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22 August 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from MotleySpicer

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  1. Published : Friday, 8th August 2014

    Burger Meats Bun | Review: Burger Meats Bun Glasgow

    It seems the burger trend isn’t limited to just London and I’d heard about some good burger places up in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Since I happened to be up there for the Games the other week, I thought I’d check a couple out. I ended up at Burger Meats Bun for a pre-flight meal on my way out of Glasgow as it had pretty solid reviews and was conveniently close to the airport shuttle. BMB is a cosy below ground joint with a spartan wood panelled décor, friendly staff, and pretty reasonable prices. I ended up having a chat with my waiter about assault courses as I was bundled up in a Rat Race hoodie – not something that happens too often down in London where speed is of the essence...

  2. Published : Monday, 28th July 2014

    Ubiquitous Chip | Review: Ubiquitous Chip Glasgow

    Each time I visit a new city, I do what most foodies do and try the local speciality. And in Glasgow, it was reasonable to assume this should be haggis. A quick survey of my Glaswegian friends resulted in a near unanimous recommendation of Ubiquitous Chip for the best haggis in town, and it didn’t disappoint. UC has been around for decades and has a look to match its timeless nature. The interior maintains its rich dark wood panelling but the high ceilings and excellent use of natural light gives it a very modern air. Check out the lighting too while you are there as they’ve turned old cut glass decanters into lamp shades and the stoppers dangle as a chandelier. About half the restaurant benefits from a massive skylight which gives you great light (and few shadows) for taking pictures although has the slight drawback of being quite hot on a sunny summer day...

  3. Published : Tuesday, 22nd July 2014

    Dip & Flip | Review: Dip & Flip Revisited

    I first made my way down to Dip & Flip just after it opened about a year ago and it seemed high time for a return visit. Check out my earlier thoughts here. The menu has grown a little bit to include a green chilli cheeseburger as well as a bacon cheeseburger plus I heard they’d tweaked the gravy from what was previously on offer. The layout was just as I remembered – fairly Spartan but yet surprisingly comfortable and the open play nature makes the most of the space. The staff are quick to greet you when you walk and perfectly manage the balance between being helpful and being invisible...

  4. Thanks to the new job, it’s been a while since I’ve written anything let alone gone out for a big night. But it was Dan’s 25th birthday party and that seemed like a good excuse to finally get around to checking out Earlham St Clubhouse – a solid contender for the best pizza in London. ESC is 90s themed bar that happens to also serve up a pretty good pie. The décor is eclectic and kitschy– from the phones at each booth (ours was a red stiletto) to the ingenious use of suspenders to hang menus from the ceiling – but it does all add to the charm. Price-wise, the pizzas and cocktails are both reasonable so it’s a spot almost everyone can be happy checking out...

  5. Published : Wednesday, 28th May 2014

    Tramshed | Review: Tramshed

    Tramshed is a massive open warehouse style restaurant with a inversely small menu. Yet, while it only does a few things, it does them very well. The open air layout gives the feeling of dining al fresco while hiding you away from the elements. All the staff were polite with our waitress being both hilarious and attentive. While it’s not cheap, Tramshed is a reasonable place to head out for a dinner with good friends with 3 courses plus wine ringing in around £45pp. This is one of Mark Hix’s restaurants and his touch is evident in the style and quality of the food. Of course, it’s hard to miss the giant cow and chicken which makes up the centrepiece of the restaurant. It’s strangely not off putting as you’d think (given it’s a massive tank of formaldehyde) and adds something to the serenity of the space...

  6. Published : Wednesday, 21st May 2014

    Beard to Tail | Review: Beard to Tail

    Beard to Tail is less restaurant and more a marriage between an American whiskey & bbq pit and an upscale tapas bar – which is pretty damn awesome. The food is beautifully presented, the cocktail list long and tempting, and the service and atmosphere friendly and relaxing. All the menu items are designed to be smaller sharing plates so it’s best to go with a mate or two. However, keep in mind that if you are looking to fill up, it’s not going to be cheap with prices per plate hitting the £6-10 range and cocktails ringing up at £8-10 as well. But if you’re looking for a place to catch up with a friend while nibbling on a few things, then B2T is the place for you...

