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30 July 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Musings from the girl next shore

(menu)


  1. Ember Yard is the fourth restaurant under the Salt Yard Group's umbrella of Spanish-Italian tapas joints. We used to frequent Salt Yard back in the day when our office was just a stone's throw away from Noho (and Soho), and now Opera Tavern since moving to Covent Garden. I've yet to visit Dehesa, though. My friend G has a thing about most things Spanish (particularly Rafa Nadal), so I wasn't surprised she picked Ember Yard for her birthday dinner. I've known G since we were in fourth grade, which means our Gossip Girl-esque friendship has been "maturing" for about 20 years now (wow, WTF)...

  2. Created by three Spanish friends in 1999, Bilbao Berria has expanded into London with the aim of showcasing Basque cuisine, eating particularly via pintxos (food served in skewers) and tapas (aka food served on plates). Tucked in the lower end of Regent Street, the chain's first international restaurant is fronted by Aussie celebrity masterchef Ash Mair. Heaps more polished than the Bilbao and the Barcelona restaurants, the London joint is STUNNING. It's very cosmo-industrial which I reckon would appeal to those who like a good social scene (thus questions the choice of location, close to tourist-laden spots and teenage clubland)...

  3. I'm not particularly a fan of pizza but I'm quite particular with my pizza. I like the crust rolled extremely thin (crisp on the edges and doughy at the centre), the toppings fresh (three to four max), and the cheese proportionate. Proper Neapolitan-style. It's one of those things I crave for when I need a bit of comforting but I don't always get the perfect pizza unless I slave off in the kitchen to make my own. When you've had proper pizza in Italy, particularly Neapolitan-style pizzas, it's quite a disappointment to come back to those thick, overly topped pizzas from commercial traders. Convenience is key, sure. But sometimes you just can't settle for anything less. Unless perfect means less is more...

  4. My original Filo foodie buddy A is back in London and what better way to celebrate her visit than a cheeky brunch date at The Delaunay? We started off with deliciously cheeky cocktails. R had an Abbey (gin, oj, bitters), I had a Mary Rose (gin, elderflower, rosemary), A had a Delaunay (gin, benedictine). All cocktails were £8.75 each and were very, very, worthwhile...

  5. Published : Monday, 23rd June 2014

    Enoteca da Luca | Enoteca da Luca St Paul

    The restaurant's mantra is 'piccolo e bello' which translates to 'small is beautiful'. Being a relatively petite person with massive belly capacity, this was quite intriguing. I enjoy the concept of sharing plates/tapas as punters get the chance to try more dishes but I do prefer the feeling of having had a proper meal instead of feeling like I've only just grazed. The St Paul's restaurant is tiny; the ground floor covers about 25 at most and the basement covers an intimate party of 10. I like the look of it: rough wooden countertops lined with oils and vinegar on one side and a semi-industrial bar space on the other...

  6. Let's be honest here. It doesn't take much to make burgers, but it takes a lot of skill to make a GOOD burger. So if you're opening a joint that only sells this year-round classic, then every component has got to be bloody fantastic. Honest Burgers started as a festival marquee favourite in 2010. Word about the burger joint spread like wildfire across social and print media, with reviews hailing their fare as some of the best burgers in the city. Naturally, an expansion saw HB joints across London and to date they've set up six shops, the latest opening in Oxford Circus last month...

  7. Plaid Boy flew to London wanting to try Big Easy after I raved about the lobster bake I had last month. I was happy to oblige. Of course, we had to have some good ol' Yamazaki while waiting for our table and for our favourite (wholesome) threesome dining date, G. 15 minutes later (as opposed to the two-hour wait last time), we were escorted to our table and were given menus. Our food arrived and it felt like Christmas morning in big ol' Texas. The table was covered with plates and trays of barbecued meat and baked seafood...

  8. Published : Wednesday, 14th May 2014

    Lakwatsa | Lakwatsa: where you swing by for some bubble tea

    Lakwatsa [lak wat´sa] to loiter, to go around aimlessly with truancy in mind. This is a Filo term often associated with students who skip classes. It's also the name of a bubble tea lounge in Notting Hill, few doors away from that renowned book shop where Julia Roberts asked a boy to love her. In this bright, cosy space, "lakwatsa" translates to "chill". The interiors are conducive to laid back lounging with friends. They have swings for sofas and crate-like stools, bare brick walls and corner shelves adorned with Filo versions of international lifestyle magazines, a photo wall adorned with polaroids of punters, a cosy private space at the back...

