All reader reviews by Harry

Norfolk Arms

Have to agree with other reviewers complaining about the service, and this on a quiet night. We were a table of young women - we smiled, we were polite, hell we were even charming, but they were having none of it.

After a loooong wait our first attempt to order was foiled with a dismissive gesture that seemed to indicate that only the other waiter was special enough to take orders. Only he didn't like the look of us and was staying well away. Eventually he was enticed closer until escape was impossible, but he wasn't going to be gracious about it and I swear he even snarled at us. Ordering second helpings of tapas was even harder - had to fetch our own menus and sit in poised silence to concentrate on ambushing a passing waiter - but after more dodging and scowling and lengthy ignoring we were eventually permitted to spend more money there. But they obviously weren't happy about it.

Food was good, but not so good I'm prepared to be pointedly ignored and glowered at. I don't need restaurant staff to suck up to me, just, y'know, sell me their food without giving the impression they want me dead. Is that so much to ask?

And yup, the 12.5% service charge is already included.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 3

Upper Glas

Lovely to look at, and the food is good, but £19 for a tiny little piece of seabass? I mean really, *really* tiny. I'm a small female and even I felt hard done by. I had scallops for starter; I think they were good, but with only two yes two for my £9.50 I didn't really have time to appreciate them. Are Upper Glas buying their seafood on the black market or something? Herring three ways was delicious and more generously served, there was even enough for my companions to let me taste some to keep me going. Shame I couldn't reciprocate with my two scallops.

So, nice food, but for these prices why not go somewhere really top-notch? Don't tell me Swedish waitresses are that gorgeous....

(The upholstery was pretty special though, bet that didn't come from Ikea. Maybe it was really expensive and they're desperately trying to pay it back?)

Monday, February 11, 2008
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 0


For once I am moved to write a review because I really liked a place! Fika is lovely - gorgeous space with soft wood, quirky decor (I'm a sucker for reindeers drinking tea...) and just the right lighting. It's quite romantic with trees etched on the walls and candles, and tables not too close together.

My group shared herring and gravadlax starters, which were as good as anywhere I've tried in London but quite a lot cheaper. Then great big steak on a board which is apparently typically Swedish - can't comment on the authenticity but they were damn good. And again, you get a lot of steak for your money. Meatballs were good too; only criticism would be lack of green veg but I accept that no-one else I know looks to restaurants to help them get their 5 a day. There's also salmon but it had run out since it comes from Billingsgate rather than the deep freeze!

Definitely recommend this place if you want a lovely atmosphere and reasonably-priced food on Brick Lane but can't bear another curry - have herring instead!

Monday, February 11, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9


My enjoyment of the food at Roast was sternly challenged by the agressive reminders from staff that we only had the honour of sitting at our table for 2 hours. Nothing was mentioned when booking, only in the confirmation phone call on the same day leaving our party of 6 no time to look for somewhere else.

2 hours is pretty tight for 6 people, and when we lingered in the bar for 10 minutes waiting for 2 of our party to arrive, we were pushily reminded that we could only stay till 9:30pm and hadn't we better go to our table? Feeling harrassed before we'd even opened the menu, we obliged, but couldn't help checking the time all through the meal to see how long on our table time-share we had left. In the end no-one was waiting for our table and we were offered dessert just before 9:30 and decided to brave the bouncers no doubt poised to eject us from the premises. But none appeared and we finished at our own pace, though mightily annoyed at having been hassled at the start for no good reason.

Perhaps Roast are trying to create the illusion that they are terribly in demand - however this unfriendly policy seems to be making sure they won't be. Food was pretty good, but you'll enjoy it more if you ask for it to take away...

Sunday, October 29, 2006
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 8 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 2

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