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25 July 2014

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Blog Reviews from The Hedonist

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  1. Published : Sunday, 20th July 2014

    The Palomar | The Palomar – Review

    Soho’s latest hot opening is The Palomar, sister restaurant to Jerusalem’s Machneyuda. We have all had some exposure to the hybrid cuisine of this most fractious of cities courtesy of Yotam Ottolenghi, his business partner Sami Tamimi and their restaurants, TV shows, journalism and books. On the back of their welcome interventions into British food culture pomegranate seeds have become so ubiquitous at trendy middle-class dinner parties that their descent into the pantheon of culinary oblivion sitting proudly next to the kiwi fruit is all but guaranteed. However Palomar promised a less mediated experience coming direct from the heart of Jerusalem’s food market. Palomar’s London connection comes through creative director Layo who was behind Bloomsbury’s underground dance club The End and DJ/cocktail bar AKA...

  2. Published : Wednesday, 16th July 2014

    Blanchette | Blanchette – Review

    Peruvian, Palestinian, Chinese, Japanese and that’s not to forget Nikkei (Peruvian-Japanese) cuisines have all become part of the Soho restaurant renaissance, but whilst modern British and European, regional Italian, and Spanish tapas joints abound, what has been missing from this burgeoning scene is a bijou French bistro. Since Casse-Croute opened on Bermondsey St, the on-trend artery gastronomique, it was inevitable that Soho would follow suit and now with Blanchette it has. The restaurant which describes itself as a bistro is the creation of the three Alary brothers; Maxime and Yannis have backgrounds in the hospitality business working in London, New York and Paris and are in charge of Blanchette. Malik runs a sound design company and creates the playlists for the sound system. Chef Tam Storrar learnt his trade at Bibendum and brings influences from that restaurant’s more formal approach to the table...

  3. Published : Friday, 11th July 2014

    1901 at Andaz | 1901 Restaurant at Andaz – Review

    Social concierge service Lime and Tonic sets up unique dining experiences, social brunches, creative date activities, pop-up events, and more for its members and they had asked Fiona from London Unattached and The Hedonist to test out their menu deal for 1901 restaurant at Andaz Liverpool Street hotel. At £29 for three courses plus a glass of Veuve Cliquot champagne it seemed like a steal. I have some history with the dining room at 1901. The space used to be the ballroom for The Great Eastern Hotel, one of the great Victorian railway hotels dating back to 1884. Sir Terence Conran and his partners bought the building, refurbishing and reopening the hotel in 2000. The restaurant was called Aurora and Received lots of good press including a double-page spread in the Evening Standard from Fay Maschler ). There was a prize-winning bar area in the corridor leading to the dining room presided over by Alessandro Palazzi (now making the best martinis in the world at Duke’s Bar-see our review). I supplied live jazz in the bar which would drift into the restaurant room creating a cool atmosphere for the city boys and girls to kick back to...

  4. Published : Monday, 7th July 2014

    Notting Hill Kitchen | Notting Hill Kitchen – Review

    When I was invited along to review Notting Hill Kitchen with Fiona from London Unattached, I expected it to be a decentish modern European brasserie providing nourishment for the bankers and their trophy wives who can afford the house prices in this neck of the woods. Situated in a series of Edwardian townhouses at the more refined end of Kensington Park Road the restaurant is in actuality a much more specialist and interesting proposition. It is a hymn of love by Portuguese chef Luis Baena, to the food and drink of the Iberian peninsula; to the black pig, the salt cod from the Atlantic and the wines of the Douro. I have only been to Portugal a couple of times, once to do a gig in the botanical gardens in Lisbon, the second trip an exploration of Porto and the Douro which was when I fell for the country’s charms...

  5. Published : Saturday, 5th July 2014

    The Guildford Arms | The Guildford Arms – Review

    I hadn’t been to Greenwich for several years so it felt slightly bizarre to be visiting London’s most genteel south-eastern village two nights in a row. My first revisiting was to Trinity College of Music, situated in the glorious surroundings of the Royal Naval College, to accompany my mum to an alumni event. The second stage of my epic was to visit Georgian gastropub The Guildford Arms, just a short walk from Greenwich DLR and the mainline rail station, which I had been invited to review. The restaurant has two dining rooms, a private room and a sunken garden where we were planning to eat. Chef patron Guy Awford’s has considerable local form and so I had invited along my friend Catherine who lives around the corner from the pub for an insider’s view...

  6. Fiona from London Unattached and I have been invited along to Cafe Spice Namaste for lunch and to support Curry for Change. The campaign is led by the charity Find Your Feet, a small charity founded in 1960 helping families in Asia and Africa to build a future free from hunger, poverty and discrimination. They work in the poorest and most remote places in India, Nepal, Malawi and Zimbabwe, with a focus on supporting vulnerable rural families, marginalised tribal groups, women and young people...

