.
24 April 2014

Restaurants & Bars

Find and book great restaurants

Find a Restaurant

Register here for your Square Meal Guides

 
Poll

What do you think of diners smoking e-cigarettes in restaurants?

 

Blog Reviews from The Picky Glutton

(menu)

London restaurant reviews to help you avoid needless gout & wasted money


  1. One Sixty, or 160 if you prefer, is the latest restaurant from one of the bods behind Pied a Terre. One Sixty couldn’t be more different from its Fitzrovia fine-dining cousin with a loud bar, a small al fresco area, a very informal dining room looking out onto neighbouring residential gardens and, of course, a menu of barbecued meat. One Sixty’s menu largely follows the American style of barbecue - meat smoked for long periods over wood-fuelled fires. Some Anglicisms are added in the form of unusual, non-Yankee ingredients...

  2. The originally-named 8 Hoxton Square is the sister restaurant of 10 Greek Street, one of my favourite restaurants of 2012. This was reason enough to get me very excited about eating there, so I dragged Templeton Peck, Vicious Alabaster, Socialist Worker and The Squinting Brummie along for the ride. As with 10 Greek Street, its menu changes regularly and draws influences both from Britain and abroad giving it an eclectic feel. It’s easy to overlook the free bread basket for the table, but that would mean missing out on some delicious carbs. Some slices tasted of fennel, while others were walnutty and others dotted with chunks of sweet, caramelised onions. Vicious Alabaster and I fought over every last crumb...

  3. Published : Thursday, 3rd April 2014

    Barnyard | Barnyard review – Dabbous does dirty food

    The phrase ‘dirty food’ is often used to describe the casual, inexpensive, non-haute cuisine, such as burgers and burritos, that have taken London’s restaurant scene by storm ever since the recession. I don’t like the term as it implies that such food is somehow grubby, inferior or less deserving of critical attention and devotion than other food – an implication that is patently absurd. It’s hard not to think of the phrase though when eating at Barnyard. A spin-off of the nearby haute cuisine restaurant Dabbous, a lot of effort and expense has gone into making the place look as informal, rough and cheap as possible...

  4. The trend for restaurants not taking reservations often means that you’ll have to queue. That’s definitely the case with Franco Manca, the immensely popular seven-branch chain of pizza restaurants. The Tottenham Court Road branch is one of the most central and therefore has long queues out of the door every night. There are two ways to avoid queuing – eat late in the evening or get a take away with the latter an increasingly attractive option as the weather gets warmer. All of the pizzas from Franco Manca use a soft, fluffy, slightly sweet, mildly sour and comparatively thick base that’s a joy to eat. If you’re a Neapolitan purist though, then it’d be best to stay away – Franco Manca’s pizzas aren’t very traditional...

  5. Published : Wednesday, 19th March 2014

    Sardo | Sardo review – classy Fitzrovia Sardinian

    There’s a small clutch of Italian restaurants on the western side of Tottenham Court Road in Fitzrovia, but most are either yawn-inducing chains or dreary places serving up massive menus of slop. One of the very few exceptions is Sardo, a long-standing restaurant specialising in dishes from Sardinia. Not to be confused with its cafe spin-off next door, Sardo Cucina, Sardo is comfortable and just about quiet enough for a relaxed business lunch or a hazy meal with friends...

  6. For most Londoners, Tayyabs needs no introduction. Away from the tourist trap that is Brick Lane, this Whitechapel stalwart has been serving up inexpensive, quality curries and grills for years. A lot of words have already been written about Tayyabs, so rather than my usual prose I’m going to experiment by writing this review in haiku – the terse but evocative form of Japanese poetry...

  7. A lot of my dining companions have a knee-jerk, irrational dislike of Shoreditch, but I like this misunderstood corner of London and one of the reasons is Keu. Located just across the road from the original Cay Tre, I’m fairly certain the two share the same owner. In any case, the banh mi are delicious. In all but one of my sandwiches, the baguettes were crispy and light – the odd one out was crunchier, but still far fluffier than many other baguettes here. All were packed with fresh coriander, fiery bird’s eye chillies and crisp, sharp vegetables...

