All reader reviews by Carol and Mike

Gordon Ramsay's Boxwood Cafe

We visited on a set menu early evening offer. We were first to arrive (6.05) at this very up market location and there was some debate if we should go to the bar or be seated directly, somehow it was decided on the latter without much input from us. The space is on three levels with the bar on the mezzanine level, the decor is subdued, tasteful, green, dark wood and immaculate. We were asked if we would mind moving to the bar if still there at 8 which I thought a bit of a joke as it was a Monday in credit crunch November but by 8 it was packed and we were duly offered a second coffee at the bar.

Back to the meal. Hot bread was brought with butter and lovely taramasalata. (When we were indecisive about a second basket they brought one anyway plus more of the lovely taramasalata). The glass of house wine was pleasant but unfortunately our chosen bottle wasn’t. It didn’t notice in sample tasting but the more we looked at it and tasted it, it was clearly corked dark yellow and musty, quite unlike the house wine. So we took courage that we were right and called the sommelier, who gave a complex explanation of what was wrong with it (I think to avoid any implication it could be poor storage?) and brought a bottle of something similar but different at his suggestion, which was fine.

So, on to the food. I started with a salmon fish cake (which was a last minute substitute for octopus carpaccio) with fresh tartare, followed by a warm salad of herbed endives below smoked haddock and slices of potato and topped with a soft poached egg, (before the starter they had brought amuse bouches of white onion soup with rosemary croutons), I found all of this first class. Carol chose wild mushrooms and baby roman artichokes on toast which was very good. Then, probably made a mistake in her choice of main, as last week she had a dish of pumpkin, ricotta and cinnamon in Rome that she has been raving about ever since, so the generous serving of macaroni, pumpkin and chestnuts gratined didn’t come up to expectations and she was also suffering from over indulging in the taramasalata – so it was the ice cream (roasted apple and caramel, served with almond biscuits) for pud for her! My pudding was a treacle sponge pudding with vanilla sauce and a glass of Sauternes, very English, very November, very good. Although by now I was getting full up and we struggled through the eight delicious chocolates provided with the two rounds of espresso. Service worked like clockwork.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 8


Salt Yard

An interesting menu - and elegantly presented. We ordered quickly as we were going to the theatre and were impressed that the dishes arrived, one or two at a time (which were perfect for sharing), in the correct order to suit the palette. The courgette flowers stuffed with monte enebro cheese were delicious (the cheese is available from Brindisa shops if you want to try it simply with membrillo)

A good manzanilla to start and some good wines to choose from - although more Spanish would have been appreciated.

Definitely worth a visit

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

From the various reviews we had read, we hadn't realised that this is in essence a very elegant french take on a tapas bar. You mostly sit on bar stools facing the kitchen staff, a la tapas bar, and quite a lot of the food has spanish notes, like the jamon being carved in front of us.

We found the service attentive, from the meeters and greeters to the waiting staff. We did the pre theatre (or lunch) special menu and found the food interesting, (the main menu had lists of tapas and raciones sized portions, although they didn't call them that). The room conveyed a stylish atmosphere, quality dark wood fittings, with carefully directed lights on various objects and also where it was needed, on the food, not on us.

We accepted the offer of a glass of champagne on being seated, knowing it would be expensive but what the hell, and it was, £15 a glass if I remember correctly, but very enjoyable (and we did witness a group of people being advised to buy the bottle rather than 4 glasses).

We will return and probably try the upstairs more "regular" restaurant, which most don't seem aware of, we certainly were not! Or pop in for lunch and try a couple of the "tapas" with a glass of wine.

Sunday, November 23, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 5


The Archduke

We have eaten in the Archduke many times, beginning when it first opened. We have never been disappointed, friendly service, nice modern british food and a good ambience.

Having read some bad reviews here I was a little worried going back last night, but nothing has changed. I suspect some of the non british diners who had a problem with lack of special price menu failed to realize the "presto" menu is a pre theatre early evening special. Our starters were a ham terrine and some prawns with noodles, no problems there. I went for the traditional sausages and mash, fine. Carol had a piece of fish, again fine.

We came back after the show for a bottle of wine and to listen to the jazz piano, always a nice end to an evening.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 9 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 6


Tito's Peruvian Restaurant

what a great place to relax and enjoy a great range of peruvian food. Its a pity its categorized as "amercian", as while technically correct I suppose, is misleading.

Unfortunately they don't have a website so I cant look up the names of some of the delicious dishes I had such as the mixed platter of potatoes and maize. Ones that I can remember and good were ceviche mixto, aji gallina and camarones piqantes. And you have to have a jug of pisco sour! The peruvian white wine was good and went well with the food. There were amazing toasted maize things served with the drinks, not like spanish gigantes, much lighter. Next job, order a peruvian cookbook....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7


Swan at the Globe

Please note that a lot of the reviews here mistake the first floor brasserie for the second floor restaurant. For instance, the dish served with Jersey Royals mentioned in one review is on the brasserie menu.

