All reader reviews by The Queen Crab

The Clock Cafe

Well, sadly this place has rapidly gone downhill. Food selection is now pretty limited, no more pies, barely any of the nice juices they started out with and there tends to be a deeply annoying guy serving there all the time now. Bummer. I had higher hopes for this place.

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 2 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5


19 Numara Bos Cirrik I

I must eat here at least twice a week. Foodwise, it's the best value in town. Booze is expensive, so do your drinking at one of the local bars and come here for the food.

The onion salad (which wins my vote for best side dish ever) served here is actually a combination of onions roasted on the charcoal grill, pomegranate molasses and salgam, which is like turnip juice, garnished with parsley. I've given up trying to recreate it -- it's just too delicious here.

I wholeheartedly suggest you try their lamb chops the next time you're there. Crispy, succulent, beautiful. Forget trying to be polite... this is food you eat with your hands.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 10


The House

Completely agree with the other reviews... although the ambiance is lovely and the menu looks great on paper, it's insanely overpriced for what you get. Flavours are a bit muddled, and presentation is lax. Great place for a bottle of wine with friends... leave the food.

Thursday, September 04, 2008
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 2 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 0


Clicia

Maybe I ate a big bowl of Cranky Flakes this morning, but although I find the food here great, the service leaves a lot to be desired. On more than one occasion, I've been delivered the wrong order only to have them shrug and try to charge us for it anyway. I can almost overlook it for the Clician breakfast, but it depends on the hangover level.

Thursday, September 04, 2008
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7


Au Lac

Since my last review, I've become a full blown Au Lac addict. I'm not sure if there's any kind of support group for this sort of thing... but if loving Au Lac is wrong, then I'm not sure I want to be right. Went last night with the King Crab - both of us feeling the Monday-post-work-and-it's-chucking-it-down-with-rain-blues. We ordered the fresh rolls, a small bowl of beef hue soup, a small bowl of beef pho, and a chicken, chilli and lemongrass dish to share. He sucked down two Vietnamese beers, I had 2 glasses of a somewhat serviceable white. Despite ordering small, the soups were HUGE, and you could easily get away with just having that for dinner. Total bill came to £33 for two with service and drinks. So it's a little dingy... it's not the Ritz. But that's not why your'e here. With smiley service to boot, it's the bargain of the century in North London. My name is the Queen Crab, and I am an AuLacaholic.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 10


Tinseltown (Farringdon)

My god. I've been to Tinseltown and I'm absolutely stunned at the lousy service, poor quality food and terrible milkshakes. Variety doesn't equal excellence (though I suppose most are impressed by the lengthy milkshake list). Burgers still frozen in the middle and mustering all the flavour of hockeypucks; limp, sorry-looking fries. All of our food was served at different times, with a good 20 minutes from first person to last person being served. So bad it's hilarious. Want to hear the punchline? Apparently they're opening in America. They'll be laughed right out of town. Ho. Ho. Ho.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Overall rating 0 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


The Clock Cafe

Finally -- decent coffee in Highbury! I think I may be addicted to the Pieminister pies they're serving... try the Heidi pie with goat's cheese and sweet potato. The guys who run it are great as well. Really good, relaxing atmosphere. I may become a permanent fixture.

Thursday, April 03, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10


Little Sardegna

What could have been an excellent local restaurant turned into a gleeming example of why the world needs Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares. Service was unbelievably slow and sloppy - half of our drink order was brought to the table and the other half was left on the bar while our waiter went to take another table's order. Some food was brought, other food came later. It's amazing sight to see when a restauarnt can't seem to cope with three tables and two servers. Food was borderline okay-ish... the antipasta platter was good for nibbles with friends. Paella was seriously overcooked and bland. Calamari starter tasted awful. Two bites and we had to tell the manager, who argued with us that it was "fresh squid". It may be fresh mate, but you've butchered it. All in all, it's a shame as a really good Spanish/Italian place on that stretch of road would be a license to print cash.

Monday, March 31, 2008
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 4 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4


Spice 'n' Rice

The perfect lunch spot. Delicious, light curries and rice -- all in one handy container which they heat up for you. Great when you're chained to your desk. Apparently they only use the recipes their mother handed down to them as well. If you like it spicy, as for their chilli & coriander relish on top... powerful stuff.

