23 August 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Vi Vian


A Sybarite's Thoughts on Food

  1. Published : Monday, 18th August 2014

    Old Tree Bakery Soho | Old Tree Daiwan Bee, Rupert Street

    Old Tree Daiwan Bee, Rupert Street – in recent years the famous taiwanese drink, bubble tea, seems to be everywhere. “A flavoured milk tea with black pearl bubbles served cold”, was how I explained it to people who had never heard of this beverage. It was my favourite drink – 13 years ago in Malaysia. Seeing the popularity of the taiwanese pearl bubble tea in London has not made me want it again...

  2. Published : Monday, 4th August 2014

    Roux at the Landau | Roux at the Landau, Portland Street

    Roux at Landau, Portland Street – the simple but elegant sign on the door that reads “Roux at Landau” gave me an excitement. This is not my standard every week write up. Dining here is a special treat for me. The letters embossed in a yellow-gold colour first captured my attention. My visual then switched to a lit wine cabinet at the end of a dark corridor. I had my eyes locked at the wine cabinet; wine, champagne, port in standard and magnum bottles. This is a magnificent piece of furniture I would not mind having it at home. I probably would have the problem of not having enough bottles to fill the wine cabinet. Roux at Landau is in Langham Hotel, just off Oxford Circus. Operated by the famous Michel Roux and his father, Albert Roux, I am sure you now know why I had the excitement to dine here. It is advisable to make a reservation. Both the dining rooms were full and we could only have a table later than we wanted. Both rooms had lovely rounded bay windows with high ceiling and chandeliers long enough to fill the height...

  3. Published : Wednesday, 30th July 2014

    The Grapes | The Grapes, Limehouse

    The Grapes, Limehouse – this pub holds a lot of historical moments for the east end of London. Locals proudly tell you that The Grapes survived the London bombings and also, used to be the social place for the famous Charles Dickens. It dates further back than that, The Grapes is at least 500 years old. If I owned such an iconic building, you bet I would be shouting it from the rooftops! Once I get over my height phobia :). The Grapes is known for the seafood dishes and this has won them many awards. The pub is small, darkish interior and furnishings but when you allow yourself to relax, it feels cozy, casual and has a friendly local atmosphere. The cold winter days made even friendlier with the fire place, when it is lit. The most attracting gaze is out of the window, at the back of the pub, onto the River Thames...

  4. Published : Tuesday, 4th March 2014

    Babur | Babur, Brockley Rise II

    I was delighted to be invited to participate in Babur’s special food tasting menu. This special menu is to raise the awareness of saving the Indian tiger. Throughout the year, Babur is conducting a special menu featuring the different regional Indian cooking and flavours. The six of us spent five hours sampling 15 different dishes, tasting and making notes on the presentation, taste and making suggestions to improve the dish. We also voted our four favourite starters and mains, and hopefully will see this on the menu served to the paying customers...

  5. Published : Thursday, 27th February 2014

    Vinoteca Soho | Vinoteca, Soho

    Vinoteca, Soho – Peering into the window of Vinoteca (yes, again) fascinates me. I have to admit that for once, I was wooed into a restaurant because of it’s wine menu. Can a restaurant of such size (Vinoteca is not big) be able to stock all those wines? It only became clear to me when we were given a folder of their drinks menu that Vinoteca was a wine bar. I don’t know the definition of what a wine bar constitutes but it all makes sense now with regards to the vast range of wine that they store. All it looked to me, from the outside was a posh cafe / restaurant style with wine in profusion. We came across Vinoteca purely by chance...

  6. Published : Monday, 10th February 2014

    Cape Town Fish Market | Cape Town Fish Market, Argyll Street

    Cape Town Fish Market, Argyll Street – the market feel to this restaurant is a display of fresh fishes and seafood lying on a bed of crushed ice, but much of a reduced selection compared to the Billingsgate Market’s fishmonger or Waitrose. The restaurant side of Cape Town is a casual dining setting looking more like a pub. The bar is at the end of the restaurant. Downstairs is a newly renovated space which Cape Town is marketing for as a suitable place for private functions. The menu at Cape Town is a fusion of Japanese, sushi, sashimi, maki, nigiri and teriyaki chicken wings. For the sushi and sashimi platters, it was not indicated what sizes were the portion that you could expect from each dish. Help was needed here. Closer to home, there is the Cape Town’s home comfort food, potjiekos (South African stew cooked outdoors). The seafood grilled or barbecued; meat is also on the menu. Set lunches are available. Other classic English favourites dishes are the salmon cakes and fish and chips...

