All reader reviews by Dolores del Culo

Homa

I've only been here once but it was promising. The papardelle and veal ragu was quite wonderful, even though it looked less than appetising when it turned up. I've been back at lunchtime looking for this but alas the lunch menu has reverted to the usual selection of beefed-up snacking -- no pasta apart from lasagna and an emphasis on pizzas. While I am assured that their pizzas are quite impressive, I'd like a bit more choice in Church Street. Every second shop sells pizzas. Offering very impressive pasta was welcome.

When we did manage to lunch there it was rather quiet but finding staff was still something of a challenge. When we asked for the dessert menu they told us that the kitchen had just closed.

So although promising, some aspects of their service are just frustrating. I hope that others will join me in encouraging them to be a bit more imaginative and responsive.

Saturday, January 22, 2011
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 9 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6


Sanghamam

We crossed London last night to eat here, after some good experiences in the past. While Sanghamam is exceptionally cheap (£8 each entirely filled us up), the quality of the food can be variable -- they used to do a wonderful bhel poori but now it's just big and a bit soggy.

Saturday night is a busy time and the place was more or less full, but the staff were clearly struggling to cope -- well, one or two were; one or two others didn't seem to have much idea.

It took an inordinate time to get our table cleaned and we kept having to call staff to remind them about our orders, which came at random and long intervals.

The South Indian thalis promoted on the website are indeed very good value and veny nice, but they'd be better if they were warm and arrived without constant reminders to staff, at least one of whom didn't seem to see why waiting an hour or so was a problem.

I'd like to be very positive about the place, but it seems to be increasingly resigned to not offering any real customer service. Get more staff, and staff who have some idea about responding to what customers want. I did try to send comments to the "suggestions" page on the website, but it bounced, which is rarely a good sign.

Sanghamam is certainly busy enough to be a success and as noted it's been good in the past. It definitely needs a bit of management effort and organisation and I'd like to see a few more positive comments about that before I went back.

Sunday, July 11, 2010
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 7 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 4 | Value for money 7


Le Montmartre

New and almost certainly doomed to failure. The food is unimaginative and wildly overpriced. It would be nice if something could work here.

The penne with chicken breast on the set lunch menu is truly appalling.

Staff are quite nice though.

Sunday, February 07, 2010
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 2 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 2


Trattoria Sapori

This place is very mixed. It replaced the notorious Relish, where a good idea was completely undermined by the absence of service. Sapori have managed to survive a bit longer, but I fear that they're starting to slide...

First, while the pizza is undboubtedly very good, the pasta doesn't seem to get the same attention. Some initial interesting ideas have been replaced with the lowest common denominators of carbonara and the like. A bit more imagination please. This is especially true of the previously welcome lunchtime set menu.

But it's the service that's the biggest problem. While everyone is always very nice, they don't seem to be particularly active at doing their jobs. On more than one occasion I've had to go to the counter to order or pay, and these were at times that the place wasn't busy. And a lovely waitress there is indeed lovely, but her nearly non-existent English and Italian surely undermine her prime function.

None of this would be quite as much a concern if the prices weren't a bit on the high side for somewhere local.

A bit more attention from management and staff -- and a decision about whether this is in fact a trattoria or a pizzeria with consolation pasta dishes would help.

Sunday, February 07, 2010
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 3


Il Bacio Express

Pizzas are very good and huge. But they really need to turn down the Italian MTV, which plays particularly appalling music. Every time I've been there, it seems, someone has asked them to turn it down. Please get the message!

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 7


Masala Zone (Islington)

We called in last weekend for a snack. We'd been before and I recall that it was pleasant enough but with a tendency to be -- well, an Indian restaurant for people who were frightened of Indian restaurants or had never been into one. It's hard to explain.

But that doesn't really matter if you just fancy a snack, such as the unfortunately named "grazing platter", which is a bit small -- especially as it's described as for two -- but pleasant enough, even if it makes sure not to scare the uninitiated away with spice.

We chose to sit outside while we could. Perhaps that was our biggest mistake. Once we were there, getting any attention from staff was quite a challenge, even though this was at an off-peak time with only two or three tables occupied. Even after we made eye contact with staff, they focused on clearing and setting tables rather than taking our order.

So we were more than ready to eat when our food came, and downed it quite quickly. Another long wait to ask for the bill. I produced my credit card immediately; our waitress rather surprisingly rushed away with it, rather contrary to good practice these days. She came back with a bill for me to sign. I noted that I didn't want the service charge added (I think that service is between me and the staff rather than corporate owners). When she sulkily suggested that "[I] should have told [her]", I decided that the best tip that I could give her was to withhold any service charge at all.

This then led to a series of complications with the manager explaining in detail the complications of their system. I didn't care by that stage and was only too pleased to get out.

So, pleasant enough for a snack, but nothing special, and more than slightly let down by inattentive staff who can't see their own interests. Easier to serve yourself.

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5


Home Bar Lounge Kitchen

I've commented on some of the reviews below, but I should add that I've had the misfortune of trying to eat here. I've got no problems with the (wannabe) bar if that's what you want, but if you tack on a restaurant (or "kitchen") you should really make more of an attempt to provide restaurant standards. Staff got our orders wrong and insisted that it was our mistake -- that attitude was enough to make us leave.

Monday, August 27, 2007
Overall rating 0 stars
Food 0 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 0 | Value for money 0


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