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21 April 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from We Love Food, It

(menu)

We are a newly married couple, we love to eat, drink, travel and write about it


  1. I heard through the grapevine about The Big Red Pizza bus – a knackered old double-decker converted into a restaurant in Deptford, I knew it had the potential to be a winner and fill an afternoon. They also show free kids films, in a slightly alarming looking converted lorry in the back of the restaurant’s secluded ‘garden’. When I say garden, it’s more of a yard with a table football machine and some seating. As it was a rare sunny day we sat in the patio area, despite the bus being a huge novelty we didn’t fancy sweating away inside it. It’s a weird old place, kinda cool and very quirky, like something we’d stumble across in Thailand, quite hippyish with colourful paper lanterns and quite obviously child-friendly. Random origami hung from the plastic roof, kids drawings of the bus were pinned to the wall and there were more children than adults roaming about...

  2. We were looking forward to visiting Ember Yard, really looking forward to visiting. Marina had given it a gushing review in her Guardian column, and a respected friend in the hospitality industry said it was his best meal of the year. Plus the Opera Tavern (also part of the Salt Yard group) is still one of our favourite restaurants. Situated at the Oxford Street end of Berwick Street, it’s just about far away enough from the madness and tourists. Back in the mists of time when I used to work in Soho Square, Berwick Street was only really known for the tatty stalls and fruit and veg market. A lot has changed since then, the market now sells everything from Arabic to Vietnamese street food and don’t forget this is where Pizza Pilgrims first pulled up in their little van. The street is now so vibrant and diverse with vinyl shops (for our younger readers – the things music came on before CDs and downloads), traditional London pubs, bespoke tailors, vintage fashion and some exciting new restaurants including Florence Knight’s recently relaunched Polpetto...

  3. Yes, we know, London has burgers and hot dogs coming out of its ears, the trend is threatening to become a little tiresome. Dirty Bones sounds like just another dude food restaurant, nothing new, nothing exciting but it really is much more than that. The name doesn’t help, we have Dirty Burger, Dirty Martini, Lazy Bones, FISHBone, Bone Daddies… Is it all about bones and dirt at the moment? Dirty Bones is at risk of getting lost within all of these places and not standing out, which would be a great shame. Dirty Bones offers something a little more refined, the group creative development chef Ross Clarke from The Fat Duck Experimental Kitchen devised the menu. It is he who helped devise recipes for Heston‘s shows and books. In fact, I liked it so much that I did a first for our blog and actually returned twice in a week. This was mostly because Ade missed out on the first visit and was pretty angry when I told him my findings, plus we found ourselves in the area a week later and it seemed rude not to. An interesting finding of visiting twice, once as an invitation and once just as regular punters was the service. On both trips the staff were great and friendly, they definitely have their eye on the ball...

  4. Had the boys behind Les Trois Garçons featured on BBC2′s The Restaurant Man, we could imagine narrator and restaurateur Russell Norman would be left exasperated with his head in his hands. This kitsch and quirky restaurant has been going for fourteen years, it’s co-owned and founded by friends Hassan Abdullah, Michel Lasserre and Stefan Karlson. They bought the building which was a run-down Victorian pub to live in in the late 90s and dramatically revitalised it, throwing huge lavish dinner parties in the basement of the building. Everyone said they should start up a restaurant, so they did. They had no business plan, concept or restaurant experience. But it worked...

  5. It was Big Easy’s founder, Paul Corrett who threw open the original King’s Road Crabshack and shared his love for all things American and his desire to offer ‘Good food, served right.’ Fast forward twenty years and the Covent Garden branch is finally ready to rock and lobster roll, and finally that invite arrived. The new restaurant is in the original home of the Charing Cross & Strand Electricity Supply Corporation (click here for a history lesson.) Where as the original Big Easy modelled itself on simple a Gulf Coast crabshack, the new one is a lot more refined, the King’s Road branch looks like it evolved whilst Covent Garden was designed. Very well designed. Many of the Victorian power station’s features have been kept, the copper conduits, heavy girders, exposed brickwork and concrete floors all remain. And industrial lighting, planked walls and aged leather chairs and banquets have been added. The two bars are spectacular, hundreds of bottles backlit for a stunning effect...

  6. Ever stumbled out of a museum in South Ken in need of food? We have, although there are usually kids in tow so cocktails and Polish food is not likely to be on the agenda. Shame as Ognisko, a beautiful bar and restaurant by Jan Woroniecki – the man behind the fab Baltic in Southwark, is surrounded by all the museums on Exhibition road. Housed in a very grand terraced Victorian building, where the Polish Hearth Club was founded in 1940, it has just undergone an extensive refurb. Luckily for us, they wanted us to come and see it. Despite the plush surroundings and private members style entrance, there was no stuffiness here. In fact it had an air of romance about it and we were so impressed with the laid back yet attentive service...

  7. La Giaconda Restaurant, Café and Bar sounded great on paper – a long-standing family-run restaurant, the proprieters also own Flat White and Milk Bar. Previously named Giaconda Dining Room, it was a much-loved restaurant in Tin Pan Alley (Denmark Street) where famous Musicians from Bowie, Boland and The Kinks hung out. Now revamped we were invited to take a look, what we found was not what we expected...

