All reader reviews by Stephen H

Bistrot Bruno Loubet

Went there for a big family occasion and it was excellent. Mackeral tart starter was excellent, while the lamb was verytender and tasty. The dessert had a salt ice cream which was interesting but only that, so I just kept to the bitter chocolate. Atmosphere and service also good, so will be going back.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


Dolada

Went here on saturday night with a big group, and it started well. Good atmosphere, excellent service, and a nice starter of warm prawns and salad. Wine was also good (though first bottle was corked), but the main courses were really stodgy. Not just mine of veal, but everyone's seemingly. Quite tasteless and a bit of a deal getting through.

Shame really as it was good otherwise. At £63 it was ok, though not planning on coming back.

Sunday, February 21, 2010
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6


Corrigan's Mayfair

Went here a couple of days ago and it's excellent. One of us knew one of the chefs so we got some amazing amuse bouche, including a goats cheese one and another of perfectly cooked steak. Good start. My starter was basically a breakfast, of duck egg and mushroom. Bit odd as a starter but very good.

Main was .5kg of perfectly cooked steak. Very tender with perfect Bernaise. Dessert was the toffee apple soufle which was just the right sweetness and savoury combination. Got some free wine at the end so it was damn near perfect. Service was attentive and friendly, decor very classy, wine excellent too. £95 each so pricey, as you'd expect. Recommended.

Saturday, November 21, 2009
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


The East Room

Went here for a brunch with a group of people, and it was excellent. Quality of the food struck me most, obviously good ingredients and well made. Good selecction of breakfasts, though didn't try the lunches. Service was also very good, attentive but not overbearing.

Price seemed good too, considering the pretty good portions. The place looks great, with a nice terrace bit and lots of good seating. Basically excellent, and want to go back soon.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Preto (Victoria)

Went to this place as I was intrigued by the high scores. Nice tables outside so we decided to sit there. The salad area was pretty good, though not really the point of such a place. The meat is where it's at, and it was damn fine. Everything that came over, from chicked wrapped in bacon, to the steak to the sausage was excellent. Succulent and obviously just off the grill.

The beers on tap ere good, and the wine pretty decent. Atmosphere and decor were also good, and price pretty decent for what you get. Temptation is obiously to eat loads, but meat sweats followed by meat coma are reason to have a decent balance of steak with salad.

They even replaced a glass of wine that one of us knocked over, which was impressive. Best place I've been for Rodizio, and highly recommended.

Sunday, July 26, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


The Garrison Public House

Just got back from this place and I would say that it is pretty good. It looks the part, with a busy but not cluttered atmosphere, as far as gastro-pubs go. My starter was the scallops and bacon, which were very good - tender and tasty.

Main course took an absolute age to arrive, and as our booking was late we weren't all that hungry when it finally arrived. It was busy on a Thursday, but not all that impressed by the lack of speed. Still, the waiter was obviously concerned and trying to speed things up, which we noticed. The pork knuckle was ok but not all that. Same for the dauphinoise potatoes really.

Wine was good, with a decent, if slightly expensive (for a pub) list. Overall it was a good gastro-pub, which I'd definitely go back to when a bit quieter, with good service and atmosphere.

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Pizzeria Oregano

This place is excellent. As said many times, the decor is a bit basic, with pretty cheap tables and chairs, but apart from that it's a great restaurant. Had the king prawn starter which was very fresh with a really nice tomato sauce, and parsnips that really went well with it. Had the Amici pizza which was excellent, again the tomato sauce made it, and [arma ham very high quality.

Portions are generous and prices very good. Most of the cost for us was three bottles of a very nice red, which really went well with the meal. Lots of italians about and seemingly italian staff, which is reassuring. Service was good, prompt but not overbearing.

Recommended and will definitely go back.

Sunday, July 19, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 9


Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote (Marylebone)

Bit of an odd place this. One thing to order, no reservations, you all have to be there to get a table, no place to wait. I counted 9 waitresses, but as has been said before, they don't exactly like it when you ask for something, such as whether we could have the steak without the sauce.

