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29 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from Fd Over LDN

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Reviews and musings of food and drink places in London


  1. Published : Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Hedone | Hedone-ism

    It almost feels like I don't belong here at all. Tucked away in an inconspicuous corner of up-and-coming Chiswick, the sleek Scandinavian lines and open plan concept looks startlingly out of place amongst the local family Italian restaurants and chains. That's not to say it's an intimidating place once you get through the door. Despite the eye-catching plaudits from elsewhere (a rare 18/20 from Andy Hayler, number 70 on the world's best list and a Michelin star within a year of opening), the kitchen gives off a serene, aloof aura of calm from the moment the chefs started to filter in right up to their almost meditative wiping of the counter tops at the end of the service. We visited for lunch and went for the tasting menu, which incredibly changes weekly according to the high quality produce they receive...

  2. Published : Thursday, 18th July 2013

    HKK | HKK

    First things up, the decor. This was a key component of the experience at the other venues, particularly at Hanway Place, still I think the most fantastic use of space (it used to be an underground warehouse) in London. HKK is certainly more subdued and more professional. The target audience seems to be high powered local business types. Personally, I would say that the food is more the focus of the attention here than at the other branches...

  3. Published : Friday, 28th June 2013

    Casa Negra | Mi Casa Su Casa - Casa Negra

    Bodega Negra was one of our most memorable recent meals in Central London. I don't think that it was really down to the food. Don't get me wrong, we had some great dishes that night - the soft shell crab tacos stood out particularly - but it was more the combination of ambience, decor, service and music which made that evening special. If I had the money to (it is staggeringly expensive), it would probably be a regular choice in Soho, which probably explains why it's one of the biggest celebrity draws in London...

  4. This was the second of our visits to Heston Blumenthal's London outpost (the first was 2 years ago). In the time since our last visit it has rapidly picked up a Michelin Star as well as places on some pretty impressive lists. Rather than take full control over the venture himself, Heston has delegated a significant amount of control to Dinner executive chef is Ashley Palmer Watts, a Fat Duck alumnus who is beginning to gain a name for himself in the food festival circuit (he did a demonstration at the Taste Lab, for example)...

  5. Published : Wednesday, 12th June 2013

    Restaurant Story | Let me tell you a Story

    The aesthetics of the place is very original - down to the lettering and illustrations on the menu and the cutlery. The location is very unusual too, as there aren't too many top restaurants operating on Tooley Street, in between the fairy tale-like Tower Bridge and London Bridge, the eponymous subject of that famous children's nursery rhyme. The design is a bit more on trend; all Scandinavian, sleek lines of wood...

  6. Published : Tuesday, 7th May 2013

    Roganic | All you need is Lovage - Roganic

    Roganic is the ''sister'' restaurant (or is that pop-up?) of L'Enclume, the highly regarded 2 Michelin star Lake District restaurant where ingredients are sourced from their own farm. Some of the ingredients at Roganic are similarly sourced but of course as logistics dictates, some of it comes from London's produce markets. Post-Ben Spalding, Andy Tomlinson (ex-L'Enclume, Pollen St Social) has been heading up the kitchen...

  7. Published : Wednesday, 17th April 2013

    Chor Bizarre | How Bazaar

    Chor Bizarre is a bit of an oddity (as the name might suggest) amongst the others. Firstly, it's actually an import from India, where they have two branches specialising mostly in Kashmiri food, which is much milder and more aromatic than the Punjabi style curries we're more accustomed to here, but perhaps somewhat of an acquired taste for most. Chor Bizarre London actually has quite a few Kashmiri dishes on the menu...

  8. Published : Friday, 5th April 2013

    Pollen Street Social | Social climbing up Pollen Street

    Pollen Street Social is right in the heart off busy shopping central in London off Regents Street. Barely a minute away from the Apple Store, in alley, that has barely any through fare. There is hardly anything down here, except for PSS and Jason Atherton's newer place, Little Social just opposite...

  9. In terms of food, the Delaunay wears a strong Austrian/Germanic influence on its sleeve. Now, I have to make a confession here that we are really big fans of real German country cooking (Nathalie particularly has fond memories dating back to trips to the Black Forest throughout her childhood), and so our standards were set quite high...

  10. Published : Wednesday, 6th March 2013

    The Clove Club | The Clove Club Climax

    This is one clove club that won't leave your mouth numb, but after this meal you'll still be drooling. Taking permanent residence in the beautifully restored Shoreditch Town Hall is The Clove Club, set up by 'St.Vibes' after their successful stint (still ongoing) in Upstairs at The Ten Bells. With reviews from 'Upstairs at..' still scintillatingly superlative it seemed a no brainer to book in for their new place before it became impossible to get a table. The Clove Club is split up into 2 areas: the bar, with a great selection of beers, wines and bar food, and then the restaurant itself with open kitchen serving up the '5' course meal. At £46, it may seem like a lot.. but believe me, it was worth it...