  8. It was our last day in the beautiful, if slightly damp city of Edinburgh and we only had one more restaurant to tick off our list. That restaurant was Bistro Moderne, the new launch by Mark Greenaway (of Great British Menu fame) of which we’d been invited. Mark received nationwide acclaim following the opening of his self titled restaurant in Edinburgh in February 2011 and followed that up with 3 AA Rosettes for his outstanding cooking. Well that’s Mark covered, what about the restaurant and his menu? Set in a beautiful old bank building in North West Circus Place at the heart of Edinburgh’s leafy Stockbridge. The area is fast becoming a foodie magnet, with Tom Kitchen’s new gastro-pub and speciality shops bringing in the crowds. The ceilings are high and the decor simple yet elegant, lots of dark paneling and polished brass. Parquet flooring with clean cream and ‘heritage green’* walls add to this refined feel (*if this green was a Farrow and Ball paint, it would be called Dusty Under Doormat Mould)...

  9. The Scran & Scallie has one of those menus that drives you mad with indecision. We’d been peeking at it before our visit, fuelling Ade’s dreams about crispy pigs ears and pork scratchings. This gastropub is Tom Kitchin‘s latest venture overseen by head chef David Umpherson. It’s just outside the centre of Edinburgh in Stockbridge, a villagey area with a real foodie feel. A little farmers market pops up on a Sunday, offering everything from pheasants with their feathers still intact to Japanese street food...

  10. When we were asking for Edinburgh recommendations, The Dogs came up time and time again. Marina O’Loughlin was one of many that gave it the thumbs up was, anything that gets her seal of approval is usually a pretty safe bet. Founder David Ramsden has created a very cosy little place, hidden up a staircase dotted with dog paraphernalia is a cute and delightful restaurant. I feel like I’m saying this a lot lately, but it really was like being in someone’s house. A high-ceilinged period building, slightly worn around the edges, if The Dogs was in London it would most almost certainly to be found in Shoreditch...

  11. At least once a week I see a tweet asking for recommendations of where to go for a family meal. There are usually fussy parents involved, who’ve travelled down from a far away sleepy town. They’re not ‘ready’ for the kind of food London has to offer, leaving their offspring exasperated and out of options that will please everyone. Step forward Lanes of London, a new concept (yes, I know what you’re thinking, but do keep reading). This new restaurant on Park Lane (don’t let that scare you either) has designed a menu serving up sharing dishes covering four of London’s food districts. There’s Brick Lane (Indian) Kingsland Road (Vietnamese) Edgware Road (Lebanese) and Portobello Road (British classics)...

  12. Back to the here and now. Carnaby Street on a wet, cold and windy late December evening doesn’t exactly conjure up images of the Andaman sea lapping the white sandy Phranang Cave Beach. But Rosa’s Thai Cafe‘s exterior had that warm, welcoming glow that just seems to pull you in. Once through the door our welcome was quick and efficient, maybe a little too direct and hurried – then again this is a cafe and turn around has to be fairly fast. The waiter motioned to us, pointing to a small table near a little drinks/prep area, ‘Two. Here!’ He said and ran off to deliver the bill to another table...

  13. Jackson + Rye have taken over the space with an all-day East-Coast inspired restaurant, headed up by executive chef Mark Askew. The restaurant is backed by Richard Caring and the people behind the recently opened Grillshack - Mark Askew and Hannah Bass. Upon first glance, the plush decor struck us as very Soho Kitchen & Bar, although the designers are the same people from behind the Dean Street Townhouse. This is a super sleek US brasserie with a warm, cosy atmosphere and the gentle background buzz from the bustling crowd. Jackson + Rye‘s clever use of soft glowing lighting and heavy iron pipework shelving are nice touches. As are the dark wood panelled walls, aged leather seating and mirrored picture window frames. It’s obvious that a lot of thought and attention to detail has gone into the interior design, and yet again we pick up more ideas for our home (that we’ll probably never follow through with)...

  14. Russell Norman and Richard Beatty opening a pub was music to our ears. Especially as it’s in an area that is crying out for a decent public house. The Ape & Bird is the latest addition to the Polpo/Spuntino/Mishkin’s empire, and it is truly lovely. A three-storey Victorian building on Cambridge Circus that was previously the Marquis of Granby. They have even knocked though to some offices next door to create more space totalling 5000 square feet. On the first preview night on which we visited it was absolutely rammed, so a little hard to get a proper feel of the space...

  15. When we heard the men behind Hawksmoor, Will Beckett and Huw Gott were opening Foxlow – a new ‘neighbourhood’ restaurant, we immediately put it right high up on ‘The List’. The next piece of news to follow was that they would be offering slow-smoked meats and their supplier would be Ginger Pig, this catapulted it to the very top. In their usual style they offered 50% off during the preview days so we got in there quick. Yes we do prefer to let new places find their feet, but hey, this is by the Hawksmoor boys, it didn’t feel as necessary. Plus the 50% off offer was too good to resist...