  7. Published : Monday, 6th January 2014

    Langan's Brasserie | Langan’s Brasserie, Stratton Street

    Langan Brasserie, Stratton Street – From the outside of the restaurant, Langan’s Brasserie says big business. Every window pane has Langan name with illuminated red fluorescent lights. Pushing through the solid entrance door, is a semi-hemisphere enclosure draped with thick velvet curtain. Presence of a cloak room, slightly chaotic in a charming way and, and, and….. there were more than one maitre d’, wow, I like the style!...

  8. Published : Monday, 9th December 2013

    Sake No Hana | Sake no Hana, St James’s Street

    Sake no Hana, St James’s Street – the dress code was smart casual and no sports attire indoors. Ok. But no hats are allowed to be worn indoors? I know it is polite to remove one’s hat indoors but to be told in that manner, my rebellious nature kicks in, already coming up with something devilish. Well, it was just a thought. I am too cowardly to be outspoken and carry out my thoughts. We were here once about four years ago, seated at the bar on ground level. Although the seats were uncomfortable, the meal was excellent and the dining experience left a delightful memory. That is the reason why we leaped at the opportunity to dine in Sake no Hana. Prices here are not cheap (for me anyway)...

  9. Published : Monday, 2nd December 2013

    Boulevard Brasserie | Boulevard Brasserie, Covent Garden

    Boulevard Brasserie, Covent Garden – Covent Garden, the heart of the theatres and street performances in London, is a must visit place. All these captivating acts and actions tear your attention away from what is happening inside the rigid establishments around Covent Garden. Hence, Boulevard Brasserie is very easy to miss. Not to mention that there are a lot of other competing restaurants in the area, tourists here are not looking for a fantastic gastronomic meal. Speedy, economic, something British and sometimes, just somewhere to get your feet off the ground...

  10. Published : Sunday, 7th April 2013

    Beauberry House | Beauberry House, Dulwich

    Beauberry House, Dulwich – The place is magnificent. Where shall I start? From the moment I saw Beauberry House on the website, I thought, “wow, this is amazingly grand”. The wide and huge building standing proudly in white, spotlights shining from beneath enhancing the grandiosity of the structure but at the same time shows a very homely and inviting side. I want that house! Unfortunately, I do not think that it is for sale. As we arrived for the evening, it was an awe inspiring moment. The darkness surrounding the Beauberry House emanates an intimate and romantic mood. Beyond this darkness, the Belair Park stays in its silence. I never knew how large the park was until I looked it up on google maps. I can appreciate why Beauberry House has been chosen, shortlisted and awarded by numerous wedding recognitions for their venue...

  11. Published : Sunday, 31st March 2013

    Shoryu | Shoryu Ramen, Regent’s Street

    Shoryu Ramen, Regent Street – a big bowl of aromatic, soupy noodles is nothing more comforting and homely for the belly of a Chinese Malaysian person like myself. There is one exception though – my brother, the fussy eater in the family. He loathes all soupy or gravy-ish food and that includes any seafood, red and green colour looking dishes...

  12. Published : Sunday, 24th March 2013

    Babur | Babur, Brockley Rise

    Babur, Brockley Rise – this Indian restaurant has been a want-to/must-visit place for us for the last twelve months. Babur is on the corner of the quiet Brockley Rise, between Honor Oak and Forest Hill Overground stations. Inside Babur is spectacular. Long, rectangular shaped dining room with tables close to one another, I thought that Babur would be more expensive than the prices suggested. Kept minimal in decoration, the restaurant is still very well furnished. Toilets are extravagant...