  11. Published : Monday, 18th February 2013

    John Salt | John Salt Part II - All Smoke, No Mirrors

    John Salt opened in November with Ben Spalding at the helm, with his much revered taster menus & bar menu. Much praise was lavished, including from us, but it was all cut short rather abruptly, with Ben replaced with Neil Rankin, former head chef of Pitt Cue Co. Neil was already in talks to go into another one of the 580 ltd group's pubs at the Owl & Pussycat in Shoreditch. Looks like John Salt have pulled another Ace out of their sleeve with this new signing, with food cooked on another spectrum (or a big green egg). With Rankin's renowned expertise with all things meat and barbeque and some rather exquisite Asian influenced dishes, the place is a haze again with recent glowing reviews in Timeout and the Metro, as well as from the smoke in the kitchen...

  12. Published : Thursday, 14th February 2013

    Boqueria | De Barcelona a Brixton

    London has no shortage of options when it comes to tapas. Whether it be the genuine article (Barrafina, Jose, Brindisa), or the multitude of tapas ''fusion'' places such as Kopapa, Imli, Bocca di Lupo, Bodega Negra... the list goes on and on! So I must admit I always have a slight apprehension when it comes to trying new tapas places. Don't get me wrong, I've had some of the best meals of my life sitting atop cramped bar tops in Barcelona, but it's rather difficult to differentiate yourself from other places when there's two-a-penny serving the exact same dishes on every high street in the city...

  13. Published : Friday, 18th January 2013

    Pitt Cue Co | Pitt Cue Co

    Pitt Cue Co 1 year after opening is still as popular as ever, the fanfare for it is clearly still yet to die down. On the first week of January with hardly anyone back at work, empty streets, tumble weed floating about, and yet still have to wait for a seat at 6pm at PCC. This is testament to what they do here, some of the best BBQ meat in London. Queues are synonymous with Pitt Cue, even in it's 'early' days as the trailer at South Bank often had it's own snaking queue. With incredible quality meat, from such places as Philip Warren butchers, it's something unlike anything else in town at the moment. Despite visiting the trailer a few times to devour the pulled pork, big ode and the brisket, it's been a while coming to get here...

  14. Published : Friday, 18th January 2013

    Duck & Waffle | High and (mostly) Dry

    Zooming up in the much-discussed Roald Dahl-like glass elevator to the 40th floor of the Heron Tower is as much the exhilarating, if nerve-shattering, experience as has been discussed in other blogs. Once at the top, you are lead to the main dining room, a surprisingly intimate affair, with floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding three quarters of the space. The panoramic view here is largely unbroken and the table setting allows for pretty modest views even for the middle tables (unlike our experience with Galvin at Windows). We went for breakfast in this case, but they are impressively open all night. I'm guessing this for the benefit of the more industrious workers in the city, as well as late night revellers looking for something more adventurous than the standard dirty doner (must be quite a sight at 2 am!)...

  15. Published : Saturday, 12th January 2013

    Brasserie Zédel | Brasserie Zédel

    In a side street just off the hustle and bustle of central tourist haven Picadilly, the Uk's equivalent of Times Square lit up at night with advertising hoardings, lies a subterranean space unlike any you are likely to find in London. The place is grandeur of the highest level, bordering towards the obscene. The amount of marble and lighting is on an epic scale. The dining room, with over 250 seats is more the size of a small field, and is packed out, even the grand piano looks diminutive at the side of the room. Despite it's size it's not that easy to get a walk-in, booking is recommended. For those of you unappreciative of the latest 'no reservation' trend, this is what you've been looking for. The cuisine is classical French, and while not in vogue, this place should be around for much longer than most, unless the upkeep of all the marble and brass puts them into liquidation...

  16. Published : Thursday, 10th January 2013

    House of Wolf | Free Company @ House of Wolf

    With London still revelling in 'pop-up' restaurants and short term chef residencies, House of Wolf has arisen trying to strike while the iron is hot, with the promise of experimental dining. Experiments are always a risk, but at House of Wolf they simply relinquish control to the latest upcoming chefs with a series of residencies and pop-ups back to back. Most recently they had in Blanch & Shock to mixed reviews. This time round was a very short 4 day residency from Free Company, a trio of upcoming chefs most notably from the Salt Yard group, already a plus for me having so many times revisted Opera Tavern. I didn't want to miss them this time after hearing good things at their stint in the Endurance...

