All reader reviews by Anonymous

The House

I'm getting to know my local pubs and restaurants, and after success at the Albion and Canonbury I thought i'd give the House a whirl.

The lady at front of house was a delight, getting us a table on the terrace despite us having no booking. Sadly that was the only moment we experienced friendly service. The other waiting staff were heavy handed and grumpy.

The menu looked pretty promising, resulting in my husband and I nearly fighting over who could order what. I plumped for asparagus, duck egg and brown shrimps to start followed by mussels in cider and tarragon. He had scallops with lemon thyme risotto and then chicken with lentils. HA how stupid we were. What sounded delicious on paper was in reality one of the most disappointing parades of dishes we've eaten in a long time. the asparagus starter was crying out for salt and a squeeze of lemon, maybe some bread to mop up the egg? it tasted of very little, and the asparagus was woody....I was willing to forgive this actually until I tasted the scallop starter. Whilst the scallops themselves were cooked very well, the risotto was so overpowered by the thyme that you couldnt taste anything else! What an ill conceived dish!!

Mains were no better...I thought mussels with cider and tarragon might have some sort of sauce...rather than a clear grey broth of basically just herbed hot water! nothing to dip the chips in, no flavour at all. The sauce just needed some cream, some salt, some white wine, some garlic cloves...I'm no chef and I could see what it needed for flavour. Sadly the kitchen didn't.

I think the chicken was OK....we rushed through the mains and legged it home after paying far more than the food deserved. I will not be returning, and urge any locals looking for a good restaurant/pub in N1 to avoid this place.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 1 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 2


Nobu Berkeley St

Popped into Nobu for an impromptu lunch. Food was good as usual but the service was poor. The waiter cleaned my table with his damp cleaning cloth, but also wiped the top of my chopsticks and just walked off, I had to call him back to replace them - very unhygienic and really just sloppy. He was slow to take our drinks order, the food was very slow to come out of the kitchens, and generally it felt like we had the B-team serving tables. Not what you expect for a £150 quick lunch. I wont be returning.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 8 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 3


Rocket (Mayfair)

This place is by far my favourite restaurant/bar for a catch up with my girlfriends.

Where better to celebrate my wedding dress fitting, than here with a beef and chip salad! The "salads" are total misnomers, underselling what they truly are: well confectioned dishes piled onto a heap of dressed leaves with. The rare beef and chip one is my guilty pleasure.

I have never been able to not order it in order to try something else but I can say the pizzas look brilliant, just such a shame I can't tear myself away from the promise of rare meat, chips, crispy garlic...

The service is very friendly, never have we been rushed off a table, the wine list is good too, and the prices are pitched perfectly for a post shopping meal without the guilt.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10


The Green Room

I am baffled by the glowing reviews on here for The Green Room. Whilst the decor is pleasant and the venue small and intimate- everything else was disappointingly mediocre.

To begin with, I'm all for casually dressed waiters, but when they look like they have stepped off a football pitch you start to think it is time for the owner to rethink the whole approach to "dress-down friday".

The food was so average I can barely recall any outstanding flavours. Goats cheese tart was boring. My partner's squid stuffed with prawns sounded intriguing but was nothing more than a bland fishy mush. At least the cherry tomatoes were nice,

A request for pink lamb came back overcooked but my rare duck was actually very tender, it was just a shame that it was cold...as were the accompanying mushrooms on toast.

Now I would like to echo the previous reviewer who was baffled by the brandishing of the pepper mill. I had pepper on the table...the dishes i chose were neither pasta nor risotto, so really ought to have been seasoned in cooking...so please can we get away from this tacky gimmick,. Especially when the waiter isnt even listening when you ask him to stop (happened to my partner)!!

Finally I thought i'd let the place redeem itself with my dessert. Apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Usually simple to execute and delicious to eat! My pastry was soggy (could easily have been mistaken for sponge) and my poor ice cream was less ice, more cream by the time it reached me. The pie was filled with cloves (why?!) and the apples hadnt been cored properly so we kept having to pull out hard bits of apple from our mouths mid chew!

I really wont be returning. If i want this sort of food in future i can cook it at home quite easily (as a previous reviewer said too).

Finally, a word for the specials board: i love these, they often lure me away from the main menu. However "linguine with tomato and parmesan" sounds too underwhelming for words...not really special in my book.

Saturday, November 01, 2008
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4


Las Iguanas (Royal Festival Hall)

The only thing that stood out about this place was how terrible the service was. From the over-crowded bar area, to the terrible table service we were left waiting, waiting and waiting for everything. At one stage i was told (after asking 3 times for my drinks) "we're really busy"...well its a restaurant on the southbank...it will always be busy.....totally inexcusable.

food was average to poor, cocktails were average, thats about it!!

Friday, May 09, 2008
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 3 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 0


St Alban

We went to St Alban for dinner with friends a week ago.

The first thing that struck me was how the room was decorated in what someone had clearly been taught was "cool". Weird shapes outlined on walls, bright orange seats... not cool at all! The place was too brightly lit and reminded me of the Gordon Ramsey Fword show...