  16. Just a few minutes walk away from the hustle and bustle of Highbury and Islington station and the madness that is Upper Street, is possibly one of the best little independent restaurants that we have visited for a long time. Assiette Anglaise is a charming understated proper neighbourhood restaurant, where Saff remembers Morgan M being from her north London days. Now my French isn’t very good, hence my lowly D grade CSE, so sometimes I feel a little intimidated by the menus in French establishments. But at Assiette Anglaise I really needn’t have worried, we felt relaxed and at ease as soon as we walked through the door. I always like to look up the translation of restaurant names, so I punched in Assiette Anglaise into Google to see what would pop up. Assiette – a plate or a course of a meal, that makes sense. Assiette Anglaise – cold meats!...

  17. Everyone loves Brighton, right? I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t. As far as we’re concerned, it’s the best seaside town that the UK has to offer, and one with its own unique personality. So why is there a lack of good restaurants? (The Chilli Pickle, Pub du Vin and new MEATliquor aside) We were invited to review The New Club which apparently had a wondrous burger (amongst other things) on the menu, we certainly didn’t expect it to live up to the burger offerings in the Big Smoke. ‘We don’t want to be known as just a burger joint. But we wanted to create the best burger outside London.’ says co-owner Catherine Smith. On a cold, wet and blustery Friday night in November we entered the warm and welcoming The New Club. The owners have taken inspiration from the cutting edge diners of New York and independent coffee houses in LA, both places that we adore, especially the latter. A giant photograph named ‘In Another Place And Time’ taken by Vivienne Gucwa in NYC sweeps across the back wall. The restaurant boasts a prime location overlooking the West Pier, slap bang on the sea front amongst a lot of mediocre (if that!) restaurants...

  18. Ah, MEATliquor, a place that is still one of our favourite restaurants of all time, not just for the food but the atmosphere too. Happiness is guaranteed when I have a ML burger in my mouth and Ade is chewing on a buffalo wing. We still haven’t tried all of their competition (yeah, I know) but their burgers remain at the top of our list. Now Scott and Yianni have ventured out of old London town and recently opened up by the seaside in one of our favourite places – Brighton. A marriage of our two ‘happy places’, what could possibly go wrong? Now Brightoners aren’t like the committed London crowd who are prepared to queue for their dinner. The concept to them is baffling. Everyone we spoke to in the area remarked on how far away the restaurant was from the centre, which is crazy talk – it is just a five-minute walk from the North Laine, we just don’t get it. They even spoke of getting a taxi to it from the beach – it’s a twenty-minute stroll away! Yes, it may be situated in the less desirable location of London Road but still…

  19. If we told you the invite said something along the lines of ‘come to a hotel restaurant, stand at the pass and listen to a bloke talk about pickles’, then you’d probably think meh! Whatever! BUT and this is a big but, hence the capital letters. If we told you the hotel is One Leicester Street (formally St John) and the pass at which we stood belonged to Michelin-starred chef Tom Harris and these were his pickles and preserves, then you’ll understand why we jumped at the chance to go. This wasn’t the half of it, before we ate we were treated to a couple of ‘libations’ or liquid offerings at the Talented Mr Fox which has taken up residency on the first floor. The man working his magic behind the bar is Matt Whiley, co-founder of the Purl bar and Worship Street Whistling Shop in Shoreditch. Matt takes inspiration from history yet uses ultra modern techniques to create these fascinating cocktails – apparently the room behind the bar is like a scientist’s laboratory. A couple of drinks on the list caught our eye, Liquid History £80, purely because of its price. Urban Fox £11, because it’s served in a miniature wheelie bin. And Young Dog New Tricks £POA, because my dad always says ‘if you have to ask for the price then you can’t afford it…’...

  20. It’s not very often that a restaurant appeals to veggies, vegans and meat eaters in one equal swift hit. Bruno Loubet and the Zetter Group‘s Michael Benyan and Mark Sainsbury’s Grain Store did just that. Fed up with squeezing in meals after dark, I took the day off with a friend and we pretended to be ladies of leisure for the afternoon. The Grain Store is housed in Granary Square by the very cool dancing fountains, a short walk from Kings Cross station in a very different part of town, one which Ade and I must find time to explore more. A very welcoming front of house team led us to a table with views overlooking the ginormous open bustling kitchen where Bruno looms over all the other chefs, that man has presence – and not just because of his height. The room is vast, bright and airy, industrial yet homely with quirky touches like the old vintage pram used as a digestifs trolley...

  21. The May Fair hotel smells so good, I could happily have sat in the lobby just sniffing the spa-like air whilst I waited for my sister and friends to emerge from the spa in a dozy and slightly flushed state. It was a Monday afternoon so Quince was quiet, apart from us, what looked like a hen party and a sprinkling of people who are obviously lucky enough to swan about having afternoon tea every day. At £29.50 per person, it is fairly reasonable, of course the weary post-spa birthday girl opted for the Champagne afternoon tea £41 per person, which includes a glass of Duval-Leroy Champagne. The tea is bought round in a display box to make your selection, we both chose an aromatic Jasmine Blossom whilst the others girls had good old English Breakfast and Peppermint...

  22. Central & Co is an all-day brasserie in one of the most prime locations in the West End, slap bang in front of Liberty and nestled within the shopping and theatre district. Tucked away underneath is the ‘&Co’ part – a cute little mellow bar, a perfect sanctuary from the hoards of tourists and shoppers. It seemed like the ideal place for a catch up. Inside is oh-so-cosy with low lighting and a touch of vintage, my date for the night Hannah described it as a ‘sweet’ space. A narrow and intimate room, the long central wooden table makes you feel like you’re in someone’s front room (someone with a very nice house). Central & Co is the kind of place you could bring anyone (apart from my dad, who wouldn’t take too kindly to the volume of the music)...