  7. Published : Friday, 13th June 2014

    Chotto Matte | Chotto Matte – Review

    Situated on a Soho corner in Frith St and overlooking top tapas joint Barrafina is Chotto Matte. The building used to be one of the Giraffe chain and before that it was an undistinguished Italian restaurant that had no place in Soho’s food renaissance. The restaurant’s proposition is to bring a slice of urban Tokyo to London. The food is Nikkei cuisine, the Peruvian-Japanese fusion we have become familiar with from Nobu, set in a frame of dark wood, steel and manga art, and driven by a pumping soundtrack. The restaurant is full of groups of young women and couples all dressed to impress and excited to be in Soho on a big night out. I feel like their dad but know that I was their age I would want to be there too...

  8. Published : Wednesday, 11th June 2014

    Lyle's | Lyle’s – Review

    With Lyle’s near neighbour The Clove Club breaking into the San Pellegrino Top 100 Restaurants in the world list at number 87 and with other recent hot openings such as Rotorino and Andina London’s eastern boroughs are becoming less the gastro equivalent of the Siberian steppes and more the latest hot destination. Lyle’s is fronted by chef James Lowe who alongside The Clove Club’s chef Isaac McHale came to prominence as one of the trio of ‘Young Turks’ who first hit the culinary scene with their popup above The Ten Bells pub in neighbouring Spitalfields. The restaurant is situated in The Tea Building in Shoreditch High St, also home to Pizza East, in a refined post-industrial space. It is an assemblage of light wood, polished concrete, steel and white tile that feels cool and restrained. We are here for lunch a few days after the opening. It isn’t particularly busy and the rest of the clientele are either other early adopters or middle aged nuevo (like me) Eastenders (not like me…)...

  9. Published : Monday, 9th June 2014

    The Clove Club | The Clove Club – Review

    The Clove Club is the love child of chef Isaac McHale, a chef who first came to prominence as one of the trio of ‘Young Turks’ who first hit the culinary scene with their popup above The Ten Bells pub. His latest venture is the The Clove Club which is situated in the former Shoreditch Town Hall. The room has high ceilings, white walls and wooden floors and tables with McHale cutting a burly bespectacled figure at the pass. There is a separate bar area offering a simplified menu but I chose to go for the non-negotionable five course tasting menu (£55) that somehow morphed into an eight course feast. Unusually I wasn’t in the mood for a big drink but a glass of Portuguese Loureiro 2012 Aphros Vinho Verde (£6) with its citrus and tropical fruit notes was a good set up for the meal...

  10. Published : Thursday, 24th April 2014

    Quo Vadis | Quo Vadis – Review

    Hospitality runs through the veins of brothers Sam and Eddie Hart. Their parents own Hambleton Hall, the country house hotel and restaurant in remote Rutland. Their first venture was the smart Fitzrovia Spanish restaurant Fino. followed by the game changing Barrafina tapas bar in Soho (Barrafina 2 is to open soon in Covent Garden). Then the dapper duo bought up Quo Vadis in Dean St from a certain Marco Pierre White, completely refurbished the space and created a rather louche private members club up top. After a successful opening period the energy seemed to go out of the restaurant and in 2012 the Harts brought in Jeremy Lee as chef and partner, who at the time was languishing at the Blueprint Cafe, D&D’s joint above the Design Museum near Tower Bridge. With a subtle refurbish Lee has given the restaurant new purpose and vigour as well as a coherent and distinctive modern European approach to the menu. I’ve been there several times but a lunch trip with her Ladyship seemed like an opportune time to review one of my favourite rooms in London...

  11. Published : Wednesday, 23rd April 2014

    Osteria Dell'Angolo | Osteria dell Angelo – Review

    An ‘Osteria’ is a simple country restaurant serving local produce and if I imagined for one minute that I was going to find a rustic hideaway in the Westminster village then I was swiftly disabused of that notion on entering Osteria dell Angelo. With walls in terracotta and cream and studded with banquettes and leather chairs, the restaurant is an airy space with plenty of room for the politicos, hacks and lobbyists to be strictly ‘off the record’. Her ladyship and I toasted the political classes with a very clean tasting and light glass of Prosecco Sylvoz Le Coture (£7.50) whilst nibbling on some pretty decent bread and grissini. The menu is classically Italian with starters, pasta dishes , mains and desserts all listed...

  12. Published : Sunday, 13th April 2014

    Polpetto | Polpetto – Review

    Russell Norman is one of London’s most intriguing restaurateurs. You may have seen him in his BBC2 series, The Restaurant Man, in which he uses his considerable charm to try to imbue novices in the game with a little common sense. He built his reputation as Operations Director for the Caprice Group and since then has created a small but perfectly formed group of restaurants in the West End ranging from Spuntino, a New York-style Italian joint, to Mishkins, a faux Jewish deli-style restaurant. The beating heart of the operation is Soho’s Polpo, styled as a Venetian bacaro, which launched the trend for highly stylised small plate eating. They are fun, buzzy places with distinct identities and have helped define the London scene over the last few years. Polpetto, a younger sibling of Polpo, opened in the legendary dining space on top of the rather louche French House pub in Dean Street. At the stove was the chef Florence Knight whose food soon met with wide critical acclaim. Now moved to larger premises in Berwick St, reviews have ranged between the adulatory and the average so I thought I should see for myself...