  8. Published : Friday, 7th February 2014

    Imli Street | Imli Street review – gluten-free Soho Indian

    I’m fortunate enough that I can almost anything I want, but others have restrictions on what they can eat. The Cape, the better half of the The Squinting Brummie, is gluten intolerant for example. A surprising number of London’s restaurants do little to accommodate those with celiac diseases, but Imli Street, an Indian restaurant formerly known as Imli, does a far better job. Although a good chunk of Indian cuisine is gluten-free anyway, Imli Street still has a guide showing which of its numerous dishes are suitable for those with various dietary restrictions, not just gluten intolerance. Although undeniably useful, its plain spreadsheet-style presentation needs work. In any case The Cape had no trouble parsing it for edible dishes...

  9. The vast majority of Vietnamese restaurants in London have very traditional menus and tend to be clustered together in Hoxton and Deptford, with smaller concentrations in other places such as Hammersmith. Soho’s House of Ho is a very different affair. The exposed brick walls, moody lighting and odd contemporary art are a world away from the typical chintz of Kingsland Road. Not only are the waiting staff friendly and gracious, but the menu is striking too. There isn’t any pho, banh mi or bun cha here, but more modern, inventive dishes that you won’t find anywhere else...

  10. Traditional Austrian food is never going to take over the world. At the risk of making a crude generalisation, old school Austrian food at its best is tasty, but also rather heavy with lashings of meat and rich pastries. Still, there’s definitely a place for that kind of food, especially during the brisk, frigid British winter. Boopshi’s concentrates mainly on schnitzel, but also has a small selection of other Austrian dishes. Boopshi’s itself, having taken over the premises of an older, defunct Thai restaurant, is a small, spartan place. During my first visit with The Euro Hedgie, the place was so new that we could still smell the wood glue and, according to the Hedgie, the cubicles in the gent’s were missing a door or two. Aside from all that, the decor had a sparse, Ikea-like feel to it – especially the pinewood tables. Still, the service was friendly...

  11. The City isn’t the first place that comes to mind for eating out inexpensively, with most people heading to nearby Shoreditch instead. There are worthwhile restaurants to be found though, you just have to know where to find them. The oddly-named My Old Place is on a side street just a few yards away from the eastern side of Liverpool Street station. It’s a brightly lit, sparsely decorated place. Service is brusque and clipped, but efficient. In short, it has all the charm of a doctor’s waiting room, but it’s the food that matters...

  12. There’s no shortage of steak and burger restaurants in London, but very few dedicated to pork. Although some may think that the pig is inferior to the cow, pork definitely has its own unique charms – all it takes is the right cut of pork in the hands of a great chef. Blackfoot is dedicated to pork – apart from a few vegetarian dishes and a fish of the day, it’s all about the pig at this small restaurant on Islington’s Exmouth Market. Service was friendly and chatty on all of my visits...

  13. Meat People might sound like yet another part of the burgeoning Meatliqour burger empire, but it’s actually, as far as I can tell, an independent meat-focussed restaurant. It’s located not far from the genteel sprawl of Islington’s Upper Street. Meat People has taken over the premises formerly occupied by a branch of the now-defunct S&M Cafe chain and has a similar decor. The place feels like a retro caff with plenty of zinc and formica surfaces and period signage. Service on both of my visits was friendly and efficient...

  14. London has been inundated by a small flood of fried and roast chicken restaurants. I fully recognise that chicken cooked well can be a world apart from the usual fowl stuff, but I haven’t really covered these chicken restaurants largely because I just don’t care. Chicken, broadly speaking, is a meat for children – safe, predictable, comforting and uninteresting. Given this state of mind, I probably shouldn’t be reviewing Clockjack Oven, a Soho rotisserie chicken restaurant a mere stone’s throw away from Piccadilly Circus. Nonetheless, an otherwise fruitless, ravenous late night wandering with The Euro Hedgie brought me to its welcoming, friendly door...