Speaking of which, the sauce was a bit rubbish really, the chips too. Steak itself was pretty good, but not amazing. Desserts were good though, while the house red was good. They tried to charge us for the white wine that they had mistakenly brought us as well, so not exxactly impressed. It thinks of itself as the full French dining experience. They're probably right, because it's not very good.

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 6 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 4


Matsuri (Holborn)

First time I've been here and I'm impressed. We went to the separate room where they cook the food in front of you on a hot plate (Teppan-Yaki). Only a few people in there at the time, but the decor was certainly impressive. Service was very friendly, while being attentive but not overbearing.

Had a set menu which was reasonable value, starting with some pretty tasty scallops, then moving on to a surprisingly large steak. Was expecting thin slices, but it was a full size steak cooked as we wanted and served up in larg-ish chunks. It was a little tricky to eat with chopsticks, as rib-eye is pretty fatty, but it was good.

The dessert was flambe'd ice cream, which looked pretty impressive when cooked but was very tasty and a good finish to the meal. Cost was about £45 with some beers, so reasonable value, and overall recommended.

Saturday, May 09, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Vinoteca (Farringdon)

Like this place. Quite small and a bit crmped, but friendly service and good atmosphere. The wines we had very very high quality, and steak was tender and well cooked. Definitely will be going back. Decent price too, at £30.

Sunday, April 05, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Tito's Peruvian Restaurant

Went here last night when it was rammed. Not sure if it's always like this, as it was more of a bar than a restaurant. Anyway, pork rib starter was tasty, but the duck and rice was pretty average. Service was pretty rubbish but this might be because there were far more people than usual. Still, not a good experience overall and we were all glad to leave.

Saturday, March 28, 2009
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 5 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6


Sardo Canale

Went to this place last night with the family, and was initially impressed. It certainly looks the part, well designed and welcoming, friendly staff, good atmosphere (once it got a bit fuller than when we arrived.

Went downhill from there though. Got lots of specials read out which sounded good. Got gnocchi as a starter, and unfortunately it looked like dog food. All of us wondered how they could have something that looked like that on the menu, but they did. Tasted a bit bland and pasty, so not a good start.

Main was swordfish that was as bland as anything, virtually no taste at all, that I noticed. I also asked for mas which didn't arrive, and when I asked for it again it was superheated, so they'd obviously just forgotten it then microwaved something. That too was very bland stuff.

None of us bothered with dessert, and after my brother said that it was, for the money (£51), the worst restaurant he'd ever been to. Can't say I'd argue with that.

Monday, March 23, 2009
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 2 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 3


The Ivy

Went here for the first time last night, and thought it was good. Had the steak whcih, while pricey at £27, rivalled Gaucho Grill it was so good. Cooked just to order, very high quality beef, very tasty. Chips that came with it were good, though the bernaise sauce was a bit of a let down, pretty tasteless. Dessert was a very nice treacle tart. Hard to get wrong perhaps, but they certainly didn't.

Service was very good, always busy so someone got to us quickly, while the atmosphere was very traditional but quite pleasant. Wine was a nice Zinfandel, and the cost at £55 was pretty good. Overall I liked the place, and would go back if I got the chance. Obviously a bit tricky though.

Friday, January 30, 2009
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Cote (Soho)

Heard about this place after all the press, so thought I'd give it a go. Basically, I got exactly what I thought I'd get, from the positive reviews. I had a simple meal of garlic chicken and chips, which was very nice and a healthy portion. Came with a nice butter to put on the chips, and for a tenner you can't go much wrong. Had a nice glass of wine for £4.50, and liked the little pot that the free tap water came in.

Service was very good, very friendly and attentive, but not overbearing. Atmosphere was fine. Basically it's a great place to have a cheap meal if you're out and about. £15 gets you a proper meal in a nice environment. Will go back.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10


The Barnsbury

Went here on friday with a group, though it was excellent and will definitely come back. I had the steak which was very good, cooked to the medium-rare I asked and very succulent. Service was good, attentive and friendly, and came to a decent price. Otherwise, a good pub as well. Recommended.