  23. This is the second time we’ve hopped (no beer pun intended) off the train at Greenwich to visit the Old Brewery for a beer pairing session. Our first visit was more of a traditional event, no theme as such, simply good food paired with good beers. Read our full review here. This time there was a theme and that theme was, Oktoberfest! So we prepared ourselves for a totally Germantastic evening – but wait a minute, where are the cute waitresses in lederhosen? Missed a trick there guys or maybe it would have been too obvious! Again we sat in the main dining hall, right next to the shiny brass tanks of the Meantime micro brewery...

  24. Weekends away for us usually consist of a certain style of hotel – modern, sleek and bursting full of all the mod-cons that we wish we could have in our own home. Great Fosters hotel in Egham is the total opposite of what we are usually attracted to. This former royal hunting lodge dates back to 1550 AD and is dripping in Downton Abbey style grandeur, with dark creaking hallways and even darker bedrooms... Our plans of an afternoon kip before dinner were set back slightly by the cocktails and the Arsenal vs Swansea City match… Before we knew it it was time for dinner in the Tudor Room – the small and intimate restaurant of just 24 covers, headed up by Shane Hughes. Shane has earnt himself a Michelin Star at Ynyshir Hall in Wales, so we were expecting great things. There is the choice of an a la carte menu, or an eight-course tasting menu (£75 per person). We were lucky enough to try the latter and it was one of the most incredible meals we’ve ever had. One word of warning though, if you opt for the wine flight to accompany this do NOT drink any alcohol previously. You may well not make it down for breakfast the next day, or be capable of doing much at all the next day...

  25. It’s funny how certain spaces give off certain vibes. As we entered the lobby via some revolving doors I was none the wiser. Even when I noticed one restaurant to our left and one to our right, I didn’t twig! It wasn’t until I visited the toilet half way through our meal that it finally clicked… This is a hotel and that was the vibe I must have sensed (the force is strong with this one – not!) Saff knew all along and blamed her tiredness on not sharing this fact with me. Now we are usually a little sceptical of hotel eateries, although we have been very pleasantly surprised of late. But it just bears testament to the quality of Diciannove‘s food and the standard of service that I didn’t realise that we were in the Crowne Plaza Hotel until I literally walked into the reception desk...

  26. The kitchen is headed up by Paul Fletcher, his menu kicks off with the puntastic question ‘feeling peckish?’ Whyte & Brown is after all a restaurant dedicated to all things chicken and egg. But there’s no dirty deep-fried chicken here, it’s all free range and very grown up. The restaurant was relatively full and considering it only hatched in July, there seemed to be a steady flow of customers. And for once my attention was taken away from my usual obsession with restaurant interiors (most of which Saff edits out of our posts anyway). From memory (I usually make notes) the decor was still industrial but nowhere near as edgy as, say, Spuntino. One thing that stuck in my mind were the unisex toilets, loved the massive trough sink and exposed copper piping, not quite up to standard of Nosh & Chow‘s loo though...

  27. On the night we were invited to Grillshack, one of the numerous new restaurants that are to open this month, we read that the capital’s typical restaurant goer eats out 3.7 times a week. That’s more than us and we have a blog to keep up! It seems restaurants really are a massive trend right now – a trend that is impossible to keep up with. Grillshack is a ridiculously cheap all day grill on Beak Street, not far from another good value restaurant – Flat Iron. The man behind it is Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings, Dirty Burger and Chicken Shop. What makes it different to the rest is not just the prices but the ordering system. Stealing the idea that has lived in my head for the past five years in which you order via an app, or on the touch screen terminal point. My idea is a little more high-tech than this, unless I win the lottery this is where the idea will stay...

  28. The hotel was easy to find, there’s not much else in Clearwell, the Sat Nav takes you right to the door and there are plenty of parking spaces round the back. The actual farm building isn’t your typical Tudor style, no wooden beams or whitewashed walls. There has been a working farm on this site since the 13th century but it wasn’t converted to a hotel till the 1980s. The current owners, Colin and Hari Fell (and Gromit the family cat) took over in 2007 and now has 23 beautiful and individual rooms. The farm is set on 14 acres of protected land which you are free to wander around. A word of warning, beware of the ultra ‘friendly’ pony that charged me from the top of the field. I had to vault over the gate to escape – this gymnastic burst of energy tested my dodgy knee and Saff’s bladder (she was laughing at me a little too much!)...

  29. Namaaste Kitchen has been on our radar for some time, voted Fay Maschler’s Critics Choice in ES Magazine, chef patron Sabbir Karim was the winner of the Best Chef of the Year 2012. Not forgetting Time Out who gave it a 4/5, the Telegraph seem to love it too. What could go wrong?...