  15. Lalibela, named after the Ethiopian town famed for its monolithic rock-hewn churches, is overflowing with Ethiopian chintz from vaguely religious iconography to a photo of Haile Selassie and Winston Churchill. The hard wooden chairs can be brutally uncomfortable though – especially the odd benches surrounding an oversized coffee table used for seating large groups. Service, while friendly, can be achingly slow. On a quiet day, it’s merely ponderous. But when the place is packed out on a Friday or Saturday evening, it becomes life-sappingly glacial...

  16. Fitzrovia, that weird part of London north of Oxford Street, south of Euston, west of Bloomsbury and east of Marylebone, is overflowing with tapas restaurants. Barrica, The Salt Yard and Fino are well established, each with their own dedicated following. That hasn’t stopped Drakes Tabanco from setting up shop, with an odd menu combining Spanish and British influences and an extensive selection of cherry...

  17. Given the number of early risers and night owls in London, there are surprisingly few breakfast spots worth seeking out and even fewer late night diners. A restaurant that combines both is rarer still. Jackson + Rye on Soho’s Wardour Street opens at 08.00 for breakfast and closes at around midnight-ish. While these opening hours won’t impress ever-restless New Yorkers, they’re notable for London. Situated inside the premises formerly occupied by Satsuma, Jackson + Rye is split over two floors and is nothing if not a handsome place. The booths, tiles, dark wood panelling and moody lamp lighting aren’t exactly original, but it is all nonetheless attractive and comfortable...

  18. Published : Tuesday, 17th December 2013

    Ember Yard | Ember Yard review – Soho barbecue tapas

    Soho isn’t short of tapas restaurants – indeed, it’s an area of London absolutely overflowing with them. That hasn’t stopped a new one from opening though – Ember Yard, the latest restaurant from the group behind Salt Yard and Opera Tavern. Although it may appear similar to its stablemates at first glance, the menu not only has both Spanish and Italian influences but also focuses on dishes cooked over a charcoal grill. The Ember Yard charcuterie selection includes jamon iberico de bellota – cured slices of ham made from acorn-fed pigs...

  19. Although I’ve categorised The Ape and Bird as a gastropub for the sake of easy searching, it’s not a restaurant in all but name like most other gastropubs. A large swathe of the ground floor, as well as the basement, is devoted to drinking while the upstairs and a small space on the ground floor are set aside for eating. Like Polpo, reservations are taken at lunch time but not for dinner. If you’re eating by yourself or as part of a two-some, then the bar in the ground floor dining area is a perfectly pleasant place to while away an hour or two as the bar staff are a chatty, friendly and informative bunch...

  20. A lot of Mexican restaurants have awful kitschy decor, but the downstairs dining room at Peyote couldn’t be more different. The muted, inoffensive beige tones is livened up only by a crystal-studded skull motif on one of the walls and the colourful weaved baskets used to contain nachos and the bill. Sitting at the ‘ceviche bar’ gives you the best view of the house – that of the u-shaped kitchen staffed by at least eight Spanish speaking chefs. The black-uniformed waiters were friendly, informative and efficient, although I didn’t know where to look when it came to the receptionists’ plunging necklines. Despite the relatively high prices and moneyed Mayfair location, the menu at Peyote is surprisingly traditional consisting mostly of tacos, tostadas, ceviches and quesadillas as well as ‘laminados’ – a vaguely South American and contemporary take on sashimi as far as I can tell...

  21. The Hawksmoor that’s not a Hawksmoor Foxlow is the latest restaurant from the guys behind the Hawksmoor mini-chain of steakhouses, but it tries to be different by concentrating on meats other than steak. I say ‘tries’ quite deliberately, as you can still order various cuts of steak at Foxlow. Even if this wasn’t the case, Foxlow’s non-Hawksmoor branding is still a little puzzling as the various Hawksmoor restaurants haven’t been afraid to serve dishes other than steak. The short menu is nothing if not straightforward though. The meats are divided up into two sections – smoked and grilled/roasted. If you want sides, salads, starters and desserts, there’s a choice of around half a dozen of each...

