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29 July 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from Samphire and Salsify

(menu)

just another food blog


  1. Arabica Bar and Kitchen is a restaurant which specialises in food from the Middle East (if you’re into that sort of thing you must try The Palomar by the way) and it’s based right in the heart of Borough Market. The dining room sits under a huge railway arch making the space a rather charming one. The atmosphere matched that of the market; bustling and lively which was helped by the open kitchen and bar with stool seats, and not to forget, the loud music...

  2. Published : Sunday, 20th July 2014

    Alimentum | Alimentum, Cambridge

    Alimentum is a Michelin starred restaurant based in Cambridge which is run by a chap called Mark Poynton, whom you might recognise from BBC’s Great British Menu. He used to be head chef at Midsummer House (a two Michelin starred restaurant, also in Cambridge) so he’s got plenty of experience in the art of fine dining. The dining room simply wasn’t my cup of tea; it all felt a bit cheap and naff. The black and dark red colour scheme (which clashed with the brown village hall flooring) made me feel like I was in an episode of Changing Rooms in the 90′s. I half expected Carol Smillie to bring out the amuse bouche...

  3. Published : Thursday, 17th July 2014

    Searcy's | The Gherkin | Searcys at The Gherkin

    To celebrate their 10th year at the top of the Gherkin, Searcys (a private members club) have opened their restaurant on the 39th floor to the public for seven weeks – hoorah! I was kindly invited along to a preview lunch to see what it’s all about. My first visit to the Gherkin was a really impressive one, but a lot has changed since then. Gone are the white tablecloths and the champagne trolley; the whole place feels far more relaxed now. What hasn’t changed however is that magnificent view – and it really is worth seeing...

  4. Published : Friday, 4th July 2014

    The Palomar | The Palomar, Soho

    Based on Rupert Street in Soho, The Palomar is a restaurant that specialises in ‘the food of modern day Jerusalem’. Even though it’s only just opened, I don’t know anybody that hasn’t loved it so I went with high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed – hoorah! As they don’t take reservations at the long counter which overlooks the kitchen, on our busy Friday night visit we were told of an hour wait, but we could wander off for a drink and return once they’d rung which was good. We arrived back to a packed restaurant with a brilliant atmosphere – it’s got to be one of the most exciting places to sit and eat your supper in London at the minute...

  5. Published : Monday, 30th June 2014

    Bocca di Lupo | Bocca di Lupo, Soho

    Bocca di Lupo (which means ‘into the mouth of the wolf’) is an Italian restaurant in Soho and one in which I’ve always struggled getting a table – believe me I’ve tried. We were on the waiting list for dinner for my friend’s birthday and as luck would have it, they managed to squeeze us in as long as they had the table back within two hours. The restaurant was split into two sections; a long and narrow bar with stool seats overlooking the kitchen, and a small dining room out the back, which is where we were seated. Waiters quickly scurried in and out of the tightly packed tables, which gave everything a slightly chaotic but charming atmosphere...

  6. Published : Monday, 30th June 2014

    Primeur | Primeur

    The website for Primeur gives very little away – the only bit of helpful information is that they only take ‘face to face reservations’. Even the map is so vague you’d need a degree in orienteering to find the place. But I somehow managed to end up there (it’s somewhere between Highbury and Islington and Canonbury) for a weeknight dinner and found it rather charming. Based in an old garage called Barnes Motors on an eerily quiet residential street, it felt every bit a ‘neighbourhood restaurant’. The old garage shutter is still in use, meaning on a balmy evening the whole front opens up which is a really lovely touch. Inside they’ve opted for communal tables, which I imagine wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea, but it does add to the whole ‘sharing is caring’ vibe of the place...

  7. Published : Friday, 27th June 2014

    Chop Shop | Chop Shop, Haymarket

    Chop Shop is based on that tourist infested bit of Haymarket that I rarely visit – you know, the road with Planet Hollywood and Tiger Tiger on it. The perfect antidote to all that naff-ness is Chop Shop, a newish restaurant backed by American restaurant group Altamarea and fronted by a lovely chap called Will Guess. I’d heard great things about the food, so when I received an email inviting me along (don’t shoot!), I accepted with very little trepidation. The ground floor dining room was a fairly long and narrow space; it had that ever-familiar warehouse feel, with plenty of exposed brick and piping. There was even a wall filled with butchers’ knives sticking out of it. The menu was a tad confusing; you could choose from snacks & bites, jars, planks and crocs and that was just for starters...

  8. Our first visit to Paul Ainsworth’s restaurant No.6 in Padstow, Cornwall was absolutely faultless; cracking food and service and totally deserving of its Michelin star. On a return visit to the area with my parents, I couldn’t resist dragging them in for lunch. If you haven’t been to Padstow before, you really must; it’s a beautiful harbour town which is filled with great restaurants. As it was half term, the restaurant was packed, giving it a really lovely and relaxed atmosphere. The building used to be a guest house which is obvious because the dining room is split into different rooms; it’s a very charming space...

  9. Published : Tuesday, 17th June 2014

    The Garrison | The Garrison, Bermondsey Street

    The Garrison is a pub-cum-restaurant on Bermondsey Street and it’s owned by the same people as Riding House Café and Village East. After a not-so-successful lunch at the latter, I was hoping the Garrison would be a good choice for a relaxing Sunday roast on Father’s Day – but sadly it wasn’t quite so. It’s a really charming space with a bustling atmosphere which is helped by the fact the place is constantly busy. It’s all very reclaimed wooden tables, mis-matched chairs and random, old fashioned lamp shades...

  10. Published : Sunday, 15th June 2014

    Barrica | Barrica, Goodge Street

    To be honest, I’d never heard of Barrica before – a tapas restaurant on Goodge Street just a couple of doors down from Salt Yard. That was until I saw it in the ‘Bib Gourmand recommends’ section of the Michelin guide, so we thought we’d pop down with a group of friends to check it out. On our Friday evening visit the place was heaving but luckily they take reservations which is a rare treat these days...

  11. Published : Saturday, 14th June 2014

    Le Mercury | Le Mercury, Islington

    I’d never heard of Le Mercury (a French restaurant in Islington) until a friend suggested it for a cheap and cheerful dinner. It’s been going strong for nearly thirty years and it’s so popular they’ve even opened a second restaurant down the road, Le Mercury Deuxieme, which serves exactly the same menu. It was packed when we arrived so we were seated in the upstairs dining room. It was very….quaint. The candlelit tables were tightly packed together and topped with paper tablecloths and napkins...

  12. Published : Wednesday, 11th June 2014

    GB Pizza Co Margate | GB Pizza Co, Margate

    I’ve been to Margate a few times and it’s not exactly known for its food offerings; that was until GB Pizza Co came along. We went to their restaurant on Exmouth Market and really loved it so on a sunny Sunday trip to the seaside we couldn’t resist popping into their original. Based on the seafront, it was a simple space with shared tables and the menu on the wall behind the counter where you order. Because we’re pigs, we ordered three pizzas. The crusts aren’t spongy like you find in other pizzerias at the minute; here they’re crispy which works really well with the wet and sloppy toppings. The Margate-Rita (£6) was really good value as there was loads of cheese – I hate it when pizzas have more tomato than cheese. It wasn’t bland or boring either...

  13. Published : Monday, 9th June 2014

    Big Easy Covent Garden | Big Easy, Covent Garden

    We really enjoyed our visit to the original Big Easy in Chelsea so when I heard they were opening one in Covent Garden (opposite Rules), I was moist with anticipation. The new place has got the same ethos; lobsters, pulled pork, ribs and so on but they’ve brought in a new chef (a chap from America) to take things up a gear. It’s a seriously big restaurant; I’m talking humungous. And that’s not the half of it; you’ll need some hiking boots and a bar of Kendal Mint Cake with you for the walk to the gents – it’s quite literally miles away...

  14. Published : Thursday, 29th May 2014

    Chiltern Firehouse | Chiltern Firehouse, Marylebone

    It’s fair to say that Chiltern Firehouse is London’s hottest ‘sleb’ spot right now. Anybody who’s anybody ain’t anybody if they haven’t been papped leaving this restaurant in Andre Balazs’ first UK hotel based in a former, and rather grand, fire station in Marylebone. It’s not all smoke and mirrors however, as head chef Nuno Mendes (formerly of Viajante in Bethnal Green) is running the kitchen – and he’s bloody good. I loved my first visit when we sat at the counter overlooking the bustling kitchen. My visit on this occasion however was for brunch with some friends and this time we were seated in the middle of the dining room. It was an attractive space if not a little cramped; whalloping one of the handsome waiters in the groin (accidentally) soon became a common occurrence. And that’s another thing; every single person who works there is so incredibly good looking – but friendly with it too which is nice...

  15. Published : Saturday, 24th May 2014

    Chicken Shop Tooting | Chicken Shop, Tooting

    Our visit to the original Chicken Shop in Kentish Town (a venture by the Soho Group which serves only rotisserie chicken) was a hugely successful one – we loved it. Feeling a little bored one Sunday afternoon we decided to make the schlep to Tooting to visit their second restaurant (they plan to open a whole load more apparently). It was a really tiny restaurant which looked ever so quaint and pretty from the outside. We could have sat on stool seats at the counter in the entrance area which overlooked the plump chicks rotating above an open charcoal pit (the smell was great). Instead we chose to sit in the small dining room out the back which was a 20 minute or so wait for a table. It was a little bit cramped but charmingly manageable...

