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24 April 2014

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Blog Reviews from samphire and salsify

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just another food blog


  1. I was a bit sceptical when I heard about the new restaurant inside the Marriott Hotel on Park Lane. Its name, Lanes of London, refers to its concept, which offers a varied array of dishes inspired by the many lanes of London – Indian, Vietnamese, Lebanese for example. After an extensive refurb of the restaurant and bar area, I was invited down to try out some of the many small plates on offer and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. The dining room was done out very nicely – it had a touch of the Cecconi’s or Soho House about it. Staff were friendly and really chatty...

  2. Published : Saturday, 1st December 2012

    Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons | Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons

    just another food blog Home About me Contact Other blogs Restaurant Reviews A-Z Electric Diner Patty&Bun Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons Posted on December 1, 2012 by SamphireAndSalsify Le Manoir business card Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons is a restaurant and hotel in the Oxfordshire village of Great Milton. It comes from the legendary French chef Raymond Blanc who received his two Michelin stars for Le Manoir just a year after opening in 1985 and has held them ever since. As it was my birthday we decided that a visit here for lunch would be the perfect way to celebrate – and we weren’t disappointed...

  3. Published : Tuesday, 27th November 2012

    JSW | JSW

    JSW (short for Jake Saul Watkins) is a Michelin starred restaurant in the Hampshire town of Petersfield. Set in a 17th century former coaching inn complete with wooden beams, the dining room has lots of character – you feel like you’re eating somewhere that has a history. We arrived for a weekday lunch at 1pm and were the only diners there – needless to say the atmosphere was a little flat and very quiet. By 2pm it got busier which took away that awkward silence...

  4. Published : Saturday, 24th November 2012

    Mishkin's | Mishkin’s

    Mishkin’s comes from the restauranteur legend and master of dark lighting, exposed brick and no reservations – Russell Norman. What makes this restaurant different from his others however (Spuntino and the numerous Polpo’s) is that you can book – hoorah! The other main difference is that Mishkin’s is ‘a kind of Jewish delhi with cocktails’. How very intriguing. The restaurant itself is a pretty little place with a bar by the entrance where you can drink, eat and admire the pretty and oh so trendy barmen shake their cocktails and stir their Negronis...

  5. Published : Wednesday, 21st November 2012

    Wild Honey | Wild Honey

    This Michelin starred restaurant based in Mayfair comes from the team behind Les Deux Salons and Arbutus. The restaurant itself is reminiscent of a hunters log cabin with its wood panelled walls – if I’d turned up wearing a dearstalker with a shotgun draped over my shoulder I wouldn’t have looked out of place. It was an attractive looking dining room...

  6. Published : Wednesday, 14th November 2012

    John Salt | John Salt

    John Salt is a “neighbourhood bar with good beer” and resides on Upper Street in Islington. It’s more than just a bar however, it’s the first restaurant from Ben Spalding since he left the kitchen of Roganic. He has taken up a 6 month residency to run the kitchen at this newly renovated bar/restaurant and my gentleman companion and I were lucky enough to have a table during the first official dinner service...

  7. Alyn Williams at the Westbury hotel isn’t exactly the most hip and happening place in London right now, I mean God, you can make a reservation, and there’s no queue to get in the door and the chairs are comfy! But in a city filled with burgers and pop ups, this restaurant is exactly what I want – it’s Michelin starred fine dining at it’s very best. The room is opulent and rather glamorous, there’s even a sparkly carpet which I imagine wouldn’t be to everyone’s taste. At 1pm there was only us and another table having lunch – with the lack of background music the atmosphere was a little flat, however by 2pm the restaurant had filled up and was more lively...

  8. Published : Saturday, 10th November 2012

    Trishna | Trishna

    It’s got to be said, we rarely go out for an Indian. If I remember correctly, the only time we have been for one was at a not so charming Indian restaurant above a pub in Borough High Street, and my gentleman companion ordered an insane amount of food and only ate a third of it. When we saw that Trishna (based in Marylebone right next door to Roganic) had recently received a Michelin star, we thought the time had come to try some fine dining Indian style. The restaurant was split into two sections and we were seated in the second room which was bright and airy. White painted brickwork with bright framed posters made for a simple but pleasant dining room...

