All reader reviews by Jonathan
Surprised to read all these bad comments about service. Certainly wasn't my experience. Waitresses were friendly - one even suggesting (correctly) that we were probably ordering too much. Food was above average for a Chinese restaurant in this price range, although nothing to get over excited about. I'm not a Dalston regular, so not sure whether I'd go back specially but if they've taken on board the complaints about the service, then good on 'em.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 6
Ate there last night. At half-price it's really hard to complain. Portions were generous - starters are really more like primi patti than antipasti, and every plate was sent back clean. Service was particularly friendly, but markedly slow - not that this mattered particularly on a dark wet night. Would definitely go back but probably not to pay full price - food was good but not exciting enough to justify the full a la carte prices.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Food 7 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8
Came here after having given up on Lemongrass round the corner (combination of impossibly slow service and overwhelming smell of disinfectant). Was very quiet, which was a bit offputting, but the warm welcome made up for that. One bowl (read "tureen"!) of noodle soup and a stir-fried chicken dish later and we were very happy. Food seemed simple, but fresh and zingy and very reasonably priced.
We even got to meet the newest member of the Thang Long family!
Would definitely go back if I was in the area (it's right by Camden Road train station).
Friday, May 01, 2009
Food 7 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 9
Came here for lunch on Saturday, taking advantage of the £19 for two courses/£25 for three offer to check out this otherwise distinctly expensive restaurant. Actually got a table rather than sitting at the bar (as a twosome I think a table is preferable). My friend was horrendously late, but the staff at no point made me feel awkward about the fact, and simply checked I was ok from time to time while I sipped on what tasted like a triple vodka & single tonic.
The set menu is limited - just two choices per course. I had rabbit terrine for a starter, which was excellent. Certainly not canapé size. Much softer than many I've had before - presumably the result of adding things that aren't very good for my waistline - but still allowing the strong rabbit flavour to come through. My friend had a variation on French Onion soup, which I didn't think looked that great, but she enjoyed it.
We both had the pollock for main course (the alternative being steak tartare, which is an odd choice to have on a two-option set menu in London in my view). Except the pollock had become a whiting we were told. It was very good, presented beautifully as a whole fish, head on, with the centre of the fish split open to resemble a boat (no doubt there's a French word for this). The accompanying mash was sadly the pomme puree variety rather than proper English mash, and seemed to lack seasoning. But the fish itself was excellent.
My friend was feeling virtuous after a trip to the gym the day before so dived into the rather vague dessert of the day: "a selection of tarts", which turned out to be a good choice - five small slices of different tartes and gateaux from classic tarte aux pommes to some sort of cream and lime concoction.
The wine list is extensive, and those on a budget have to hunt down the cheaper bottles. We had a Corsican white for I think £36, which I'd not tried before and deemed a success.
Our particular experience was hard to fault - good food, good service and, for what we had, good value. .
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 9
Came here for dinner last week. Would agree with most here that the atmosphere and service were great. Whoever did the design did a fantastic job of turning a flat into a mellow bar and relaxed restaurant.
But the price? In these credit crunchy times, £22 for two courses and £26 for three is getting expensive for a neighbourhood restaurant. And although the food is nice and portions generous it's not quite up to scratch when you cast your eyes around what else is available for that price. I was also unimpressed that a place with such a limited menu (which in itself is no bad thing) then whacked on sizeable supplements for its one starter special (£3 for a scallop dish) and one main course special (£6! for a pigeon dish). I would suggest adjusting the dishes so they fall much closer (or within) the set price meal.
To cite one contrast, two days later I was at the distinctly expensive L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. The a la carte menu is pricy. No question. Yet oddly, the set price meal was £19 for 2 and £25 for 3 courses. Notably cheaper and, sorry Upstairs, Robuchon's food is a lot better. In fact there's no comparison (the broad ingredients of my Upstairs starter and my L'Atelier main were very similar, but while I could probably have made the first one myself, I couldn't have come close to attempting the second). When you also note that the Evening Standard's restaurant of the year, Corrigans of Mayfair, has just started offeirng a 3-course Sunday lunch for £27, the challenge Upstairs has of living up to its pricing becomes apparent.
Having said all this, the place was full and although I don't know Brixton at all, I assume that there aren't many places of this quality in the area. I don't mind paying for atmosphere and style, but the food must deliver as well.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Food 7 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7
Walked in for lunch yesterday and the average age of diners plummeted (and I'm in my mid-30s!). Thankfully as lunchtime wore on, the place filled up with a slightly more mixed clientele.
But frankly, forget the other punters and focus on the food. As it was a special occasion, we forsook the good value set menu (two courses for £19.50, with a choice of two dishes for each course), and hit the a la carte.
My game soup with livers on toast was a meal in itself - crammed full of what I presume was diced venison and vegetables, the soup itself was deliciously velvety and hearty. My companion had a set lunch salad, which looked insubtantial but she claimed was a lot more robust than it appeared.
Main course of roast partridge for me, with a sort of bread sauce mousse. Was good - perfectly cooked partridge - but not mind-blowing. Unlike the other main course. The saddle of hare was an astonishing plate of taste and texture sensations. Having sneaked a couple of forkfuls I could see why it was eliciting such praise. One of, if not the best of such things I've tasted in 2008 - including at the chef's table at Maze, which I figured would be hard to beat for meat.
Dessert: macerated plums, madeleines, and spiced ice cream was a gorgeous Christmassy way to mop up the last of the bottle of burgundy. The wine list is worth a mention - it's one of the better value lists I've seen in a while at a restaurant of this standing.
Service was friendly, a little slow at times but not to the detriment of our enjoyment of the meal.
As a long-time fan of Richard Corrigan, my expectations were high and I was delighted that it wasn't a let down. A perfect start to Christmas - bring on the roast wild venison I've got to cook for my parents on Christmas Day!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Food 9 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 8