  16. Published : Saturday, 24th May 2014

    The Clove Club | The Clove Club, Shoreditch

    Located in the Shoreditch Town Hall, the Clove Club is the second restaurant from the chaps behind Upstairs at the Ten Bells. I’ve been meaning to visit ever since it opened but it somehow slipped by me, so I was really excited for our dinner. We were seated in the dining room, where only a set menu was available, priced at £55 for eight courses. We could have chosen the bar area which serves an a la carte menu but we wanted to do the whole kaboodle and get the full experience...

  17. I loved our visit to Tommi’s Burger Joint just off Marylebone High Street (the first of the Icelandic burger chain in the UK from a guy called Tomas Tomasson). After a slightly unfulfilling dinner at Lyle’s in Shoreditch, we decided to cross town for a quick burgery snack at their new shop in Chelsea. The small ground floor dining room was a cutely designed space; lots of fairy lights with a mix of high stools and seats. As it was rather busy we took a pew in one of the booths in the basement which was a cold and echoey space; the roar of the drunken Chelsea boys was the soundtrack to our visit which wasn’t hugely pleasant...

  18. Published : Tuesday, 20th May 2014

    Lyle's | Lyle’s, Shoreditch

    Based a couple of doors down from Shoreditch House, Lyle’s is the new restaurant from a chap called James Lowe (he used to be part of the Young Turks who went on to open the Clove Club also in Shoreditch) and John Ogier. With no sign outside, we walked past the place a couple of times before realising where it was. Inside was a bright and airy affair; plain white walls, concrete floor and wooden chairs that looked like they’d been stolen from a primary school. On our sunny Saturday night visit the restaurant looked beautiful, but I imagine on a chilly winter’s evening it could feel a bit cold and sterile...

  19. Backed by none other than Jason Atherton, Typing Room is the new restaurant which replaces Viajante in the Bethnal Green Town Hall. I was really sad to hear Nuno Mendes (now of Chiltern Firehouse fame) was closing Viajante as it was such a unique and exciting restaurant. Intrigued as ever by a new opening, we popped down for lunch to see what head chef Lee Wescott had done with the new place. The layout and design was very much the same as before; there were still two small dining rooms and still an open plan kitchen. It had a pleasant atmosphere, however we were seated at a table next to the service area meaning we could awkwardly hear the manager telling off the staff which wasn’t great...

  20. Published : Friday, 16th May 2014

    Anchor & Hope | Anchor and Hope, Waterloo

    Based near Southwark tube station, The Anchor and Hope is the first pub/restaurant from the people behind the Canton Arms, Great Queen Street and the Camberwell Arms. We enjoyed our meals at their other restaurants and as we haven’t been to their original one for so long, we thought we’d pop along for a spot of din dins...

  21. Published : Tuesday, 13th May 2014

    Fera at Claridge's | Fera at Claridge’s

    Fera at Claridge’s is the hotel’s brand spanking new restaurant by Simon Rogan – his first London venture since the very successful “pop-up” Roganic in Marylebone. Having eaten particularly well at L’enclume and The French, we were really excited to be trying his new place. Fera (which means ‘wild’ in Latin) has replaced the old Gordon Ramsay restaurant and what a transformation it is. The dining room is ever so handsome. It’s a very battleship grey affair with plush carpets, dark leather seating and beautiful sections of stained glass on the ceiling...

  22. Published : Wednesday, 7th May 2014

    Blanchette | Blanchette, Soho

    Owned by three French brothers, Blanchette is a charming little bistro on D’Arblay Street in Soho (opposite the wonderful Copita). It serves small sharing plates; think French tapas with a good selection of cheese and charcuterie. On our Tuesday night visit the place was heaving and with no reservation we were offered a seat at the bar. The stools (which I normally dread) turned out to be far more comfortable than they looked. It was a very homely restaurant; it felt like we were sitting in a French Granny’s cottage in the Dordogne...

  23. Published : Tuesday, 6th May 2014

    Bird of Smithfield | Bird of Smithfield

    Located slap bang opposite Smithfield Market, Bird of Smithfield is a restaurant and bar which is partly owned by head chef Alan Bird, who was previously head chef at The Ivy, something which is clear when looking at the menu. Set in a Georgian townhouse, the whole place felt like a private members club as it was spread over five floors, with a restaurant, private dining room, bar and a roof terrace. Late on a Friday evening we popped in for a spot of dinner and the place was surprisingly quiet. The dining room was a lot smaller than I imagined...

  24. Published : Sunday, 4th May 2014

    Spitbank Fort | Spitbank Fort, Portsmouth

    Located near Portsmouth harbour, Spitbank Fort was built as a sea fort to defend the Solent in 1859. Even though it was stocked with many a weapon, it never actually ‘fired in anger’ during its eighty four year existence under military rule and it is now listed as a Scheduled Ancient Monument. Anyway, enough of the Wiki history lesson, a company called Clarenco have since turned it into a small luxury hotel. For obvious reasons, it’s not exactly the cheapest of hotels to spend the night in but on specific dates they do open for Sunday lunch (£99 per person) so we decided to pop along and check it out...

  25. Published : Saturday, 3rd May 2014

    City Social | City Social, Tower 42

    Based in Tower 42, City Social is the latest restaurant from serial restaurateur Jason Atherton (he also owns Michelin starred Pollen Street Social and Social Eating House, along with Berners Tavern and Little Social). It replaces the old Gary Rhodes restaurant but the place is totally unrecognisable – thank God! To start, I opted for the pig’s trotter and ham hock with crispy Mrs Brown’s black pudding, apple and Madeira (£12) which was really enjoyable. The trotter and ham had a crisp breadcrumbed exterior with a succulent meaty centre which went perfectly with the sliced and puréed apple. I don’t know who Mrs Brown is but she makes a mean black pudding...

  26. Published : Saturday, 26th April 2014

    GB Pizza Co Exmouth Market | GB Pizza Co, Exmouth Market

    What started out as a street food venture serving pizzas from a wood fired oven in the back of a VW Campervan, GB•Pizza•Co now has a restaurant on the seafront in Margate and a newly opened site on Exmouth Market. As it was their opening weekend, all pizzas were 50% off so we thought we’d pop down to give it a try. It’s quite a stripped back affair; handmade wooden tables, metal chairs – there’s not even any cutlery. You order at the counter (they have a self service Prosecco tap I’ll have you know) and then wait for them to bring your pizza to the table...

  27. Published : Friday, 25th April 2014

    Midsummer House | Midsummer House, Cambridge

    Midsummer House is a two Michelin star restaurant in Cambridge which is owned by head chef Daniel Clifford (whom you might know from BBC’s Great British Menu). We first experienced Daniel’s food at the Cube by Electrolux pop-up on the Southbank and loved it, so we were really excited to finally be visiting his restaurant. Situated right by the river, it was a really beautiful setting; the building, complete with conservatory and garden, looked like somebody’s house not a restaurant. Inside was equally stunning; we were seated facing a window into the kitchen meaning we could see all the action yet in an elegant and calm manner. It’s got to be one of the prettiest dining rooms I’ve been in...

  28. Published : Thursday, 24th April 2014

    Patty & Bun Liverpool Street | Patty&Bun, Liverpool Street

    My visit to the original Patty&Bun just off Oxford Street provided me with one of the tastiest (and messiest) burgers I’ve come across. The mahoosive queues have however put me off eating there every night, which is probably a good thing. When I heard there was a new one opening slap bang opposite Liverpool Street Station (by the McDonalds) I knew it was only a matter of time before I ended up there. It’s a small space which mainly caters for takeaways; given the area I imagine it’ll do very well. If like me you want to eat in however, you order at the counter, give them your name, grab one of the very few seats they have available and wait for your name to be bellowed...

  29. Published : Thursday, 24th April 2014

    Tamarind | Tamarind, Mayfair

    Tamarind is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in Mayfair, right next door to Angela Hartnett’s Murano. After a recent disastrous lunch at Amaya in Knightsbridge (also an Indian with a star), we were hoping this would be much more of a success, and although our meal was far from perfect, it was ten times better. The basement dining room was a really elegant affair; fresh flowers everywhere and tables adorned with white tablecloths. We were seated next to a window looking into the kitchen which was a nice touch...

  30. Published : Wednesday, 23rd April 2014

    Hereford Road | Hereford Road, Westbourne Grove

    Hereford Road is a restaurant located in an old Victorian butcher’s shop in Westbourne Grove. The head chef, a chap called Tom Pemberton, used to be in charge of the kitchen at St. John Bread and Wine, which is obvious when looking at the menu; simple and seasonal cooking – which is never a bad thing. It was a charming restaurant with mini booth seats for two in the entrance area opposite the completely open kitchen. We were however seated in the more straightforward dining room out the back, underneath a giant circular glass window in the ceiling which was pleasant...

  31. Published : Monday, 21st April 2014

    Q Grill | Q Grill, Camden

    Located on Chalk Farm Road in Camden, Q Grill is the latest venture from professional Jason Statham look-a-like, I mean restaurateur, Des McDonald – he also owns The Fish and Chip Shop and Holborn Dining Room, both of which I love. It was a large and beautifully done-out restaurant. There was a long bar with comfy stool seats to the right hand side, large semi-circular booths to the left and an open plan kitchen out the back, plus even more seating round the corner and up the stair...