  13. Published : Tuesday, 8th April 2014

    The Well | The Well – Review

    I hadn’t explored the area of Clerkenwell near The Well before. I was familiar with the Smithfield end of St John St but had never wandered around the bobo heaven that is Clerkenwell Green which I of course loved… The Well is a gastro pub owned by the ETM group. It’s one of those under the radar operations with smart City gastro pubs, contemporary brasseries, bars and small neighbourhood pubs several of which you have probably eaten in without knowing. The Well falls firmly into the smart gastro pub bracket with its stripped brick walls and antique dining tables-the question is would the food deliver?...

  14. Published : Monday, 7th April 2014

    La Mancha | La Mancha – Review

    La Mancha opened about six months ago on that restaurant-laden stretch of Chiswick High Road that provides nourishment for those hungry media, banking and legal types that can afford the local house prices. The restaurant had a past life provided the inhabitants of Putney with their tapas fix for over twenty years; fortunately for the Chiswickians they have moved borough into an attractive and comfortable space with artwork reflecting the windmill charging Don. The first thing to do before eating tapas is order some sherry...

  15. Published : Monday, 10th March 2014

    Brigade | Brigade Bar & Bistro- Review

    Restaurants seem to be opening in converted fire stations at an alarming rate at the moment (where are all the fire engines going to go!). Brigade Bar and Bistro is situated in a historic old fire house built following the 1861 Tooley Street Fire. Brigade is not just a restaurant but is also a social enterprise that in partnership with the Beyond Food Foundation is offering catering apprenticeships to the vulnerable. Chef Simon Boyle has developed a system in which each apprentice is teamed up with a more experienced staff member and unlike on many work experience schemes, everyone gets paid. We have seem this kind of set – up before with Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen but it is a brave person that takes on such a project without the profile of a celebrity chef. Brigade is a much bigger operation than I was expecting. There is an upstairs that is utilised for private events and a cookery school and the downstairs is split between sizeable bar and restaurant areas bisected by an open kitchen...

  16. Published : Saturday, 8th March 2014

    La Polenteria | La Polenteria – Review

    I am the sort of person who gets very overexcited about new food trends. Whether it is rock’n roll ramen, Taiwanese buns or Peruvian street food I will be standing outside the yet unbuilt restaurant like a needy child, waving my cutlery in the air and shouting ‘Feed me now’ to anyone who will listen. So when I heard that there was a new family-run polenta joint opening in Soho I knew that it and I wouldn’t remain strangers for long. The interior is more stylish cafe than fine dining with an attractive copper bar, wooden tables and menus chalked up on blackboards. For the uninitiated polenta is cornmeal that has been boiled into a porridge with water or milk or a blend of the two. It can then be served wet or else grilled or fried...

  17. Published : Friday, 7th February 2014

    Mele e Pere | Mele e Pere – Review

    I went to Soho trattoria Mele e Pere a couple of times after it opened and whilst I liked the space and concept I found the food rather uneven, so I was pleased to be asked back to review to see how things have progressed. It is a 100 cover restaurant and head chef Andrea Mantovani, who is a partner in the business, has an impressive c.v. that includes Arbutus, Wild Honey, Les Deux Salons, Harry’s Bar as well as collaborating with Chef Giorgio Locatelli...

  18. Published : Sunday, 26th January 2014

    See Sushi | See Sushi – Review

    Hidden from the urban bustle of the Edgware Rd is a newly developed area of office blocks standing in serried ranks like steel and glass sentinels alongside the Grand Union Canal. Lovers of contemporary urban design will know it as the site of Thomas Heatherwick’s extraordinary rolling bridge, but we have come to eat and not to gawp having been invited to sample the food at See Sushi, Paddington’s waterside Japanese fusion restaurant. It is part of the See Woo business which alongside a huge Cantonese restaurant in Glasgow has a handful of oriental supermarkets and a large food produce and distribution business. The menu offers a selection of Japanese favourites like sashimi, maki, tempura, donburi, miso black cod and bento boxes, as well as some Thai and Malaysian influenced dishes, but we are going to focus on the Japanese...

  19. Published : Saturday, 25th January 2014

    Pescatori Dover Street | Pescatori Mayfair – Review

    There are a couple of Pescatori restaurants, one in Charlotte St. (see our review) and a slightly smarter version in Dover Street. They are part of the Spaghetti House group but their menu is primarily pescatarian compared to the more traditional trattoria offer delivered by the rest of the group. The room has light wooden paneling,cream tiled floors and upholstery that brings out the browns and whites and feels very comfortable...

