All reader reviews by Karyn

Va Pensiero

At Va Pensiero, I had the best Italian meal I have ever consumed in a restaurant.

Starters were gorgeous, I had the garlic bread with cheese which was absolutely wonderful. For the entree I ordered penne fiorentino and it absolutely blew me away. What a simple, perfect dish. The sauce was bursting with flavor, the pasta was tender and cooked just right. No giant shreds of spinach in the sauce, no specks to get stuck in the teeth; again, just right. The merlot was smooth and full and nicely accompanied the entree.

I didn't think I could physically manage dessert but somehow found myself with a plate of chocolate cake which was, in truth, a wedge of incredible fudgy goodness unlike any other cake I'd had before or since.

The restaurant is warm and inviting, neither down market nor pretentious... comfortable and elegant in its simplicity. The servers were pleasant and efficient and I would be delighted to return.

The only thing I can say about Va Pensiero which is even a little negative is that I found the price schedule to be high. Then again... you get what you pay for. Highly recommended.

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 8

Cafe Rouge (Hampstead)

Cafe Rouge in Hampstead is a must for me when I am in the area. The staff have always been accommodating from the outset - we are given a table with which we are content, we do not have to wait long for orders to be placed or for food to arrive. I find the service to be an exemplary pace - I feel neither impatient nor rushed.

Also, the dining room itself is particularly ambient in my opinion, warm and whimsical.

The menu furnishes diners with great scope but I consistently order the same things because they are SO GOOD. The onion soup is fantastic, loaded with a giant crouton and gruyere cheese. And croque monsieur - the bread is lovely and the cheese is always melted and perfect. Even the pommes frites, which let's face it , can be found anywhere, are tender and crispy and flavorful. The creme brulee is sublime and a mug of coffee to go with is the perfect end to an always-delightful meal in Hampstead.

I couldn't say enough good things about the place.

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10

Stockpot (Old Compton St)

We visited The Stockpot last week on a whim one night as we were going to be in the Soho area and wanted a quick, reasonable meal.

The Stockpot did not disappoint! Prices were reasonable, and while the dining areas were rather cramped in terms of walking through the place, once seated, it was perfectly comfortable.

The menu was varied and sounded hearty. The waitstaff was brisk, efficient and accommodating; we ordered chicken escalope which arrived in short time. I did find the combination of tomato sauce and a side veg. of carrots to be a little strange, but not necessarily unpleasant. While its tomato sauce topping was extremely mild, the chicken was tender and flavorful, so it was a complementary match.

All in all - cheap and cheerful and a good match for anyone in Soho looking for reliable food on the quick without breaking the bank.

Friday, May 30, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9

Pink Rupee

This was my first encounter with Nepalese food. The Pink Rupee had been highly recommended to me over a period of years, and I was most excited to try it.

From what I understand, the place has undergone a major transformation in terms of its decor and appeared fresh and inviting, while maintaining an intimate environment well suited to comfort and conversation.

The staff were warm and welcoming and knowledgeable and patient with my many questions. The food did take some time to arrive, but the starters were quick to arrive and kept us happily occupied until the platters brimming with main courses were set upon the table.

The Chicken Rogan and Chicken Tikka were especially good; the chicken was succulent and full of flavor. As a novice, I particularly welcomed the arrival of Raita which perfectly accompanied the other dishes. The Masala Dosa was another taste sensation, as were the Keema Nan and the Stuffed Paratha.

Incidentally, I ordered the house red wine to go with the meal. I wasn't sure what to expect, as house wines can often be temperamental, but this wine did not disappoint - it was smooth and wonderful.

In the end, we all agreed we had ordered far too much food and could not finish it. We made a takeaway of the remaining dishes and tottered out, ridiculously full and speaking for myself, very much looking forward to a return visit.

Friday, May 30, 2008
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 10

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