  32. Published : Friday, 18th April 2014

    The Ship | The Ship, Wandsworth

    The Ship is a rather popular Young’s pub situated right by the river in Wandsworth. As my parents were down in London for the day, I thought it might be nice to pop along for a Sunday roast – and I wasn’t wrong thank God! It’s not in the most obvious of locations and it’s certainly not the sort of place you’d stumble across. However we arrived to find a heaving pub, with a really lively and buzzy atmosphere. They don’t take reservations for Sunday lunch after 1pm but after a short wait in the bar area, we were seated by the open plan kitchen...

  33. Published : Wednesday, 16th April 2014

    Amaya | Amaya, Knightsbridge

    Located in Knightsbridge, Amaya is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant by the same people as Veeraswamy, Chutney Mary and Masala Zone. After a recent incredible meal at Indian restaurant Gymkhana, I was really excited to see what Amaya had to offer...

  34. Published : Monday, 14th April 2014

    MARCUS at The Berkeley | Marcus at The Berkeley

    Two Michelin starred Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel recently underwent an extensive refurb including, a name change to Marcus, in the hope of making it a much more relaxed affair. We had a brilliant lunch there a couple of years ago so when I received an invitation to review the new place, I jumped at the chance. The new look Marcus was a rather attractive one; it felt far less austere than it used to be. Gone were the purple felt walls and the champagne trolley and instead were bare tables (possibly too bare?) with crisp white tablecloths, dark wood panelled walls and plenty of natural light...

  35. Published : Wednesday, 9th April 2014

    London House | London House, Battersea

    London House is the latest restaurant from Gordon Ramsay Holdings, adding to their current portfolio of twelve restaurants in the UK. It’s located on a rather unassuming main road in Battersea, in a building that’s seen numerous failed attempts at success as an oyster bar, a Greek restaurant and an All Bar One to name but a few. It’s a handsomely designed restaurant split into several different mini dining rooms. The tables were adorned with white linen tablecloths but the lively background music, and the fact pretty much every other table had a baby sitting at it, meant the atmosphere was certainly not stuffy. It all felt very yummy mummy, yah...

  36. Published : Thursday, 3rd April 2014

    The Camberwell Arms | The Camberwell Arms

    The Camberwell Arms is the new pub-cum-restaurant from the guys behind Great Queen Street and the Anchor and Hope. Terrible as it might sound, I’ve never actually ventured to the area before but I’m pleased to report that Camberwell isn’t quite as rough as I’d once imagined! Based inside a former pub, it was a large space with a pub style bar at the front and a dining room out the back complete with open plan kitchen. It was charmingly noisy; chatty diners, babies crying, chefs shouting “service!” – the atmosphere was great. The three of us were seated at a larger shared table which wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea but it didn’t bother us particularly...

  37. Published : Thursday, 3rd April 2014

    Barnyard | Barnyard, Fitzrovia

    Based on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, Barnyard is the new all-American restaurant from Ollie Dabbous – he’s the guy behind Michelin starred Dabbous, famed for having a year and a half waiting list for a table – which wasn’t worth the wait if you ask me! Getting a table at Barnyard however was a little easier; they don’t take bookings and at 6:30, the four of us were told it’d be an hour long wait (which actually turned out to be an hour and forty minute wait) but we could at least wander off for a drink and return once they phoned...

  38. Published : Sunday, 30th March 2014

    Great Queen Street | Great Queen Street

    Great Queen Street, named after the street on which it resides, is a restaurant inside a former pub which is owned by the same people behind the Anchor and Hope and the recently opened Camberwell Arms. The long and narrow-ish dining room was extremely lively and buzzy; the air was filled, rather loudly, with the noisy chitter chatter of fellow diners. We were seated at a tiny table for two that we could barely get our legs under, right by the door (which was irritatingly breezy as the door didn’t shut properly) but none of it seemed to really matter; there was an infectiously lovely energy about the place...

  39. Published : Wednesday, 26th March 2014

    St John Bread & Wine | St. John Bread and Wine

    Sitting slap bang opposite Spitalfields Market, St. John Bread and Wine is the creation of Trevor Gulliver and Fergus Henderson. It very much follows the ethos of their other Michelin starred restaurant St. John in Farringdon; simple precise cooking with plenty of offal on offer, all served in simple surroundings...

  40. Published : Sunday, 23rd March 2014

    Criterion | The Criterion

    Based in the heart of Piccadilly Circus, The Criterion has been around for what feels like forever; it first opened its doors in 1874. It’s one of those old fashioned London “institutions” that I’ve always wanted to try but never got round to, so as my parents and I were in need of a pre-theatre dinner, I thought it would be the perfect chance to give it a go. The dining room is undoubtedly impressive; it’s a grand affair with plenty to look at in every nook and cranny...

  41. Published : Thursday, 20th March 2014

    Pitt Cue Co | Pitt Cue Co

    My first visit to Pitt Cue Co a couple of years ago provided me with the tastiest pulled pork I’ve ever eaten. It was busy then – I think we waited for two and half hours in the tiny ground floor bar before eating – and it’s even busier now. We planned our visit rather wisely however and arrived at 5:30 for a drink, and then got a table at 6 which is when they start serving food – hoorah!...

  42. Published : Tuesday, 18th March 2014

    Copita | Copita, Soho

    Copita is a tapas bar on D’Arblay Street in Soho and, as it features in the ‘Bib Gourmand recommends’ section of the Michelin guide, we thought we’d pop in to try a couple of the dishes. It was a bright and airy restaurant and at 3pm, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, the place was positively packed. There were no tables, just stools in front of high benches, yet we didn’t feel uncomfortable – in fact, quite the opposite...

  43. Published : Monday, 17th March 2014

    Rules | Rules, Covent Garden

    Established in 1798, Rules is London’s oldest restaurant and even featured in an episode of Downton Abbey; the highlight of a long and lustrous existence you could say (jovial winky face!). It was a handsome restaurant with velour banquette seating and plush carpets. Hundreds of framed pictures and paintings, along with deer heads, hung on the wood panelled walls; it felt like old fashioned glamour. There was also a gorgeous bar upstairs which I never knew existed; definitely worth remembering...

  44. Published : Saturday, 15th March 2014

    China Tang at The Dorchester Hotel | China Tang, Park Lane

    China Tang is a Chinese restaurant which resides in the basement of the Dorchester Hotel on Park Lane. We’ve been meaning to go for quite a while now and after a recent meal at A. Wong in Pimlico, we found ourselves craving a bit of dim sum so we popped down for lunch. It was a pretty and quaint restaurant; the dining room felt like an upmarket version of my local Chinese. As we sank back into our sofa banquette, our mood matched the atmosphere; comfortable and relaxed...

  45. Published : Sunday, 9th March 2014

    Antidote | Antidote, Carnaby Street

    Antidote is a wine bar and restaurant just off Carnaby Street. There have been rumours that Michelin starred chef Mikael Jonsson of Hedone in Chiswick is currently heading – or is just about to take over – the kitchen so we thought we’d pop along for a spot of Saturday lunch to check it out. Upstairs is the dining room which offers only a set menu for lunch at £23 for three courses. We decided to sit downstairs however, in the more informal wine bar and order some small plates from the menu written on the blackboard. It was a bright and airy space filled with natural light; it had a peaceful atmosphere. We were seated at stools by the window and it was very pleasant indeed...

  46. Published : Sunday, 9th March 2014

    Chiltern Firehouse | Chiltern Firehouse

    Chiltern Firehouse is the restaurant inside the new hotel with the same name in Marylebone by André Balazs and it’s run by head chef Nuno Mendes. I was sad when I heard he was leaving Bethnal Green’s Viajante and Corner Room but after seeing this new venture, I can understand why he did – it’s pretty amazing. The hotel wasn’t open yet on our visit but as we walked through the delightful courtyard to get to the restaurant, we got an idea of the grandeur and beauty of the place; the building alone is stunning. Considering it’s only got 26 rooms, it feels massive...

  47. Published : Saturday, 8th March 2014

    Sixtyone | Sixty One

    Sixty One is the latest restaurant from the Searcys group (they run the restaurant at the top of the Gherkin) and it’s based inside an unassuming looking hotel near Marble Arch, called the Montcalm. It was a pretty restaurant inside and although the place was quiet during my weekday lunch, the atmosphere didn’t feel awkward; it was relaxed and almost tranquil. There were straw placemats and stones placed in the centre of each table – it had a touch of the L’enclume about it...

  48. Published : Monday, 3rd March 2014

    Goodman | Goodman, Mayfair

    I’ve heard from many a trusted source that Goodman is arguably London’s finest steakhouse, yet I’d never actually been. Seeing as my parents were down in London for the weekend, I decided to rectify that and booked us in for a bit of beef at their Mayfair restaurant (there’s also a Goodman in Canary Wharf and The City). The restaurant had the perfect atmosphere; loud and lively yet not overbearing, meaning you could actually hear each other talk. We were seated at a table near the bar which added to the buzzy vibe. The leather chairs were particularly comfortable too; I would have gladly spent all night sitting there glugging red wine and shoving steak in my face...

