All reader reviews by North Londoner

Gaucho (Hampstead)

We've been eating here as a family for a number of years and continue to return because it is such a reliable venue. Unusually for a chain, it feels like a local restaurant. The service is always spot on and they are very welcoming of children - this is a plus for us but, obviously, might not be for others. The steaks are of a very high quality indeed and always cooked as requested. I confess that I can't comment on the rest of the menu. The wine list is comprehensive and, as you'd expect, almost entirely Argentinian. A good, safe bet.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 6

Great Queen Street

I've been here three times since they opened, and am delighted to be able to endorse the positive reviews. I think that what sets this place apart is this: they take high quality seasonal ingredients, they cook them simply and with care, and they make sure that they are served by people who share the same values of honesty and simplicity as the people in the kitchen.

Let's face it - this place is not going to be to everyone's taste. If you like your food served with a flourish, with frills and linen, with amuses-bouche and with deferential service, then you should go elsewhere. If, however, you want to be treated like an adult, to eat your food in a relaxed, democratic environment, if you want to share your food and have an informed chat with your waiter about what's good today, then come here and just enjoy the place, the food and the company.

Monday, October 15, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9

The Wells

This was the third occasion that we'd visited The Wells and, while all the features that had previously impressed us were again on show (location, decor, atmosphere), we had an unfortunate experience in terms of service. We were eating up in the first floor dining room for the first time so I don't know if that explained our experience but, in any event, while our party of six all enjoy a langorous Sunday lunchtime, we didn't expect to have to wait 90 minutes for our food. It was amazing that the children in our party happened to have their "well behaved hats" on, otherwise it could have been very painful. It was also disappointing that they don't have the flexibility to offer kids' versions of the courses on the menu - it doesn't take much effort to knock a couple of quid off for slightly smaller portions, especially as it seems evident that this place attracts its fair share of young families. Final gripe is that wine list shows evidence of inflationary mark-ups.

Having said all that, the food itself was fine and the waitresses were charming when apologising for the wait. As we sat downstairs after the meal with some drinks from the bar, and while the kids played the board and card games that are available for everyone, we remembered the real virtues of this place - it's an upmarket pub, frequented by locals, that provides a comfortable environment in which to enjoy drinks and good pub food. Unless it can get its Sunday service sorted out, it shouldn't think of itself as a dining pub.

Monday, October 15, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 6 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5

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