Monday, March 17, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Deliverance

Hilariously expensive for what you get. Although Iím a big believer in second chances, like Austin, Iím amazed that every time I order they seem to get worse and that Iíve actually ordered it again. Portion sizes are tiny; food is microwaved, generally tepid and not very tasty or well presented. Last time I complained they offered to add a box of truffles to my next order, which (surprise!) never materialised. Even with the huge discount they gave me, it still wasnít worth is. The only really good thing to say is at least it arrives on time.

Saturday, March 08, 2008
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 1 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


The Clerkenwell Dining Room

The Clerkenwell Dining Room is an excellent venue for a taking friends for a meal. A warm, friendly but not too overly cosy atmosphere. Attentive staff who don't over attend. Food although not cheap was well presented and the steak excellent. The wine kept flowing (the Pinot is to be recommended). Having perhaps stayed late into the evening there was no sense of expectation that we should leave which helped to make the whole occasion memorable.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


Kata! Restaurant

Finally, there's something else to order in besides a greasy pizza, oil-laden Indian or cheap Chinese. Wonderfully friendly on the phone, and happy to make some extra suggestions when we weren't sure what to choose. We ended up with a huge amount of food and barely spent over £20. Salads were crisp and lovely, soups were hot, and sushi and sashimi were fresh and generously cut. I can see this becoming a serious habit!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Beach Blanket Babylon (Shoreditch)

Opulent and overblown, Beach Blanket Babylon in Shoreditch is perfect for swilling back champagne when a big-style party is required. Service blows hot or cold -- sometimes it's lovely and other times they just can't be bothered. However, worth the trip alone for the porn star martini, which may just be a little too good (or so my hangover indicates).

Thursday, December 13, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 8


Porters English Restaurant

The single worst restaurant I've been to in London. Cold soup, indifferent service, cheap ingredients. It would appear they're hoping to cash in on the tourist market, as I can't imagine why anyone would return to this place. With its location, this place could single-handedly drive home the notion that British food is crap to London visitors. Unfortunate.

Monday, December 10, 2007
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 0


Royal India

Went there last night for one of your standard "it's Tuesday and I can't be arsed to cook" meals. Don't go expecting anything fancy or mind-blowing, but if you crave a good curry for a reasonable price, this is the way to go. They also offer 1/2 off mains until 8:30, which made our bill for 3 people (including booze) £47.00 -- good value. We usually do takeaway from there, but have found the in-restaurant meals to be better. Mishti paneer korma is my favourite "screw-the-diet" dish this week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Feng Wei

You know, I'm not expecting the world when I order a lunch special for takeout. However, when I order something with chicken in it, I do expect there to be more than 2 pieces about the size of a 50 pence piece. I might have even been able to overlook it had it been tasty, but unfortunately this dish was a flavour-free zone, and bland as hospital food. All this for the low price of £5.90. Ridiculous.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 1 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 1


Au Lac

I must admit that the last time I ordered from Au Lac, it was a pretty poor, limp imitation of what should really be a very exciting cuisine. I pass by yesterday and noticed they had added a lot of new dishes, so I thought I'd give them another try. Glad that I did, as it's a marked improvement over last time, and the new dishes are actually very tasty. From what I ordered, the Vietnamese dishes were miles better than the Chinese dishes, so it's your best bet to stick with those. Make sure you try the fresh rolls, rare beef pho and morning glory with garlic sauce.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7


Tortilla (Islington)

I'm sure you've heard it all before. "Oh, there's a great Mexican restaurant in [insert location here]. You should try it!" So you go, full of hope, hankering for some good nosh -- then you leave feeling like you've somehow been the victim of a culinary assault. It's okay though. Tortilla is here to help you hug it out. Tortilla a tiny, fast-food-esque place directly across from Angel, and specializes in the simple, inexpensive Mexican food that I came to know and love back in the States. The kind you'd get after a long night on the sauce, cradling it in your arms like a foil-wrapped infant. I had the lush grilled steak burrito with everything, doused with Cholula hot sauce at the table. I may have to swing by for the braised pork on my way home. Well worth a drop in if you're in the area... hell, it's worth the trip from damn near anywhere.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Fire & Stone