  13. Published : Sunday, 17th March 2013

    Elliot's Café | Elliot’s Cafe, Borough Market

    Elliot’s Cafe, Borough Market – I simply cannot believe despite the numerous times I have walked past Elliot’s Cafe while on my round trips of Borough Market, without noticing this cafe. It was easily overlooked. One – standing outside looking into Elliot’s, occupied with people on the bar and the high chairs and tables and the presence of the coffee machine (made quite a statement to passerbys) I assumed that it was merely a coffee and cake place. All around Borough Market, coffee cafes are abundant...

  14. Published : Sunday, 3rd March 2013

    Meatmarket | MEATmarket, Covent Garden

    MEATmarket, Jubilee Market Hall – with the frenzy of burger meat in London, I am carrying on with prolonging this hot topic. Therefore, here’s to more burgers! (P/s: we had a really good homemade hamburger with veal minced meat (Asian style hamburger – substituted with veal minced meat. All I can say is yum, yum!)...

  15. Published : Sunday, 24th February 2013

    Elliot's Café | Dirty Burger, Highgate Road

    Dirty Burger, Highgate Road – “are you sure?” Jeremy asked in his somewhat dubious tone, after I told him the name of our next burger quest. I casually mentioned that we were going for burger lunch, knowing that he would not reject to the idea. So, camera equipped and submissively tagged along, halfway through Camden Town heading towards North London, I said, “it’s called Dirty Burger, this place and it is just round the corner”...

  16. Published : Sunday, 17th February 2013

    Kua'aina | Kua’Aina, Foubert’s Place

    Kua ‘Aina, Foubert’s Place – this is a rather good find when you need time away from a shopping spree on Carnaby Street. With so many of the fast food/sandwich/cafe chains within a stone’s throw from one and another, it was very easy just to give in to any of them and just to end the search of anything else. It was safe and fairly reliable. Out or our norm for the sandwiches or sushi lunches, we decided to be adventurous when we found Kua ‘Aina...

  17. Published : Sunday, 10th February 2013

    Honest Burgers Brixton | Honest Burgers, Brixton Market

    Honest Burgers, Brixton Market – when there are so many choices, not to mention such good choices to pick from, I wished that I had an extended stomach surgery to eat all that I could (and to not bear the consequences of weight gain would be ideal). Otherwise, how on earth am I going to decide? Standing in the middle of the restaurants in Brixton, before I could think about anything, another aroma from elsewhere has hijacked my thoughts. Then my body literally is drawn towards that fragrance...

  18. Published : Sunday, 30th December 2012

    Byron Canary Wharf | Byron Hamburgers, Canary Wharf

    Byron Hamburgers, Canary Wharf – gives the impression of a casual, colloquial and cosy American café. Situated on the top floor of Cabot Place, together with other restaurant chains in Canary Wharf, Byron is blends in well with the rest. By mentioning a restaurant in Canary Wharf immediately I think – well paid diners, of course! In their formal working attire, popping out for a quick lunch then, back to work. Therefore, I was surprised that Byron seemed quite busy on a weekend lunch, mostly filled with groups of young friends, couples and perhaps one or two of the blue collar employees in their dress down attire working through their weekend. Most diners lunched and left. We sat and chatted...

  19. Published : Sunday, 23rd December 2012

    Kettner's | Kettners, Romilly Street

    Kettners, Romilly Street – you would not miss it in the dark rainy afternoons of London – Kettners, spelt vertically downwards, lit in blue signage takes height above the rest of the other restaurants and cafés on Romilly Street. More popularly known amongst people as just off Cambridge Circus, Kettners is a corner building painted in clean white paint with black trimmed edges and corners gives a colonial look from the Malayan days. However...

  20. Federation Coffee, Brixton Market – I would never have had imagined that a coffee place, nestled amongst the hustle bustle of Brixton Market would serve up great coffee. The coffee is intense, chocolatey, somewhat saltish, smooth and creamy. And for that, Federation Coffee is not the cheapest cup of coffee that you will get in town – eg flat white: GBP 2.40, americano: GBP 2.00, cortado: GBP 1.90. Cakes, cookies and savoury light bites – croissant, are made in their kitchen situated few doors down. And for tea lovers, a handful of choices from...