  7. Published : Thursday, 15th May 2014

    Bird | Review: Bird (is the word)

    Bird is one of the latest entrants capitalizing on the fried chicken craze that’s building up in the capital. Sure, we’re had some pretty decent chicken spots holding down the fort, but it’s only the last 6 months or so that the tempo of new openings has really built up. Taking over the space on Kingsland road from a couple of largely defunct bars, Bird has a modern theme with exposed brick and shiny metal chairs that are far more comfortable than you’d expect. The staff are friendly and attentive with a good understanding of the menu. It does seem that there are a few kinks to still be worked out as one of the sides, the corn pudding, has apparently been taken off the menu despite Bird being open for barely a week. The chicken, though, is fantastic...

  8. Jones Family Project is a relaxed, friendly, and very comfortable place to enjoy a meal while catching up with friends. Spread over two levels, you can choose to pop into the ground floor bar for a cocktail and a bite or head downstairs for a full-fledged meal. The understated décor of the lower ground restaurant helps open up the space and create an airy feel while the enthusiastic energy of the staff will make you feel at home. The food is mainly European inspired and focuses on fresh UK produce – essentially a bit of gourmet home cooking executed with style...

  9. The New Angel in Notting Hill is an elegant yet relaxed upscale dining spot just around the corner from Westbourne Grove. It’s the reincarnation of Chef Patron John Burton-Race’s previous place in Dartmouth (also called The New Angel) which was apparently closed by his ex-wife while JBR was filming “I’m a Celebrity… get me out of here!” in Australia. A bit sad really because, if the new New Angel is anything to go by, it would have been a great place to visit. The atmosphere is pretty chill and the staff helpful without being obtrusive – especially the charming Stephan who talked us through the desserts. At £44/£54 for a 2/3 course meal, its reasonably priced for the area and on par with similar style restaurants around London although the bill quickly grows when you add a cheese course and wine...

  10. Comptoir Gascon recently was featured as having an excellent burger that’s a bit off the beaten (publicity) track. As a rustic French restaurant, CG is indeed excellent with a superb cassoulet and delicious garlicky snails – just what you want when you fancy a culinary trip across the Channel without actually getting on the Eurostar. However, as a burger joint I think CG has a long way to go to unseat the current ruling grillmasters. It’s a different burger, to be far, with CG’s being made from duck as opposed to the traditional beef, but still falls short on common elements. And it’s not cheap either...

  11. On this particular Sunday, the gf and I headed to the Royal Oak to try out their delicious looking roasts. Standing guard over one end of Columbia Road, the Royal Oak has the look and feel of an established boozer, yet the kitchen served up a mix of British classics and more modern takes. The staff are friendly and up for a chat and the pub itself is very dog friendly – as evidenced by the number of pooches hanging out including one very large guy who tried to snag my Yorkshire pudding!...

  12. Building on the success of its original Chelsea site, Big Easy has brought its brand of American BBQ more central with a new site in Covent Garden. All in all, a good addition to the CG food scene or rather it will be once it irons out the remaining kinks. For now, it feels a bit like the second spot is trading on the rep of the original and it remains to be seen if it can live up to its older sibling. The décor and general atmosphere leans more towards the whiskey and ribs joint found down in Texas rather than the crabshack theme in the original and the menu follows suit with plenty of BBQ choices and one hell of an impressive whiskey selection. On the whole, the staff are friendly and welcoming although lean a tad away from professional when out of immediate sight (though not hearing) of customers...

