All reader reviews by Eric Baker

Cafe Rouge (Strand on the Green)

We've been going here for years, usually with the help of Tesco vouchers, which keep the cost reasonable. Recently we went with a some friends, 8 of in all. We shared some starters, which were fine then on to mains. The food was fine, the only problem was the crooner, singing live at quite a volume. I guess he was just not to our taste - apparently it's usually more folky on a Friday. Anyway, we enjoyed the meal and it was 11pm or so before we asked for the bill, telling them we had £100 in Tesco vouchers. The lady in charge said "you can't mix the new electronic vouchers with the old printed ones". They were just vouchers to us so we said "no problem - just put 3 of the mains on a separate bill and we'll use the paper vouchers on that bill and the new ones on the other". But she flatly refused to do this, pretending it would take her 40 minutes to re-issue the bill - wildly implausible. So in the end we gave in (aren't us Brits stupid when confronted with terrible service) and could only use £40 of £100 of vouchers. The trouble is who wants to go back after being treated like that? I've given a middling mark for service - good during the meal and appalling at bill time. The low mark for value is because we had expected that our vouchers would make it a reasonably cheap meal - it wasn't.

Friday, June 07, 2013
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 7 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 1


Best Mangal I

We were at a charity concert near Sloane Square last night and couldn't find any restaurants we fancied round there. So we decided to try Best Mangal on the way back home, as it's so close to West Ken tube. Our waitress was very friendly and helpful and told us that our choices, Adana kebab and another lamb shish, both came with salad (the menu didn't say so). We ordered a bottle of Villa Doluca to remind us of past Turkish holidays and watched the kebabs being cooked the other side of the glass. When they came they had a good balance of lamb, which was delicious, varied salad and tasty bread and we really enjoyed the meal, especially when we saw how reasonable the bill was.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10


The Lyttelton

My wife felt rather strongly about this place so here’s her review:

We went to the Lyttelton at the Stafford Hotel yesterday, using a voucher which gave us the food half price plus a glass of champagne thrown in. We had signed up for this some time ago when the hotel and restaurant had just been refurbished, so there were only a couple of reviews available online. Before our visit we read a damning review in the Observer by Jay Rayner (who we really rate) and our hearts dropped. However, we set off, fortified by a bottle of cava to save on the wine bill, and hoped to find things had improved.

First, we must say that the staff were friendly, professional and pleasant, the problems lie elsewhere. You walk in through the hotel lobby to some tables – is this a restaurant or not? – it did not feel like you had arrived anywhere (OK, it was a Monday night and quiet). But absolutely zero for ambience. The wine list is somewhat off-putting too – the very cheapest bottle is over £30.

The food: we had crab and seafood starters, both fresh and quite generous portions, as they should be for around £20 a head. We were offered no bread or salads to accompany these dishes, and although they were tasty there was no chef-added value that we could discern. Mains: one grouse, one sirloin steak. The steak was over salted with too much fat, the grouse was gamey and well cooked with good accompaniments….but at £32 a bit much to swallow. For dessert, my chocolate brownie was OK but not exciting, my husband’s cheese choice of Lancashire rarebit with salad was sour, sharp and almost inedible. We skipped the coffee and made our exit, after technical problems with our bill (they took our credit card away for 5 minutes and never could produce a paper payment receipt). Someone has got this place SO very wrong, please start again. Cannot understand anyone paying full price for this stuff when there are so many wonderful restaurants around.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 1 | Value for money 1


Cirrik (Richmond)

Eight of us went there on a midweek special and we were very impressed. We chose a starter each then shared them and they were really delicious; liver, lamb kofte, borek, whitebait, hellim, broad beans (twice) and aubergine. Next time we may well just order an assortment of starters as the entire meal. The main courses were pretty good too but did not quite have the same "wow, that's great" reaction, perhaps because we were already fairly full. The mixed kebab shared between two was the most appreciated. The house red was fine and we were surprised at how reasonable the bill was. Definitely going back.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10


Palms of Goa

We went to Goa for the first time this year and loved the food. Came across Palms of Goa by accident, got an outside table on a warm evening and ordered Goan chicken curry, lambxacutti and baungan masala. Staff friendly and when the food came it was really good. Reasonably priced too, as was a bottle of wine.

Monday, June 06, 2011
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9


Restaurant 109

We went after the theatre (it's only a couple of minutes from the Orange Tree) and had a delicious meal - just main courses, with generous portions. The cassoulet was excellent and the pork belly good. A friendly place we've been going to every so often for many years.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


Lutyens

We went there for a late lunch. It's got an attractive interior, nice and bright and spacious (we were given a table for four that had just become available). Plenty of suits but a nice buzz. The food was excellent: lobster mousse and coquille for starters then calves liver and slow cooked lamb with sweetbreads (absolutely delicious). Carrots and beans as extra veg. To drink we had tap water (no attempt to foist bottled on us) plus a carafe of house white (good and only £11 for 50cl) plus a good £26 Navarra Tempranillo. With a chocalatey dessert and expressos that all came to under £130 incl. service. Not bad for full a la carte of that quality. Finlly, the staff were the best thing about the place. The food was excellent but the staff quite exceptional - efficient and friendly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8


A Taste of McClements

We went there for lunch recently and were so impressed we booked the entire place for a celebration. That happened last night and it was superb. An amazing succession of really interesting flavours, accompanied by some good wine and lots of laughter. Our only problem, with just 20 seats available, was deciding who to invite.

Saturday, May 02, 2009
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 9


Maki

Four of us went there last night and all of us really enthused about the food. It was all beautifully presented, tasted sensational and covered a great range of flavours. For starters we shared aubergine, scallops, soft shelled crab and chicken yakitori. For mains it was seafood soba noodles, hot & sour prawns, beef teriyaki and dragon sushi. We started out fairly ignorant about Japanese food but the staff were great at explaining the options and we left as real converts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9


Hibiscus

We went there for a late Monday lunch and just loved it. £25 for 3 courses of superb food - some of the tastes were subtle but just kept building. Between us we had tartare salmon & foie gras to start, pork & cod for mains (swapping plates half way to get the max variety) and delicious desserts. The place is friendly and unstuffy and we had lovely wine for under £20.

Monday, January 28, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10


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