The maitre d came over and seemed very nice and capable to start with. The wine list is great, dont be afraid to try an unknown as the wine waiter is very helpful there. The way in which the wine is rationed out over the meal drove me INSANE! I dont mind if you keep the wine in a bucket near the table, i don't mind if you prefer to fill the glasses ... but do it! Don't leave us gasping for a drink! And why, when we had finished a bottle didn't they tell us?! Very strange.

Now for the food. After a 30 minute wait the starters arrived. My starter was the grilled squid. Not great, quite gritty and a very large portion. The salad was dressed with the squid ink which wasn't mentioned in the menu and didn't impress me. My main was fantastic, pork belly with a thin and perfectly crisp crackling. It came with a potato fan of some sort which tasted great but was a pain to actually eat (you'll understand if you order it). My poor fellow diners were all left waiting for various components of their meals (late salads, wrong vegetables)...not what you'd expect in an emptying dining room. It was about 10.45 by this point. Finally the desserts were pretty good.

I was underwhelmed by the entire affair. By the end of the meal the heda waiter had let himself down, becoming snootily faux-knowledgable about the wine and too familiar.

I enjoyed the company and most of my meal, but I shan't return. Magdalen in London Bridge accomplishes far more and provides a more relaxed environment.

Sunday, June 10, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6


Magdalen

Went to Magdalen on a Saturday night without a booking (4 of us in total). We were shown to a table on the ground floor, where they do not take bookings. From the moment we arrived we loved it. The waitress was one of the friendliest I have encountered in London, and made some good menu reccommendations. My starter of pickled mackerel was ok, not great, but not bad. The rest of my party ate potted crab- which was DELICIOUS! it tasted so wonderfully fresh! I did pretty well with my main course of thin slices of Pigs head (i tend to pick odd things on the menu), and the flavours were so intense...lean meat mingled with salty fat- of the quality you would expect in St John. The two guys i was with had the steak, and were very pleased with both the size and the taste. Our desserts were chocolate brownies with bananas - heaven on a small plate. All of this plus a bottle of Sancerre for £50 a head. Not bad at all!

I am not sure why there are some poor reviews, our experience was great, and I am very keen to return soon to try something else on their regularly changing menu. I have heard the atmosphere on the 1st floor where you can book tables is a little better than where we were seated.

Monday, May 28, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Banana Tree (West Hampstead)

The Banana tree is a neighbourhood favourite of mine. Always great for a relaxed cheap bite out with friends. The varied menu is great (always takes me ages to make up my mind), the service is good, and the brazilian waiter there is very friendly!

A couple of tips:

Avoid sitting by the doors on a cold day as it can be a little draughty

Try the blackened chilli pork Nasi Goreng if you like a bit of spice!

and take this place with a pinch of salt. It is not high-end dining, it is quick, cheerful and tasty (like a thai Wagamama).

Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10


Nobu

Went to Nobu for a special occasion dinner, and it matched the occasion perfectly. I have eaten sushi/sashimi all over london, and must say- in terms of freshness and presentation this place wins hand down.

The yellowfin with jalapeno was sublime, the beef sashimi (like a ceviche of beef) delicious, tempura rock shrimp- divine! Be prepared to watch the bill add up quicky. 3 starters and you're already at about £30- but thats why you're here- to blow the budget.

We then had a main of wagyu beef toban-yaki, and black cod (didnt quite live up to the expectations but still delicious). Finally the sushi and sashimi were good, the fatty tuna was wonderful.

I know you are probably full by the end of all this but you MUST try the chocolate bento box- the best dessert i have ever eaten.

It is a shame this is a one off treat, just waiting to have an excuse to go here on work account!

Sunday, March 04, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 4


Le Cafe du Jardin

From the moment we arrived to the moment we left the entire experience wa abysmal. We booked for a group Christmas dinner and arrived on time for our meal, only to find the table still hadnt been set, the heating was on full max and the pre-ordered wine was nowhere to be seen. The wine finally arrived after 20 mins, in pre opened bottles tasting nothing like the label suggested it should. Vile. The food was even worse. Grilled Goats cheese that had probably been cooked by sitting out in the central heating, and main courses so dry you could scrape ice off your car with them. The accompaniments were sprouts and beans, which work well if you opted for the turkey but not so well with Pasta! The desserts were bland, the pastry inpenetrable and to top it off the waiters may as well have been on strike. They brought starters, whisked them away to other tables with no explanation, were rude and barely spoke english.

It is safe to say I will NEVER step foot in there again.

Saturday, December 16, 2006
Overall rating 0 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


Sarracino

the best pizza i have eaten outside of Italy!!! This place is a treasure. Held my birthday dinner there and everyone loved it. They cater wonderfully for large groups, the service is friendly and the wine is reasonable to say the least. West Hampstead is a lucky neighbourhood, thats for sure!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Bleeding Heart (Tavern)

Went here with the other half for a romantic birthday dinner. Was appauled by the service, i know french waiters are known to be surly but this was just rude. Specials had run out by 8pm, the time between courses seemed to be barely enough to breathe and the quality of the food was mediocre: My halibut was overdone and frankly i have had far better food at my neighbourhood gastropub where the prices are half of that at the Bleeding Heart. If anyone is looking for a romantic, good quality meal i urge you to try Andrew Edmunds and stay away from this cliche from Allo Allo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 2 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4


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