  22. Hotel food with a twist Hotel restaurants are very different from restaurants in hotels. This may seem like a minor semantic difference, but there’s actually a yawning gulf between the two. Hotel restaurants are identikit eateries serving up a large menu of lowest common denominator dishes designed for weary travellers too tired to care and unadventurous tourists who don’t know any better. Restaurants in hotels, on the other hand, are designed as destinations in their own right with menus and interiors designed to appeal to hotel guests and non-guests alike. Berners Tavern is definitely a restaurant in a hotel. Located on the ground floor of the newly opened, Marriott-owned Edition hotel in Fitzrovia, and part of Jason Atherton’s burgeoning London empire...

  23. The best meal of the year and inexcusably overlooked by the Michelin Guide I encountered a fellow travelling Brit with some interesting views on food during my recent jaunt around Jordan. Although he had a broad palate, this didn’t extend to Modernist cuisine, especially multi-course tasting menus. ‘Artsy fartsy’ ‘nouvelle cuisine’ wasn’t ‘proper food’ he contended. Like all articulate debaters secure in their well-reasoned positions, he wouldn’t brook any argument to the contrary. This unfortunate culinary blindness means he’ll never experience the pure joy of eating at The Clove Club, but that merely makes it a wee bit easier for the rest of us to get a table at this small-ish, cosy Shoreditch restaurant...

  24. Published : Sunday, 6th October 2013

    Red Fort | The Red Fort review – classy-ish Soho Indian

    There are more than a few upmarket Indian restaurants in London, although what your extra money usually gets you compared to a bog standard curry house is better service and more polished, comfortable surroundings. The Red Fort on Soho’s Dean Street certainly has a plush interior, moody lighting and efficient service, although warmth and friendliness was somewhat lacking on both of my weekday visits. Despite its polished decor, The Red Fort isn’t always a quiet place for a romantic rendezvous or a calm, considered business meeting. It can be surprisingly noisy, with giggling gaggles of girlies and a dull thump of music from the downstairs bar disturbing the peace...

  25. Soho isn’t short of pizza restaurants, but Pizza Pilgrims has a leg up on its competition. Having started out as a street market van that’s still touring London’s street food markets, Pizza Pilgrims has already built up a legion of fans. Even more importantly it has a traditional hand-built pizza oven. The van serves up an impressive range of pizzas, but both the generosity of the toppings and the size of the pie itself is limited by the logistics of cooking from the back of a converted van. That shouldn’t be a problem with a bigger and better stocked kitchen, so I eagerly sat down for a weekday lunch with Porn Master, Socialist Worker, Chip Butty, Resume and Sloane Ranger...

  26. Restaurants in London’s Chinatown are renowned for their brusque, hurried service, but this culture of surly indifference has no geographical boundaries. Oriental Dragon on Cleveland Street in Fitzrovia is a classic example. Although the service wasn’t completely charmless, overall it was hilariously unhelpful and it reached the apex of its calculated disrespect during my first visit on a weekday evening with The Jolly Giant, The Lensman, Kangaroo Face and The Randy Northerne...

  27. Unlike other gastropubs which are restaurants in all but name, Smokehouse has a full bar and space for drinking – most notably the attractive and genteel beer garden decorated in fairy lights. The drinking space will shrink in winter though once the weather precludes outdoor drinking for all but the most hardy. The dining area is decorated in a spartan manner reminiscent of Pig and Butcher – there’s even a row of what I think are deer skulls along one wall...

  28. Gua bao, or hirata buns if you will, have received a lot of attention due to the launch of Flesh and Buns. This Covent Garden restaurant is from the people behind ramen joint Bone Daddies, but it isn’t the first London eatery to serve gua bao; nor is it the best either. I’ve spent the past couple weeks hunting down every gua bao in London searching for the perfect combination of soft, fluffy, slightly chewy buns filled with moist, fatty, flavoursome meat...

  29. The British summer inevitably means that groups of men all across the country will be huddled around a heap of coals, trying to light and stoke a barbecue grill. While there’s a lot of joy to be had in a backyard grill at home (especially if Ginger Pig sausages are involved), it’s hard to beat a proper American-style barbecue. Although it’s entirely possible to cook up an American-style barbecue at home, it’s difficult, expensive and takes a lot of time and space...