  49. Published : Sunday, 2nd March 2014

    Honey & Co | Honey and Co.

    Honey and Co. is a restaurant near Great Portland Street which specialises in food from the Middle East. Husband and wife team, who are both based in the kitchen, run the place and as it’s proving to be rather popular, I was looking forward to our Saturday lunch. As we walked down a quiet, sleepy street we nearly walked past the place...

  50. Published : Friday, 28th February 2014

    Hixter Devonshire Square | Hixter

    Hixter, which is just a short stroll from Liverpool Street, is the latest restaurant from Mark Hix. It’s based on the same idea as his other restaurant Tramshed; specialising in just chicken and steak – that’s Swainson House Farm chicken and Glenarm Mighty-Marbled steak to be precise. The restaurant was a pretty little thing; giant paintings of smiley faces hung on the exposed brick walls and there was a red glow throughout. In the basement there was an even prettier bar which proved the perfect place for a pre-dinner sharpener...

  51. After the closure of the Chancery Court Hotel on High Holborn, the Rosewood has taken its place, and what a beauty of a hotel it is too. Housed inside this stunning building is the equally stunning Holborn Dining Room, which is the latest venture from Des McDonald – the man behind The Fish and Chip Shop in Islington. It was a huge restaurant which had a real brasserie feel to it; the type you could never get bored of sitting in. As I sank back into my red leather banquette, I felt like I was seated in a railway station in New York. There’s even a separate deli too which looks well worth a visit...

  52. Published : Friday, 21st February 2014

    Blackfoot | Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

    My first visit to Blackfoot in Exmouth Market, a restaurant specialising in all things piggy, wasn’t a hugely successful one; the staff were lovely but I found the food a tad disappointing. I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email inviting me back and I must say, our experience was the polar opposite of my original one. We arrived to a packed restaurant; the atmosphere was really lively and buzzy. It used to be an old pie and mash shop and many of the original features, like the tiled walls and the large wooden booths, remain untouched, giving the place plenty of character...

  53. Published : Tuesday, 18th February 2014

    Whatley Manor | The Dining Room at Whatley Manor

    Whatley Manor is a manor house hotel and spa based in the Cotswolds and it’s home to The Dining Room, which has held two Michelin stars since 2009. The restaurant is only open for dinner from Wednesday – Sunday and never for lunch which seemed such a shame as we couldn’t take in the full beauty of the surroundings as we arrived in darkness. We were first taken to the lounge area for drinks and canapés, which was all very pleasant. There was a roaring fire, comfortable armchairs and free wifi – hoorah! We were then taken through to the dining room, which wasn’t the most modern of spaces; the colour scheme was a bit...

  54. Published : Sunday, 16th February 2014

    Polpetto | Polpetto, Soho

    When Polpetto originally opened in a tiny room above the French House on Dean Street in Soho, it was my favourite restaurant. I remember osso buco and a steak salad with truffle dressing; the food was always brilliant. When it closed I was rather shocked, as I thought it would be there forever. Luckily for me however, Russell Norman (he’s The Restaurant Man on BBC2, if you’ve been watching) has re-opened this Venetian restaurant serving small plates, round the corner on Berwick Street. It was a small and fairly narrow space but beautifully done out. There was a bar with ingenious stool seats that pull out and tuck away (you’ll see what I mean) at the front and very tightly packed tables out the back, with a few more downstairs opposite the open kitchen. During our Saturday lunch time visit the atmosphere was very pleasant indeed – chilled and relaxed...

  55. Published : Tuesday, 11th February 2014

    The Lockhart | The Lockhart

    Based just a short stroll from Marble Arch and tucked away behind the haze of the hubbly bubbly pipes from the Edgware Road, Lockhart is a restaurant that specialises in food from the Deep South. But this isn’t just another junk food inspired restaurant; this is refined soul food. After a recent change of head chef to Brad McDonald and given the fact that I work round the corner, I decided to pop along for a spot of luncheon. The restaurant felt bright and airy with exposed brick walls, reclaimed wooden tables and a relaxed atmosphere. Our waitress, complete with a Texan accent, who turned out to be the head chef’s wife, was really lovely and the perfect host, along with a chap called Bunmi who’s worked at Dinner by Heston and Lima to name but a few...

  56. Father and daughter duo Juan Mari Arzak and Elena Arzak Espina own their eponymous restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain and have held their three Michelin star status for over twenty years. Rather than open their own venture over here, they’ve instead decided to oversee a restaurant, thus creating Ametsa with Arzak Instruction – not the most exciting name ever created! The restaurant is based in the Halkin Hotel and it received a Michelin star shortly after opening. The hotel had an understated interior and wasn’t particularly glamorous, but the dining room was a little more impressive. Orange plastic test tubes hung from the ceiling, transforming an otherwise plain space into something rather more attractive. We were seated by the window and felt very comfortable indeed. It was busy too, with the lively buzz of fellow diners filling the air...

  57. Published : Sunday, 26th January 2014

    Duck & Waffle | Duck and Waffle

    Getting the lift up to Duck and Waffle, which resides at the top of the Heron Tower in Bishopsgate, is quite an experience in itself. It’s on the outside of the building meaning the view, as your hurtle up at what feels like 90 miles an hour towards the 40th floor, is quite astonishing. Once there, after walking through the open plan bar area, where you’ll see the most incredible view of the Gherkin, we were shown to our booth table overlooking London towards Canary Wharf. It was quite simply stunning...

  58. Published : Sunday, 26th January 2014

    A. Wong | A. Wong, Pimlico

    It’s not often you’ll find me wandering the streets of Pimlico, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever been there before. That was until the other night after a visit to a Chinese restaurant called A.Wong. After reading some quite positive reviews and seeing its name in the Bib Gourmand recommends section in the Michelin guide, we popped along for a spot of dinner...

  59. Published : Saturday, 25th January 2014

    Hurwundeki | Hurwundeki, Bethnal Green

    Hurwundeki is a Korean cafe and hairdressers in Bethnal Green not far from Corner Room and Viajante. It’s an unusual combination but one that totally works as both are so bloomin’ good. I’ve been getting my haircut there for a while so when I was invited to come down to try out the food I kindly obliged. It’s not much to look at from the outside; you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a disused car park. Inside however is a lot more charming...

  60. Published : Tuesday, 21st January 2014

    Gymkhana | Gymkhana, Mayfair

    I’d heard many a good thing about Mayfair based Gymkhana, an Indian restaurant by the people behind Michelin starred Trishna. We’d had a cracking meal at their sister restaurant so I had high hopes for our lunch – and we left far from disappointed. The ground floor dining room had a touch of colonial India about it with 1920′s music playing in the background. There was dark wood, green leather banquettes and hanging on the wall was a stuffed warthog. It felt like I’d stopped off for lunch in a hunter’s cabin whilst on safari in India – it was a beautiful space. A darker, more intimate dining room lay in the basement along with two cavernous rooms available for private hire...

  61. Published : Friday, 17th January 2014

    Blackfoot | Blackfoot, Exmouth Market

    Exmouth Market isn’t short of great places to eat, with the likes of Morito, Moro, Caravan and Medcalf. New kid on the block Blackfoot, which specialises in all things porky, replaces an old school pie and mash shop which apparently could no longer afford the rent. Inside they’d kept the old pie shop vibe with booth tables on the right and a long bar on the left. There was also a small bright orange dining room out the back with tightly packed tables. It was a plain and simple space...

  62. New Burger & Lobsters seem to be springing up all over the place, which is by no means a bad thing. My gentleman companion and I decided to pop down to their latest outpost, on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols, for a spot of dinner. We took the express lift up and came in through the back of the restaurant which confused us a bit as we then didn’t know where to go (bear in mind we are a bit thick). We eventually found the front desk and were seated straight away – if there’s a wait you’re given a flashing buzzer and you’re free to wander round the shop until you start vibrating...

  63. Published : Monday, 13th January 2014

    Bo London | Bo London

    Alvin Leung has opened Bo London in Mayfair, introducing his signature ”x-treme Chinese” cooking style to the city. Shortly after opening it received a Michelin star so we had fairly high expectations for our dinner – even though we hadn’t heard many good things. It was an attractive restaurant with a small bar area in the front, tightly packed tables for two in the middle and an open kitchen area (complete with a chef wearing an ear piece like a door man of a nightclub) at the back...

  64. Published : Friday, 10th January 2014

    Sticks 'N' Sushi | Sticks n Sushi, Covent Garden

    After the success of their first UK restaurant in Wimbledon, they’ve opened another Sticks n Sushi in Covent Garden. It originates from Denmark (where they have quite a few in Copenhagen) and if all goes well, I imagine that’s the plan for over here. As it recently opened, I was kindly invited down to try it out. It was a deceptively large space; the restaurant had two entrances on different streets. The ground floor dining room felt sexy; it was dark and industrial with exposed brick walls. The one-armed armchairs were really comfy too. Downstairs in the basement there was a brighter sushi bar overlooking the narrow, busy kitchen...

  65. Published : Thursday, 9th January 2014

    Meatmission | MEATmission, Shoreditch

    Since my first visit to MEATmission in Shoreditch (by the same people behind MEATliquor and MEATmarket) I’ve become a bit of an addict – I simply love their burgers. When I heard they were celebrating their first birthday by offering 50% off the bill if you took along a helium balloon, I made sure I was there. The inside is my favourite of all three as it’s housed within a former Christian mission and lots of the original plaques on the wall remain untouched. Then there’s the addition of a lit glass ceiling with a demonic version of the last supper sprawled all over it...