  13. Published : Wednesday, 12th March 2014

    Edwins | Review: Edwins Borough (Soft Open)

    Edwins Borough is a New Orleans-esque salon restaurant located just above the Trinity pub at next to Borough tube station. The innocuous door leads to a spartan staircase and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking you’d taken the entrance to someone’s flat instead. And while the layout still bears some resemblance to just that, the feeling completely changes once you get to the main room. We were greeted with enthusiasm and quickly relieved of our coats, bags, and helmets (yep we’re a cycling crew) before being ushered graciously to our table...

  14. Published : Sunday, 9th March 2014

    Bukowski | Burgerquest: Bukowski Grill Box Park

    It was time for another burgerquest, and Bukowski Grill’s Box Park location was just the ticket. A quick glance at the menu online revealed a handful of intriguing options plus the ability to build up a burger from scratch. Given that it was Box Park, seating was extremely limited inside but they guided us to grab a seat on the outdoor tables and relax with a beer under the heat lamps. The staff were friendly and quirky, and it’s fairly impressive how they manage to serve up so many burgers from a kitchen that’s smaller than my closet. Price wise, it’s quite reasonable at around £9-10/burger and beer for about £4...

  15. Published : Thursday, 6th March 2014

    Big Easy Chelsea | Review: Big Easy Chelsea

    I’ve been meaning to hit up Big Easy for absolute ages if for no other reason but to tackle their unlimited ribs deal on Mondays. Unfortunately, we ended up going on Tuesday but since it was unlimited shrimp day it wasn’t all that bad. The restaurant is suitably (and tackily albeit lovably so) decorated with various fishing/shrimping gear and nets as well as a number of hilarious posters. The staff are very friendly and helpful and somehow managed to maneuver massive trays of meat through the tightly packed tables without any accidents. The atmosphere is vibrant and the value for money pretty damn impressive. They’ve got a new spot opening up in Covent Garden in a week or so – very much looking forward to a trip there soon!...

  16. Published : Tuesday, 4th March 2014

    Café Murano | Review: Cafe Murano & The American Bar

    Michelin-starred Murano’s little sibling, Café Murano has become the latest hot spot in the trendy Green Park area. The menu draws inspiration from North Italy with Chef Angela Hartnett looking to draw in regulars as well as destination diners. The atmosphere is cosy with warm lighting and woods although a bit of light background music would have been a great addition. The staff are friendly but seemed a tad lost at times with parts of our order being forgotten twice and the wine only arriving at the end of the meal. Our group of 7 was coming from all over town, so we gathered at the quirky and kitschy American Bar at the Stafford Hotel...

  17. Published : Wednesday, 19th February 2014

    Clutch | Review: Clutch London

    Clutch is one of the latest London locations to capitalise on the growing fried chicken food trend – and they do an outstanding job of it. The menu, naturally, is very chicken-centric from the rotisserie chicken brunch menu to the fried chicken dinner menu. It’s simple, straight forward, and damn delicious...

  18. Tommi’s Burger Joint is one of the staples of the London burger scene and runs a master class in how to do a simple burger exceptionally well. From the first extended pop-up to the residency at the Princess of Wales, Tommi’s has done a bang up job bringing quality burgers to the capital. So of course, I had to go try out the permanent restaurant on Thayer Street when I found myself hungry after an event at the Nordic Bakery. The restaurant is small and simple but packed with character and a surprising amount of seating (30 covers!). The Icelandic crew are on the ball (mostly) and to top it off there are a ridiculous number of sauces to customise your burger...

  19. Published : Tuesday, 4th February 2014

    Honest Burgers Portobello | Review: Honest Burger Portobello

    Honest Burgers is rapidly becoming a London institution when it comes to finding…well a good burger. From its humble beginnings as a Brixton shop, the franchise has exploded across town with locations in Soho, Camden, KX, and Portobello. The menu is fairly simple with 3 main burger options (and a veggie one too) plus a special with changes on a near monthly basis and a slowly expanding range of sides. Each shop is quite small and cosy but it’s worth the wait to sink your teeth into their meat. At £8-10 for the burgers (including chips), the price is pretty damn awesome too...