  17. Published : Thursday, 13th December 2012

    La Bodega Negra | This Mex is on Fire

    Standing outside La Bodega Negra, where the words ''Adult Video'' and ''Peep Show'' are emblazoned in bright red neon on the windows, you almost have to check twice you've got the right place. But fortune favours the brave, and once you go down the unassuming stairway, the cellar opens up to reveal a lively space. I really loved the atmosphere and decor of the place. A macabre blend of SoHo, NYC (where the original branch is located) and Soho, London, it has a kind of Bohemian Day of the Dead feel, which matches the modern Mexican tapas menu...

  18. Published : Tuesday, 4th December 2012

    Hawksmoor Air Street | Hawksmoor (& more)

    Hawksmoor have really put Steakhouses in London back on the map. Their success with there 3 other enterprises have justified this huge new restaurant in air street that spans most of the Reagent's Street, knowing that they are going to have no problems filling it. This really is in the heart of tourist London, but like the Seven Dials restaurant, despite location, the entrance is subtle with heavy doors. Only those steak worthy may enter. Unlike the other Hawksmoors, they've tried to split this between steak and fish, having teamed up with Mitch Tonks of the Seahorse. The ultimate surf 'n' turf?...

  19. Published : Monday, 8th October 2012

    The Cinnamon Club | Cinnamon Club with Eric Chavot

    Yet again, I've managed to be the lucky beneficiary of a free meal courtesy of some promotion or another on twitter. Yes, I'm a jammy ****, but you gotta be in it to win it, heed my advice and keep your eyes on the prize, especially during a time like London restaurant festival. This was a Amex LRF event called 'Kitchen influentials' with Vivek Singh, of the Cinnamon Club, and Eric Chavot, who was head chef at the Capital hotel restaurant when it claimed it's 2 michelin stars (and subsequently lost, when he left). So with this pedigree I was eagerly anticipating their preset menu, what french influences would Chavot add to these . However, 12.30pm on a sunday is quite early for me, and would normally only just about be contemplating breakfast, so wasn't sure how awake my stomach would be to handle a full Indian!...

  20. Published : Thursday, 4th October 2012

    Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack | This

    Yet another pop-up to go permanent, this time in the guise of Bonnie Gull, who previously were seen as the Seafood Shack in hackney, and after a couple of projects they are now in this set up in Fitzrovia. All their seafood is British, and responsibly sourced. It will change every day depending on what's fresh, I suppose we'll wait and see if some things will be more regular than others. Reasonably priced, great seafood restaurants are hard to come by in London, but this place certainly fits the bill...

  21. Published : Tuesday, 2nd October 2012

    The Old Crown | You make me wanna breakout

    3 months after his successful Pop-up at Chad's Place (see here), Dave Ahern is back with a permanent, and even more adventurous, venture in the heart of London, a stone's throw from the British Museum. The foundation of the menu is built on those burgers at the pop up, so the whiskey beast, swine time, the Bambi Bought it, and the baa-baa baby. In addition to these are the OC burger (with Devon Long Horn patty), the camilla burger (chicken burger), and the 'I don't need your bull' veggie option. Each comes with it's own bespoke sauce befitting it's own meat. The choices don't stop there though with steak, chicken wings (10 different sauces!),... each dish has it's own unique twist, with undoubtedly a lot of labour (and love) required to go into each of them..

  22. Another burger restaurant has ventured into the murky depths of central London. Honest burger have expanded their successful Brixton home to Mead St. just off Dean Street, right near to Burger & Lobster. With MeatLiquor / Market, B&L, Tommi's burger joint, Slider Bar, not to mention those mini burgers at Opera Tavern, and a new Byron Burger popping up seemingly every month, all within walking distance; is the demand for burgers going to be saturated soon? It sure doesn't seem that way...

  23. Well, you couldn't accuse this one of false advertising. Featuring a minimalistic menu consisting simply of burger and lobster (either whole or as a roll), the Dean Street branch is the second of the two B&L restaurants opened by the team behind the eponymous Goodman in Mayfair. Goodman is famous for boasting some of the best steaks and burgers here, but we were particularly intrigued here by the prospect of £20 lobster...

  24. Published : Wednesday, 5th September 2012

    Opera Tavern | Pigging out at the

    Opera Tavern is by far my favourite restaurant in London. It's food lies in between great cuisine and indulgent sharing food. From it's marvellous mini burger, of ibérico pork and fois gras, to the incredible ibérico pressa. Yes, there is a theme in what they do well here, and it is the pork from the black footed acorn feed pigs. While, the other dishes are good these are definitely their speciality...

  25. Published : Thursday, 30th August 2012

    Flat Iron | Flat Iron

    If you are going to do one thing make sure you do it well, and Flat Iron have certainly achieved that. A lot of places are running simplified menus, and Flat iron certainly takes this to the extreme, serving up just steak, and only flat iron (a cut from the shoulder) at that.Flat Iron have found home in the upstairs of the Owl & Pussycat pub, right near Shoreditch high street station. Got there at 6 and just missed out on getting the first allocation of seats, and were told we would have to wait half an hour. Luckily for us while waiting for drinks some seats had been freed up, bonus, I was starving and I could smell maillard reaction..

