All reader reviews by Zero

Cottons (Camden)

Disappointing quality. It's just okay, but that's about it.

I'm still in search of a great West Indian restaurant in London, any suggestions?

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 4 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 4


Ping Pong (Soho)

More laid back, less fashionable and a slightly lessor quality to Yuatcha.

Otherwise more modern than Chinatown, comparative in quality (one or two exceptions), and just plain fun. Furthermore, you can sit, eat and drink at the bar.

I've been several to Soho and Notting Hill locations (prefer Soho) and love it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Cottons (Islington)

Visited Cottons on July 29, 2006. Made a late booking for 4 and they managed to accommodate us downstairs in the Rhum Shack downstairs. We were happy with that as they had a live singer on at the time.

There are 2 ways down to the Rhum Shack, one from outside the restaurant and the other from inside through the serving area where they pick up plates of food for customers. The latter was not very nice. It was not very clean, the walls and floors were sticky and I couldnít help but wonder if that reflected the state of the kitchen.

Once down there, we were seated front and centre for the live act and we duly ordered saltfish fritters and smoked duck breast and watermelon salad to start. The saltfish was mushy on the inside, tough to chew and the batter was thick and over fried. I personally prefer small chunks of fish, not mashed, and only lightly fried for a clean crisp bite that melts in your mouth.

The smoked duck breast with watermelon salad was nice, but needed more duck.

For mains, we ordered the grilled giant prawns with seafood rice, the jerked mixed meats platter with plantainand rice and peas and the coq-au-rhum.

The mixed meats were tasty, but the chicken was a little dry. The plantain was sliced and fried in its skin so you had to peel it off before eating it. Iíve never seen it done this way so decided to eat it first with the skin on and then without. It was ok, but not for me. Once peeled, it was just as I expected, sweet and morish. My motherís are ever so slightly crisp on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside so itís difficult for anyone to make them better, but Cottonís version was fine. The peas needed to be cooked with more coconut (or even SOME coconut) for that truly Caribbean taste. At least the peas were soft and tender.

The prawns were large, meaty and delicous, but 4 for about £14.25 was expensive. The seafood rice was very tasty and this was the best of the 3 dishes we ordered. I didnít like the coq-au-rhum. My first bite was of a fatty piece of chicken.

Thereís an indian restaurant further down the Exmouth market called Gulshan Tandoori that has similar flavours of curried, spicey chicken and shrimp dishes. The cost is between a third and a half of what Cottonís costs. Gulshanís nmeats are less fatty and more tender. I grew up on West Indian food, but Iíd prefer to save money and eat better at the Indian restaurant down the street.

Drinks were good, but better and cheaper at Latin Square on Farringdon road. There's no maubi on the menu or a proper roti. The kind that you hold with 2 hands, no bones or fat to pick through and filling. If anyone knows where I can find one, please let me know.

Donít know if itís just my computer, but their website is very s l o w to update each page so I moved on to another website.

Food: 5

Service: 8

Atmosphere, 8

Value for money: 3

Final words. The girl that showed us to our table was unbelievably beautiful, polite and the only reason that MIGHT get me back through the doors.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 3


Cottons (Islington)

Visited Cottons on July 29, 2006. Made a late booking for 4 and they managed to accommodate us downstairs in the Rhum Shack downstairs. We were happy with that as they had a live singer on at the time.

There are 2 ways down to the Rhum Shack, one from outside the restaurant and the other from inside through the serving area where they pick up plates of food for customers. The latter was not very nice. It was not very clean, the walls and floors were sticky and I couldnít help but wonder if that reflected the state of the kitchen.

Once down there, we were seated front and centre for the live act and we duly ordered saltfish fritters and smoked duck breast and watermelon salad to start. The saltfish was mushy on the inside, tough to chew and the batter was thick and over fried. I personally prefer small chunks of fish, not mashed, and only lightly fried for a clean crisp bite that melts in your mouth.

The smoked duck breast with watermelon salad was nice, but needed more duck.

For mains, we ordered the grilled giant prawns with seafood rice, the jerked mixed meats platter with plantainand rice and peas and the coq-au-rhum.

The mixed meats were tasty, but the chicken was a little dry. The plantain was sliced and fried in its skin so you had to peel it off before eating it. Iíve never seen it done this way so decided to eat it first with the skin on and then without. It was ok, but not for me. Once peeled, it was just as I expected, sweet and morish. My motherís are ever so slightly crisp on the outside and soft and sweet on the inside so itís difficult for anyone to make them better, but Cottonís version was fine. The peas needed to be cooked with more coconut (or even SOME coconut) for that truly Caribbean taste. At least the peas were soft and tender.

The prawns were large, meaty and delicous, but 4 for about £14.25 was expensive. The seafood rice was very tasty and this was the best of the 3 dishes we ordered. I didnít like the coq-au-rhum. My first bite was of a fatty piece of chicken.

Thereís an indian restaurant further down the Exmouth market called Gulshan Tandoori that has similar flavours of curried, spicey chicken and shrimp dishes. The cost is between a third and a half of what Cottonís costs. Gulshanís nmeats are less fatty and more tender. I grew up on West Indian food, but Iíd prefer to save money and eat better at the Indian restaurant down the street.

Drinks were good, but better and cheaper at Latin Square on Farringdon road. There's no maubi on the menu or a proper roti. The kind that you hold with 2 hands, no bones or fat to pick through and filling. If anyone knows where I can find one, please let me know.

Donít know if itís just my computer, but their website is very s l o w to update each page so I moved on to another website.

Food: 5

Service: 8

Atmosphere, 8

Value for money: 3

Final words. The girl that showed us to our table was unbelievably beautiful, polite and the only reason that MIGHT get me back through the doors.

Sunday, July 30, 2006
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 3


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