Do you like doughy, d**kless pizzas and huge, cold cavernous spaces? Yes? Well then step right up, Fire and Stone is definately the place for you. Sure, you can have a bunch of different topping options. Sure, it's a good deal. But if you value your palate, I'd suggset you look elsewhere for a cheap eat.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 0 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 7


Rodizio Rico (Islington)

The first time I went to this place, they couldn't do enough for us. The carvers were friendly, the meat was plentiful. We couldn't wait to take friends back we enjoyed ourselves so much. However, on going back, we spent most of the night trying to flag down people -- the manager to get our table (which was 20 minutes late in seating us), waitresses for drinks, carvers for meat, etc. At one point, we waited 15 minutes inbetween getting more meat, and when the chap finally came over, he only had enough for 2 portions for 6 people. Plus they didn't have the delicious black beans they had last time (and instead had some slimy navy beans... yuck.)

I used to think it was great value and a lot of fun. But this last time has really put me off.

Friday, September 21, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 5 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4


Cocoro

The set lunch takeaways for £4.95 are outstandingly good value -- however the sashimi set I got once really didn't have th best quality fish, and the knife skills used to cut it looked like perhaps they had given a toddler a butterknife and set him to work. The Tendon set (tempura with rice and miso soup) is great though, as are the rolls. Make sure to order in advance for pick up, otherwise you'll be sitting there for 20 minutes.

Friday, September 14, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 9


The Prince Regent

I used to love this place for lunch. I wanted to marry it and have its babies -- it was that great. Sure, there's still the same good selection of wines and beers, but now it takes ages to get served, even when there's no one around. The menu has also had a bit of a brush up, and still offers a nice cheap lunch for the area, though portions have dwindled a bit, cooking is just okay-ish and some old favourites have left the menu (included the beloved fish finger sarnie, a hangover staple in our office).

Don't go if you're in a hurry -- lunch took 30 minutes to hit the table (and it was just a club sarnie and some chips). All in all, a real shame. Guess I'll have to wait for the next Mr. Right Restaurant again.

Monday, September 03, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 6


Fig & Olive

The Fig & Olive looks like a lovely place for a late breakfast or even a pre-shopping Upper Street lunch, but that's where the fun ends. Once inside, tables are crammed together, coffee is sloppily made with little care, service is erratic and the food is amaturish. It became amusing to watch as people had their plates set down in front of them, as their expressions would melt into utter disappointment -- nothing like a nice refreshing glass of shadenfraud to help choke down a terrible meal. We asked for the bill no less than 3 times, and finally managed to only get their attention by acting like we were going to leave. Awful, overpriced and basically a gastronomic piss take.

Friday, August 17, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 0


Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a restaurant that's definiately trying to be something more, but really misses the mark. Let me start by saying service is fantastic. Glad to see you, friendly to a fault, happy to make suggestions. It's the prices and food that lets the side down.

A £6 Lemongrass cocktail was not only small, but had no ice, so it was room temperature. Their signature dish, scallops with chilli sauce, was so overpriced it was laughable. Coming in large scallop shells, you open the shell to reveal one of the smallest, most overcooked, frozen-not-fresh scallops you've ever seen. That was £2.50 per scallop for a scallop that was about the size of a 20p coin in diameter. Ordering two set us back £5.00, and it didn't even equate to a mouthful. Fried starters tasted like they might need to change their oil.

Mains were significantly better, particularly their ostrich dish in a Thai spiced red wine sauce. It was great. I'd eat it again in a hot second. With a dish like this, it makes you wonder how they couldn't manage to make everything else to that standard.

Decor is clean and comfortable -- fine for a small local eaterie. However, the toilets definiately need some attention. Note to restaurant: covering up holes on the toilet and walls with a tacked up cloth napkin may cut it in a student flat, but not in a professional restaurant.

Considering the great service and the ostrich dish, I really hope they get it together as it'd be nice to have a smaller alternative to some of the other Thais in the area.