  30. Apart from not being one of the three Ps, Lebanese food is vegetarian-friendly and gluten-light – essential for my delicate veggie dining companion the Flame Haired Squelchie. Plus, it also has the benefit of being light – a bonus during the balmy, tropical weather in London at the time of dining. Joining the Squelchie and I was Templeton Peck, a fellow carnivore. Maroush’s takeaway and eat-in prices are identical and delivery requires a minimum order of £25. Our order arrived within 45 minutes of ordering which was impressive, but then again our West End safe house is a mere six minute drive or 13 minute walk away from the restaurant. Thrown in for free with our order was a large supply of rather chewy kobez flatbread...

  31. There are more pizza restaurants in London then there are slow-moving convoys of exchange students, so any new pizza place has to try hard to stand out from the crowd. Homeslice, a new restaurant in Neal’s Yard of Covent Garden, relies on two hooks – huge 20in pizzas topped with unusual ingredients, available whole for £20 or by the slice for £4. Neither of these will please puritanical fans of traditional Neapolitan-style pizzas, so Homeslice has to get both the quality of the base and the combination of toppings spot-on to avoid being nothing more than a gimmick restaurant for tourists and other novelty-seekers with short attention spans...

  32. Published : Monday, 15th July 2013

    Grain Store | Grain Store review – love at first bite?

    Grain Store is an informal place, letting in scruffy sods like myself and the Squelchie. Given the building’s heritage as a warehouse/granary, it has a suitably post-industrial look with the now pre-requisite exposed brick walls, ventilation ducts, worn-looking furniture and funky lighting. The open-view kitchen spills out into the dining room, fulfilling another restaurant design cliché...

  33. Grabbing a reasonably quick but good quality sit-down meal in London can be tricky. Whether you want to treat yourself during your lunch break or need to catch a show or the last train home, it’s often necessary to resort to pre/post-theatre set menus or cheap and nasty chains. Picture shows that doesn’t have to be the case though. On both of my quiet weekday visits I was in and out in an hour, with dishes coming out in quick succession. If the kitchen can maintain that level of performance when the place is packed out, then they deserve kudos just for that...

  34. Shake Shack is a small chain from New York and its opening in London attracted just as much fanfare as Five Guys’, if not more. The branch’s location in the South Hall of the covered market/shopping centre in the middle of Covent Garden, largely avoided by Londoners and now overrun with slow-moving tourists, raised alarm bells but the food wasn’t nearly as bad as it was at Five Guys...

  35. Small shiny seafood shack serves salty sustenance It’s fascinating what you’ll find in the back streets of London. Bonnie Gull is a seafood restaurant located on Foley Street, a quiet street located in a slice of city in between the thoroughfares of Oxford Street and Great Portland Street. The place has been done up to resemble a humble seaside shack – all wooden planks with a dash of nautical kitsch lining the walls. Bonnie Gull has replaced Back to Basics, an older seafood restaurant, at the same address but there’s no relation between the two as far as I can tell...

  36. Split over two floors, Galeto occupies the premises formerly taken by an old Italian restaurant. It’s a brightly decorated place with some big tables, but the restaurant was almost deserted on my Friday lunchtime visit with Templeton Peck, Resume and Socialist Worker. Not a heartening sign. The service was friendly, helpful and quick...

  37. I’ve eaten at and written about the Hawksmoor mini-chain of steakhouses at length before on this blog. What makes Hawksmoor so interesting, apart from the sheer quality of most of the dishes, is that each branch is a little different from the others. For example, the Air Street branch does some excellent seafood dishes in addition to steak, while the Guildhall branch does a stonking breakfast. The Spitalfields branch is the original and one of its distinguishing features is it handsome bar which has a unique steak-free menu all its own. I’ve dined at the Spitalfields bar before, but a new menu necessitated a new visit with the aid of Templeton Peck and Vicious Alabaster...

  38. The area around Kings Cross station is slowly being regenerated and while some will miss the area as it was before, I won’t be one of them. The grotty, run-down, whore-strewn Kings Cross of yesteryear can’t disappear fast enough. One of the highlights of the new Kings Cross is Caravan in Granary Square, a short walk north of the station. Caravan’s dining room is spartan, but spacious and airy with seriously comfy seats. Although the service is slowly improving, the key word here is ‘slowly’. Waiting 15 minutes for my order to be taken is not my idea of a good time. Although Caravan serves lunch and dinner as well as breakfast, my interest is in the first meal of the day as there are few other interesting breakfast options in the Kings Cross area...

