All reader reviews by Tisiphone

La Porchetta (Camden)

Is this part of the same chain as the Aussie 'la Porchetta's? If so, we've definitely got the better end of the deal

Cheap and cheerful really describes this place. Good & very reasonably priced food, great service and an altogether jolly atmosphere.

Very good if you want a quick dinner, but they're perfectly happy to let you linger over the wine bottles too....

Good takeaway too!

Thursday, March 06, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

Nando's (Kentish Town)

Why would anyone eat this battery farmed rubbish when there is the excellent Pane Vino up the road as well as several independent cafés in the area?

It is a real pity that the rents on Kentish Town Road are pushing the independent businesses out and letting these hideous chains edge their way in.

Thursday, March 06, 2008
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 1 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 2


Gastro is my new favourite restaurant! I gave a surprise dinner for a friend's birthday here last night and we had a fantastic time. Apart from anything else, it's absolutely lovely inside & like having a day trip to France!! The atmosphere is great and it's absolutely perfect for a party.

The staff at Gastro are absolutely charming and very helpful. When I first rang them to book the table they could not have been more accomodating, and when we arrived last night, they'd set the table up for us beautifully because we'd told them it was a birthday. Nothing put them out - they let us arrive an hour before our booking to decorate, and allowed us to cover the restaurant in balloons and streamers, sorted out a birthday cake for us and all pitched in singing Happy Birthday at the end. We were quite a rowdy party and people came and went, ordering food at different times, but nothing seemed too much trouble and all the staff were smiling and helpful throughout - even when we were still sitting at the table at midnight, and then wanted to pay with 12 different credit cards.

I can't understand the complaints some of the reviewers have had about the food here, - everyone in our party was pleased. I had the most delicious carpaccio I've ever tasted and some very good fish - all the shellfish was very fresh, the steaks all looked excellent and they were happy to cook them any way they were asked, from nearly raw to shoeleather. Amazingly, since there were such a lot of us, everything arrived at the table piping hot. As for the birthday cake.....its lucky it was big enough to give everyone two slices...divine!

I don't say that Gastro is a cheap restaurant, but I don't think £55 is outrageous for three well-cooked courses and a huge amount of wine, coffee and various other things. And they are generous with the bread and butter.... Its true, you sometimes have to go up to the bar if you want something, but once you have asked for it, it appears immediatly. And I much prefer that to the awfulness of waiters hovering over the table asking if everything is ok every 5 minutes, which seems to be the norm in most English restaurants these days.

I can't recommend Gastro's highly enough & I can't wait for someone else to have a birthday so we can all treat ourselves again

Friday, December 28, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 8


Judging by the reviews below we must have gone on a good night!

We had a delicious dinner and were served promptly by friendly and attentive staff. Our waiter was very helpful about wine too, really giving some thought to what we might like to have, and not just plugging the most expensive bottle on the list. We asked for a table for three and were then joined by someone who didn't want to eat - this wasn't a problem at all, although many restaurants kick up a fuss about it. They just took her cutlery away and gave her a wineglass and a sideplate in case she wanted to try something.

We had three courses each (we were feeling greedy!) and each one was delicious. So much so that our non-eating friend was prompted to order a cheese plate so as not to be left out! The cheese trolley was fabulous with about a dozen really good cheeses to choose from. And considering it would have fed all four of us, we thought it was very good value.

We were served by a charming waiter, and the manager came over several times, to see that we were happy and also to serve some of the dishes. He was extremely friendly as were all the staff that we saw there.

No, it is not a cheap restaurant. We went for a treat, and a treat it was, but in no way did we feel that we had been over charged for good quality food, good service in a fun atmosphere.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


I've been into Pullens a few times now as I'm staying in the area and I can't say I've been impressed. It looks lovely from the outside but....

The first time, I met my sister for lunch. The waitress simply couldn't be bothered with us (it was empty except for a rather irritating group of people who were letting their kids run amok ). The plastic table cloth was very dirty; so I asked for a cloth to wipe it. Which was brought to me (also grubby). I wiped the table and took it back. I don't think it would have been too much for the waitress to do it.

My sister ordered chicken liver paté which was absolutely delicious. I ordered baba ganoush. I was given a warm plate of aubergines stewed with red and yellow peppers ( a vegetable I absolutely hate). I assumed that a mistake had been made so I sent it back. The disinterested waitress told me this was how they prepared baba ganoush - I have NEVER seen a recipe including peppers and more to the point what I was given was a stew, not a dip.

The second time we went, we booked a table for Sunday lunch, only to arrive and be told (by the same disinterested waitress) that they'd already sold out of the Sunday roast. There was nothing much else on the menu, and the place was full of pushchairs so we went across the road to the excellent Commercial and had a great lunch.

I've been to Pullens in the evening for drinks and its like a different place - lively, fun - great atmosphere. I haven't eaten myself at dinner but have been with people who have and the food seems much better.

During the day, I'd say Pullens is a bit up itself. Also as someone without children, the constant presence of shrieking tots is an irritant - however Herne Hill really is the new nappy valley so its not surprising and the staff do seem well-intentioned towards children.

I'm not a huge fan. And the chairs are uncomfortable too.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 5

Pane Vino

I think Pane Vino is an EXCELLENT restaurant and would recommend it to all....BUT if you are looking for lightning service and neutral decor it may not be for you. Go to Wagamamas and leave more room for the rest of us to enjoy the Pane Vino experience!

The food is excellent, authentic (well I think so...although I'm not Italian), and well prepared from fresh ingredients. The restaurant itself is very unpretentious inside with checked table cloths and all sorts of paraphenalia stuck on the bar and walls....very like any restaurant you might stray into in Italy. It has a jolly atmosphere and is a nice relaxed place to eat. Its true that your dinner may take some time to arrive - this is because they are preparing it from scratch in the kitchen, but unless you are in a tearing hurry (in which case you might do better somewhere else) you have a glass of wine, some bread and chat to your friends while you wait. Or check out what everyone else is eating so you can see what looks best! And at least they don't snatch the plates away while your fork is still in your mouth and hand you the pudding menu before you've finished chewing!

I have never eaten less than well there...most dishes are absolutely delicious. Best pizza in London for my money. I love the fact that you can enjoy a leisurely dinner without being rushed to the often walk by to see people still sitting over a coffee and brandy at midnight and the charming manageress never seems fazed by this.

Its true that I have been there when one of the waiting staff has been less than dynamic, on the other hand I've been in there when they've been down to one waitress flying from table to table and had excellent service. I've never come across rude staff there, and I hope I never do.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8

La Perla (Covent Garden)

I LOVE La Perla. It is my favourite bar. I love the cocktails, the atmosphere, the location... the bar staff are great

The food is absolutely godawful! And actually the table service isn't all that either...

My recommendation, come in, have a couple of margaritas and then go to another restaurant to eat... You can always come back for a nightcap!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 1 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 5

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