All reader reviews by GaryC

Le Saint Julien

I went there with a friend on the London Eating 50% off food offer. The evening didn't get off to a good start - when we arrived they had no record of the booking. Fortunately I'd printed and brought the booking confirmation, and after a short wait in the bar area we were given a small table in the corner.

Service was friendly throughout. The food and dining experience though was, at best, passable. From the size and quality of the steaks served to us compared to those brought to the next table, I suspected that corresponding savings were being made in the kitchen for those dining with the 50% off food offer.

Overall, I would not rush to return.

Saturday, July 25, 2009
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 5 | Service 6 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 5

Rhodes 24

I booked Rhodes 24 two months in advance for a team pre-Christmas meal. Even though they said they couldn’t guarantee it when I made the reservation, we were as requested given a large table next to the window with a marvellous view.

The food started off well in the form of a delicious little haddock soup appetiser, followed by some perfectly cooked scallops with a light mustard sauce and some mashed potato. However main course took a turn for the worse - the wild duck was a little on the chewy side and lacking in flavour, and I found the game toast it was served with unpleasant. The bread and butter pudding I ordered for dessert had clearly been left standing for several minutes as it was decidedly lukewarm, which was a shame, as otherwise it tasted very good. The restaurant was full though and the kitchen likely very busy as a result, which might explain (but not excuse) this.

The wine list was extensive and perfectly decent bottles were available without breaking the bank. However, on perusing the dessert wine, I was disappointed to notice one bottle (Domaine Cauhaupe 2001 Symphonie de Novembre) which retails for under £10 being sold for £50. This is an unacceptably high mark-up in my opinion, and does little to instil a feeling of value for money.

Service throughout the meal was good – glass refills were prompt, and the waiters friendly, informal and polite. The timing between courses was perfect, and the atmosphere of the restaurant relaxed. Our table, booked for 7:00pm, was ours for the entire evening, with no hurry to finish up so they could turn the table over.

This was my second visit to Rhodes 24 – would I return again? Judging the food in isolation against the price, I’d have to say no, as similar quality can be had for much less money elsewhere. But combine the unhurried relaxed atmosphere and wonderful views, and the allure of this restaurant is harder to resist, particularly if choosing somewhere nice to go with friends who may just be visiting London.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7


Since perfectionism seems to be one of Gordon Ramsay’s trademarks, at least in his TV persona, I feel it’s only fair to review Maze against such criteria.

Initial impressions were somewhat mixed. The lounge/bar area and restaurant itself have nice décor and feel informal and vibrant, but the tables themselves are too cramped and packed too closely together. The table my friend and I were shown to was small and we were seated at right-angles to each other rather than opposite. Other diners were seated so closely that their complete conversations were audible, and this I didn’t like.

We started off with a fresh fig coctail whilst we studied the menu. This was excellent, with the slight bitterness doing an excellent job of cleansing the palette before eating our food. The menu had two sections – a taster/tapas style section of small dishes, and a regular a la carte section. In addition our waiter informed us that either a 6 or 8 dish chefs selection was available for £34 or £42 respectively. After some deliberation we decided to order a la carte, principally because my friend doesn’t eat fish and there was quite a strong fish bias on the taster menu.

For starter we ordered Orkney scallops and quail. Given we planned to order a nice bottle of red to accompany our main course, in the interests of sobriety we decided to stick with a single glass of dry Spanish white wine (whose name escapes me) to accompany our starters. The wine menu itself is fairly extensive though has, perhaps understandably, only one page of wine available by the glass. Anyway, we both enjoyed our starters, my friend proclaiming the quail excellent. My scallops were good, but being very critical they were just the slightest touch overcooked.

For main course I chose the beef with foie gras and snails, my friend the lamb. We pushed the boat out a little with the wine by choosing a bottle of 1979 Hermitage ‘La Chapelle’ which although extremely good, after the considerable mark-up applied did provide questionable value for money. The food itself was good, extremely good in fact, but in the final analysis lacked the ultimate “wow” factor I’ve experienced in places such as Aubergine.

To round things off I selected a white chocolate dessert, my friend the rice pudding, with a relatively inexpensive botrytised Austrian dessert wine to accompany. The desserts were pleasant enough, but certainly not outstanding or particularly memorable. As a nice touch after dessert though, we were brought some delicious little fresh pineapple ice-cream tasters, in the shape of kids lollies.

Throughout our meal the staff were relaxed and friendly, service prompt and attentive without being at all overbearing – though I share the previous reviewers comments about the Maitre’d – his demeanour seemed more suited to the role of a nightclub doorman!

To sum up I would describe Maze as “good, but not *that* good”. It was a pleasant dining experience, but needs to improve in a number of areas before it could be classed as a truly special one. I’d be happy to dine there again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if I was personally making the reservations.

Saturday, December 03, 2005
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 7


I went to Shampers on the strength of the reviews on this site, and whilst I certainly wasn't disappointed, it didn't blow me away either.

I ordered the grilled prawns for starter, cod in spicy sauce with mash for main, and the bread and butter pudding for desert. The food was all fresh and reasonably well cooked, but lacked the quality of flavours which can turn a good meal into a great one.

The service however was friendly, if a tad disorganised, and the decor and atmosphere in the place is good. Total cost including 2 bottles of half-decent wine (split 3 ways) was £50/head, so overall value was reasonable.

So on the strength of my experience there I'd be happy enough to eat there again, but there are other restaurants in London I'll be trying before beating a path back to their door.


Friday, December 02, 2005
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

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