  39. London’s restaurant scene is very crowded to say the least, so newcomers often need a gimmick just to get noticed. Inamo’s trick is that instead of ordering via a human waiter, you order using a computer with the screen beamed onto your table from a projector sitting above each table. I was broadly unimpressed with the original Soho restaurant, but I had to see if anything had changed with the second branch near Piccadilly Circus...

  40. Les Deux Salons is nothing if not a handsome place with soft lighting, dark wood panelling and brass fittings. The upper level has the benefit of the spherical chandeliers forming a dramatic centre piece in the middle of the room. Service was quick and efficient on all four of my visits...

  41. Published : Thursday, 16th May 2013

    Pizarro | Pizarro review – still as good as ever?

    When I first dined at Pizarro shortly after it opened in the autumn/winter of 2011, I noted a few niggling blemishes and hoped they’d be ironed out. After a longer delay than initially planned, I made a return visit on a weekend evening with Templeton Peck, Socialist Worker and the Squinting Brummie to see if it really is worth queuing for the eternally popular Pizarro...

  42. The oddly-named Social Eating House is the latest restaurant in Jason Atherton’s empire and it’s not quite as expensive as Atherton’s flagship Pollen Street Social. Whereas Pollen Street Social has a muted, inoffensive decor suited to its Mayfair location, the Soho-based Social Eating House is a tad more adventurous with wooden floors, exposed brick walls lined with various artworks and moody lighting beaming down from handsome fittings. There are a lot of tables packed in to the relatively small space, along with a few counter spaces for single diners thrown in too. The bare floors and boisterous clientele make for a rather loud experience which won’t suit everyone...

  43. Some restaurants open with a blaze of publicity and hype, while others open quietly and slowly but surely build up a sterling reputation through word of mouth. Newman Street Tavern is one of the latter, but it’s hard to understand why this gem of a restaurant hasn’t been showered with plaudits from the outset. The service is friendly and efficient, the wood-panelled dining room with its eye-catching staircase is handsome and, most importantly of all, the seasonal menu is top notch...

  44. Situated on the site of a now demolished public lavatory near Tower Bridge, Story immediately stands out from its neighbours thanks to its handsome wood panelling and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. These windows not only give a view of the small but picturesque lawn out front, but also of the Shard in the distance. The high ceiling and the light streaming in through the big windows makes the small dining room feel airy and much larger than it actually is. Story’s interior decorators couldn’t resist the dreaded bare concrete floors though, which meant that sound bounced off them helping create a relatively noisy dining experience...

  45. The Leicester Square branch of Chiquito, previously known as Chi Chi’s, has been there for as long as I can remember. It’s had a few facelifts in its time, outlasting other Leicester Square stalwarts such as ...

  46. Rossopomodoro has just six branches in London with an outpost in Birmingham. I visited the Covent Garden branch, the site of the old Gili Gulu kaiten sushi buffet restaurant, with Wicket in tow. The place is moodily lit with a kitchen-like appearance to it, while the service was polite and efficient...

  47. The decor and atmosphere may be warm, casual and inviting, but the food is unapologetically Modern European with attentive, knowledgeable service to match. The amuse bouche of foie gras topped with a parmesan foam...

  48. Located just a few doors down from Great Queen Street, the simply named Salt serves up a flat white that thankfully isn’t salty. This coffee was reasonably smooth with a slightly tart, mildly chocolatey taste...

  49. It’d be easy to dismiss Burger and Shake as a mere imitator of Burger and Lobster. Both serve burgers and lobster rolls, but the two do have their differences. Whereas Burger and Lobster is a spin-off chain of the Goodmans steak empire, Burger and Shake is an independent. The Mayfair and Soho branches of Burger and Lobster have a rather dark, clubby feel to them whereas Burger and Shake has a lighter, more diner-like feel to the place. More substantively, Burger and Shake also has other items on the menu such as hot dogs and hot wings...