Monday, August 13, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 3


Salamis

Your basic kebab house at the front, and a deeply mysterious restaurant in the back. It's not very inviting, but on the occasional Sunday night it's full of families partying until the small hours. You never really see anyone in there any other time than that. Saying that, their kebabs are nice and freshly made -- the chicken and lamb shish is a top tip. Staff are very friendly. Perfect for soaking up a Stoke Newington binge, but probably nothing to go out of your way for.

Monday, August 13, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 9


Booth's Cafe Bar & Pizzeria

Booth's used to do amazingly nice pizzas, but the last couple of times I've ordered from there, they've been undercooked, late and/or cold. It's really disappointing considering they used to be one of the best in an area. The bar below is occasionally good, depending on what kind of crowd you get there. Other pubs in Stokie are much better choices for a beer. Keeping my fingers crossed that this one comes back to its former glory.

Monday, August 13, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6


The Blue Legume (Stoke Newington)

Beautiful for breakfast -- I particularly love the eggs bennedict. Added bonus: They'll even do you a beer with breakkie, making it perfect for rounding off a wild night!

Monday, August 13, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Levant

I absolutely love this place, and have never failed to have a great time there. It's more suited for groups of your loudest and most fun friends than it is for an intimate dinner for two. The cocktails are great and they'll serve you more food than you can shake a stick at. Love their lunch specials too.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


The Prince Regent

Beautiful old pub with great selection of beers on tap. Also a decent wine list for a pub too. Food is great. Don't miss the fish finger sandwich -- a comforting way to ease out of a hangover.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Iznik

With all the other great Turkish places in the area, why would you opt for this? Service was okay, food was also okay. Really nothing to write home about in any capacity. Even though we were the only ones in there, we were made to feel like it was an intrusion (this was 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon). Portions were also quite small comparitively to other restaurants in the area. Give me a small hole-in-the-wall place on Green Lanes anyday.

Friday, May 11, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 2 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 3


Royal India

We absolutely used to love this place, and probably ordered from them about once a week. However, the last few times the curries have become a bit bland and the quality not as good. I'm hoping it's just a blip on the radar as it really is a fantastic restaurant.

Friday, May 11, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


Tobia Restaurant & Bar

Staff who are passionate about their culture and what they do turn this into an experience well above a normal night out. Brilliant food and wonderful, patient service makes this one of my favourite restaurants in all of London. Be sure to go on a Wednesday or Friday so you can try the Ethiopian sushi -- it's so delicious that I'm actually forced to use the word "delicious". Not sure what to have? Just ask the friendly hostess who will guide you through the whole experience. Don't miss the coffee ceremony at the end.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Bodean's (Soho)

As an ex-pat, Bodean's is quite frankly my new religion. I must go at least once a month, and spend the rest of the time itching to go.

American sports on the big screen, ribs, pulled pork and cornbread on the table... it's a little taste of home. Service is friendly though not in your face. Also good for wing cravings. The "Pig Out for a Tenner" deal is particularly good value, and you generally will end up with more food than you can eat.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Fine Burger Co. (Marylebone)

Burgers are okay, though if you like rare order it medium rare. Rare actually seems to equate to "uncooked" here. Service is abysmal. We waited about 15 minutes to have anyone even notice us. Our server not only forgot drinks and sides (both of which he needed to be reminded several times and still didn't bring them). There are better places to get a burger in the area.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 5 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 1


Feng Wei

Lovely staff, great location, and deeply unmemorable and expensive food. Bland with a capital B, though presentation is good. So many better options in the area -- only good if your looking for a high-priced disappointment.

Saturday, April 21, 2007
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 3 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 0


Camden Arts Centre Cafe

This place just keeps getting better and better. Love the new range of healthy, low-GI and gluten-free food as well.

Monday, November 06, 2006
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


Japanese Canteen (Marylebone)

Astoundingly hit or miss. Service seems friendly enough, but they often misplace orders. Sushi from the fridge is a great alternative to Pret down the road, however Salmon Teriakki noodles arrived as mostly soggy salmon skin with a few noodles at the bottom. Might be best to stick with the chilled items.

Friday, June 16, 2006
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 6 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 4


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