  20. Published : Sunday, 12th January 2014

    Flesh and Buns | Flesh & Buns – Review

    In a bare industrial basement near Covent Garden’s Seven Dials is Ross Shohan’s latest restaurant Flesh & Buns. Shohan was head chef at Nobu and more recently opened Bone Daddies, Soho’s hippest Ramen joint (Japanese noodles for the uninitiated)-but his new place specialises in Hirata. …OK don’t all put your hands up at once…Hirata are Taiwanese buns which you stuff with some salad, some meat or fish and some sauce. And that’s about that for the mains...

  21. Published : Thursday, 9th January 2014

    The Ambrette at Rye | The Ambrette (Rye)- Review

    Dev Biswal is the chef/patron of two prize-winning Indian restaurants situated on either side of the East Sussex/Kent borders both rather handily called The Ambrette. The Margate version came first but on a rainy winter’s lunchtime we had been invited to the historic White Vine House in the main street in Rye to review the newest addition to the family. Dev’s mission is to combine the best of British ingredients with contemporary Indian food trends to create a new take on the Anglo-Indian food tradition...

  22. Published : Sunday, 15th September 2013

    Indian Summer | Indian Summer – Review

    The restaurant has been a mainstay of the Brighton dining scene for 12 years now. Situated in East St, a favourite location for shopping and dining, that borders the Lanes and snakes down to the sea, the interior is an attractive blend of wood, dark browns, chandeliers and evocative huge black and white photographic portraits. As we checked out the menu La Hedonista was drinking a Kingfisher Beer but I threw caution to the wind and opted for a glass of Sula Indian wine (£5.95 for 250 ml). It was a pretty fierce Sauvignon that did at least stand up to the spice flavours that were to come...

  23. Published : Tuesday, 10th September 2013

    Pizza Pilgrims | Pizza Pilgrims – Review

    Brothers James and Thom Elliot have spent the last couple of years obsessing over the art of making the perfect pizza. They travelled to Naples to learn the trade with some of the best chefs in the city and on their return made a big name for themselves in the street food scene. Their pizza making van is still to be found in Soho’s Berwick St market and it has provided them with the ideal location to perfect their craft...

  24. Published : Thursday, 5th September 2013

    HUNter 486 at The Arch London | HUNter 486 – Review

    I had never heard of The Arch hotel but then I’m a rather feckless character rather than the sleek business types or Hollywood stars who make up its clientele. Situated a stone’s throw from Marble Arch in a Georgian mansion it is both comfortable and elegantly modern in its design and has all the mod cons you might hope for. The in-house restaurant is called HUNter 486 which I guess is rather sexily named after the original Marylebone phone number. The manager told us that they were going for a Gatsby/1950s mood in the restaurant which shows an interesting historical conflation of decades that is not realised in the design. It is however quite chic and curtained-off bays offer ample possibilities for discreet liaisons...

  25. Published : Thursday, 5th September 2013

    Yum Yum Ninja | Yum Yum Ninja – Review

    I was a bit nervous on being invited to sample the menu at Yum Yum Ninja and it wasn’t from a Tippi Hedrenesque fear of the local flying rodents. It was the restaurant’s name which was the cause for concern- it seemed a bit gimmicky. However on finding out that the people behind the venue had good form in Brighton, with the prize-winning Due South and seafood specialists Riddle and Finns already in their stable, my interest was certainly piqued. Finding the place was not easy as it is tucked away in a hidden courtyard, but once located it was clearly an attractive space with seating inside and out. The menu majors in classics of Asian cuisine with tapas style and larger dishes...

  26. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    Damson & Co | Damson & Co – Review

    Sitting amid the bustle of Brewer St, Damson had been open for 6 weeks when we were invited in to sample the menu. The interior mixes post-industrial ducting with filament bulbs, a wooden bar and leather bar stools. It’s as if your favourite pub has gone all Soho on you -but that’s probably the idea. We started with a glass of Gusbourne 2008 Brut Reserve English Sparkling wine. The English sparkling wine scene is in rude health at the moment and the Gusbourne is a fine example; elegant with a toasted brioche nose and a stone fruit taste. It matched our seafood platter perfectly...

  27. Published : Wednesday, 10th July 2013

    Acciuga | Acciuga – Review

    Guglielmo Arnulfo is a 24 years old Italian chef from Genoa with an intruiging backstory having trained as a lawyer and then playing international rugby before following his heart to spend the next few years learning how to become a chef in his native Liguria. He has now opened Acciuga, a restaurant showcasing the food of his homeland in that gastronomically underserved part of Kensington...

  28. Published : Monday, 8th July 2013

    Grain Store | Grain Store – Review

    Grain Store is situated in Granary Square, London’s newest city square and one of the biggest in Europe. As the centerpiece of the new King’s Cross redevelopment it is a confident and striking piece of urban planning tying in the old-the canal and huge warehouse buildings with the soon-to-be-completed office spaces that are the present day economic driver for the area. There is a powerful white sawtooth motif...