Monday, December 22, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Maggie Jones's

Went to this place last night after a recommendation. Seemed very good to me, though not perfect. The look is very rustic and wintery - dark, with candles to make it look pretty romantic. Wooden furniture and floor, with random farming stuff on the walls. The little booths are nice, so I liked the atmosphere.

Starters were good, with healthy portions. Pate was good quality, while the artichoke was also good. The steak I had for the main was pretty high quality, though perhaps a little overcooked for the medium rare that I ordered. Good sauce and accompaniments of green beans and peas though.

Desserts weren't great though. Fairly bland chocolate pot and a slightly plasticky treacle tart. Might try the apple pie next time though. Service was a little surly, though pretty attentive.

Overall, it seems a little expensive for what it is, but I liked it, so will go back.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


Sketch Lecture Room & Library

Went here with a big group last week, and overall it was good, if pricey. We were met by a guy at the bottom of the steps who took us up, which was a bit unusual but they're going for a fine dining experience so didn't feel out of place. Very helpful staff who took our bags (and were quick to give them all back at the end).

We decided to go for the tasting menu, which overall was good. Many excellent dishes (I particularly liked the Crawfish and the Ravioli), though some things were truly bizarre. Green Pea ice cream, and the Roquefort ice cream were really rather strange. Still, interesting when surrounded by good food. The bread was also excellent, with several choices and many opportunities to try a different one.

The service was perfect. Very attentive but not overbearing and always helpful. They were all french, but the right side of self-assured. Wine was excellent too, though not cheap. In fact, at £140 each it wasn't a cheap experience, even for such a restaurant, so value for money isn't all that great.

The place looked great though. Very plush surroundings, and as has been said, very nice loos. I wasn't sure if the urinal was a water feature, so I hope I made the right decision in there...

Overall this place deserves its Michelin Star, though perhaps the lunch menu would have been better value.

Saturday, July 26, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


Wild Honey

Went here because of the Michelin star, as many will do I'd expect, and am ever so slightly disappointed. Only a little though. I actually liked the look of the place. Bit Oxbridge dining hall, but generally good.

I started with the Dover Sole and, as became a theme, the main part of the dish was not great, but everything else was good. The Sole itself was a little undercooked and pretty tasteless. hard to get good fish in london but still, it wasn't great. The mushrooms and sultanas however were very good and saved the dish.

My main was the Icelandic Cod, which was a bit odd. The smell of the pancetta dominated, so when you tasted the fish it was an odd combination of very different taste and smell. Not sure if it was deliberate, but didn't really work for me. Again, the cod was ok but not great. Clams and pancetta were good though, nearly saving it.

Dessert was ice cream and honeycomb, which initially looked a bit measly, but ended up being a very good combination with the right measure of each. Overall problem with the meal however was that the portions were a little small. Would have ignored it if it was just me, but pretty much everyone in our group of 8 thought the same.

So overall, don't really think it deserves a Michelin Star. Not far off, but the core ingredients were not quite there. As it only cost £60 with half a bottle of wine each, it's still a good place to go however.

Sunday, June 29, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Chez Bruce

Have been waiting to go for months, so was looking forward after all the good things I've heard. I wasn't disappointed. First off, the place looks the part. Quite small but exactly what you would expect - smart and stylish. Went with a group of six, and immediately got addicted to the bread, which was some of the best I've tasted in years. Also had one of their organic beers which was damn good. Haven't had the starter yet and already I loved the place!

To start I had the Rare grilled tuna with prawn tempura. The tuna was perfect. You could tell it was high quality and was seared on the outside with just the right amount of pepper. If anything the prawns were even better, just the right amount of crispyness. The tempura could have been a little stronger though.

My main was CŰte de boeuf with hand cut chips. The chips were great, fluffy, crispy and tasty. The beef was good, but only good so was a bit of a let down. Cooked well enough, but a little chewy. The gravy however made up for this. The wine list was certainly comprehensive, and our Cairanne was perfect.

For dessert I had the Lemon curd and blueberry ice cream. The ice cream was perhaps the best I've ever had, with the blueberries providing just the right amount of zest.