  30. Sometimes you look at a menu and it stirs such excitement, only for the food itself to be a let down. The menu for the Chop Shop bought joy on all levels. Thankfully the food delivered on all levels too. The former director of Rowley’s, a young and fresh-faced Will Guess, has collaborated with the acclaimed New York based restaurateurs the Altamarea Group, alongside Michael White bringing a much needed quality restaurant to Haymarket. A road we often walk down with feelings of sadness, mostly mediocre chains line this central London street. From what we spotted during our visit, Chop Shop is not just luring in Londoners but tourists too. Finally!...

  31. The Upper Deck restaurant and bar has just been given an overhaul, its been completely redecorated and the menu totally reinvented. Decor wise the restaurant, actually the whole ground floor, is an art deco/nautical hybrid. There are huge arched windows and doorways with highly polished chrome lighting and period photos and artwork neatly hung on the walls. A glass top piano surrounded by stalls is a focal point as are the modern chandeliers. Some rope trimming and a few ocean liner inspired nic nacs complete the look...

  32. More than a week late to the party, the huge Covent Garden site was still heaving. Meanwhile, a (passionate this time) member of staff flown in from New York admires the building crowd. He said the queue waiting time has been a steady 45 minutes since Shake Shack opened their first UK site on July 5th. But we know for a fact that the queue has been longer – a group of ‘friends of friends’ bought a box of lager and ‘made a night of it’, such is the appeal of this burger mecca. Sat in the piazza while opera booms out from below us we felt like tourists in London, in a good way, not an eating at an Aberdeen Steak House sense...

  33. Five Guys involves three queues, one outside, one to order and another to collect your order. Whoever decided that collection point would be on the corner where people are constantly trying to get past should be reprimanded. I left Ade to it and snuck off to the slightly less busy downstairs area. Some cute little booths at the back looked tempting but seeing as it was just the two of us I stayed away. The most exciting thing about FG is the Coca Cola Freestyle drink machines - touch screen refillable drinks £2.50 at the ready, you chose your drink then can add an extra flavour, worth returning just for that alone. They missed a trick not having red cups though...

  34. Rooftop bars are the place to be this summer, now that we’re actually having one that is. With the sun beating down and a craving for that holiday feeling, I headed to Rum Shack, a Caribbean-inspired pop-up at the Double Tree Hilton hotel’s rooftop Skylounge. If it wasn’t for a sea of suits and well-heeled ladies we could have imagined ourselves in far more tropical climes. Reggae music (with a touch of Peter Andre’s mysterious girl thrown in), wobbly decking and a shack-style bar with multi-coloured bulbs greeted us...

  35. Sometimes it’s nice to go and have a proper grown-up meal. After two nights on the trot of satisfying our ‘dude food’ cravings, we sat down for something a little more refined. We didn’t give Aqua Shard much of a chance, they had only opened the day before. But we knew a group like this would have things sorted out from day one and it was an invitation too good to miss. We loved the Spanish Aqua Nueva off Regents Street and the Shard branch offers suitably appropriate British fare, but of course with that Aqua twist. The menu has been devised by owner David Yeo and executive chef Anthony Garlando (protégé of master chef Pierre Gagnaire) and is inspired by the British Isles, but with a French influence...

  36. I’m going to make this post a little more concise than usual (this may be a relief for some). Firstly because I want to get this review out there as quick as I can. And secondly because every aspect of this standard-raising casual, yet sexy and sophisticated American style diner is so easy and instant that there’s not too much I can waffle on about...

  37. Often it takes us a while to relax and get settled in when we visit a restaurant. We’re usually rushing and knackered from the day job, so switching off and enjoying the night can sometimes take a while to happen. At Tuscanic, no sooner had we walked through the door we were charmed and swept away to that can’t be beaten feeling of being on holiday. This sense of calm was despite the hustle and bustle, the small rickety stools and tables barely big enough to hold our food without it almost slipping into our laps. This long and narrow Italian café bypasses London-based suppliers and goes straight to Tuscany for its charcuterie, bread, beer, wine and even its bottled water...

  38. Now what do you think makes the perfect pizza? The toppings? Wrong! The tomato sauce? Getting closer… I’ll put you out of your misery. According to Bruno Elias, pizza guru/scientist/mathematician, at Ping - it’s the dough. Bruno, a graduate of the Pizza Italian Academy, is an interesting chap that has a passion for pizza that borders on obsession. And what we took away from this masterclass (apart from half a kilo of soft squishy dough that we made) was the amount of time, effort and precision that he’s put in to create this near perfect pizza base...

  39. So why my concern over all things retro? Well if Wiki is to be believed then Chef Luke Thomas (born October 1993) is only just old enough to be considered retro! The 19-year-old chef who caused quite a stir on the BBC3 show ‘Britain’s youngest head chef‘ has once again paired up with self-styled rock & roll hotelier Mark Fuller. The first time they hooked up was at the Sanctum on The Green Hotel where Luke’s Dining Room takes pride of place. This time they’ve teamed up to take over the ground floor restaurant at the Embassy nightclub for a six month pop-up...

  40. It’s always a bonus to find a good restaurant within walking distance of our offices. It’s even a bigger bonus when the restaurant helps vulnerable people by giving them catering apprenticeships and thus the opportunity for a brighter future. The establishment in question is Brigade Bar and Bistro and together with the Beyond Food Foundation (under the guidance of chef founder Simon Boyle) it serves up some incredibly delicious dishes...