  29. Published : Wednesday, 26th June 2013

    69 Colebrooke Row | 69 Colebrooke Row – Review

    69 Colebrooke Row                        Islington Follow @Hedonisttweets 69 Colebrooke Row, London N1 8AA drinks@ 69colebrookerow.com 07540528593 Sunday to Wednesday 5pm – 12 midnight Thursday 5pm – 1am Friday & Saturday 5pm – 2am 69 Colebrooke Row, also known in a rather enigmatic gesture as The Bar with No Name, sits in an Islington backstreet in that liminal zone where the bobo outposts of Camden Passage and Islington Green merge with the more urban terrain of Essex Rd. The bar is the creation of Tony Conigliaro, the dark prince of London mixology. Looking like a refugee from an El Greco painting, Conigliaro cut his teeth bartending at joints like Isola and Shochu Lounge. He has developed radical new approaches to the art of mixology influenced as much by processes in contemporary molecular gastronomy and perfumery as by his background in art and fashion. The bar has the feel of 1950s Milan with the welcome addition of a speakeasy piano in the corner. The space it occupies is small, verging on the cramped, and the upstairs is devoted to a lab where Conigliaro and his assistant develop new blends. The drinks menu takes you on ...

  30. Published : Friday, 31st May 2013

    Sonny's Kitchen | Sonny’s Kitchen – Review

    Her latest wheeze is to partner up with Howard for a refurb and relaunch of Sonny’s as Sonny’s Kitchen as a restaurant, cafe and delicatessen...

  31. Published : Saturday, 18th May 2013

    Les Trois Garcons | Les Trois Garcons – Review

    I had been to the restaurant not long after it had opened in 2000 for a private event but only had a faint memory of the place, so I was keen to return. I had been struck by its quirky interior-stuffed tigers and hanging handbags displayed in a reconditioned Victorian pub-more than its food. Of course back at the turn of the century the trendification of Shoreditch had hardly begun and the Old Blue Last Pub wasn’t a venue for rock n roll wannabes but a proper East End boozer with bands on the weekend...

  32. Published : Tuesday, 14th May 2013

    Beagle | The Beagle – Review

    Beagle is a restaurant and bar situated in a couple of railway arches right next to the station. It’s the baby of Danny and Kieran Clancy who are music promotors and in the kitchen is James Ferguson, who used to run the kitchen at Rochelle Canteen, Margot Henderson’s (wife of St. John’s Fergus) critically acclaimed East London joint...

  33. Published : Friday, 10th May 2013

    214 Bermondsey | 214 Bermondsey – Review

    I turned up at 214 with her Ladyship who commented as we came down the stairs into the dark and rather sexy basement space that it felt a little like entering a 50s styled speakeasy. To get things going we started with a Tom Collins...

  34. Published : Thursday, 2nd May 2013

    Salaam Namaste | Salaam Namaste – Review

    Chef/patron Sabbir Karim had told me that he was keen to refresh both the decor and menu at Salaam Namaste bringing in more of the kind of dishes that he was serving in Camden and moving away from the more traditional curry house menu that the restaurant had been serving...

  35. Run by the “rhubarb’ food consultancy and situated in an attractively bright and airy space dotted with artworks, Gallery Mess offers more than the cafe/bar tag suggests with a full Modern European menu on offer along with the cocktails and cakes...

  36. Published : Friday, 26th April 2013

    Little Social | Little Social – Review

    But now as part of the new wave of French joints opening in town (see our reviews of Zedel, Chabrot and Garnier) we have Little Social, le petit bistro brother of The Hedonist’s fave-Jason Atherton’s Pollen St. Social, handily placed over the road from his home base in a site that housed a short-lived and often empty Italian restaurant. Now I may have a fickle heart but I know when it’s love at first sight. So if Balthazar is Katie Boyle, then Little Social is Juliette Greco. If you don’t get it go and read another blog!...

  37. Published : Sunday, 14th April 2013

    The Glasshouse | The Glasshouse – Review

    The interior is a symphony in beige, calm on the eye, and staffed by charming if slightly over eager Iberians. The room is very comfortable with the chairs being as well stuffed as the clientele. The menu is £42.50 for three courses with a generous seven options at each stage. It reads very attractively-modern European bourgeois comfort food with a few eastern touches for good measure...

  38. Published : Sunday, 7th April 2013

    House of Wolf | House Of Wolf – Review

    Islington’s The House of Wolf describes itself as a ‘multi-functional, multi-sensory pleasure palace, dedicated to the creative pursuits of dining, drinking, art and entertainment.’ What that means in practice is a ground floor Victorian-era styled pub area known as the Music Hall Bar serving superior bar snacks, an experimental cocktail department, located in The Apothecary on the first floor run by cocktail maestro Stephen Quainton and his team, and a fine dining restaurant on the top floor...

  39. Published : Wednesday, 3rd April 2013

    Sam's Brasserie & Bar | Sam’s Brasserie and Bar-Review

    Sam Harrison is a restaurateur with a mission. He is slowly building a group of Modern European Brasseries in the London suburbs delivering something more idiosyncratic and better quality than the chains can manage whilst keeping prices at a reasonable level...