  50. Published : Monday, 4th February 2013

    HKK | HKK review – Chinese fine dining in the City

    Hakkasan was one of the restaurants that helped foster the idea that Chinese food in London wasn’t just greasy take away fare. HKK is a new City spin-off of the Soho original, but with an emphasis on expensive tasting menus that befits its location in the shadow of capitalism’s gleaming towers. If you’re expecting the handsome dark woods and aromatic scents of Alan Yau’s other restaurants, then HKK’s surprisingly plain, understated decor will be a disappointment. The generally generic grey glossy gleam is designed to avoid offending the homogenous, monochrome, easily startled suits that prowl the nearby streets. The only real hint of character is the usual flower bulb-shaped ceiling fixtures in the centre of the room...

  51. Chinese food is slowly losing its reputation as a greasy after-pub stomach liner. Glitzy West End restaurants like Hakkasan, HKK, Bo London and Yauatcha get all the attention, but another up market alternative is Pearl Liang. Located near Paddington, this restaurant is situated in an odd sunken garden area, flanked by chain eateries and office blocks. The floral decor and polished wooden furniture are attractive enough, while the atmosphere was quite loud and buzzy. Service was polite and attentive, although it became noticeably slower as the dining room filled up as the evening went on...

  52. London doesn’t seem to be tiring of burgers. Since my gut-busting 35 burger roundup that finished back in August, still more burger restaurants have opened. Two of the latest, Patty and Bun and Brgr.co, opened within weeks of each other. I therefore thought it’d be interesting to pit them against each other, not only to see who’d came out on top, but if either of them are good enough to displace Honest Burger, Burger and Lobster and Tongue ‘n’ Cheek from my meat-loving affections...

  53. Season, as its simple name suggests, tries to use only ingredients that are in season and can be sourced from within the United Kingdom so the small menu changes monthly. This rather compact restaurant is located on a rather unattractive road near Finsbury Park that’s otherwise only notable for its motley selection of Halal butchers and wig shops. Still, the decor is charming enough and the staff are disarmingly friendly and distractingly attractive...

  54. Restauranteurs must rack their brains for weeks on end to come up with the names of their restaurants. Some create vaguely Latin-sounding names, while others simply name their businesses after the address as is the case with 10 Greek Street. This small Soho-based restaurant may lack an original name, but that hardly matters given the quality of its food...

  55. There’s no shortage of expensive Japanese restaurants in London and Wabi is one of the latest. This offshoot of the Horsham original is located on the eastern side of Kingsway next to a branch of Pitcher and Piano – don’t try to navigate logically by the door numbers as I foolishly did. Kingsway’s confusing door numbering defies such bourgeois convention. With the possible exception of the water feature suspended over the stairwell leading to the basement dining room, Wabi is only attractive in a generically glossy kind of way. The clinical lack of atmosphere is something I would expect from a City restaurant (Baron Greenback would therefore probably love it).

  56. Published : Wednesday, 26th December 2012

    Belgo Centraal | Belgo Centraal review – Christmas group dining

    At the risk of stating the obvious, eating out with a large group is a very different affair from dining by yourself or with a small group of friends. Finding a restaurant with enough covers (in this case for 30 people), that isn’t too expensive, doesn’t have onerous booking requirements and yet has a menu that’s both of reasonable quality while remaining ‘safe’ enough for the gastronomically challenged in the group can be a mind-numbing endeavour. Kitchener and his work chums ended up at The Crown and Two Chairmen and had food that they charitably described as ‘vomit’. Templeton Peck, Higgs Boson, Socialist Worker and I ended having a more satisfactory time at Belgo Centraal with our work chums. This Covent Garden branch of the Belgian mussels and frites chain requires a very reasonable £5 deposit per person. Once booked the restaurant has to be informed of any no-shows seven days in advance or the deposit for that person will be forfeit...

  57. Ramen restaurants are like buses – you wait ages for one, then three come along all at once. I’ve visited Tonkotsu before, but that little Soho gem has now been joined by Bone Daddies and Shoryu and all three are within easy walking distance of each other. Although all three serve the basic staple of tonkotsu ramen, they all do so differently and wouldn’t be mistaken for one another except by the very stupid...