  41. John Salt was way bigger than we expected, it was a relief not to be crammed in as seems to be the norm these days. We sat upstairs in the more formal restaurant area, which also has its own bar with warm and friendly staff on hand at all times. We always give a big tick to anywhere that offers us tap water straight away, the John Salt kind was delivered in a white fish-shaped jug that made a mildly amusing glugging sound when pouring...

  42. The Diner has headed West and come over all Southern. The cosy new branch at Gloucester Road (conveniently just across the road from the tube) has the same favourites as the other branches, but with a few southern-inspired dishes...

  43. It has been approximately five years that I have been waiting to have brunch at The Table Cafe. Really. This inconspicuous restaurant across the road from work has become special to me. Lunch and dinner has always been incredible (click here for our review), but the thought of coming up to London and doing my work commute on a Saturday was just all wrong...

  44. Tucked away behind the hustle of Tottenham Court Road lies not one, not two, but three gems. Gail’s Bakery and Gail’s Kitchen with Myhotel Bloomsbury appropriately sandwiched between the two. Gail’s Kitchen - a recent offshoot of the bakery with ex River Cafe chef James Adams fronting the kitchen. A daily changing menu of small plates from £7 upwards, many based around bread and cooked in the bread oven...

  45. Over the last four years or so The Refinery has been the venue for many a birthday, sneaky lunchtime drink or, more recently, leaving dos! But this time we’re here to try their new spring/summer menu and, more excitedly, the incredible looking fairground themed cocktails…

  46. The pub has been on this site since 1786 but the new decor and interior design strikes the perfect balance between a modern airy feel and cosy rustic comfort. We managed to get a little teaser of the new menu and the bite sized offering of their famed burgers and award-winning scotch eggs, this place even has an annual scotch egg challenge!...

  47. Rita’s is no-frills, a short menu with a sprinkling of specials, short menus are always welcome when we’re dining with others and busy chatting. The dining area was unfortunately next to the open door, creating a chill that meant I had to eat with my coat on. I desperately wanted to ask if they could close the door but would have felt so old that I couldn’t bear to hear myself utter the words...

  48. Housed in the Westminster InterContinental hotel near St James’ Park, the Blue Boar is an elegant dining room with the most beautiful dessert table we have ever seen. A singer strumming away on his guitar to some of our favourite songs, bottomless Bloody Marys and Bucks Fizz, now THIS is the way to spend a Sunday afternoon...

  49. You’ve heard the phase ‘Christmas has come early’. For us it was Easter that came early… We were invited back to Cinnamon Soho to sample Vivek Singh’s Easter egg-inspired menu and inspired it was too...

  50. Published : Thursday, 7th March 2013

    Flat Iron | Flat Iron, 17 Beak Street, London W1F 9RW

    Flat Iron has restored our faith that you can get a decent meal with a ‘cheap eat’ price tag. Add to this the fact that it’s a steak restaurant, and you can understand why there is always a queue. Named after the cut of beef (the shoulder or chunk) not after the iconic New York building close to where I proposed to the other half of We Love Food...

  51. When it came to celebrating my little sister’s engagement recently, I knew Cucina Asellina at the ME London hotel would be right up her street. The latest in restaurant launches from the One Group, and rather aptly, the sister restaurant of Asselina in New York. After recently visiting the group’s other restaurants, Heliot at the Hippodrome and STK, also at ME, I knew we’d be onto a good thing, and more importantly, her kind of thing...

  52. Brasserie Zédel appears to be London’s favourite cheap eat of the moment. A touch of luxury at silly prices (as in silly cheap) by restauranteurs Chris Corbin and Jeremy King of The Wolseley and The Delaunay. We were intrigued by this promise of a high-end restaurant at low-cost prices, ones I’ve not seen since the budget priced, but lovely Le Mercury in Angel and Pierre Victoire of Soho...

  53. Our first stop was the Long Bar at the Sanderson, on Berners Street, to try their new Winter Warmers menu featuring cocktails made from Rémy Martin VSOP Mature Cask Finish Cognac. These six cocktails, all £12.50, are served warm and combine flavours that aren’t usually found in their cold relatives… Port, red wine and cognac infused with walnut. Not your average cocktail ingredients, but in these warm versions they work. My favourite was the Apple Crumble, Rémy Martin, warm apple purée and a fluffy cream topping...

  54. On paper STK was everything we dislike in a restaurant. Starting with the name. There must be a few dodgy keyboards out there in the restaurant world at the moment that are missing their vowels. STK is an American import, with restaurants in Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York, Las Vegas and Miami. But the main thing that put us off (but also intrigued us at the same time) is the whole ‘female-friendly’ ethos that was in their Twitter bio (this has since changed). On the website they have the tag-line ‘Not your Daddy’s steakhouse!’ I am female, although I think my brain is actually about 60% male, and the last thing I want to hear when I go to a restaurant is that it’s female- friendly. Plus there is a DJ. In a restaurant. This I really wasn’t sure about either.