  40. If Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is going to win any prizes, the gong for unlikeliest name is theirs for the taking. It is the London outpost of 3 Michelin-starred Arzak, the San Sebastián restaurant co run by Elena Arzak – voted Veuve Clicquot World’s Best Female Chef in 2012 – and her father Juan Mari Arzak...

  41. Published : Tuesday, 5th March 2013

    Namaasté Kitchen | Review-Namaaste Kitchen

    Parkway is the main food hub in Camden. It is a pulsating thoroughfare full of restaurants, pubs and clubs.. Namaaste Kitchen sits about half-way down and the interior is an oasis of calm in brown and white after the hurly-burly of the street.

  42. Published : Monday, 4th March 2013

    Balthazar | Review-Balthazar

    There is no pretending-Balthazar is the hot table du jour. To get a table I had to go on repeat dial for an hour as the booking line opened and the restaurant was packed to the gills with food bloggers like moi and celebrities such as …Heston Blumenthal wearing specs that somehow made him look like Atom Ant. Now London is not short of faux French Brasseries and with Zedel, Colbert, The Wolseley and The Delaunay at the top end of the market there is definitely competition for McNally. However Covent Garden is undergoing something of a rebirth as a gastro-destination and there is nothing quite like this in the area and certainly nothing that has McNally’s transatlantic pulling power...

  43. Published : Saturday, 2nd March 2013

    Harrison's | Review-Harrison’s

    Harrison’s is an all day brasserie that is the new baby sister of Sam’s, a joint in the much more upmarket West London suburb of Chiswick, which seems to mostly populated by lawyers and media types these days. It’s my guess that Sam Harrison, who owns both operations with the backing of mentor Rick Stein for whom he ran front of house in Padstow, is taking a punt on Balham and certainly the lunchtime we were there we spotted enough yummy mummies to keep the place afloat...

  44. Published : Monday, 25th February 2013

    Mango Tree | Review-Mango Tree

    La Hedonista and I visited the Thai restaurant Mango Tree in Belgravia on a cold and snowy February day hoping for authentic flavours and some chilli heat to warm us up. She grew up in Thailand as an American expat and on entering the room commented on how the restaurant felt like the kind of place you might find in a top end Bangkok hotel. This is not meant as a criticism as the best food is to be found either in the hotels or at the opposite end of the spectrum on the streets at the vendor stalls.The original Mango Tree is in Bangkok and there is another outlet to be found in Harrods. The executive chef is an Australian called Ian Pengelly who specialises in pan-Asian food and whose C.V. includes E&O and Gilgamesh. There was the smell of jasmine in the air and the sound of Miles Davis playing on the sound system as we ordered drinks. The cocktail list was very tropical-80s retro with Piña Coladas, Mai Tais and Sex on the Beach on the menu...

  45. Published : Tuesday, 19th February 2013

    Pescatori | Review-Pescatori

    Tags Arjun Waney D@D Fringe Theatre Josper London London-Unattached Mayfair Peru Peruvian Pisco Ramen Restaurant South American South Place Hotel The Angler Theatre The Hedonist Tonkotsu Tony Fleming Wendy Vera What to see Recent Posts Review-Mango Tree Review-Pescatori Review-Copita Review-Hawksmoor Air St. Review-Coya Search Review-Pescatori February 19, 2013 By Adrian Pescatori Fitzrovia 57 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4PD 020 7580 3289/http://www.pescatori.co.uk/charlotte_street.php Pescatori Pescatori Charlotte St and its tributaries are full of restaurants feeding the media and advertising types who frequent the neighbourhood. From the hip (Bubbledogs) to the stylish (Roka), from chain restaurants such as Zizzi to the cutting edge (Dabbous), this part of Fitzrovia contains a real cross-section of what’s happening in the London restaurant market today. Pescatori is a Charlotte St family-owned Italian fish restaurant with a sibling in Mayfair’s Dover St. The interior, with its white tiled floor, arches and rough white plasterwork, is something of a throwback to the Mario and Franco trattorie that so revolutionised the London in the 1960s but the menu is more contemporary, offering some interesting and sometimes unexpected dishes...

  46. Published : Sunday, 10th February 2013

    Copita | Review-Copita

    I love Copita. I’ve being going there since it opened and it really feels as if its owner Tom Luther has brought a little corner of Seville to Soho. The menu features a decent range of fifteen sherries, a strong wine selection and delicious and often creative small plates most of which are hits rather than misses...

  47. Published : Saturday, 9th February 2013

    Hawksmoor Air Street | Review-Hawksmoor Air St.

    The group behind the three Hawksmoor steak restaurants (Guildhall, Seven Dials and Spitalfields) have opened their new operation in an Air St site that has traditionally seen restaurants fail and fail quickly. You have to go back to 1995 when Bruno Loubet ran the site as the urbane brasserie L’Odeon for it to have been seen as anything approaching a destination. But the Hawksmoor team have a strong track record and their mini-chain of butch British steakhouses have struck a chord with critics and punters alike...