Coffee and complementary chocolates rounded off a great meal, and for £70 all in it was a decent price for what it was. Recommended.

Friday, May 16, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Hush

Went here last night, and was a bit worried about the level of service to expect. Ended up perfectly happy. Good service, decent food and generally a nice place.

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6


Gordon Ramsay's Boxwood Cafe

Just got back from my first Gordon Ramsay experience, and I'm impressed. Go in, looks the part with classy decor and a generally nice feel. Staff were attentive and professional, alywyas around but not over bearing, and even joined in a bit of banter.

For a starter I had ham and poached egg, which was very tasty. Warmth of the egg really offset everything else, and it was cooked perfectly. For a main I had a whopping great ribeye steak, which was very nearly as good as Gaucho Grill, which is saying something. Cooked well, juicy and just fatty enough. Also got some parmesan mash to go with it, which was pretty good.

The dessert however was amazing. Had warm chocolate fondant and ice cream, which was, I'm pretty sure, the best dessert I've ever had. Oozing chocolate at just the right temperature, we were making satisfied eating noises for about 10minutes. All the courses were perfectly presented as well, you could see how expert the chefs are.

Only slight thing was that they asked us to move to the bar to have our coffees so they could set the table for dinner, but the place was empty and no-one had turned up by the time we had finished. However, easily compensating for this was when they brought out a dessert for my mum who's birthday it was with "Happy Birthday" written on it. Lots of brownie points for that.

Worked out at £80 each, for 3 a la carte courses each and coffee, but only one bottle of wine between six. Overall this place is great. Exactly what you expect: brilliant food at a bit of a price. Recommended.

Sunday, April 20, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Goldfish (Hampstead)

Went her in a group of 4 after a slightly ridiculous review in the Guardian. First off, the decor is very good. Quite a small place but looks the part, such as authentic looking chinese shutters, nice water-wall, and well decorated.

Service started off well, very polite and prompt. However they forgot about two of our dishes and were often nowhere to be seen when the restaurant got a bit quiet. Food however was generally excellent. Some great starters like duck and hoi sin, good dim-sum and some fried pork. Mains were good too and quite original, like a creamy wasabi prawn. My odd banana desert wasn't too great, but their ice cream is excelent, especially the mango flavour.

Generally a good place, quite pricey at £50 each with no wine, but recommended.

Sunday, April 13, 2008
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Northbank Restaurant & Bar

Went for a big family meal on a sunday, so it was quiet, but very happy with the place. Started with the Falmouth Crab and Clotted Cream Tart which was excellent despite thinking it might be an odd combination. Warm, creay and tasty. Then had the Spiced ĎGloucester Old Spot ĎPork Belly with Razor Clams and Smoked Sausage which was also very good, cooked just right.

Service was pretty good, though it sometimes took a while for them to notice us as we were right at the back. Atmosphere was, again, a little different as it was so quiet, and they really need to do something about the sun being too bright coming through the window, but otherwise was good.

All in all it cost about £50 each, including wine, so was what you'd expect. Generally a very good place to go, and we were all happy with it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Dragon Castle

Went here over christmas on the recommendation of a friend. It was pretty deserted, we were the only two in there. Generally very happy with it, helped by my chinese girlfriend who knew all about each dish. This place seems a very authentic chinese, which means it's good though you'll have to try some stuff that isn't the MSG chinese we're used to.

Service was ok, but not great. I suppose because we were the only ones there they weren't paying much attention, but annoying. Took them a while to notice if we needed something. Atmosphere was similarly a bit odd due to our situation. Would probably be good when full though.

Price was excellent, around £25 for two (no booze) for myriad dishes, so overall would highly recommend this place and will be going back.

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


The Elk in the Woods

Been to this place twice now and found it to be excellent both times. Decor is a bit of a mix, looks mostly like a pub, with a bit of randomness to it, like some elk skulls, with misteltoe on them as it was christmas. Bit odd, but quite a nice feel to it, with old wooden tables that were still sturdy.