  66. Published : Tuesday, 7th January 2014

    Galvin La Chapelle | Galvin La Chapelle

    Owned by the Galvin brothers, Galvin La Chapelle near Spitalfields Market has held its Michelin star for over two years. The brothers also own one starred Galvin at Windows on the 28th floor of the London Hilton hotel on Park Lane, so the pair have plenty of experience in classical French fine dining. We arrived at the restaurant and were taken aback by its enormity; the ceiling was ever so high. It had an old church feel to it with plenty of charm and character...

  67. Published : Saturday, 4th January 2014

    Morito | Morito, Exmouth Market

    Morito resides in the restaurant haven that is Exmouth Market and it serves tapas with influences from North Africa and Lebanon. It has a sister restaurant next door called Morro which is much bigger and serves larger dishes. We turned up for lunch (booking was essential as it’s so small and it remained busy throughout our visit) and were seated at the bright orange bar overlooking the tiny kitchen. Just two chefs worked in the small space which was impressive seeing as they produced such delicious food. The place had a great atmosphere...

  68. Published : Saturday, 4th January 2014

    Drapers Arms | The Drapers Arms, Islington

    The Drapers Arms is a pub situated in a quiet residential street in Islington. As we pulled up outside it looked beautiful; the the sort of quintessentially British pub that you could only dream about having as your local. As I’d heard many a good thing about the food I decided to take my parents along for a spot of dinner...

  69. Published : Friday, 3rd January 2014

    The Fish & Chip Shop | The Fish and Chip Shop, Islington

    Des McDonald (Ex CEO of Caprice Holdings who own The Ivy, Scott’s and J.Sheekey, amongst many others) has opened The Fish and Chip Shop in Islington. It’s not your standard chippy however, as it’s done out rather beautifully inside. There were two petite dining rooms to choose from; the first had small tables tightly packed together and the second out the back, which is where we were seated, had equally cramped booths. Even though we were squished, the whole place had a great atmosphere which was helped by the loud music and chitter chatter of fellow diners...

  70. Published : Thursday, 2nd January 2014

    Smokehouse | Smokehouse, Islington

    I first tasted Neil Rankin’s food during his residency at John Salt in Islington and it was easy to fall in love with. He’s since opened up nearby Smokehouse which, as you might imagine from someone who used to be the head chef at Pitt Cue Co, specialises in roasting, grilling, smoking and barbecuing. The six of us thought it would be the perfect place to quash our New Years Day hangovers and it did so perfectly. The outside looked more like a house than a pub or restaurant. Inside was a very relaxed affair; dimly lit with candles flickering away on each table. We were seated by the semi open kitchen and we felt comfortable as soon as we plonked ourselves down...

  71. Published : Tuesday, 24th December 2013

    Ember Yard | Ember Yard

    Ember Yard is the latest restaurant from the Salt Yard Group (they own Dehesa, Opera Tavern and Salt Yard). It resides in Berwick Street but in the less buzzy bit at the opposite end of the market. We were seated in the ground floor dining room which had quite a cold and sterile feel to it. The lack of any soft furnishings meant that when it got busy the place was really loud and echoey...

  72. Published : Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Koya | Koya, Soho

    Koya is a Japanese udon restaurant on Berwick Street in Soho. Whenever I’ve walked past there’s always been a mahoosive queue out the door. When we joined the end of it one evening for a spot of dinner, we were pleasantly surprised to be seated rather quickly...

  73. Published : Saturday, 21st December 2013

    Pizarro | Pizarro, Bermondsey Street

    Jose Pizarro owns two restaurants on Bermondsey Street near London Bridge; Jose and Pizarro. The former is a small and delightful tapas and sherry bar, the latter which is where we ended up for a weeknight dinner, is more of a sit down affair which serves larger dishes...

  74. Published : Thursday, 19th December 2013

    Les Trois Garcons | Les Trois Garcons

    Le Trois Garçons in Shoreditch has been on my to-do list for a few years but for some reason I’ve never got round to eating there. I’ve always looked through their window and seen the handbags hanging from the ceiling and thought it’d be right up street – and I’m pleased to say it really was...

  75. Published : Thursday, 19th December 2013

    Jackson & Rye | Jackson & Rye

    Jackson & Rye is the latest Richard Caring backed restaurant and it’s the creation of the guys behind Grill Shack – which I loved. This too is an all day dining affair – it’s open 7 days a week from breakfast to late night dinner offering American comfort food. As that sounds right up my street I was super excited to be invited along for brunch...

  76. Published : Tuesday, 17th December 2013

    Foxlow | Foxlow

    Foxlow is the latest venture from the guys behind Hawksmoor steakhouses and it’s based in St John Street, Farringdon on the former site of Michelin starred North Road – I was gutted when that closed! Gone were the previous stark white walls and instead it was a very homely affair; beautifully done out. We were seated upstairs avoiding the buzzy downstairs area complete with self service salad bar...

  77. Published : Thursday, 12th December 2013

    Karpo | Karpo, Kings Cross

    Karpo is an odd looking restaurant from the outside; sandwiched between a bureau de change and a Burger King in the hustle and polluted bustle of Kings Cross. It’s vibrantly painted to say the least. The inside however felt much less chaotic and almost tranquil. There was a long bar in the entrance area with seating out the back. We were taken to a table right by a wall covered from floor to ceiling in living foliage (what if a spider lands on my head I thought!) which was very pleasant and most unusual...

  78. Published : Wednesday, 11th December 2013

    The Earlham Street Clubhouse | Earlham Street Clubhouse

    Earlham Street Clubhouse is a newly opened bar that serves wood fired thin crust pizzas on Earlham Street in Covent Garden (the same road as Flesh and Buns). I was invited down to give it a whirl and as I’ve recently become addicted to pizzas thanks to the likes of Homeslice and Pizza Pilgrims I was a touch excited. It was quite an unusual layout as there wasn’t one main area – there were plenty of nooks and crannies. At both ends there were booths for larger parties and in the middle a narrow and slightly cramped bar. We were seated opposite the open kitchen by the entrance area. As it’s a basement restaurant it was dark and the music was very loud; it had a fun clubby atmosphere...

  79. Published : Monday, 9th December 2013

    Franco Manca | Franco Manca, Tottenham Court Road

    We first visited Franco Manca at their restaurant in Chiswick and loved their pizzas and the prices – it’s seriously good value. There’s plans to open quite a few more around London so when I heard they’d set up shop on Tottenham Court Road I hurried myself along there. After a short wait in the cramped doorway (they don’t take reservations) we were taken to a table by the open plan kitchen in the centre of the room...

  80. Published : Sunday, 8th December 2013

    Byron Waterloo | Byron, Waterloo

    “Home of the proper hamburger” Byron was recently sold for a whopping £100m which is a humongous sum of money for their 36 outposts across London and the UK. I think that means we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them. On a Sunday evening our burger obsession got the better of us and we popped along to Byron on the Cut, right by Waterloo. What I quite like about this burger chain is that no two restaurants look the same – each one has a slightly different look...

  81. Published : Sunday, 1st December 2013

    Gilgamesh | Gilgamesh: Bushtucker Trial Menu

    Gilgamesh is a “critically acclaimed pan Asian restaurant” which is sandwiched between the food stalls of Camden Market. Our visit on this occasion however wasn’t for their a la carte menu filled with bizarre flavour combinations (they serve a banana and prawn spring roll. Seriously). Instead it was for a very different kind of menu. For three weeks Gilgamesh will be serving an I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! inspired Bushtucker trial menu and I was intrigued enough to try it out...

  82. Published : Saturday, 30th November 2013

    Ape & Bird | The Ape & Bird Public House

    Ape & Bird is Russell Norman’s latest venture and unlike his other restaurants (Polpo, Spuntino, Mishkin’s and soon to be opened Polpetto) this is a pub – and a very large pub at that. It’s situated in that bit of Cambridge Circus that’s always manically busy, right next to the Pizza Hut and it sits in the former site of the Marquis of Granby. They’ve also knocked through to next door too so it really is big. Inside it was a beautiful affair; it felt simple like a pub yet there was plenty of attention to detail. There were two areas that served food - upstairs which felt more like a dining room and less “pubby” or the ground floor where you could either sit round the small tables or perch on a stall at the bar. We chose the latter as it had a real buzz to it...

  83. Published : Tuesday, 19th November 2013

    Brasserie Zédel | Brasserie Zedel

    I first visited Corbin and King’s Brasserie Zedel during their soft launch and fell in love with the place. It has since become my favourite restaurant in London; its Piccadilly location, the lavish surroundings and affordable prices make it the perfect place for a bite to eat. My visit on this occasion was with my lady friend for dinner and a spot of cabaret in the Crazy Coqs (their cabaret venue in the same building)...

  84. Published : Tuesday, 19th November 2013

    Aqua Kyoto | Aqua Kyoto

    What with the hugely successful openings of Aqua Shard and Hutong in the Shard building it’s easy to forget that Aqua also have two existing restaurants on the fifth floor of the former Dickins and Jones department store opposite the Palladium theatre. There’s Aqua Nueva, a contemporary Spanish restaurant and Aqua Kyoto, which offers Japanese fare. The latter has recently acquired a new head chef and I was kindly invited along to try some of the new dishes on offer...