  48. Published : Wednesday, 6th February 2013

    Coya | Review-Coya

    When I grow up I think I want to be Arjun Waney. He is the restaurateur behind many of London’s more glamorous joints, creating stylish spaces with food that takes a concept and then runs with it-all perfectly attuned to the wealthier end of the London market. Whether it’s Japanese at Zuma and Roka, Provençal at Le Petit Maison, Italian at Banca and now Peruvian at Coya his locations and menus are grown up and sophisticated without being stuffy in any way...

  49. Published : Tuesday, 22nd January 2013

    Angler | Review-The Angler

    The restaurant scene in the City has changed radically since Conran (now D&D) restaurants opened Coq d’Argent in 1998. Before then most places would be closed by 9 p.m.. The city gents would scurry off home to the suburbs or to the West End for some action. Coq d’Argent stayed open late, had live music and a postmodernist design aesthetic . D&D’s new City establishment South Place Hotel, reflects the new social geography of London. The cultural centre of gravity has moved eastwards and the hotel reflects this. It has a hip metropolitan New York feel with a sprinkle of Hoxton edge. There are seven bars and two restaurants and up on the top seventh floor sits The Angler...

  50. Published : Friday, 18th January 2013

    Sherlock's Bar & Grill | Review- Sherlock’s Bar & Grill

    In a post Xmas haze my interest was piqued by The Park Plaza Sherlock Holmes Hotel’s restaurant Sherlock’s Bar & Grill 500 calorie 3 course meal offer and when an invite arrived to sample it I was happy to oblige. Could 500 calories really be spread over three courses and would they be tiny? This was the mystery that we were hoping to solve. I say I was happy to oblige but in reality this meant my dining partner Dr Watson-sorry I meant to say Fiona from London-Unattached .com-was doing the obliging going for the Lo Cal option whilst I went for the Hi Cal full fat menu-well I had been for a run that morning. We opened our investigation over a delicious bottle of Sauvignon Blanc Vidal Estate. New Zealand. (£32) which was crisp and floral with an Elderflower nose and distinct Melon note which we decided wouldn’t count as real calories as it was liquid…

  51. Published : Tuesday, 15th January 2013

    Zoilo | Review-Zoilo

    In the last couple of years Marylebone has become home to a number of significant restaurant openings. Donostia and Roganic have brightened up London’s food landscape and are now joined by Zoilo, the new kid on the block that is making considerable waves. Chef Diego Jacquet and his team at Zoilo are offering an alternate take on Argentinian food, showcasing a greater diversity of food and wine than the steak and Malbec that dominates the menus of many of London’s pampas pitstops. Small sharing plates are what is on offer at this sister restaurant to Jacquet’s other venture, Casa Malevo, which is situated in Connaught Village. There is steak on the menu but it’s not the main event here; instead you are presented with octopus, mackerel and sweetbreads, with sides of endive and pomegranate or beetroot and goat’s curd. It’s enough to make any self-respecting gaucho cry, but for the refined inhabitants of Marylebone it hits the spot...

  52. Published : Friday, 9th November 2012

    Disiac | Review-Disiac

    It’s always fun to check out the latest Soho opening. Disiac is marketing itself as an informal Italian seafood and champagne bar with a emphasis on oysters- hence the name…aphro-Disiac… The rather cool interior feature grey brick walls and white leather seats and counters surrounding an open kitchen. Discrete photos of people engaged in various bondage related activities adorn the walls-well we are in Soho after all! We opened proceedings with an enlivening glass of Tenuta Santome prosecco (£6.50) tasting of almonds and peach. Disiac has a very reasonably priced lunch and early evening set menu at £11.50 for two courses and £15.80 for three. We opted for the a la carte which features an oyster/raw bar with half a dozen Colchester Rock Oysters at £10.75 and a Plateau de Fruit de Mer at £32. Because of the chill October weather we opted for the warmer climes of the starter, pasta and mains menus...

  53. Published : Friday, 26th October 2012

    Suda Thai Café & Restaurant | Review-SUDA

    SUDA has been open for just over a year and is a sister outlet to the already well-established Soho restaurant Patara. Handily positioned off Longacre in Covent Garden, my guest and I went on a busy Wednesday lunchtime and were intrigued to see if the self-styled Thai Cafe Restaurant could deliver the authentic flavours that she,as someone whose early years were spent in Bangkok, finds so irresistible...

  54. Published : Thursday, 11th October 2012

    Trullo | Review-Trullo

    I have been meaning to go to Trullo for quite a long time now but somehow the schlepp up to North London never quite happened, so when I received an invite from Fiona Maclean of http://www.london-unattached.com/. I hopped onto the overground, put on my thermals and hoped for the best. It has been on my radar as a ‘cheaper than The River Cafe‘ option, along with Zucca in Bermondsey, for those of us who like our Italian food to be ‘sophisticated rustic’ but at a price point that isn’t going to break the bank...