Food was generally excellent, with an amazing lamb hot pot that was thick, creamy and tasty. I only couldn't finish it as I was tucking into the nicest chips I've had in ages, perfectly soft yet crispy. Think I'll go back just for them. On the second visit I had a very good trout, well cooked and succulent, though tricky to eat as it was in a pool of tomato water.

Desserts were less good. A raspberry crumble was quite bitty. Necessarily so I suppose, but annoying. The second time was a pretty tastless chocolate thing, so generally wouldn't recommend the desserts.

Service was good though. Prompt and friendly, never a problem. Cost was pretty reasonable considering, about £20 without booze.

I'd reccommend this place in an instant, and will be happy to go back if I'm in the area.

Thursday, January 10, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7


Floridita

Strange set of reviews below. This is a really good bar with great music and a good, if expensive, restaurant. The service when I've been there has always been good. They're busy, but know what they're doing and do everything as they're supposed to.

I usually have the Chateaubriand when I go there as it's so good but what I've had of the other mains have been good as well. You'll pay for it though, with high prices especially if you go for the wine and the full three courses. But then again what do you expect for a place like this. They have live music and it basically turns into a club later on, with dancing and a good bar to make a good night.

If you want the best value food then perhaps this isn't the place for you, but if you want a good night out then this will do you quite nicely.

Sunday, November 11, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5


Norfolk Arms

Have to agree with first review, a definite find. Normal pub, great food, very happy. Went with a group of friends, they all had tapas while I had a main meal. Quite rare to find good fish in London, but the halibut I had was very tasty, while the tapas that I tried was excellent.

Would definitely recommend and will go back as soon as I find an excuse.

Sunday, November 11, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Thai Pavilion East

Went here as it's my local and I wondered about the oddly good reviews below. It always looked nice as I walked past, but usually had only a few people inside. My impression is that it's an ok restaurant, but nothing special.

I've been to thailand and know a good pad thai when I see one, and the one here was bland and tasteless. Bit of a slog eating it really, and very disappointing. The curry that I had though was pretty good. Succulent beef and a tasty sauce, so I was quite impressed.

Service was fairly indifferent. Nothing terrible but a bit laid back, not all that attentive, while the place was pretty empty as usual. Cost me £18 in total, which seemed fair enough. I wouldn't mind going back if others were there, but don't think I'll be eating there again otherwise.

Sunday, November 11, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 7 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6


Chinese Experience

Been to this place a couple of times and I'd say it was pretty good, one of the better places in chinatown (not much competition really but still good). From what we ordered, the pork shoulder stood out as particularly good, with honey beef also tasty. Beer was decent, service perfectly good, the place itself clean with a decent atmosphere. Came out to £15 per head, which I was happy with. Didn't particularly stuff myself though.

You don't expect much when it comes to chinatown but this place is one of three that I go to. I'd recommend it and will definitely be going back.

Saturday, November 10, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Barrafina (Soho)

Went here on a Wednesday night (2 of us) mainly because of various reviews. Generally happy with it and would recommend, but slightly disappointed that it wasnít as amazing as some say. Was particularly attracted to it as it resembled a place in Barcelona called Cal Pep which had maybe the best food Iíve ever had, and would call this a good imitation.

We had a very reasonable 25 minute wait, with some nice beer to help. Bit squashed as people walked by but everyone very friendly. Menu is a little limited, not as much choice as I would have expected, but not too bad. Started with ham croquettes which were very tasty, good start, but the sardines were pretty tasteless. We then had some tasty chicken in Romesco sauce, a decent tortilla and good chrizo.

Price ended up as £25 each which is pretty good. Service was fine and atmosphere pretty good. Generally Iíd recommend as a decent place to go and would be happy to come back.

Thursday, October 18, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


The Diner (Soho)

Went to this place mainly due to the Time Out review and was a little disappointed. Went in and got served fast enough. Ordered some drinks which took a while to arrive but not too long, same for the food once ordered. So service was pretty good.

We all had burgers and I couldnít help but find it a bit stodgy really. All the ingredients seemed a bit flat, which surprised me as so many had said the burgers were great. Chips seemed fine, as were the potato wedges, but nothing special. The milkshakes however were great, so I might go back just for them, pricey for £4.20 though. Dťcor was pretty good, so the overall experience was ok, but not somewhere Iíd particularly want to go back to. Worth a shot though if you feel like it.