  9. Published : Monday, 5th November 2012

    The Cube by Electrolux | Tom Aikens: The Cube by Electrolux

    Ever since visiting Tom Aikens restaurant in Chelsea we became big fans of his. When we found out he would be cooking during our visit to The Cube we were super excited. We’ve been to The Cube twice before (Daniel Clifford and the Casamia boys cooked on our previous visits) and we’ve absolutely fallen in love with the place – it’s quite hard not to. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, The Cube by Electrolux (the kitchen appliance people) is a pop up restaurant on the roof of the Royal Festival Hall. Michelin starred chefs take up temporary residencies to cook for 16 diners at a time at one long table with an open plan kitchen. What makes it so great is you’re encouraged to get up and watch the food being prepared and ask lots of questions – which we love doing!...

  10. Published : Thursday, 1st November 2012

    Shrimpy's | Shrimpy’s

    My sister kindly decided to take me for lunch as a birthday treat and she chose Shrimpy’s as the place to go. I was quite excited as it was a place I’d been meaning to try for quite some time. It’s a restaurant by the guy who owns Bistrotheque. It’s situated in an old petrol station about a 5 minute walk from Kings Cross Station. The building that houses Shrimpy’s, now called The Filling Station, looks like a giant piece of installation art (that or a giant piece of corrugated iron) and after a bit of confusion we realised the entrance was round the back...

  11. Published : Wednesday, 31st October 2012

    Duck & Waffle | Duck and Waffle

    If you don’t like heights then look away now as Duck and Waffle is situated on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate – which made us seriously excited about going for lunch. I do love a good view, especially if it’s in London but our experience of restaurants at high altitude so far have been a bit plain Jane. In restaurants like Rhodes 24 or Galvin at Windows we found the food to be ‘safe’ but you certainly wouldn’t say that about the food on offer at D&W – not by a long shot...

  12. Published : Tuesday, 30th October 2012

    Upstairs at The Ten Bells | Upstairs at the Ten Bells

    Upstairs at the Ten Bells is a restaurant above a pub directly opposite Spitalfields market – a rather splendid location then. This started as a three month pop up by The Young Turks and The Clove Club but after a tremendous amount of popularity, it’s staying for good...

  13. Published : Monday, 29th October 2012

    The Goring Dining Room | The Goring: Afternoon Tea

    The Goring hotel will be known to most as the hotel at which Kate Middleton spent her last night as a pauper before marrying Prince Wills. The hotel boasts 5 stars and has been running for over a hundred years continuously by one family (The Gorings) which seems pretty impressive. When my gentleman companion’s lady friend suggested we go for afternoon tea, we needed no convincing...

  14. Published : Sunday, 28th October 2012

    Dabbous | Dabbous

    At the time of writing this, a table for lunch at Dabbous wasn’t available for 5 months and for dinner it was a wait of 1 whole year. This must be the most booked up restaurant London has ever seen, and having just received a Michelin star, I imagine its popularity will only continue. Ollie Dabbous (pronounced da-boo) has a CV that can do nothing but impress, having worked at Le Manoir and more recently Texture, with brief stints at Noma and The Fat Duck to name but a few...

  15. Published : Thursday, 25th October 2012

    La Trompette | La Trompette

    Michelin starred La Trompette resides in Chiswick and comes from the restaurant empire of Nigel Platts-Martin. He owns The Glasshouse, Chez Bruze, The Square and The Ledbury which hold quite a few Michelin stars between them so we had high hopes for our dinner. We arrived on a Monday evening and it was very busy. White table cloths covered each table yet the atmosphere was relaxed. One table had a crying baby in a push chair and another family were dining with their two young children. The place had a family friendly neighbourhood vibe...

  16. Published : Sunday, 21st October 2012

    Pizarro | Pizarro

    José Pizarro has well and truly plonked Bermondsey Street onto the culinary map with his two restaurants José and Pizarro. José is a tiny sherry and tapas bar at one end of the street and Pizarro is a full sized sit-down restaurant at the other. I’ve been to Pizarro quite a few times – usually very late and I’ve always been horrendously drunk. The atmosphere has always been buzzy and the food has always been delicious. Seeing that they started doing a set lunch menu – or the ‘menú del dia’ to give it the proper title, I decided to have a lunch-for-one and give it a go...

  17. Published : Friday, 12th October 2012

    José | Jose

    Jose is situated on Bermondsey Street (a 7 minute walk from London Bridge station) and is a sherry and tapas bar which my gentleman companion and I have always wanted to visit. We previously haven’t on account of it always being packed, or should I say bursting at the seams...