  55. Published : Monday, 28th January 2013

    Bitter Sweet | Bitter Sweet, 4 Kingly Court, London, W1B 5PW

    Bitter Sweet is tucked away in Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street, specialising in bespoke cocktails concentrating on bitter and sweet flavours. Using various bitters, created from a blend of herbs, fruits and spices, just the slightest dash of these will bring out all the flavours together and take Bitter Sweet‘s cocktails to another level. Located where The Kingly Club (known as the ‘haunt of the rich and infamous’) used to be. And before that, in the swinging sixties, it was known as The Pinstripe Club, attracting stars such as Oliver Reed, Steve McQueen, George Best, Richard Harris, Audrey Hepburn, and even Marilyn Monroe. The Pinstripe Club was closed down as a result of the 1963 Profumo scandal, where secretary of state for War John Porfumo was forced to resign over allegations he covered up an affair with Christine Keeler, the mistress of a Russian spy at the height of the Cold War...

  56. After Hawksmoor, Bob Bob Ricard was a restaurant I had been wanting to visit for such a long time. And I mean really long, like two years long. Having been a regular in Bobby’s Bar for pre or post-dinner drinks at other establishments, I’d eye up the Russian/English combo menu and sigh. Bobby’s Bar became one of my favourite places in London, scratch that, anywhere. A place that I would bring loved ones and continually recommend to others. The most stunning space, think opulent Orient Express with a slight American diner feel. Dripping in brass, with marble and wood panelling, a red theme for downstairs and blue for up. The ‘press for champagne’ button at each restaurant booth sums the place up, it is like nowhere else in London, truly special. My most adored part is the downstairs area in the bar, dark and glistening with black cab style pull down seats. Just imagine if owners Leonid Shutov and Richard Howarth did hotels too…

  57. Published : Sunday, 20th January 2013

    MASH London | MASH, 77 Brewer Street, London W1F 9ZN

    When we first reserved a table at MASH we had visions of a whole section on the menu specialising in mashed spud. Wrong! MASH actually stands for Modern American Steak House, although steakhouse is one word. We assume that MAS didn’t sound as good so they applied a bit of artistic licence. And that’s not the only misleading fact about its name. The restaurant isn’t an American import, it is from Denmark. They’ve brought over their style of steak and even some extremely friendly and efficient front of house staff. Situated on the corner of Brewer Street and Lower James Street, on the lower ground floors of the former Regent Palace Hotel (where the Titanic restaurant once was). The entrance of this beautiful newly renovated building is very understated compared to what follows...

  58. Published : Sunday, 16th December 2012

    Cinnamon Soho | Cinnamon Soho, 5 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PF

    Cinnamon Soho was not what we expected. I guess after visiting sister restaurant Cinnamon Kitchen near Liverpool Street, we thought the latest offering from the group would be quite glitzy and special. It is touted as ‘the younger, cheekier sibling to the Cinnamon Club and Cinnamon Kitchen‘. This is a very understated restaurant, situated on the site of the old Red bar in Kingly Street. It didn’t look hugely different to when it was a bar, we didn’t like it then...

  59. The Electric Diner has got to be in our top three places we’ve eaten this year. Although not in our usual stomping ground, it felt quite a trek to get to Notting Hill, but oh so worth it. A very cool interior awaited us, we certainly didn’t feel we were in London anymore. The diner has a proper old US feel, if it wasn’t for the exposed brickwork you could quite easily think that you’re in a one of those long silver trailers drinking a cup of Joe. The red leather booths adds to the authenticity as does the long row of stools resting against an even longer bar...

  60. We first discovered Vapiano on one of our visits to Sweden, when our budget was low and we couldn’t afford to spend a fortune on a meal, which is pretty unavoidable in Stockholm. Vapiano is a German chain serving up fresh cooked to order Italian fare. With locations worldwide, from NYC, Brasil, South Korea… Each diner is handed a chip card, which you swipe at the various ordering points, totting up what you’re spending and then pay at the till as you leave, swiping a handful of the complimentary Gummi bear sweets at the same time...

  61. Last year, when Saff was invited along to review the newly refurbished Rib Room, I was gutted! Not only had the iconic Knightsbridge restaurant been given a makeover by designer Martin Brudnizki but Head chef Ian Rudge had created a new menu too. (Don’t worry the renowned roast rib of beef is still there – but be warned, it’s huge. literally the size of a cow!) So when I found out that the Rib Room bar menu also had a recent overhaul, I just had to go. Also they were recently awarded three AA Rosettes at the AA Hospitality Awards 2012, and Michele was named Hotel Restaurant Manager of the Year at The 2012 Hotel Cateys. The elegant bar and restaurant has a really cozy feel...

  62. Hackney is not a place we venture to often, but since discovering Dukes Brew & Que, that may change that. In fact, we have already returned once. A bookable, yes, you heard us right, bookable BBQ restaurant. Home to the Beavertown Brewery, so a great range of beer, and some of the best cocktails we’ve had in a long time. Dukes have taken over what was previously an old pub, refurbished it and is now serving up ribs, sliders, burgers… You get the gist, with smoking equipment imported from Oklahoma...

  63. When a visit to a restaurant involves walking past both MEATliquor and Tommi’s Burger Joint, we knew we’d just spend the night hankering after a dirty burger, washed down with a cocktail. However, The Fat of the Land was our destination, a newly opened Spanish gastropub-come-restaurant hidden behind the bustling streets of Marylebone. Run by Michael Kittos and Tony Wolfe, the duo responsible for The Queen’s Head & Artichoke in Regent’s Park and The Norfolk Arms in Bloomsbury. We had high hopes for this place and were really looking forward to some Spanish cuisine, having not had any since our trip to Madrid in September...