Friday, October 12, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6


Anchor & Hope

Went on a monday night at 7pm and it was already pretty packed. A group of 5, we were told that we would have to wait an hour and a half for a table, which was annoying, but then the waitress said that a table in the non-restaurant bit would leave in 10mins so we could have that one. So basically impressed with how good she was and how much the staff in general care. I reckon coming as a pair or maybe a three would be fine most of the time, as there were always a few seats dotted around, you just have to be flexible.

We then chose to wait 50mins for the lamb shoulder, and it was worth it. This place is apparently famous for it's slow-cooked meats and you can tell, as it was perfectly tender and tasted delicious. The potatos that came with it were also great, though we should have had some beans or something as well.

With a few bottles of wine and some good desserts, we paid £40 which was pretty good comsidering. I'll definitely be going back.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Bincho Yakitori

This place is great. Everything about it is right up there with the best places in London. The food is varied and pretty much everything I had was delicious. You have a load of small dishes, eat them then order again, and you'll be ordering until you burst, and probably go for the lamb and pork belly with every round like me.

Their sochu and sake list is extensive and all the ones I tasted were great. Their chocolate dessert was one of the best things I've ever tasted. Service was excellent, and a few little things add to it, like having all the sakes explained and seeing one of the waiters check a wine glass before taking it to a table. You notice things like that.

The view is great as well, right over the thames, looks great when it gets darl. Only vaguely bad thing was that they asked us to leave the table and go to the bar at the end, but as we'd been there for two and a half hours then that's fair enough!

I'll be going here all the time from now on, and everyone else should.

Monday, September 17, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Royal China (Queensway)

Just got back from this place and I'm hardly impressed. I'd heard a lot about it and so expected it to be good. It looks the part well enough, with nice decor and everyone turned out quite well. The smell reminded me of Hong Kong, which was a good start, but it started going a bit downhill from there.

I had vietnamese spring rolls, which were pretty good, but as you only got two and they were small, it felt a bit stingy. I also noticed that they were bringing things out in a very ad hoc way, so while some people got their food quite fast, others had to wait much longer.

The main courses were ok. I had some pretty good chicken which, though it got cold quickly, tasted good and it was a generous portion. The other main that I has was Mandarin fillet steak, which was a bit of a disappointment. It was quite chewey, dominated by the strong sauce and to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't fillet at all. Others with me had wine which they said was good, while the beer I had was nice enough. The simple fruit dessert was good also.

The service throughout was not great, until the end. A group of 8 of us had a bill of £370, for which they put on a £45 service charge. When we paid up she said we were £1.20, which she hung around for, reminding us several times until we paid it, with exact money! I found this pretty rude and really not what you expect. The guy a few reviews down saying that they were really rude when they asked for the service charge to be removed really doesn't surprise me.

Overall this restaurant is ok for the food, but nothing special. The service is really quite bad, and I wouldn't recommend coming here.

Monday, May 07, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 5 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5


Big Easy (King's Rd)

Went to this place with a few friends and it was a disappointment. Iíd hoped for some decent US food, even some fresh seafood, but, well, this is England after all. Walked in and the walls were covered with random tat to try to make you think itís New Orleans. Fine, you want to create an atmosphere, but plastering every inch of wall with random signs and fishing stuff isnít the best way to go about it.

The menu immediately looked pretty expensive for the kind of place I thought it was, with starters around £8-9 and mains around £20-30. Starter was supposed to be shrimp with blue cheese sauce, but it was some random spicy sauce instead. Still tasted alright but there seemed little point asking for a change as the waitresses were too busy. Main course was a rack of ribs which was a bit bland and smothered in far too much BBQ sauce. It was all very bland and not fresh at all. One of my friends said that their steak was ďaverageĒ and at £25 thatís not great. Then again another friend said that they quite liked their ribs, so itís possible I just got some rubbish, though I doubt it. I also somehow managed to still be hungry at the end of them meal, somehow.