  58. Many of the new restaurants that have opened in London over the past year have inexpensive menus, but that’s definitely not the case with Bo London. This new restaurant, from Hong Kong chef Alvin Leung, serves only three different tasting menus at dinner time and is unashamedly expensive with the cheapest at £88. Leung, a self-described ‘demon chef’, has often been described as ‘the Chinese Heston Blumenthal‘ and Hong Kong’s ‘l’enfant terrible‘ in the same overexcited breath. I usually find this sort of hyperventilated praise off-putting, but his intriguingly eclectic style mixing Chinese and modern European ingredients and techniques piqued the interest of both myself and the Euro Hedgie...

  59. Published : Wednesday, 5th December 2012

    Flat Iron | Flat Iron review – simple Soho super steak

    Good steak in London can cost a lot of money and the area around Piccadilly and Soho is a good example of this rule of thumb. MASH serves up some excellent steak, but at very high prices. Flat Iron is completely different. In contrast to the plush surroundings of MASH or the refined, clubby environment of a Hawksmoor, Flat Iron has a deliberately worn down look full of bare timbers and distressed light fixtures that betrays its origins as a Shoreditch pop up...

  60. Shoreditch High Street is dominated by Vietnamese restaurants, but that hasn’t stopped Death by Burrito from setting up shop just down the road. As its name implies Death by Burrito serves up mainly burritos, but all of its burritos are also available as tacos and there are also a few starters on the menu that don’t involve tortillas. It’s worth bearing in mind that Death by Burrito isn’t really a restaurant, more of a bar that happens to serve food. Located inside the dimly lit Catch bar, there are only around 24 covers so it pays to get there early and to be prepared to wait at the bar if necessary. The staff are warm and friendly, but they’re rushed off their feet handling both the bar and the booth-like tables which exacerbates the waiting times even further. It doesn’t help that the staff are rather lenient towards diners who have finished eating and are just nursing an old drink or two...

  61. Summer might be dwindling fast, but the arrival of autumn brings seasonal culinary delights of its own. The native oysters around Britain’s shores are left to spawn from April to August so they’re ready for harvesting and consumption from Autumn through to the Spring. There are quite a few bars and restaurants that serve up a frequently changing selection of oysters and one of them is Wright Brothers. Aside from its Soho location, which I visited one weekday lunchtime, it has another branch in Borough Market as well as operations in Cornwall...

  62. Published : Monday, 10th September 2012

    Copita | Copita review – back street Soho tapas

    There’s no shortage of tapas restaurants in London and Soho has more than its fair share, so a new tapas place has to have a little something extra to pique my interest. Copita serves up Catalan-inspired tapas and is located on a small side street in Soho so it’s almost impossible to stumble across. Most of London’s tapas eateries are restaurants rather than bars, but Copita aims to replicate the more casual, grazing, dip in and out style of traditional tapas eating with its all-stool and bench seating although it’s still more of a restaurant than a bar...

  63. There’s a curious glut of Japanese restaurants on Lower Regent Street, a short walk away from Piccadilly Circus. If you have a lot of money, the hilariously small branch of Japanese department store chain Mitsukoshi has its own high-priced restaurant. If you’re on a budget, then the Japan Centre supermarket has a couple of tables and a take away counter where you can nosh on cheap eats. If you’re superficial and easily impressed, then there’s a branch of Inamo. If you’re petrified by the very idea of Japanese food, then there’s a branch of slop shovellers Itsu. Then there’s Toku...

  64. Published : Monday, 27th August 2012

    Tapasia London | Tapasia review – second time lucky?

    I was woefully unimpressed with Tapasia when it first opened. I was willing to give the place a second chance though when I learnt that the menu had been totally revamped – as far as I can tell not a single dish from the old menu (apart from simple staples like edamame) had been brought over to the new menu. Certain things remain the same though. The odd Japanese-tapas fusion theme to the food is still there (it’s in the name!) and the service is still friendly if a little more sycophantic this time around. ‘You have excellent taste sir. You’ve just chosen all of my favourite dishes’. Son, pass the sickbag...