All reader reviews by Julia

The Fat Duck

We took my brother to the Fat Duck on Friday night, as a much belated birthday present. We kicked off with a celebratory glass of champagne, and then had the tasting menu. I can't understand the bad reviews on this site, as we found it an absolutely amazing, once-in-lifetime experience not to be missed, part wizardry part nostalgia, part absolutely top notch cooking and flavours, topped off with a good dose of humour. Sometimes one of us would laugh out loud at the sheer unlikeliness of a presentation or the wonders of a flavour combination--at the end of the day, and behind the show and extravaganza, the food is simply very, very good. There was lots of humour in the presentation, the staff was incredibly friendly and happy to answer all our questions, and the dishes just kept coming, one more amazing than the other. A lovely and extraordinary evening. At £125 per head for the tasting menu, it's not cheap, but it's so worth the money. Go with an open mind and have the culinary experience of a lifetime!

Monday, April 21, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10

Viet-anh Cafe

I've been here twice, thinking the first time might have been a one-off, not particularly good experience. But it was no better the second time. Our starters, a classical salt and chili squid and a Vietnamsese salad, were very disappointing, with the squid chewy, pale and lacking any discernible flavour. The salad was limp and lacking the traditional accompanying herbs--the dressing tasted of very little. My lemongrass prawns with noodles were OK, much better than the starters, but my dining companion's noodles tasted, very oddly, predominantly of Indian curry powder and didn't resemble anything I've ever been served in Vietnam. A really disappointing meal. I found the place uncomfortable too, with the people behind us seatd so close that they kept banging into my chair, and it was impossible to escape the conversation from the table next to us. The starters came without any plates, so we trailed food across the table, and when we asked for plates so we could share the starters, we were met with an incomprehending look. I have no idea why people would come here

Monday, April 21, 2008
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 2 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 3

Shanghai Blues

I went here recently with a couple of friends for a girls' night out. We started with cocktails in the bar, and they were interesting and unusual, and came with some free nibbles on the side. The interior of this place was very cool with a lot of atmosphere. The food, however, I found rather mediocre--in fact, this restaurant's Michelin star is a bit puzzling to me. We opted for dim sum, despite it being dinner time, and thus ordered a number of little dishes. Some were interesting, others really rather bland--nothing was terribly special or memorable. The waiter kept coming back to ask what we wanted for our mains; we kept telling him we were sticking to the dim sum, and would not be ordering any mains. It got a little old after a while. He also kept trying to sell us more wine, also after we ordered a second bottle, and we had to ask twice for some tap water on the side. It was a fun evening out, but the food does not warrant a second visit, nor does the service.

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 6 | Service 4 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5

Thanh Binh

I love this place. We've been coming here on a regular basis since we moved into the area about a year ago. The food is always fresh, delicious (try some of their signature 'special' dishes), and feels genuinely Vietnamese compared to the food I've had in Vietnam. It's also very good value. The place itself isn't fancy, but that is part of its appeal. It's normally buzzing with people, often regulars who keep coming back. This is one of my favourite places to eat in London: tasty, fresh, friendly and unpretentious. I'll be taking my parents there this weekend, for their first taste of Vietnamese food.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

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