  18. Published : Monday, 8th October 2012

    Yauatcha | Yauatcha

    I was a little apprehensive about our visit to Yauatcha for two reasons. Firstly, because whenever we go somewhere serving Chinese food my gentleman companion seems to order everything on the menu irrespective of price or stomach size. The second being that Yauatcha is owned by the same people who own Hakkasan Mayfair which we found so disappointing; it was expensive and totally style of substance. I feared this would be the case at Yauatcha...

  19. Published : Friday, 5th October 2012

    Honest Burgers Soho | Honest Burgers Soho

    Honest Burgers have bravely ventured out from Brixton and opened their second restaurant in Mead Street in Soho (a 15 second walk from Burger and Lobster) and adds to London’s ever growing burger scene. You could easily walk past this restaurant as the outside is very plain – as is the interior. White walls with wooden tables and chairs didn’t make us want to spend all day in there but the atmosphere was relaxed and the staff were really friendly. The door was left open for our entire visit meaning we sat with our coats firmly zipped up...

  20. Published : Tuesday, 25th September 2012

    Chicken Shop | Chicken Shop

    If you like chicken, then you had better take a trip to Chicken Shop – Soho House Group’s latest offering in Kentish Town. It’s in the same building as Dirty Burger and Pizza East (also owned by SHG) but we found the entrance to Chicken Shop quite hard to find. An open door leading to a staircase with no signage meant we walked past it before finally realising what it was...

  21. Published : Monday, 24th September 2012

    Tonkotsu | Tonkotsu

    Based on Dean Street in Soho, Tonkotsu specialises in one thing – ramen. I’ll be honest, I’d never had a ramen before and if you haven’t either – it’s a traditional Japanese noodle soup made with stock from animal bones and vegetables then topped with a variety of ingredients. I’ve been reluctant to order one before because I thought it would be greasy and watery – oh how wrong I was!...

  22. Published : Friday, 21st September 2012

    The Gilbert Scott | The Gilbert Scott

    just another food blog Home About me Contact Other blogs Scoreboard Texture Tonkotsu The Gilbert Scott Posted on September 21, 2012 by SamphireAndSalsify Fancy a Wikipedia history lesson? Well, in 1865 the Midland Railway Company held a competition to design a 150-bed hotel to be constructed next to its railway station, St Pancras. Eleven designs were submitted, including one by George Gilbert Scott, which at 300 rooms was much bigger and costlier than the original specifications. The hotel was upscale and expensive with costly fixtures including a grand staircase and rooms with fireplaces and gold leaf walls. The hotel closed in 1935, by which time its utilities were outdated and too costly to maintain...

  23. Published : Wednesday, 19th September 2012

    Texture | Texture

    Texture is a Michelin starred ‘modern European restaurant and champagne bar with Scandinavian influences’ which is based in Portman Square (round the corner from Selfridges). I’ve wanted to visit Texture for about two years and since watching head chef Agnar Sverrison cook a beautiful scallop dish on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, I gave my gentleman companion no other choice but to book us in for lunch....

  24. Published : Thursday, 6th September 2012

    The Waterside Inn | The Waterside Inn

    The Waterside Inn is one of only four restaurants in England to hold three Michelin stars (and has done for over 25 years) and resides in the rather charming village of Bray – which is also home to The Fat Duck. We decided to visit for my gentleman companion’s birthday and to be honest – we were a little apprehensive. Our prior experiences of two Roux family restaurants had been expensive and rocky. At Le Gavroche the bill was astronomic and the food was totally underwhelming. The Roux at Parliament Square set lunch was dismal – however the pricey a la carte was perfect. As we pulled in next to the entrance, only ten minutes late after a brief hold up on the M4, a smartly dressed gentleman kindly told me to leave my car there and he’d park it for me – what a lovely touch. It was then suggested that we have a drink on the terrace before our lunch and we gladly agreed. As we walked through the restaurant the millions (and there were millions) of staff each smiled and said hello – I’ve never been wished an enjoyable lunch by so many people...

  25. Published : Tuesday, 28th August 2012

    Dirty Burger Kentish Town | Dirty Burger

    Come out of Kentish Town tube station, turn right, walk for 6 1/2 minutes and tucked behind Pizza East in the rather unlikely setting of a car park you’ll find Dirty Burger. It’s the latest offering to burger ridden London from the Soho House Group. There’s nothing unique here but they serve burgers and everyone loves burgers don’t they! The entrance was nestled under a staircase and you’d easily not realise what was through the door. The inside was small, seating only around twenty at one large communal table in the middle with stool seats around the outside. Corrugated iron walls and a plastic roof made us feel like we were in some old bike shed – obviously the desired effect...

