18 April 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from The List


Trying out quirky places to eat, drink and be merry in London - follow @matthew1hickman or sign up for email updates below

  1. Published : Friday, 21st March 2014

    Tommi's Burger Joint Chelsea | Tommi's Burger Joint

    Tommi's Burger Joint had been threatening to open a second site on King's Road for about 4 months, and it finally happened a couple of weeks ago. I popped over to meet Wilkes (read his preview post here) to take a look at their new home, not really intending to have too much to eat on this occasion. However, once they told me that all the food was free for their launch, it would have been rude not to tuck in. The décor is much the same as the Marylebone site. The upstairs window seats are perfect for watching the entertaining Made in Chelsea types swanning around. There is also a spacious downstairs area, though I prefer the natural light option...

  2. Published : Wednesday, 19th March 2014

    Dirty Bones | Dirty Bones

    This brings me to London's latest hot dog joint, Dirty Bones in High Street Kensington. They launched by giving away free hot dogs for 3 days in January at their street level hatch. The stall is open from 12-3 Thu-Sat selling a Classic Yankie Dog & Triple-Cooked Chips for £5 (this deal might change after April). I know, Triple-Cooked Chips are everywhere, but since chef Ross Clarke is in the house (ex-Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen), I feel they deserve their place more than most. The street stand is just a cover for the main event though - a stylish and quirky bar & restaurant hidden down some very funky stairs...

  3. Published : Friday, 28th February 2014

    Oslo | Oslo Hackney - Hand of Glory - The Shrubbery

    Flatmate Ali and I started off the evening at Oslo - a two storey bar, restaurant & music venue housed in the only remaining part of the original Hackney Central station which was closed in the 1970s. The ground floor bar & restaurant is stunning, particularly on the lighting front as you can see below. We settled onto a table in the corner for dinner & people watching, with a great view of the lovely long bar (which is also home to a Pioneer DJ mixer - don't spill your drinks!). They have an excellent range of wines & beers, including local offerings from Crate, Redemption and Five Points...

  4. Published : Monday, 17th February 2014

    Craft Beer Co. Clapham | Craft Beer Co

    Unlike Pubs of Distinction / Draft House, every Craft Beer Co. site has a different feel, and the Clapham branch (with its 30+ taps) has a much more traditional pub atmosphere than say their "beer bar" in Brixton. Personally, I love them both! Locals seem to know how lucky they are as it was incredibly busy for a Monday night. With 400+ bottles, and constantly rotating kegs, Craft are basically hosting a never ending beer festival, but they still find time to run tastings, tap takeovers, meet the brewer events and much more. If you are feeling adventurous, order one of Evil Twin's amusingly named bottles - do you want Even More Jesus, Monk Suffers Serious Sugar...

  5. Published : Thursday, 13th February 2014

    Mestizo | Mestiz

    On a cold January evening, I made my way over to Mestizo for a blogger event run by Square Meal and Nuffnang. I had previously eyed up the Mexican tequila & mezcal paradise en route to Shaker & Co next door, so it was great to finally make it inside. I popped on my name tag (Matt - Speak Easy Find Hard apparently!) and started to put a face to some blogs including The Cutlery Chronicles (Leyla), Gingle Lists Everything (Jamina) and Wanderlust & Bake (Abby). It quickly became clear that I was in a room full of foodies, so I was the happiest in the room when it was revealed that it was going to be a boozy evening of tequila and mezcal tasting, rather than a tour of Mestizo's authentic Mexican cuisine. We all started with a Negroni-esque cocktail made with Tequila Tapatio, Cocchi Rosa and Grapefruit Bitters - delicious...

  6. Published : Saturday, 5th October 2013

    Liquor Cabinet | Nightjar

    After seeing the state of the Team List Leaderboard, my siblings (and significant plus ones) decided it was time to get some more points. Nightjar has been on The List for a long time, and Em has just moved up to Hoxton so I booked us in for some pre-dinner drinks at 18.30. Early evening slots are quite easy to come by, but if you want to have a table later on (when the live jazz gets going) you need to book way in advance - I'm talking a month or two here. Nightjar is tucked away inbetween various unsavoury looking kebab shops and cafés just off the Old Street roundabout. You may have unknowingly walked past it during the day, but it is pretty obvious at night due to the queue and sore thumb doorman (Opium and Ballroom du Beef are also guilty of this hidden bar crime). You instantly forget what neighbourhood you are in once you make it downstairs. We were shown to a cosy table opposite the piano, which would have been ideal if it had been a little later on. The background jazz was already much better than most bars manage. We were brought the now customary jug of bizarre flavoured water (cucumber, apple, Miles Davis' sweat etc etc) with some free popcorn to keep us happy whilst we tried to make the tough first cocktail decision...

  7. Published : Wednesday, 2nd October 2013

    Dirty Burger Vauxhall | Dirty Burger

    irty Burger was on my to do list for a long time. I kept hearing wonderful things, but Kentish Town is pretty far away, so I was delighted when they announced that they were opening their second site in Vauxhall, where I work. Hopefully, this will mark the start of a Vauxhall food & drink revolution, if anyone can find any good spaces to set up shop. There are a few fun places around already (Bonnington Café, Estrela Bar, Brunswick House Café) but everything is randomly dotted around. Dirty Burger is more of a fast food joint than a restaurant, and wouldn't look out of place in a scrap yard. I mean this in the nicest way possible, as the tiny shack is made of random pieces of metal, some with locks and bolts still attached. Your main choice has already been made - you are having a cheeseburger (£5.50). Then you can choose onion fries or crinkle cut chips (or both, each is £3), and pick a soft drink, milkshake or even a Brewdog beer. If you want Sausage & Egg, or Bacon & Egg (with bottomless tea/coffee) then go along for breakfast before 11am - it opens as early as 7am on weekdays...

  8. Published : Thursday, 26th September 2013

    The Earl of Essex | Taproom - Hoxley & Porter - Earl of Essex

    We pressed on towards Angel, and decided to make one more stop at the Earl of Essex, a craft beer pub tucked away in a residential part of Islington. Tom took us via Camden Passage - a lively little pedestrian street which I can't believe I have never found before. Taro was on the hunt for food, but we managed to stay on track and got some seats at the bar. I love a good beer board, and the Earl of Essex didn't disappoint. The selection is fantastic - I knew most of the breweries but they had some really interesting beers from each one. We tried all sorts, making up for my lack of a beer flight at the Taproom earlier on: Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale, Brugse Zot Brune, Moor Revival, Offbeat Grateful Deaf, Liverpool Beer Co American Red & IPA, Magic Rock Clown Juice and Arbor Twigs in Space were all sampled. I was particularly impressed by the Liverpool Beer Co offerings. Moor Beer Co (Somerset) continue to be one of my favourite breweries. There are lots of great beers in the fridge too, including some craft cans all the way from Maui in Hawaii - Maui Brewing Co Big Wave will convert you to canned beer...

  9. Published : Friday, 16th August 2013

    Crate Brewery | Crate Brewery

    With plenty of energy still in reserve, we hopped on the Overground to Hackney Wick to try out 3 places in the area. First up, the Crate Brewery and Pizzeria, which is open from 9am-11pm every day. I was glad to have Lee leading the way, past an odd graffiti artist, through some industrial estates, to the canal. If you don't have Lee, follow the hipsters. It is attractively situated canal-side in a former print factory that they have stylishly converted with reclaimed materials from around the wick. They offer 5 of their own beers, plus other favourites of their choice, alongside a really tempting pizza menu...