeed) and braised beef shepherds pie (yummy, but cheaper cuts of meat perhaps..?). Rich and heavy choc pot with sweet ice cream to end.

The wines were stunning, matching each course precisely. However, having another attack of meanness, each glass amouned to no more than 3 or 4 mouthfuls. Mean, mean, mean!

Another thing that got my goat was that while the 'sommelier' described the first 2 wines (and I think she was slightly put out a having to do that), the remaining 3 wines were introduced to us by (I believe) the commis chef, the kitchen cleaner lady and our surly South African waiter.

I know when I booked that they would need the table back at 9.30, but after asking us if we wanted coffee, he plonked the bill on our table and disappeared. I suppose in keeping with the fact that Trinity is a serious restaurant, allowing your waiters to smile would have been too much.

Nice food though.

Monday, October 08, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 8 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4

Tom's Kitchen

Been twice - once for dinner and once for the all-day brunch menu on Bank Hol Monday. Tables are cramped and the decor lends itself more to daytime casual dining than to a cosy dinner for 2. Hard surfaces make it hard to hear and lots of kids during the day. The kitchen could do with a better extractor as you do leave smelling a little of the kitchen. The loos could do with more regular cleaning. And the home made ketchup is just plain nasty - watery, tasteless and the colour of regurgitated carrot.

The food however is worth all the above. Dinner was tortellini in lobster mousse and spaghetti con vongole followed by juicy steaks done to perfection. Dessert was a prune clafoutis which was heaven!! Fentimans ginger beer for the pregnant lady - hurrah - something nice to drink!

Brunch included nicely done burgers (enormous and tasty, chips a little salty), perfect eggs benedict and mum had a superbly cooked lemon sole with asparagus. Delicious waffles, exquisite choc profiteroles with ice-cream. About £130 for 5 inc a bottle of sauv blanc.

Sigh. Go for the desserts alone and you won't be disappointed. Tom A was there on Monday - although I think he burned some meat...

Friday, June 01, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Dosas were cold, crab curry made with soft shell crab (eek!) , and the place was completely empty on a Wednesday night at 8pm. However, the owner and his son-in-law were hospitable and the payasam was freshly made that day (or so I was told). Wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again, but this will do for a local.

Friday, June 01, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6

Cocum (Raynes Park)

Pretty good food. Paper dosas nice and crunchy, crab curry was moreish and had a yummy peppery chicken curry. Don't let the lilac walls with lime green borders put you off.

Friday, June 01, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7


I have completely changed my mind - please ignore my review below. Had lunch there an hour ago. I was served rancid mashed potatoes. It was rotten. Sour, curdled and smelled of socks soaked in liquefied goats cheese. However, when we finally managed to get the blonde lady's attention, she was shocked that we dared to suggest the mash was not quite up to scratch. Said they had been serving it all day and no one complained... She was curt and appeared to be really put out that we would dare a) complain and b) suggest there was something wrong with the food. A little later she did come back to say she didn't know how the mash turned bad as it was 'freshly made that day' (read 'freshly microwaved to order') but at least she seemed to agree that mash potato is not supposed to taste of athlete's foot flavoured cream cheese.

It really pains me to have to put in a bad report here as Hudsons always looks so inviting. Furthermore, its local and I really want local joints to do well. All they need to do is to serve palatable and non-rancid food and maybe get more staff in. The two blonde ladies in there always look stressed and over-worked (and the restaurant was less than half full when we were in).

Hudsons. Looks inviting, tastes revolting.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 1 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 2

Frankie’s Express by Marco Pierre White

Had a 'can't be bothered to cook' dinner here the weekend of the Boat Race. Wasn't expecting much but was very pleasantly surprised. Nice burger and lasagne. Yummy zuchinni fritters. My ice cream was slightly melted and there wasn't enough hot choc sauce (never deny a pregnant lady her chocolate!!) which wasn't great. A lady was singing some light jazzy Ella in the background. All pretty good. Only thing is - the waiters were dressed to look like Italian boys on a night out in Chelsea so was pretty hard to work out who to ask for the menu... Only thing missing was the cashmere jumper thrown oh so casually across their shoulders!

Friday, April 27, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7


Frequented by a fair amount of Chinese which lended an air of credibility to the place. A good start, and the food smelled wonderful. The dried beef starter was OK (like spicy biltong, but drier) and the spare ribs, while tasty had clearly been sitting around for a bit. The LARGE portion of prawns was lovely as were the stir fried green beans. Too stuffed to try the interesting sweets. Frequent pleas for tap water were ignored but they were more than happy to bring on the beers. On the whole, would return.

Friday, April 27, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6


I always feel this place should be better than it really is - looks like such a find - hidden location, eclectic decor, some Japanese diners - but its not. Food is average, drinks overpriced, service is poor (the owner lady looks almost unhappy to see you!) and your bill is always much higher than expected. My edamame was boiled to within an inch of its life, poor thing.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 4 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 1


I know its Christmas and restaurants are busy, full of drunk customers and harassed waiting staff. But the really mean waitress working downstairs last night could have at least apologised for bashing into me 3 times, twice with tables and once with a chair as she re-jigged seating to squash even more people in. Spag & meatballs was OK though.

Friday, December 15, 2006
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 4


I had been looking forward to supper here the whole week. Cicada used to be a local fave but we now live too far away so thought we'd try the E&O after rave reviews from friends who live in the area. Chilli salt squid lacking in chilli and salt, soft shell crab tempura was uncooked in some parts, no ribs available til after 9.30 (?? - had they forgotten to put it in the oven?), the Singapore noodles had lumps of raw curry powder and the green tea ice cream was to sweet and creamy without the slightly bitter bite of good green tea ice cream. Maybe it was an off day for the kitchen. Will try 8over8 to see if its any better.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 5

Royal China (Putney)

Dark room, slightly gruff service but good dim sum. Chive and prawn is my fave. Perfect local dim sum joint!

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 7 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6

Abi Ruchi

Agree completely with Pia - this place is the best Indian I have been to in ages. Service can be a little slow but the waiters remember you from your last visit and they seem friendly so can't complain. Much better food than the very pink Rasa restaurants.

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7

Rasa Penang

The chef may be good at making animals out of root veg, but the food here is terrible. Went on Friday with the husband. I hardly ate anything, thankfully, but he unfortunately was throwing up the next day. We ate dodgy chicken satay (it should never be made with breast meat) - dry and horrible. Sichuan spice sizzling lamb made from what I assume must be rotten meat to make the husband feel so ill, drenched in a slimey gray sauce with peppers and onions, some OK veg and uncooked plain rice (how can you mess up rice??!). Saw the owner lady at Waitrose the next day and almost went up to her to complain but chickened out at last minute... Don't eat here (nb: we didn't have any animal shaped carrots so can't advise on that).

Monday, November 13, 2006
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 0 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


Sweet, cosy place - get seats in front. Food OK - great if you're a student trying to impress a date or if it's your 'can't be bothered to cook' place. Not so great if you come here with high expectations.

Friday, August 11, 2006
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 3 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5

The Phoenix

They had told us they were understaffed on Saturday evening but service, while polite and friendly, was really slow. Food was OK - a nice neighbourhood restaurant - wouldn't go out of my way to eat there though. Nice to sit out in the summer, although it is on a busy road (but there are plants & sparkly lights blocking the road from view)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 5

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