  85. Published : Monday, 18th November 2013

    Salt Yard | Salt Yard

    Salt Yard is an “award winning modern tapas restaurant focussing on the best of Spain and Italy”. The group behind it also own Dehesa and Opera Tavern, where we had brilliant meals in the past, so I thought here would be a good choice for dinner with my parents. The ground floor dining room was really lovely and buzzy...

  86. Published : Monday, 18th November 2013

    Merchant's Tavern | Merchants Tavern

    After our recent enjoyable visit to Cafe Murano, we thought we’d pop along to Angela Hartnett’s other new restaurant Merchants Tavern (shouldn’t there be an apostrophe in there?) which resides in Shoreditch. It’s a joint venture between her and the guys behind Canteen. It looked beautiful on the outside and the interior was equally beautiful. There was a large bar and lounge area at the front and a dining room complete with open kitchen out the back. Green leather banquette seating and comfy armchairs made for an enjoyably relaxing place to sit; perfect for our Sunday lunch visit...

  87. Published : Saturday, 16th November 2013

    The Quality Chop House | The Quality Chop House

    The Quality Chop House is a restaurant and wine bar round the corner from Exmouth Market. It’s been around for well over a hundred years and after various changes of management and a brief stint as an unsuccessful meatball restaurant it’s now back in its original guise – thank God! There’s two options when dining here; the wine bar which offers a daily changing a la carte menu or the dining room, which in the evening offers a set menu for £35. We were seated in the latter, which is Grade ll listed I’ll have you know. I can totally see why as it’s beautiful; the wooden booth seats topped with long cushions might not be the most comfortable place to perch but they certainly were gorgeous. It was a bit like being at church – and we all know how comfortable that is!...

  88. Published : Friday, 15th November 2013

    Oslo Court | Oslo Court

    Oslo Court has quite an unusual location; on the ground floor of a block of flats in St John’s Wood. It’s been in the Sanchez family for over thirty years now and they do things the old fashioned way – there’s no website and there’s certainly no Twitter. Things are similar inside too; if you like the 70′s you’d feel right at home here. The peach tablecloths, peach candles, cream walls and blue carpet looked like they hadn’t changed from when the restaurant opened. It strangely didn’t feel tacky though – we found the place totally and utterly charming. It was packed too, with a great atmosphere filled with lively chatter...

  89. Published : Tuesday, 12th November 2013

    Café Murano | Cafe Murano

    It’s been a busy time for Angela Hartnett recently what with the opening of her new restaurant Merchants Tavern. Barely has the paint dried on the walls and she’s off again, this time opening Cafe Murano on St James’s Street – she’s doing an Atherton on us! As it was 50% off food during the soft launch we couldn’t resist booking in for lunch. It was a bright and fairly neutral space inside with a long bar and stool seats in the first half of the room. The white walls and wooden furniture made for a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere...

  90. Published : Sunday, 10th November 2013

    Pied à Terre | Pied à Terre

    Pied à Terre is a Michelin starred restaurant in Fitzrovia – all the good places are in Fitzrovia these days! It’s owned by David Moore (you might remember him from the TV series The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc) who also owns Michelin starred L’Autre Pied and the new pop-up Pieds Nus in the old Roganic site, both in Marylebone. I first visited the restaurant a few years ago when it had two stars under head chef Shane Osborne and I remember it being one of the most enjoyable meals I’ve eaten. I was looking forward to seeing if it was just as good with the new head chef Marcus Eaves at the helm...

  91. Published : Sunday, 10th November 2013

    Homeslice | Homeslice, Covent Garden

    Homeslice originally started out selling pizzas from a homebuilt wood fired oven in the courtyard of London Fields Brewery. After two very popular years it’s finally found itself a bricks and mortar home at Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden. They don’t take reservations so the six of us had a lengthy hour long wait for a table – we could at least wander off and get a drink which is always a plus. The inside was really buzzy; filled with noisy chatter and merriment which was helped by the long shared bench tables. This did however make things awfully cramped; we had very little room at all...

  92. Published : Thursday, 7th November 2013

    Trullo | Trullo, Islington

    After visiting Le Coq in Islington we fell in love with the area; it’s so busy and FULL of restaurants. We returned to try Trullo, an Italian restaurant which offers a simple and seasonal daily changing menu. Sadly we weren’t seated in the ground floor dining room which had a great atmosphere, instead we were seated downstairs which didn’t have quite the same buzz; it felt a tad boring. We were at least seated in a booth, which had a really low ceiling. It was like being in a cave which was quite fun. I do love a good booth...

  93. Published : Sunday, 3rd November 2013

    Hawksmoor Air Street | Hawksmoor Air Street

    Whenever I’ve tried to book a table for dinner at Hawksmoor Air Street, and believe me I’ve tried, it’s always been totally booked up. When walking past on a drizzly Saturday lunch time me and a friend popped in to try our luck and got a table no problemo – hoorah! It was a long old walk to the restaurant from the entrance; up the large staircase and through the long bar but it was worth the trek. The dining room was attractive and impressively large but the low ceiling made it feel quite cosy...

  94. Published : Thursday, 31st October 2013

    The Delaunay | The Delaunay

    Opened by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, it’s hard to think the Delaunay is only approaching its second birthday – it feels like it has been at the Aldwych forever. Seeing as it’s my parents favourite restaurant I was more than happy to join them for a bite to eat after seeing Warhorse at the New London Theatre (you really should go and see it). The inside was beautiful with its dark wood panelled walls and tables covered in white linen tablecloths; it’s the sort of place you feel comfortable as soon as you’ve arrived. The atmosphere was spot on; the noise of chatter filled the air without being deafening...

  95. Published : Monday, 28th October 2013

    Village East | Village East

    Village East is based in the foodie haven that is Bermondsey Street; the guy behind it also owns The Garrison on the same street and the very popular Riding House Cafe in Fitzrovia. As it recently underwent an extensive refurb and my parents were down for the day I thought it would be a safe bet for Sunday lunch. Things got off to a slightly tense start – the woman on the front desk looked stressed and panicked when we arrived which wasn’t helped by the fact that our table wasn’t ready. The inside however was beautiful and had a touch of New York about it with the usual exposed piping and warehouse chic thing going on. There was also a vintage post office theme running throughout – not quite sure why though...

  96. Published : Monday, 28th October 2013

    LeCoq | Le Coq, Islington

    Le Coq is a restaurant that specialises in spit roast chicken and is based in Islington – the Highbury and Islington end that is, it’s quite a walk from Angel tube station! Seeing as we don’t venture out of Soho or London Bridge that often plus the fact that I love a bit of chicken, we thought we’d give it a go. It’s based in a former Chinese restaurant, not that you’d know it as it now has a pub vibe going on...

  97. Published : Thursday, 24th October 2013

    Picture | Picture

    Picture is the first restaurant venture by three chaps who used to work together for the Arbutus group (they own Arbutus, Les Deux Salon and Wild Honey). Colin and Alan head up the kitchen while Tom runs the front of house. It’s situated at the quieter end of Fitzrovia and during our Saturday lunch visit there were only a couple of fellow diners present which seemed surprising. The dining room was a simple but stylish space; there was a long bar by the front and tables at the back which were flooded with natural light. Even though it was empty it had a pleasant atmosphere...

  98. Published : Sunday, 20th October 2013

    Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel | Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel

    Hoi Polloi is a restaurant from the people behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s and is situated inside the recently redeveloped Ace Hotel in Shoreditch (formerly The Crowne Plaza). It’s a bland looking thing from the outside but on the inside the hotel’s a cool looking space. If Habitat were to open a hotel it would look a little bit like this. You can either access the restaurant via its own entrance (through a flower shop which is rather unusual) or go through the hotel lobby like we did so you can have a good nosey around...

  99. Published : Saturday, 19th October 2013

    10 Greek Street | 10 Greek Street

    Whenever I’ve walked past 10 Greek Street in Soho it’s always been packed and as it’s a no reservation restaurant for dinner the wait time can sometimes be a tad epic. Luckily for two friends and I on our Tuesday night visit we were confronted with just a thirty minute wait and told we could have a drink at the bar. I didn’t even know they had a bar as it’s tucked away at the back right in front of the open kitchen. It was hot and cramped but we loved it! Whilst we waited for our table we decided to order a few nibbles from the bar menu. Some padron peppers (£5) generously sprinkled with sea salt were utterly moreish. Due to the season, there were a couple that nearly blew my friend’s head off with their fiery kick but that didn’t stop us devouring the lot...

  100. Published : Saturday, 19th October 2013

    Angler | Angler

    Angler is a seafood restaurant owned by the D&D group – they own a staggering 24 restaurants in London including Michelin starred Launceston Place, Coq d’Argent, Bluebird in Chelsea, Butlers Wharf Chophouse…I could go on for days. It’s based in the rather swanky South Place Hotel near Liverpool Street and as the restaurant recently received a Michelin star we thought we’d pop along for lunch...