  26. Published : Thursday, 16th August 2012

    Les Deux Salons | Les Deux Salons

    My parents and I needed a decent pre-theatre dinner so as Les Deux Salons is situated so close to most of London’s West End theatres, we decided to give it a punt. It has two sister restaurants, Arbutus and Wild Honey which both hold a Michelin star so expectations were fairly high ...

  27. Published : Tuesday, 14th August 2012

    Ceviche | Ceviche

    Ceviche has taken Soho by storm. Whenever we walk past this Peruvian restaurant on Frith street it’s always packed. We took advantage of the Olympic fever and went on the weekend of the Opening Ceremony and it was empty – along with every other restaurant in Soho...

  28. Published : Monday, 6th August 2012

    The Delaunay | The Delaunay

    The Delaunay, situated on the giant roundabout that is the Aldwych, is Chris Corbin and Jeremy King’s sister restaurant to The Wolseley and Brasserie Zedel (which I have become obsessed with). The restaurant looks like it’s been around for years and has all the class and style that you may expect from two accomplished restauranteurs...

  29. Published : Wednesday, 1st August 2012

    Cotidie | Cotidie

    Cotidie (meaning ‘everyday’ in Italian) is the first UK restaurant by Bruno Barbieri. We’d never heard of him before but as he currently owns two 2 Michelin starred restaurants in Italy, my gentleman companion and I had pretty high expectations. We arrived at Cotidie, which resides in the beautiful Marylebone High Street, at 8:45 and...

  30. What are the chances – my gentleman companion won a competition on Twitter to lunch at The Cube by Electrolux! We were beyond excited to be returning as we absolutely loved our first visit there when Daniel Clifford was cooking. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, The Cube by...

  31. Published : Friday, 27th July 2012

    Scott's | Scott’s Mayfair

    Scott’s is owned by Caprice Holdings (who own Le Caprice, 34, J Sheekey and The Ivy to name but a few) and is as beautifully kitted out inside as its sister restaurants. It has a doorman, a cloakroom lady, hundreds of waiters – this place clearly doesn’t scrimp on staff. Rarely do I leave a...

  32. Published : Thursday, 19th July 2012

    Roux at Parliament Square | Roux at Parliament Square

    On our very first visit to Roux at Parliament Square we decided to take advantage of the tempting three course set lunch menu priced at £25. In a nutshell, for us, the menu was too simple and the food was bland and unexciting. I had a particular problem with my dessert which looked like what...

  33. Published : Monday, 16th July 2012

    Tramshed | Hix at The Tramshed

    The concept of Hix at The Tramshed in Shoreditch is very simple – it sells steak or chicken. If you’re a vegetarian I think you get a slap round the face and are asked to leave. If you were hoping for a bit more detail – the “mighty marbled” Glenarm sirloin steaks served with chips...

  34. Published : Tuesday, 10th July 2012

    Murano | Murano

    We arrived at a very empty Murano with just a few other diners in the restaurant and the decision to have no music in the background left the atmosphere feeling a little flat to begin with. Luckily there was plenty to look at as the restaurant is absolutely stunning and exudes wealth, some serious money...

  35. Published : Thursday, 5th July 2012

    Viajante (closed) | Viajante

    I must start by saying this was the most exciting lunch we’ve had in London (not including The Cube which doesn’t count as it’s a pop-up restaurant). It was up there with the excitement we felt when we visited Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, only that meal cost £150 per person for food alone, lunch at Viajante...

  36. Published : Wednesday, 27th June 2012

    Sienna Restaurant | Sienna

    Tucked behind a bus stop on the high street in Dorchester Dorset, you’d be forgiven for thinking Sienna was a launderette. We found the outside and possibly the decor inside to be very unassuming as the food served here is absolutely delicious. Seating just 14 people this is definitely the smallest Michelin starred restaurant we’ve...

  37. Published : Saturday, 23rd June 2012

    Brasserie Zédel | Brasserie Zedel

    Brasserie Zedel is a “grand Parisian brasserie transported to the heart of London” by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (owners of the Wolseley and Delaunay). Being big fans of both, my gentleman companion and I were excited to be attending the first ever dinner service during their soft launch. Situated just off Piccadilly Circus and...