  9. Published : Wednesday, 19th March 2014

    Haz St Paul's | Haz (St. Paul)

    The ambience in Haz is very City: wooden bar stacked with liquor and rows of vino neatly displayed in box shelves, leather(ette?) upholstered chairs and crisp linen tables, wooden panels lit by that subdued yellow lighting that makes everyone look beautiful, minimal decor and a full glass wall overlooking Cheapside. It very much looked like a glorified canteen for pinstriped-clad worker bees...

  10. Last week I had dinner at Simurgh, "the first Iranian restaurant in the heart of London". It's a stone's throw away from work but I never thought of entertaining guests here for a slight fear of the unknown; my knowledge of Persian food is limited to the ubiquitous kebabs/mezzes so I wouldn't have anything exciting to say about the lot. Also, there's been mixed reviews about the place so I stuck to nearby established restaurants. A bit too safe, I have to admit. My date and I decided to try something new so I figured it's time to face the unknown. The restaurant is a knockout inside. It's a teeny space but it was quite pretty: exposed bricks adorned with tapestry and murals, wood carvings, lamps and carved tables that transport you to ancient Iran...

  11. Dozo Japanese Restaurant is set on two floors and one can say they've made a cool setting for such small space. They have normal dining tables and Japanese-style dining tables where a sunken area gives you the illusion of sitting on the floor and funky lights. For starters we had salmon skin rolls (£4.30 / 6 pieces) which I loved! The salmon skin was very crispy and flavourful. I don't like mayo drizzled all over food (especially sushi rolls) but on this occasion it balanced the salty skin and added a much needed creamy texture...

  12. Published : Monday, 3rd March 2014

    The Fable | The Fable: where the tale

    Once upon a time in London, two ladies decided they were overdue a proper catch up over nibbles and cocktails. They wanted to stay clear of their usual haunts in Soho so after a few hours of to-ing and fro-ing, they found themselves at The Fable, the latest addition to the Drake & Morgan family of bars and restaurants. I didn't know The Fable was a D&M establishment until I stepped inside and felt the same vibe I get at The Folly or at The Anthologist...

  13. Published : Wednesday, 26th February 2014

    Yauatcha | La-la-la-love... DIM SUM! Yauatcha, Revisited

    I love the stars in Yauatcha and by this I don't just mean the gorgeous star-like fixtures in the basement restaurant, but the stars on the menu as well. The restaurant is still quite dependable for dim sum after all; no wonder they've retained their Michelin star all these years. They do have big plates and actual dishes too, but I really prefer their dim sum offering and patisserie treats...

  14. Published : Saturday, 22nd February 2014

    Com Viet | Com Viet Revisited: where the CHACK BUS came around

    From outside the restaurant along Garrick Street, Com Viet looks super tiny and almost hole-in-the-wall-ish for Covent Garden standards. Down a narrow wooden staircase though, the place looks like a proper restaurant with really nice booths like so. The thing with Vietnamese food is that I like EVERYTHING! There was a server who knew the menu like the back of his hand and we played a bit of a game...

  15. Published : Wednesday, 12th February 2014

    Chop Shop | Chop Shop London: where I said "I

    I love me a good steak and I get excited whenever a steakhouse opens in town. I've been meaning to visit Chop Shop since its launch last fall but I've heard so many mixed reviews about it so, like a date you're unsure about, I kept flaking. Last week I had a chance to go on steak night date night so I finally got to visit. This restaurant is a collaboration of Chef Michael White (of 2-Michelin-starred Marea in New York) and local restaurateur Will Guess (Rowley's Steakhouse & The Rum Kitchen). It's butcher-shop inspired, highlighting chops and steaks NYC via London style...

  16. Last week SquareMeal and Nuffnang UK invited a few bloggers to socialise at Mestizo, a Mexican restaurant on Hampstead Road. I got to chat to one of Mestizo's proprietors and discussed the scarcity of authentic Mexican restaurants in town. He said Mestizo's been around town for nine years and the secret to their longevity is an offering of authentic Mexican cuisine from the regions. This got me really excited to see what they have in store for us...