All reader reviews by Matt

Mountain View

There seems to be a strange profusion of diners giving this dire place top marks without stating their reasons. Hmmm ...

I visited Mountain View with a small group of friends on a Saturday night. As previous reviews suggest, the service was truly the worst I have ever experienced. In total, we were in the restaurant for 4 hours for 2 starters, 8 main courses and a birthday cake for my friend. The management did not seem to care about how long we were waiting, even though we had booked in advance, and had the cheek to ask why we had not paid the service charge.

The food, when it finally arrived, was tepid and bland. The waiters forgot one of the naan breads, incorrectly described one main course and could not identify another.

There are a few good Indian-style restaurants in South East London, but this is not one of them. Go elsewhere.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Overall rating 1 stars
Food 2 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 0


La Giaconda

I had been meaning to visit GDR since its early days. I even had a booking cancelled due to the chef breaking his arm. It had rather slipped off my radar but, fortunately, not that of my other half who took us here for our anniversary.

The space is tight and certainly not glam. The toilets are hidden under the adjacent building down a strange corridor. I didn't think the creme brulee was the best I have ever tasted despite being the size of a small plate. But there were very few downsides to this place.

The food was tasty, well presented and generous. I enjoyed the succulence of both the pigs' trotters and the veal. My other half couldn't finish her vast, but delicious, pate. Our waiter advised her on taking a starter portion of crab spaghetti which was wise. Desserts were big and comforting.

This is quality French-influenced comfort food at still reasonable prices. The service is personal and the menu interesting enough to inspire repeat visits. It has succeeded and deserves to continue to. I hope the tourist hoardes continue to frequent the Angus Steak House on Charing Cross Road...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9


Antepliler

I though this place was ace.

The pre-starters with Turkish bread (free) were a welcoming intro. The mezze was good and well-proportioned for the prices (c£4 each). We tried a classic generic kebab and a Antepliler speciality and both were beautifully marinated and served with tasty tomato rice.

The atmosphere is pretty bling with turquoise lighting, chandeliers and marble, but I like that. Good Turkish cooking in funky modern surrounds.

Thursday, May 05, 2011
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9


Anchor & Hope

This isn't a place if you are in a hurry. It's not a place to take your Mum. Or if you prefer turf to surf. It's just rather frantic and disorganised. The bar is not a fantastic place to wait for a table to eat as it gets very busy with both drinkers and would-be-eaters. But, if you grab and table and drink your way to hunger, the food is good quality.

We ate a couple of divine starters (snails & bacon, mussels) and really enjoyed both our fish mains (wild salmon, roasted skate) and sides (bolied potatoes, greens). Despite the rubbish glasses, the muscadet and garnache were both good quality and Elgood's summer ale was a great summer thirst quencher.

Ohhh, but the service. Our man forgot our drinks order (both the water and the wine), didn't clear our starter plates for 10 minutes and the sides appeared far too long after the mains. Our service charge was £0.00. He didn't argue.

Friday, August 06, 2010
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 6


Ganapati

Ganapati tries to be a bit different from your usual Indian restaurant. There are plenty of South Indian influences and the decor is part art-house, part contemporary. Mostly, it succeeds.

The starters we tried were all very good, with particular recommendations going to the excellent dosa and varied array of tasty home-made pickles. I felt the "normal" main courses (Goan fish, Keralan chicken) were much better than the thali, where the accompanying curries were rather insipid, with the exception of the dhal. The parathas were very good though.

Desserts, never a speciality in Indian restaurants, tried hard, but I found the combination of flavours in the kulfi too strong. Meantime beers are always a bonus and the charming and relaxed service was pretty much spot on.

An interesting and good local Indian restaurant. I don't live in Peckham, but would visit here more often if I did. If you live elsewhere, you may wish to stick to your own local, if it's any good. Otherwise, Ganapati is worth a go.

Thursday, August 13, 2009
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7


The Clerkenwell Dining Room

The Clerkenwell Dining Room was a difficult venue to review, given how atmosphere, food and service varied so greatly.

Let's start with the food, which was really very good. The selection of starters and desserts seemed better than the mains (too many fish dishes for my tastes), but none disappointed. The mackerel and scallops to start were full of contrasting tastes and surprising flourishes. The shared steak was perfectly cooked and we accompanied with astonishingly perfect chips. Some of the cheese lacked a little inspiration, but the chocolate dessert was gorgeous.

The atmosphere is slighty surreal. The interior feels a little too hotel for my liking, but it was the service that really let the place down. Noone really seemed to know what they were doing, we waited ages for some things (starters, desserts and bill), the waiters knew little about the cheese or wine and I had to ask three times for a birthday cake. Still, the bill was accurate and they didn't quibble when I paid 5% service, rather than 12.5%.

So pretty good, only on the 50% offer, but not amazing. I did like the 375ml carafes of wine though

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 8 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7


Champor-Champor

CC could be the most atmospheric small restaurant in London, especially when you consider the relatively dreary neighbourhood made worse by the nearby building site that will eventually spawn The Shard. Truly magical and with fantastic attention to detail.

