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16 April 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Favourite pastimes include wine glugging and cake scoffing

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  1. Published : Friday, 25th October 2013

    Gymkhana | Gymkhana: No ordinary curry night

    Speaking of which, here’s my latest outing, a curry night with the hubby at the much hyped and talked about Gymkhana. A restaurant that pays homage to the good old days of the British Raj, particularly the trend of the Gymkhana – ye olde gentlemans club. Now you know my feelings about hyped up restaurants. They tend to make me more nervous than those that are hardly reported because they have a greater tendency to disappoint. However I just couldn’t resist this time because the man behind this latest venture is Karam Sethi, whose successful endeavours include the London branch of Mumbai seafood favourite, Trishna and Charlotte Street’s gourmet hotdog and champagne joint, Bubbledogs. So disappointment at Gymkhana shouldn’t be on the menu...

  2. ‘Don’t go, you’ll be disappointed’, ‘overpriced and under serviced’. The husband said it, our friend (one half of the Sloane rangers) said it. The plentiful negative reviews said it. But I went along with my girlfriends for a night out anyway. I wasn’t being foolish. In the back of my mind, I knew there must be a valid reason why I hadn’t made the effort to visit a restaurant that’s been on my list for over half a decade. But I had a strong urge to finally close the case on this first world problem and cross Sake No Hana off my list for good. And now I have. It all started off swish, escalators up to our table, menu with all the usual fancy ingredients, me salivating over Champagne Yuzu seabass. But it didn’t take long for the well-renounced bad service to start sticking out like a sore thumb...

  3. Published : Wednesday, 4th September 2013

    The Pearson Room | August round-up: Chinese food and Gin cocktails

    From the creators of Marlyebone favourite, Trishna and the ever popular Bubbledogs, The Pearson Room has burst onto the scene along with several new restaurants hoping to strike it lucky in the wharf. Two visits and I’m afraid I’m not convinced. I was an ardent fan of the Reebok restaurant, it’s predecessor, from my not so long ago working days in the wharf. When I heard it had been replaced and with what, I just had to make a trip back and drag a few equally curious ex-colleagues with me too. However, shoddy service, forgotten drinks orders and a surprisingly under seasoned and over tomatoey Smoked Mozzarella & Purple Aubergine Parmigiana made it clear as day for me. I don’t want the Pearson Room. I want the Reebok back. I’d like my trio of fish with spicy pearl barley cous cous back and I’d like the ever helpful manager Jon Flower back. Old habits die hard I guess, but I won’t let this put me off checking out the group’s latest venture; Gymkhana. A tribute to the old gentlemens clubs in colonial India. The bar is already touted to be a real find...

  4. The Delauney bills itself as a grand European cafe, and it certainly is grand inside. it oozes old world charm from the hefty marble to the stained oak panelling, the linen table cloths and napkins (which are great until you find half the lint has attached itself onto your black dress!) and of course a grand old clock face at the back. There’s an emphasis on quality too, evident in the freshly baked bread and a plate of butter I could have gobbled up all on its own...

  5. Entering the Shard brought us right back to our sky-high dining and drinking ventures in Hong Kong. The tall steel structure, zooming lifts (not to mention popping ears) and sleek glossy interiors. Then there’s the staff who look like they’ve just jumped out of a Vogue magazine shoot. At Hutong, they were clad in charcoal and ebony. The plentiful greeters played tag team with a kind gentleman in a rather smart suit, who walked us up to the restaurant and then handed us over to the manager. This seamless procession of ‘hello’s', ‘welcome’, and even ‘how was your day?’ seemed a little insincere at first but actually became quite endearing by the time we reached our table. And what a table it was...

  6. Having caused quite a stir within the gastronomic community, I excitedly skipped into Grain Store and was greeted by a friendly set of staff, the host correctly guessed who I was as soon as he saw the buggy and whisked us to our table. It seemed we were to be the only mummy diners again. At midday, we were one of the first to park our hungry selves and our inquisitive babies at a table but it only took a matter of minutes for the lunchtime crowd of local suits to spill in and fill the large airy and echoing space...

  7. Published : Thursday, 27th June 2013

    Le Cercle | Late night carbs at Le Cercle

    So off we hopped behind the Kings Road, which the Sloane Rangers know like the back of their well manicured hands. A stones throw away from the gallery, we entered a blackened door and skipped down some steps into a rather intimate den. Floor to ceiling curtains frame the main dining area, whilst dim lighting and cosy booths fill the rest of the room. Being a Wednesday night, it was pretty quiet, which we’d hoped would serve our cause for quick food...

  8. Published : Tuesday, 25th June 2013

    Sushisamba | Sushisamba: farcical fun in the clouds

    Now there are no surprises as to what you are likely to get at Sushisamba. We’ve all heard about the wave of Peruvian/Japanese/ Brazilian fusion that’s taken our city over by storm, as if we’ve never eaten a plantain chip or consumed raw fish before! Here though, I like the way the menu is laid out and sectioned off by the three thrilling nations involved in this food revolution. So you can easily ensure you get a real taste of it all...

  9. Time moves in a hazy fashion here, you feel instantly rested, like you’ve just walked into a spa for a day of bliss. The luxurious and plush interiors, rich dark wood, and roaring log fire all work to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, whilst the uber professional yet smiley staff immediately fill you with confidence. Then, as if by magic, the champagne trolley wheels its way towards your table...

  10. Published : Thursday, 18th April 2013

    Skylon Grill | Skylon Grill: A fishcake rant

    I don’t quite know what it is about D&D (the owners of Skylon and a dozen other London restaurants) and me. I can only describe our relationship as that between two lovelorn teenagers; sickeningly in love one minute, bored the next, then engulfed in bitter ‘I hate you arguments’. They have this unique ability to offset the impressive flair, ambience and refinement in venues like Le Pont De La Tour...

  11. Published : Wednesday, 10th April 2013

    L'Autre Pied | Understated excellence at L’Autre Pied

    Upon entering L’Autre Pied, on a rather cold and blustery day, I noticed that it wasn’t too dissimilar to its big sister. For instance, swathes of black across a darkly lit and intimate room but there were subtle differences such as invisible table linen, which told you this was a more chilled affair. Thankfully this laid back approach did not extend to the food and by course no.2 of our tasting menu we quickly saw why it was awarded and has retained its star...

  12. As the square mile proved a mutual meeting ground, we opted for the mighty sweary’s recent venture – Bread St Kitchen. Now, when I cast my mind back to its much delayed opening, it received some pretty dire reviews that should have seen it close its kitchen almost as quickly as the customers and critics leaving it. But as its still standing and that too in such vast square footage, I’m assuming something must have changed, so off we went to break bread but mainly drink wine...

  13. Published : Saturday, 6th April 2013

    Yauatcha | Yauatcha: a dim (sum) affair

    Ive spent nearly seven years making it my mission to eat out in London, and in all that time I’ve had Yauatcha on my wish list. So why have I waited this long? A crop of seriously bad reviews all focusing on one unforgivable flaw; service, or lack thereof. If you’ve read my previous rant, you’ll know that this one annoyance is enough to send me running for the hills...

  14. Published : Friday, 22nd March 2013

    Giraffe Southbank Centre | Service please

    This week a friend and I had brunch at the newly-monopolised Giraffe on the South Bank. I hadn’t been in years and we both had little sprogs attached to us, so it made sense. They also have a more than decent brunch menu. For proof (excuse the shoddy pic) see this delicious veggie Huevos Rancheros Mexican Breakfast which tasted largely fine...