  55. Published : Saturday, 29th September 2012

    Garnier | Review-Garnier

    For those of us who have been knocking around the London restaurant scene for the last few decades, seeing Eric Garnier controlling the front of house has always been a reassuring sign. Whether expertly directing platoons of staff at mega-brasseries Quaglinos and Bank in the 90′s, or working on a more human scale at Koffman’s and Racine more recently, you always felt that you were watching a master of his art. Racine was all about returning to the roots of French bourgeois cooking (racine means root) and it is this style, which is now almost an endangered species rather than the mainstream, that Garnier offers in his eponymous Earl’s Court restaurant. Heading up the kitchen is Andreas Engberg who ran the kitchen at Racine for many years and fans of the Knightsbridge stalwart, where some critics have noted a decline in standards since Engberg’s and Garnier’s departure, will love Garnier...

  56. Published : Thursday, 13th September 2012

    Chabrot Bistrot d'Amis | Review-Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis

    Tucked away in a hidden bijou alley off Knightsbridge sits Chabrot Bistrot d’Amis, an unpretentious gem of a restaurant that ticks most of the boxes that you could hope for from your fantasy local bistrot. The tablecloth is red and white, the chairs are darkwood and bowbacked, the seating intimate and the menu reads like a greatest hits of bistrot classics. In fact it is only the clientele, the usual international Knightsbridge mix, that breaks the illusion that you aren’t in a prosperous bourgeois little town somewhere indeterminate in Southwest France. There’s a couple of wealthy looking blonde women speaking in Spanish checking out the men in the room; an older chap from somewhere in the Levant sports an unlikely toupee and has a much younger woman as his dining companion, she is nodding far too attentively to be his daughter; and then there is an English couple. The husband is showing off. He shouts his order in an exaggerated French accent as his wife looks away. She has a dead look in her eyes.The waiters, displaying considerable sang-froid, reply in English just to wind him up...

  57. Published : Tuesday, 11th September 2012

    10 Greek Street | Review-10 Greek St

    Modern European, eclectic, seasonal, neighbourhood and informal. Those words promise so much, but to deliver the formula successfully takes a clarity of vision and sense of integrity too often lacking from restaurants that use them as buzzwords. However two recently opened Soho joints have managed to join those dots together. In Dean St DUCKSOUP opened in a flurry of new media hype; cramped, noisy and with a byov (bring your own vinyl) policy it wowed the hip young Soho crowd as well as the critics. A few weeks later chef Cameron Emirali (The Wapping Project) and his partner Luke Wilson opened up 10 Greek St. The restaurant shares DUCKSOUP‘s no evening booking policy and the ubiquitous white tiling shared by most of the recent new Soho openings but is marginally more sedate though in no way lacking in energy which radiates out from the open kitchen...

  58. Published : Tuesday, 28th August 2012

    Brasserie Zédel | Reviews-Brasserie Zedel

    Restaurateurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King are not natural revolutionaries. Their other outposts, The Wolseley and The Delaunay, are grand, conservative and exclusive. However with Brasserie Zedel they have come up with an offer that combines retro glamour with a much more democratic vision. Situated on the site of the old Regent Palace Hotel and in the space occupied by the long departed Atlantic, Brasserie Zedel is a loving distillation of all that is fine about the Parisian grandes brasseries, think La Coupole meets Bofinger, combined with an additional cafe, jazz bar and cocktail bar...

  59. Published : Wednesday, 25th July 2012

    Roganic | Reviews-Roganic

    I love going to Marylebone. There is something very feminine about the High St and the roads that criss-cross it, the way it nestles between the commercial vigour of the Marylebone Road to the north and the retail horror of Oxford St to the south. The shops are like the well-heeled women who inhabit this oasis of metropolitan charm, good looking with well maintained interiors and an understated and individual chic. Amongst all this good taste sits Roganic, the clever, creative country cousin who has come to London to make her mark...

  60. Published : Sunday, 22nd July 2012

    Mari Vanna | Reviews-Mari Vanna

    Mari Vanna is a mythical Russian hostess who welcomes you into her pimped up fantasy dacha and then stuffs you with pancakes, dumplings, cream and cakes, washed down with intensely flavoured vodkas. You submit because she is utterly charming and seductive; as you leave you realise that not only has she emptied your wallet but also that your trousers don’t seem to fit anymore...

  61. Published : Tuesday, 8th May 2012

    The Foundry | Reviews-The Foundry

    Camden has long been known as a centre for live music rather than as a food destination but with the opening of The Foundry, Camdenites, as well as visitors from outside the borough, now have somewhere they can visit safe in the knowledge that they can eat well. Attached to the arts venue The Forge, The Foundry offers an unpretentious yet civilised space for eating amongst the urban buzz. The space itself is modular and can be split into a variety of configurations with the front section hosting the bar, a restaurant section in the middle and at the back, a concert area with pride of place going to a rather sexy looking Steinway grand. There is also a more formal restaurant space upstairs that is only open in the evenings. The bar has a cocktail menu featuring botanically infused drinks using homemade marmalades, infusions and cordials created from plants and herbs grown on the restaurant’s wall, however my guest and I opened proceedings with a well-sourced glass of prosecco from the wine list...