  101. Published : Wednesday, 16th October 2013

    Honest Burgers Brixton | Honest Burgers, Brixton

    There’s currently four Honest Burgers in London (Brixton, Soho, Camden and Portobello Road) but the one in Brixton Village is the original. To be frank I don’t do Brixton much (it scares me a little and I’m a whimp) but as I was working in the area I couldn’t resist popping in for a bit of beef. The place was tiny and very run down – but I’m talking properly run down not “we’ve spent loads of money to make it look run down”. The tiny open kitchen gave off a lovely whiff of meat and created a lively atmosphere which made sitting there all the more pleasant. The four of us arrived at 1pm on the dot and got the last seats (wahey!) after which a rather large queue formed...

  102. Published : Monday, 7th October 2013

    Meatliquor Brighton | Meatliquor Brighton

    Meatliquor in London gave me my first ever glimpse into the world of big fat greasy burgers and I blame them for my subsequent addiction. Whether it be Liquor/Market/Mission I’ve enjoyed and devoured them all. When I heard they were opening one in Brighton, I immediately planned a trip to the seaside – with my gentleman companion and my parents in tow...

  103. Published : Sunday, 6th October 2013

    Brasserie Chavot | Brasserie Chavot

    Brasserie Chavot is the creation of Eric Chavot (a former two Michelin starred chef) which sits in the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair – not that you’d be able to tell as it has its own entrance which feels miles away from the actual hotel. The Westbury also houses Michelin starred Alyn Williams which is well worth a look-in. The dining room was rather splendid with a detailed mosaic floor, large glass chandeliers and red leather banquette seating along one side. It was a very pretty place to sit...

  104. Published : Friday, 4th October 2013

    Lima | Lima

    I’d heard good things about Lima, a Peruvian restaurant in Fitzrovia, so was excited for our dinner there with a group of friends. I wasn’t familiar with the cuisine of Peru but was expecting very pretty plates of food with big bold flavours and that’s exactly what we got...

  105. Published : Friday, 4th October 2013

    Hutong at The Shard | Hutong in The Shard

    Hutong is a Northern Chinese inspired restaurant in the Shard building in London Bridge. I’d already visited their sister restaurant Aqua Shard which I loved and also Oblix (a Reiner-Becker restaurant on the 32nd floor) which I didn’t quite love so much, so was excited to complete the set. The restaurant itself was a rather beautiful one; in the dining room there was a tree at one end and a small glass kitchen at the other with Peking ducks hanging for all to see. There was also a bar and four private dining rooms – it’s an impressively large space...

  106. Published : Friday, 20th September 2013

    Dirty Burger Vauxhall | Dirty Burger, Vauxhall

    I wasn’t wholly in love with Dirty Burger when we visited their first outpost in Kentish Town. The simple concept was good but it was the burger I found disappointing. When I heard the Soho House Group were opening their second Dirty Burger I thought I’d give it a go. It’s situated on that massive roundabout in Vauxhall...

  107. Published : Friday, 20th September 2013

    Union Street Café | Union Street Cafe

    Based just a short stroll from Southwark tube, the restaurant is a rather beautiful one. It’s got that ever familiar look of exposed pipes and warehouse chic but it doesn’t feel drafty or uncomfortable. The bar down in the basement is also a looker and definitely worth a visit on its own...

  108. Published : Friday, 20th September 2013

    STK at ME London Hotel | STK

    STK is based in the ground floor of the awfully swanky Me hotel in Aldwych. “Not your Daddy’s steakhouse” is their rather interesting slogan and although this place seems to be appealing to the ladies, on our Monday night visit it was mainly filled with middle-aged blokes in suits...

  109. Published : Tuesday, 17th September 2013

    Grillshack | Grill Shack, Soho

    Grill Shack is an “all day counter order grill” on Beak Street in Soho and is the creation of Richard Caring who recently sold Côte Bistro (now there’s a chain I like) for a reported £100m – I bet he’ll have a good Christmas! We were seated in the ground floor dining room but there’s also a smaller room downstairs in the basement. It was nicely done out and the tables were quite closely packed together giving it a buzzy atmosphere...

  110. Published : Monday, 16th September 2013

    Berners Tavern at Edition Hotel | Berners Tavern

    Berners Tavern is Jason Atherton’s latest restaurant (he also owns Michelin starred Pollen Street Social, Little Social and Social Eating House) and it is situated inside the rather stylish London Edition Hotel. The hotel is a joint venture between Ian Schrager (a big American hotelier) and Marriott Hotels and is set to feature an exclusive night club and two bars alongside its 173 rooms...

  111. Published : Sunday, 1st September 2013

    The Greenhouse | The Greenhouse

    The Greenhouse is a fine dining Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. It’s been on our list for a while so I thought it would be a good place to try for dinner during my gentleman companion’s birthday weekend. It’s down a quiet side street and you could easily walk past the entrance. Walk through the gates however and you’re faced with a beautiful garden. It felt very fancy indeed...

  112. Published : Sunday, 1st September 2013

    Searcy's | The Gherkin | Searcys at the Gherkin

    At the top of 30 St Mary’s Axe, more affectionately known as the Gherkin, you’ll find Searcys private members bar and restaurant. As the Gherkin is my favourite building in London (closely followed by the Shard) I was rather excited to be visiting for lunch. Upon arrival we were taken through airport style security then up in the lift to the 39th floor and into the dining room. To say the view was sensational would be an understatement – it was unlike any other view in London. Luckily for us the weather couldn’t have been any better so we could see for miles! We were seated at a table by the window and were both left speechless...

  113. Published : Thursday, 29th August 2013

    Seasons.Casamia | Casamia, Bristol

    I was super excited to be visiting Casamia for lunch – even the two and a half hour drive from London to Bristol didn’t even deter me. It’s owned and run by Bristolian brothers Jonray and Peter Sanchez-Iglesias whose food I’ve eaten before at The Cube pop-up on the Southbank – and loved. The restaurant used to be owned by their parents who ran the place as a traditional Italian trattoria but now the dining room has been transformed into a modern, bright and airy space with an open plan kitchen. We were seated at the counter overlooking the kitchen, meaning we got to watch all the action unfold...

  114. Published : Thursday, 29th August 2013

    Tartufo at No.11 Cadogan Gardens | Tartufo, Chelsea

    No.11 Cadogan Gardens is a lovely little boutique hotel in a peacefully quiet street in Chelsea. Nestled in the lower ground floor of this red brick Victorian mansion-block is Tartufo. The dining area was split into two rooms and both were beautiful – it all felt very glamorous. White table cloths adorned the tables yet it didn’t feel awkwardly stuffy; as we sank into the armchairs we felt very comfortable indeed...

  115. Published : Thursday, 29th August 2013

    HKK | HKK

    HKK is a fine dining Chinese restaurant which specialises in seasonal tasting menus and it’s owned by the Hakkasan group – they own Hakkasan, Sake no Hana and Yauatcha. It’s based in a quiet part of Shoreditch – on our Saturday evening visit there was not a soul to be seen and you’d easily walk past it as it looks like an office block. Inside however was a beautiful and serene space which was every bit as elegant as you might wish for...

  116. Published : Tuesday, 20th August 2013

    Pizza Pilgrims | Pizza Pilgrims

    Pizza Pilgrims started out serving pizzas from a tiny green van with an oven stuck on the back in Berwick Street in Soho and it was a hit; everybody loved their Napoli inspired street food. So much so that they’ve decided to open a permanent pizzeria slap bang opposite a Pizza Express on Dean Street.

  117. Brown’s is a luxury five star hotel in Mayfair and was opened in 1837 as London’s first ever hotel. I thought it would be the perfect place for a spot of “legendary” afternoon tea with my Mum and sister and although it was a pleasant experience...

  118. Hix Oyster and Fish House is based in the beautiful harbour town of Lyme Regis in Dorset. I used to go there on holiday every year when I was younger and if you haven’t been, I’d strongly recommend you pay it a visit as it’s a beautiful place. One thing I always though it lacked however was a good seafood restaurant...

  119. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    Flesh and Buns | Flesh and Buns

    Flesh and Buns is a new Japanese restaurant in Covent Garden and is the creation of Ross Shonan who also owns Bone Daddies ramen bar in Soho. It’s based on the Japanese Izakayas (I’ve never heard of them either) which are bars that serve food to accompany the drinks – which are really popular in Japan apparently...

  120. The set up is simple; £23 per person gets you a salad to start with and some sliced French baguette followed by entrecote steak drenched in their secret signature sauce and frites. Nothing else is available which makes ordering rather straightforward. A nice touch is that they serve your steak in two sittings, so the steak stays stays warm and the frites stay fresh...

  121. Published : Friday, 9th August 2013

    Little Social | Little Social

    We kicked things off during a recent trip to London with a visit to one Michelin star restaurant Medlar for Saturday lunch. A steal at 2 courses for £25 or 3 courses for £30. We noticed a good mix of meat and seafood dishes on the menu. Mr Nom found it quite hard to decide between the duck egg tart with red wine sauce, turnip puree, lardons and sautéed duck heart or the sea bream carpaccio with sauce vierge, tempura prawn, seaweed and cucumber. It was a lovely looking restaurant with “ox-blood banquets” and booth seating. It all felt very French; framed French posters hung on every inch of the walls and there was a tres French CD playing in the background. We half expected the waiter to come out wearing a beret and comedy moustache!...