  26. Published : Thursday, 30th August 2012

    Bubbledogs | Blogging and dogging

    Bubbledogs is the new venture by James Knappett, who has previously held stints at Noma and the Ledbury. With that kind of pedigree, this was always going to be somewhere that needed checking out. Together with his wife Sandia Chang (of Roganic fame), the menu features a combination of hot dogs and grower champagne. This seems a bit of a strange combination initially, but the place itself inside is a kind of classy, upmarket (although not necessarily in terms of prices) diner with bar seating and tongue-in-cheek illustrations of sausage dogs drinking champagne...

  27. Published : Tuesday, 28th August 2012

    Santore | Santoré - Passion for pizza

    Exmouth Market is a gem of a street with great independent restaurants like Caravan, Moro, and Santoré, and places to drink with Exmouth Arms and Cafe Kick. For my Birthday, I thought Santoré would be perfect, amazing pizza that can be ordered by the metre, so is great to share with a large group. I've been here before and the standard of their pizza is spot on, nearly comparable that I had on a recent work trip to Trieste, Italy. It's amazing value, at similar prices that you would pay in bland chains such as Pizza Express or Zizzi. We started off the evening with a nice bottle of prosecco, then between 8 of us ordered half the pizzas on offer in 2 metres worth of pizza!...

  28. Published : Friday, 17th August 2012

    Lucky Chip Slider Bar | (Un)lucky Chip

    For ages we had been looking forward to the opening of Slider Bar, the new venture of LuckyChip in Soho, to complement their Hackney residence at the Sebright Arms. Their opening seemed to be constantly put back and back, checking out their twitter feed they seemed to be beseeched with bad luck holding back their opening. But finally today was the day, announced only the day before on Twitter. With the Lucky Chip burgers consistently touted as one of the best burgers in London, I didn't want to miss out on this.The Slider bar is on Broadwick St, just off Wardour Street, it is very discreet with the World's smallest sign, so keep your eyes peeled. We got there half an hour after opening, and managed to get a table for the 4 of us...                           

  29. Published : Wednesday, 15th August 2012

    Tonkotsu | Another mean eat on Dean Street

    Today I'm again reviewing a new Dean/Frith Street restaurant. I promise that there'll be some geographical variation in the future! Tonkotsu is a new Japanese restaurant, with a familiar concept of being a ramen bar with a sort of informal cafe atmosphere. However, there are a couple of factors that do set it apart. The first thing you notice are the big bubbling vats of stock preparing the broth for the next day's ramen. A very deliberate move to show people walking past where the food is coming from, breaking down the barrier between the dining room and the kitchen. This is supplemented by information on the menu as to the origin of the ingredients and the preparation of the meats. We're certainly moving towards the age where people are becoming very mindful of sourcing, and this can only be a good thing.The second unique factor is the size of the menu. There are only 3 types of ramen, 3 types of gyoza, 4 sides and 1 dessert...

  30. Published : Monday, 13th August 2012

    Ceviche | Pisco Fever

    Spearheading the new wave of Peruvian food in Central London, Ceviche has taken up its spot in the newly invigorated (some would say gentrified) Dean and Frith Street in Soho. Every week there seems to be a new batch of mid-range venues being added as opposed to the traditionally pricier restaurants that have opened in the past 5 years. Always one of the most open-minded of areas in London, it's good to see some interesting new cuisines appearing in this dynamic quarter. Within South America, Peru has a reputation for being very much a foodie country, combining many different kinds of starchy vegetables (including a bewildering selection of potatoes and sweet potatoes) from the fertile sacred valley inland with some of the world's finest fish from the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean. Ceviche has taken up a theme of a pisco bar, that is to say a tapas bar (with tapas portions to boot) serving Peruvian food.  Needless to say there is an equally strong focus on the alcohol side, especially at the bar area at the front ...

  31. Published : Friday, 3rd August 2012

    Dabbous | Congratulations, you've won the golden ticket!

    I've never heard that reply to a restaurant reservation before. But then, Dabbous is no ordinary restaurant. With a striking industrial interior housed in a former internet cafe (R.I.P. Cyberia!), Dabbous doesn't immediately strike you as the site of one of the most sought after reservations (April 2013 as of this post) in London...

  32. Published : Friday, 27th July 2012

    Shimogamo | Can I have more Urchins please?

    A new shrine has opened to Japanese food in Camden. It's located on Parkway, which is fast becoming a popular spot for new restaurants in the area. The dining room is small - there's only about 5-6 tables, but it allows for a cosy atmosphere with very attentive service.Choosing the menu over a couple of pots of ocha tea, the five of us dining chose a range of dishes ranging from sushi to tempura, with meat and fish mains too...