16 April 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Gingle lists everything


Eating. Drinking. Clubbing. Free things. Fun things. Quirky things. This is what I do. This is what I will write about.These are things I list, cross off the list, and then replace with more new things on the list. Join me in my crossing off fetish.

  1. Published : Sunday, 6th April 2014

    On The Bab | On the Bab, 28th March

    On the Bab is a cute little Korean place on Old Street serving up 'anju' (food meant to be eaten with beer) plus a whole host of other Korean staples and otherwise. Unfortunately, the food flip-flopped between tasty and tasteless or 'takeway Chinese'. We ordered a range of dishes to try out all the different things they did. First to arrive were the kimchi jeon – a kimchi pancake, and the bibimbap with bulgogi beef. The pancakes - delicious and cripsy, working well with either the surprisingly light chilli oil, or the more pungent chilli sauce...

  2. Published : Friday, 4th April 2014

    21 Covent Garden | 21 Covent Garden, 24th March

    I don't think I'm doing 21 Covent Garden a disservice when I say it's an 'everyday' restaurant. It's not the kind of place you'd go for a special occasion, although its setting and decor are perfect for a romantic rendezvous. Every table feels like it is its own private enclave and we were really impressed by what they had done with the place (apparently the cellar was previously disused and it was a pretty terrible touristy bar upstairs). The food is all Italian with the pasta all made in-house. It's the kind of place that is good for Covent Garden - somewhere that a Londoner can go and know they'll have a decent meal, not some swill being served because the place is full of tourists, and they won't get ripped off...

  3. Published : Tuesday, 1st April 2014

    Q Grill | Q Grill, 23rd March

    Reviewing a place while it is in its soft launch might not be entirely fair. But I'm going to do it anyway. However, please do bear in mind that it WAS their first week and so I'm sure any little niggles will soon be resolved. I hadn't intended on heading to Q Grill so soon after its opening but we happened to be in the area (after seeing the Scene and Heard plays) so it seemed silly not to take advantage of the 50% discount! Stephen and I did our usual of ordering a couple of things to share. The menu isn't exactly extensive but each of the seven or so choices under each section sound so good that it took a while for us to settle on something...

  4. Published : Thursday, 27th March 2014

    Hand of Glory | Hand of Glory, 22nd March

    I could feel my friends' patience dissipating the longer we walked up the residential street towards a destination they muttered 'better be worth it'. Well, in my humble opinion it was. Brought to you by the same people who run the Shoreditch institution Dreambags and Jaguar Shoes, this is a homely yet polished new pub which, yes, is kind of in the middle of nowhere in terms of nightlife happening around it. Which is fabulous if you live along Amhurst road and want a nice place to go for a pint, not so great if you're coming from Bethnal Green or Dalston. And it's also pretty good in terms of not being absolutely rammed. We got there at about 10 pm on a Saturday night and there was plenty of room for us to perch at the bar, although all the tables had already been filled...

  5. Published : Friday, 21st March 2014

    Coal Vaults | Coal Vaults, 17th March

    The Coal Vaults, a relatively new, and very stylish underground drinking (and eating) den in the heart of Soho have an offer of 50% off all food and cocktails every Monday to entice people out on the most boring day of the week. It is well worth taking up this offer, or indeed visiting any other day. This is really my kind of place. High tables with stools for twosomes and threesomes, nooks and crannies with booths if there are more of you. Low lighting (though bright enough to take a decent picture) with boozy cocktails on the menu and some really interesting food to eat. Of that, we did not take full advantage; in the end we had one plate each and shared one and I heartily enjoyed both, leaving me champing at the bit to come back and try some of the others...

  6. Published : Thursday, 13th March 2014

    Made in the Shade | NOLA bar, Made in the Shade, 6th March

    One of my best friends and his boyfriend are in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and not wanting to miss out I thought we might as well finally check out NOLA bar before our dinner. After rather embarrassingly taking the wrong set of stairs (note - if you are walking up a rickety set of stairs thinking they seem too dangerous for people who may be drinking, you're probably in the wrong place), we found the bar. A few tables were reserved but there were plenty of places available. The bar says it is table service only, but one of the groups in there had congregated around the bar. We only had time for one drink and it was hard to pick one out of the many on offer. I noticed a lot of gin, a LOT of rum, and quite a bit of absinthe...

  7. Published : Friday, 7th March 2014

    Satan's Whiskers | Satan's WHiskers

    I've been meaning to get to Satan's Whiskers for a while now. They hadn't quite opened the first time I wanted to go, and they were too full the second. Third time's the charm and just to be sure we made a booking. We weren't sure if they did food and didn't think to look until we were on the tube on our way there. Deciding not to risk a hungry evening in case they didn't, we went round the corner to Hawker House (any excuse). We both tried a new trader, and, as we have come to expect, loved it. I had my first Born and Raised pizza - pepperoni, and Stephen had a bento box from Hot Box. My pizza was an oblong individual pizza cut in half. It was amazingly oozey – sauce and pepperoni juice ran down my hand the minute I took a bite. Stephen's bento box had a smoked beef, pork and jalapeno sausage with a barbecued chicken thigh. Plus a piece of cornbread and some BBQ sauce. Neither meat needed any sauce to go with them as they were both incredibly juicy and tender. ..