The decor and the team have changed, but apart from slight reservations on the plastic chairs, the food is at least as good as ever. (The ambiance is now a little warmer)

Sunday, October 07, 2007
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7


Fifteen

Coming in the door we were engaged by a witty, cool team. Music is intrusive and retro but worked, especially when the staff strutted to Jagger.

We could only get into the trattoria, possibly a good thing as we managed to set light to the menu, which was 17 floppy inches.

My lamb ragu was comfort food, seaside risotto was classic. The Gnocchi, with gorgonzola and walnuts was exqusite. Secondi... calves liver with lentils woken up with treviso, monkfish, swordfish both fine. The pannacotta impressed a non sweetie, from the brief dessert menu. All Italian wine list included all you would expect.

We left with a feel good factor, and its a charity....

Before or after, you can pop your weasel in the Eagle, up and down the City road.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 10 | Value for money 7


L'Albufera

Its one of those "grand hotel" type places with people

rushing about with luggage. A uniformed flunkey opened the taxi door

when we arrived and I was glad I had got all Paul Smithed up, although

a lot of the tourist guests were casually dressed. We went to the bar

where they had live south american music and loads of attentive staff,

two gin and tonics with all the trimmimgs, (including hot towels!)

served by a nice waiter from Madrid came to 22 of your english pounds.

We had read the restaurant would be empty at 7.30 because most of the

diners are spanish, but there were enough japanese and american

tourists in to make an atmosphere (by the time we left the local well

cuban heeled spanish had started to arrive).

They bring a cava trolley of all different types to have by the glass

(rather nice) I had rosado something or other.

The menu has a tapas course, so you get an excuse to have extra nice

things.

---

mixed croquettas

giant peas and ham, dressed with mint

----

(the chef has some technique by which he deconstructs peas and makes

giant ones that still taste like peas, wizard wheeze!) they call them

"supersized" on the bill.

----

poached eggs with saffron mash

foie gras topped with a mousse of goats cheese with caramalised apple (salamandered to create a wonderful crunchy contrast to the foie)

----

suckling pig (the scallop and some sort of meat was "off")

sea bass with delicate morcilla parcel

----

extensive spanish cheese trolley and port

change from £200 for two. Wines expensive but good. I had a Priorata.

Sunday, November 26, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 9 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 6


Rhodes 24

Having enjoyed Rhode’s food at “Taste of London” we decided to try Rhodes 24 for a modern take on English food and the views over London. Our table beside the glass wall gave a superb vertiginous view of the streets below, to the “Gherkin” and way beyond. Just as we had hoped.

Service was excellent, as you would expect with top end prices. We were offered and accepted a glass of champagne as an aperitif, nice but pricey at £10 each.

Mike’s meal

I decided to choose as English as possible and went for a sausage starter and an oxtail suet pudding from the clearly laid out menu, all real traditional comfort food, which went down extremely well. Especially the tender shredded oxtail in its quite light suet casing. I wasn’t sure if the carrots served in a little saucepan were slightly fussy, but it’s hardly important. I wish more places would do these old English specialities.

Carol’s meal

She went for her favourite flavours: guinea fowl and foie gras ravioli, followed by beautifully cooked veal with a truffle sauce (and a little saucepan of elbow macaroni).

We are not really “afters” people but had a well prepared chocolate pudding in order to continue to look at the view!

The wine list was quite short with some expensive items, we were happy with a Priorata at £44.

Overall a very pleasant experience in an interesting location, our three course + glasses of champagne , bottle of wine, two glasses of pudding wine, armagnac and coffee came to just under £200, (12.5% service included).

Afterwards the waiter took us up to “Vertigo” on the 42nd floor, where we relaxed with a post dinner bottle of sauvignon at £30 and watched the lights of London.

Thursday, July 13, 2006
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 4


Swan at the Globe

We were greeted with a warm "Hello - nice to see you again" which is when I realised how delightful dining at the Globe is.

During the last six months I have taken a range of different groups of people: a Mother's Day celebration, a treat for a friend and her two young children, the office Christmas lunch and a family birthday; all really successful. I don't know exactly why. The views are great, the staff friendly and efficient, the set menu (£21.95 for 3 courses) always includes a choice of interesting vegetarian dishes (for starter and main) two meat dishes and two fish. They are well cooked and presented elegantly. The wines are reasonable - we paid under £20 each for a Mendoza Chardonnay and an oaked Rioja.

An all round winner for me!

Sunday, March 26, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10


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