Basically, the food here seems to be all stodge. Great if youíre off your face on a work do and canít see, let alone taste, but not so great if you actually want to eat. They only have beer in bottles too, which isnít particularly impressive. They then added 12.5% and I ended up paying £37 (no alcohol) for a really bad meal . Highlight of the evening was going to the pub to watch Man U lose in the Champions League.

Thursday, May 03, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 3 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 4


Quaglino's

Came here to try the steak and by god it was good. Rates right up there with Gaucho Grill. Starters were tasty and well presented, while those foolish enough to not have the beef were very happy with their mains. In particular the duck was very well cooked, just right great mash, all sunk with some decent wine.

This place is expensive, to be sure, but you get good food for it. Atmosphere is excellent, very light and airy, with a long staircase which makes you think youíre picking up an award. We had the entertaining spectacle of a woman customer with the biggest thong riding up her back youíve ever see, though I doubt this comes with the meal. All in all, very good, if you have the cash.

Friday, March 16, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 7


Abeno

Read a couple of good reviews so went on Chinese new year last weekend. Was so good I went back this week and will make it a regular trip. Never had Okonomi-Yaki before but itís a great way to have a variety of food that youíll never get bored of. I had the London mix the first time and by Ďeck it was nice. Such strong flavours all over the place and really went well together. Tried some of my brotherís noodle dish and it was similarly good.

Second time round I stuffed myself with a Sapporo mix and was again very happy. Best thing though was when I had pancakes for dessert. Wondered if it was a one off as it was pancake day, but apparently they always do it, thank god! Iíve always hated American pancakes for some reason, but these things were amazing. Perfectly crisp on the outside and soft in the middle, they give you as much maple syrup as you can handle, different ice creams and a little pot of strawberry jam. I wanted to kiss them.

Although you can use this place as a cheap stop-off, it can ramp up if you have the whole shebang. £3.30 for a bottle of beer, great desserts etc mean you can pay £40 all in happily enough, so beware! Still, service is very good. Friendly and courteous, but perhaps not surprising as they actually are Japanese. They have these cute little benches that you store your jackets in then sit down, and a nice bar means you can food perve on everyone elseís meal.

You might have to wait a bit on the weekend, but came here on a tuesday and only had to wait a minute or two, but you can't book. Basically, go here, itís great.

Friday, February 23, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Yakitoria

Slightly embarrassingly, we went here because it got a style award in Time Out. Bit of a mistake. It did indeed look great, with funky and comfy chairs, smart dťcor, chic look and well-dressed staff. It certainly looked the part and itís obvious why it won that award.

However, the food and service were not up to it, not at all. The food was just about ok, but really quite average. The sushi was quite bland, though the texture was good. The Teriyaki chicken looked like it was from Tescos, cooked and shoved in a sauce. Desserts were bland and a bit pointless, made me think Iíd been had.

However it was the service that stood out, and not in a good way. It was so badly co-ordinated that it actually became quite amusing. It was fairly empty when we got there, but there were still loads of waiters strolling around with nothing to do. We got served by probably 6 or 7 different people, while several times several of them got together in a little huddle to discuss what was going on. God knows how they cope when things are busy. They lost a couple of dishes that we had to hunt down and were a bit cold when they got there.

Basically the only reason to come here is to have a look and if you donít mind eating average food for high prices with amusingly bad service.

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 2


Gaucho (Piccadilly)

This is the best steak in london, and a damn fine restaurant everyone should go to at least once. I've been there twice in the last month and plan to become a regular.

Myself and my partner both had the Churasco de Lomo, the best steak there and by god it was good. Perfectly tender and unbelievably tasty, it makes you cry that not all steak is this good. We had the first few minutes in respecful silence, just appreciating it.

There's loads of good sides, from chips to spinach, and the wine list is extensive as well. The only problem for me was my cheesecake dessert, which was basically a bit rubbish, just a plain paste really.

The waiter however was attentive and helpful, explaining all the different types of beef and recommending how we should order it. Overall it was 90 quid plus tip, though we didn't have wine. Recommend highly.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


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