  8. Published : Wednesday, 22nd January 2014

    Oslo | Oslo, 17th January

    People love a freebie and the Oslo launch last Friday was no exception. Twenty minutes deep into a queue, with what looked like at least as long to go before me, and I started to wonder if this was really worth it. How good could it be in there? Answer: SO good! Maybe not wait-40-minutes-in-the-cold-good but once I was in I was happy I'd made the effort and I doubt the massive queue will be a regular occurrence. Knowing how many people must have been ahead of us to necessitate waiting so long, we knew it would be busy inside. And, in the downstairs bar area, there was quite a crush. Miraculously, this did not translate to a massive wait at the bar and we got served really speedily. Perhaps that is a sign of talented and efficient bar staff...

  9. Published : Monday, 20th January 2014

    El Vino | El Vino, 15th January

    Strolling down Fleet Street one day, I walked past what looked like a quaint little wine store. On closer inspection I realised there were people inside drinking and that it was actually a wine bar. El Vino have several of these bars in the City, some of which have been going for 128 years in some form or other with the one on Fleet Street being the oldest. I went to El Vino on Wednesday night with my best friend. I specifically chose this place over the many other bars I want to visit because we're both a little low on funds and, shutting at 10, I thought that would stop us from splashing too much cash. They also serve food including a selection of tapas (even olde wine bars are not immune from the small dish pandemic) but a lot of it wouldn't be recognisable as tapas - as it was a hodge podge of different cuisines like English whitebait and beef burgers, Italian bruschetta or Spanish chorizo and fabadas).,,

  10. Published : Sunday, 29th December 2013

    Whyte & Brown | Whyte & Brown, 17th December

    I've been getting in to my chicken lately. Well, yeah, I know everyone has, but actually I've been slightly bucking the trend by giving my money to a knock-off Nando's down the road from me (called Roosters, if you're interested - great potato wedges) rather than the host of new rotisserie and 'posh' fried chicken places that London is so recently strewn with. Not that I don't plan on getting to those places eventually. But the one place that really caught my eye lately (after having been to Clockjack Oven a while ago) for some reason was Whyte & Brown. They're very dedicated to the chicken, but also show a lot of appreciation to the egg. And, while this place is sort of a one-note restaurant, focusing on just chicken and eggs as it does, they are showing a lot of inventiveness in the ways they serve this. Trying to decide which chicken or egg dish to go for was not an easy task...

  11. Published : Friday, 13th December 2013

    Mr Buckley's | Mr Buckley

    The place has a clean, stripped back look – bare yellow brick walls, wooden benches and tables. It appealed to us as soon as we came in and we made murmurings of approval to each other. Our lovely waitress (everyone was lovely in fact) came over and ‘explained’ the menu to us. They have, (like so many places these days) a sharing ethos but one that seems to work more functionally than just telling people to have three small plates each and divvy them up. Here you have jars, small plates, mains and sides so you could do a traditional starter, main, dessert combo if you wanted...

  12. Portside is a rum parlour so that features heavily - the first page is all rum-based cocktails, but on the second they cater to rum unenthusiasts. My cocktail, the Aged El Presidente, described as 'rounded and boozy' was pretty much all alcohol, but with enough of a fragrance to be drinkable. Alison's was bourbon based and fruitier with basil. Beyond that we cannot remember and I'm blaming it on the strength of those cocktails. The venue itself was very cool. If you didn't know it was there, you would never suspect, but I did and so with determination we made our way through the crowds in Off Broadway to the very back where there was a sign pointing you down the stairs. Had the door been shut down there, even then you might not have been certain you were going to a bar, as the door makes it look like it's just another toilet. If you go through that though you enter a bijou little den of drinking, with candlelight and a musky illicit aroma. Just my kind of place...

  13. Published : Monday, 15th July 2013

    Well and Bucket | The Well and Bucket, 10th May

    This is quite a large pub capitalising on the trend for craft beers. It looks like it would have a large beer garden at the back in which to enjoy them but, in fact, all it basically has is a little patio for people to cram into to smoke. The inside is impressive though and I think I would like this pub if I went to it on a weekend. On a Friday night it was packed and packed full of the people who work around there who I'm rather pleased aren't so prevalent on the weekends. O! where were the hipsters?...

  14. Published : Tuesday, 19th March 2013

    Leong's Legends | Leong

    I heard about Leong's Legends when I sent a plea to secret_london for places in London that do soupy dumplings after I was disappointed with the ones in Beijing Dumpling. So all I was really interested in was how well they did this one dish. And they were far superior to the Beijing ones - these ones actually had a spoonful of porky soup in them, and the dumplings themselves were tasty - light skins, fully filled...

  15. Published : Thursday, 14th February 2013

    Clockjack Oven | Clockjack Oven, 8th February

    As my friend and I remarked afterwards, one of the reasons we enjoyed Clockjack Oven so much is because, for us, chicken is much neglected in a meal out. Given the choice, I'm much more likely to order some lovely beef, or pork belly rather than the poor, plebeian chicken. But, being at a restaurant where there is no choice, we heartily enjoyed giving some attention to the oft-overlooked beast. Now, I know there are chicken-only places popping up all over the place, but apart from Orange Buffalo, which is by no means a restaurant, this is the first I've tried. It has piqued my interest to try some more...

  16. Published : Thursday, 7th February 2013

    Sebright Arms | Sebright Arms, 1st February

    I found myself there for a quick drink on Friday before gorging myself on Fonduta at Forza Win(ter) and had much more time to appraise the place. I liked it. It is definitely a pub, not a bar, and not of the shiny gastro variety neither. In fact, the decor rather reminds me of the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club - similar red velvety yet shabby tones abound. There's an upstairs with a few banquettes and tables and chairs, and a downstairs where they have several gigs a week. As I sat sipping my large house red (only a fiver, bargain!) my table vibrated with the drums and the bass of whichever band was warming up in the basement...