CC is equally about the food. My partner's poussin to start was accompanied with a lovely sauce, although my calamari was slightly lacking in inspiration. Both mains were excellent, my calves' livers perfectly cooked and my partner's kofte drenched a surprisingly heavily spiced, but delicious, korma sauce. The accompaniments, banana bread, satsuma rice, sweet potato and Malay salads, were all very tasty. We couldn't resist the stunning pancakes with mascarpone to finish.

We went on the January Early Bird deal (£15 for 2 courses before 7pm) and drank a half litre carafe of very drinkable Chilean red (£9) which lead to an absolute bargain. The total bill was similar to a meal in insipid Pizza Express, but the quality of food, cooking and service was from a different planet.

Thursday, January 29, 2009
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9


St John

Most people only write reviews that are predominantly good or mostly bad. I don't really see why anyone would write a bad one about St. John. It may not be too everyone's tastes, but it works and works well.

I like hearing what everyone else has eaten to plot my consumption. The grilled quails to start were light, perfectly flavoursome and worked well with the aioli. Ox's tongue was superbly cooked, horseradish bringing out the flavour. The home-made profiteroles accompanied with chocolate sauce in a mini-jug were awesome.

The not very Blonde ate meaty potted rabbit and a lamb shank that fell of the bone. Her bread pudding was the best I have sampled. The sides of boiled potatoes and sprout tops (£3.50 each) added sustenance and flavour to the mains. The bread is home-baked and the wine list is exclusively French, but carefully chosen. The excellent Meantime beers are on draft, ask for a sample to taste the best beers brewed in London.

The restaurant is quite clinical, but it's understated quality matches the food on offer. I found the staff professional and knowledgeable. I was nicely surprised to see no service charge was not automatically added to the bill, a pleasant change from some restaurants demanding their extra 12.5% for little service.

Overall, a great, simple, meaty experience, which came in at £100 for two. It would be foolish to quibble with prices when many gastropubs in this area would charge not that much less for uninspiring fare. And where else can you see two entire sucking pigs being carried around and carved?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Salaam Namaste

I went to Salaam Namaste on the 50% off TopTable offer this Sunday lunchtime.

The restaurant was very quiet and lacked a little atmosphere as a consequence, but otherwise we had a very good Indian meal. Kebabs to start were nicely spiced and attractively presented. My Rajasthan lamb was really very good, with a rich, heavily-spiced, aromatic sauce and plenty of tender meat. The naans and rice were well cooked. Sweet lassis were not overly sickly and had a decent yoghurt base.

The restaurant is quite welcoming on a quiet residential road in Bloomsbury. Two courses with all the trimmings and service came in at a bargain £14 each. In prime central London, you can't really argue at those prices for decent Indian food.

Sunday, December 21, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9


Inside

Top place. We had a work affair at Inside this lunchtime. The service was cordial and the staff dealt well with 22 orders. The food was top notch. I had the fortune of sampling a number of the starters, mains and desserts on offer and they were excellent. The house wine was good value and, worth noting, that 3 top courses for £18 is a great deal.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10


Rivington Bar & Grill (Greenwich)

The meal we had at the Rivington was fine, although you would have to be mad to pay £14 for fish and chips in the current climate. However, this was totally undermined by inept service. Our bill was incorrect, although less assiduous diners may not have noticed that the full 50% had not been deducted from the total bill. However, although we left a generous 10% tip considering the bill was wrong and we were left waiting for our mains to be cleared for 10 minutes, the staff had the cheek to claim that we had not paid the full (optional) service charge. They allowed us to leave without saying farewell.

I will be spending my well-earned money elsewhere in future. This venture deserves to fail with indifferent staff like that - go to the far superior Inside up the road instead.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 5 | Service 1 | Atmosphere 3 | Value for money 3


Mountain View

I last visited Mountain View with a small group of friends last Saturday night. I had visited the restaurant last year on a Wednesday and it was quiet with unspectacular food, but nothing particularly outstanding or offensive. On my second and last visit the service was truly the worst I have ever experienced. We had to wait 30 minutes for the menus, 50 minutes for someone to take our order, 2 hours 15 minutes for our main courses to arrive and it took them 30 minutes to bring the bill despite asking for it on 4 occasions. In total, we were in the restaurant for 4 hours for 2 starters, 8 main courses and a birthday cake for my friend. The management did not seem to care about how long we were waiting, even though we had booked in advance, and had the cheek to ask why we had not paid the service charge.

The food, when it finally arrived, was tepid and bland. The waiters forgot one of the naan breads, incorrectly described one main course and could not identify another. Everything was at Blackheath "pay whatever" prices and the atmosphere of discontent was as empty as all previous incumbents of this soulless building. There are a few good Indian-style restaurants in South East London, but this is not one of them. if you are after good service and fresh food in Blackheath, go to Strada next door.

Friday, October 05, 2007
Overall rating 2 stars
Food 2 | Service 0 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 2


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