  64. To be honest, when I heard Dishoom were opening a new restaurant in Shoreditch I wasn’t as excited as I hoped to be. Basically Shoreditch is not my kind of place, a bit too young, noisy and trendy for me. I was hoping they’d open somewhere else, Spitalfields or Smithfield perhaps, anywhere else that begins with an S. However from the moment we walked through those huge gates on Boundary Street and up through the outside terrace we were smitten. This isn’t the Shoreditch that makes me want to flee to the comfort and sanctuary of my own home, this is actually quite calm, buzzy but not too much. Plus this is Dishoom, the place where we can always be guaranteed a good meal. One of the only place that we have both adored every single morsel of food that has gone into our mouths...

  65. Published : Saturday, 13th October 2012

    Volupte | Volupté, 7-9 Norwich Street, London EC4A 1EJ

    Normally on a Friday night we’re worn out and slumped in front of the telly watching True Blood with a takeaway. Last week we decided on a break from the norm and went…

  66. If we were to tell you that we had a great night out at the Hippodrome, you’d probably think we were a little crazy and/or drunk! To be honest if this review was done a few years back we would have to agree with you. I last had the displeasure of staggering out of the Hippodrome after a work’s awards night and was left with the memories of a dark somehow claustrophobic nightclub with damp, sticky carpets and overpriced drinks… Not good! But all that has changed and the recently opened Hippodrome Casino is now a spacious, welcoming and reasonably priced venue in the heart of the West End that’s open 24/7...

  67. Ever since we started working on the South Bank, we have always wanted to visit Roast. It’s been on our restaurant bucket list for so long, finally we went. Roast is perched above the lovely Borough Market, with views of not just the bustling market and Market Porter pub, but also of the Shard and St Paul’s. Serving up British food with produce from the handily located market below. It’s owned by restaurateur Iqbal Wahhab, who founded the Cinnamon Club and who also recently took over the Indian street food restaurant Mooli’s...

  68. To be honest I’m a little down at the moment… I’m just back from a wonderful break at Huntstile Organic Farm and had caught The Paralympic feel-good fever. So as the last firework of the closing ceremony faded, I was left feeling rather flat… So I thought, what’s a better way to get back some fizz than with a champagne pairing evening courtesy of French Bubbles?...

  69. Our initial gut feeling about Dalla Terra, a newish little Italian wine bar/restaurant on St Martin’s Courtyard was pretty bad. The reason being one of the waiters made us feel a little intimidated and very unwelcome, I think if we hadn’t been reviewing we would have just walked out. Questions regarding how many small plates we should order were met with sarcasm. Staggeringly when we asked which wine the waiter recommended he shrugged his shoulders, wine is what this place is all about! We were after some Puglian wine but they were all out apparently. We were also snootily asked what price range we fell into, as if judging us by our appearance, I think he felt we didn’t fit in with the suited clientele and have suitable spending power...

  70. I have discovered a place in London that does happy hour ALL day and night! Well, all day Sunday to Wednesday. Las Iguanas in Old Spitalfields Market is amongst an array of other chains, but this branch boasts a little cocktail deck overlooking the market. Multi coloured lanterns adorned the balcony, the only thing missing was a little bit of background music...

  71. We are so very jealous of the residents of Hammersmith, their new neighbourhood pub is one that we could only dream of. The Thatched House near Ravenscourt Park tube has recently opened under the watchful eye of publican extraordinaire Oisin Rogers, alongside Phil White. You are more likely to have heard of Oisin’s super successful other pub, The Ship in Wandsworth, which has just been voted 4th in the UK’s 10 Best Gastro Pubs...

  72. We had the chance to visit Dabbous. We turned it down. Are we mad? Possibly, yes, but it was for a very good cause. The Table restaurant on Southwark Street, where our blog began, was having a press night to showcase their new head chef, Cinzia Ghighoni, and we wanted to lend our support. Cinzia, previously of Duck Soup and nearby Zucca has taken over the Head Chef reigns from Shaun Alpine-Crabtree, and slotted in perfectly, giving a new lease of life to the menu (not that we think it needed it of course)...

  73. If the queue outside MEATLiquor seems a little shorter at the moment then that might be due to a new player in town… The Icelandic King of burgers. Literally around the corner, Tommi’s Burger Joint is adding fuel to the fire that is the capital’s insatiable appetite for a decent slab of beef in a bun. As soon as we walked into this tiny 25 cover American style burger diner, we immediately felt at home. Of course it had the obligatory London restaurant industrial feel but with a slight little twist, the menu short and the air was thick with the smell of grilled course ground beef steak...

  74. We have only eaten in Canary Wharf a couple of times and on both occasions we’ve been left feeling a little flat and disappointed. It seems to us that the restaurants here don’t have to try too hard to keep up standards, due to the fact that they have a captive (and very monied) audience. These establishments don’t even have to be competitively priced or follow the food trends sweeping the rest of London. When we were invited along to the Boisdale of Canary Wharf we were hoping that all the above comments would be proved wrong, but sadly not...