  122. Published : Sunday, 4th August 2013

    Casse-Croûte | Casse-Croute

    It’s a tiny restaurant with tables packed very close together – so much so that it’s inevitable one of you will knock over a glass or two when getting to your seat. But with that comes a great atmosphere and a great French soundtrack playing in the background – it felt like we were actually in France. The daily changing menu (written in French) is small with just three options per course and is displayed on a blackboard on the wall...

  123. Published : Sunday, 4th August 2013

    Zucca | Zucca

    Bermondsey Street isn’t short of good places to eat but Zucca is one of the originals. It’s a modern Italian restaurant based at the Bermondsey Square end of the street and it’s always packed whenever I walk past. The dining room was a very attractive space; flooded with natural light, white walls, thick grey carpet, comfortable chairs and modern art hanging on the walls designed by a local artist. It was the perfect place for a relaxed Saturday lunch. There’s an open plan kitchen too which is so un-obtrusive you’d easily forget it’s there...

  124. Published : Saturday, 3rd August 2013

    Grain Store | Grain Store

    It’s a brave venture for two reasons: firstly, it’s a massive restaurant seating around 120 covers in total and secondly, it doesn’t serve burgers or brasserie dishes like most places right now. Instead, the concentration is on vegetables and meat takes a back seat. I was worried that I might struggle to enjoy the food as I’m such a carnivore but boy was I wrong!...

  125. Published : Saturday, 3rd August 2013

    Jamie Oliver's Diner | Jamie Oliver’s Diner

    In the heart of tourist land (Piccadilly) above a souvenir shop and where those blokes draw caricatures of people, sits Jamie Oliver’s latest venture. It’s a three year pop-up (if such a thing exists) which attempts to serve up everything that is popular right now; burgers, chicken in a basket, ribs, pulled pork and there’s even a flat iron steak on the menu...

  126. My first visit to Heliot Restaurant inside the Hippodrome casino in Leicester Square was a rather disappointing one; service was great but the food left a lot to be desired. When I heard that the restaurant had been taken over by the One Group (they own STK at the Me Hotel) and re-named Heliot Steakhouse I thought it could only be a good thing...

  127. Published : Wednesday, 10th July 2013

    Soho Kitchen & Bar | Soho Diner

    Soho Diner is the latest addition to the ever expanding list of restaurants by the Soho House Group who already own Pizza East, Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger. After their success with Electric Diner in Notting Hill they’ve decided to open another American inspired diner with exactly the same feel in the heart of Soho...

  128. Published : Wednesday, 10th July 2013

    Social Eating House | Social Eating House

    Social Eating House is the latest restaurant from Jason Atherton who also owns Little Social and Michelin starred Pollen Street Social. It’s a very pretty restaurant both on the outside and inside...

  129. Published : Sunday, 7th July 2013

    Five Guys | Five Guys Covent Garden

    Five Guys, said to be one of Barrack Obama’s favourite burger joints, was set up in Virginia in 1986 by the Murrel brothers. It managed to get a cult following and became a huge hit across America. It was so popular that in 2003 they decided to offer franchise opportunities and now they have over 1000 Five Guys nationwide – that’s an awful lot! It only seemed appropriate that the first ever London outpost of Five Guys burger restaurant opened on 4th July – and like a burger obsessed lunatic I knew I had to get down there to give it a go...

  130. Published : Sunday, 7th July 2013

    Aqua Shard | Aqua Shard

    Aqua own two restaurants inside the Shard; Hutong a Northern Chinese inspired restaurant on the 33rd floor and Aqua Shard which serves contemporary British food on the 31st. I was super excited to be invited to a preview night at the latter, along with my gentleman companion...

  131. The menu at Joe’s Southern Kitchen and Bar (formerly Navajo Joe) is right up my street; beer can chicken, mac ‘n’ cheese, wings and ribs – what’s not to like? When I was invited along to a preview evening to sample a selection of the dishes from the menu I couldn’t refuse...

  132. Published : Sunday, 7th July 2013

    Shake Shack | Shake Shack Covent Garden

    Shake Shack originally started as a hot dog stand selling burgers in Madison Square Garden in Manhattan by a guy called Danny Meyer and it quickly became a hit. They’re now all over America and even in Turkey and the Middle East. It’s not just London that loves a good burger! It was a fairly straightforward set up – you queue up, order at the counter, they give you a buzzer, you frantically try and find a seat somewhere and then you go to the hatch to pick up your food when your buzzer buzzes...

  133. Published : Monday, 24th June 2013

    Benares | Benares

    Benares is a Michelin starred Indian restaurant in Mayfair. We’ve only had one taste of Indian food at Michelin level before at Trishna in Marylebone which we thought was utterly brilliant, so we were excited about our lunch visit...

  134. Published : Monday, 24th June 2013

    Quo Vadis | Quo Vadis

    Quo Vadis has a wonderful location right in the heart of Dean Street in Soho. Its stained glass windows give it the appearance of a private members club and it’s somewhere I’ve wanted to try for ages but have never got around to. I thought it would be the perfect place for a friend’s birthday dinner and luckily, I wasn’t wrong!...

  135. Published : Monday, 24th June 2013

    Dean Street Townhouse | Dean Street Townhouse

    Dean Street Townhouse, if you hadn’t guessed, has a rather splendid location on Dean Street in Soho. It’s a hotel and restaurant owned by the Soho House group but you don’t have to be a member to enjoy either. The dining room was a long and fairly narrow space and on our Thursday night visit for my sister’s birthday it was heaving...

  136. Published : Sunday, 23rd June 2013

    Cookhouse Joe | Cookhouse Joe

    Cookhouse Joe is a Lebanese inspired rotisserie chicken joint on Berwick Street in Soho. It’s by the same people who own Soho Joe (somewhere I’ve yet to try) and as I LOVE a bit of chicken I was excited to pop in for dinner. We sat on the ground floor which was a very small and dark space; the first floor was a little more appealing as it was brighter and more airy...

  137. Published : Tuesday, 18th June 2013

    Gidleigh Park | Gidleigh Park

    After a rather gastro-tastic holiday in Cornwall where we sampled wondrous food at the likes of The Seafood Restaurant, Nathan Outlaw at Rock, Paul Ainsworth at No.6 and Driftwood, we couldn’t help but take a minor detour on the way home and stop off for lunch at two Michelin starred Gidleigh Park. The drive from Padstow along Dartmoor was simply breathtaking. ..

  138. Published : Monday, 17th June 2013

    One Leicester Street | One Leicester Street

    I was shocked to hear that the St.John Hotel had gone into administration; on our visit the place was positively packed and the food on offer was great. I wasn’t totally convinced that it was deserving of its first Michelin star quite so soon after opening however. Either way, sadly the St.John Hotel is no more but the head chef has stayed on and runs the kitchen of the new restaurant; One Leicester Street...

  139. Published : Monday, 17th June 2013

    Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms | Sat Bains

    I was a little bit nervous during the week leading up to our reservation at two Michelin starred Sat Bains in Nottingham. This was due to the cancellation policy; it’s a £75 a head charge if you cancel up to 5 days prior to your booking. But what if me or my gentleman companion came down with influenza? Or what if the traffic was so bad that we missed it altogether? Luckily for us the 2 hour 45 minute drive from London whizzed by and we made it with time to spare!...

  140. Published : Saturday, 15th June 2013

    Oblix at The Shard | Oblix at The Shard

    I was rather excited about going for lunch at Oblix with my family, the first restaurant to be opened in the Shard building in London Bridge (currently the tallest building in Europe). It’s a Rainer Becker restaurant (founder of Zuma and Roka) but his new venture stays away from Japanese cooking and instead, Oblix is inspired by the grills of New York...

  141. Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Heliot at the Hippodrome Posted on May 31, 2013 by SamphireAndSalsify Heliot business card I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t normally choose to have dinner in a casino in Leicester Square but my Mum and I had tickets to see the Book of Mormon (which is HILARIOUS) so a quick bite to eat at the Heliot restaurant inside the Hippodrome didn’t seem such a bad idea...

  142. Published : Thursday, 30th May 2013

    Restaurant Gordon Ramsay | Restaurant Gordon Ramsay

    just another food blog Home Restaurant Reviews A-Z Pop-ups, events & openings About me Blogs I like Contact Tanner & Co Heliot at the Hippodrome Restaurant Gordon Ramsay Posted on May 30, 2013 by SamphireAndSalsify Restaurant Gordon Ramsay business card In 1998 Gordon Ramsay opened his eponymous restaurant on Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea and in 2001 it was awarded three Michelin stars – the highest possible. Now chef patron Clare Smyth is the only female in the UK to hold such status. The recently refurbed dining room was absolutely beautiful. It’s only a small space seating 45 or so but it was flooded with natural light and the upholstered chairs and plush carpets made for a very comfortable place to sit...

  143. Published : Tuesday, 28th May 2013

    Tanner & Co | Tanner & Co

    Tanner & Co is a new restaurant on Bermondsey Street which serves “comfort food with a twist”. It replaces Delfina – a restaurant which always seemed to be empty even though the food was pretty good – well I thought so anyway! just another food blog Home Restaurant Reviews A-Z Pop-ups, events & openings About me Blogs I like Contact Scotch Beef Feast at Plateau Restaurant Tanner & Co Posted on May 28, 2013 by SamphireAndSalsify No business card Tanner & Co is a new restaurant on Bermondsey Street which serves “comfort food with a twist”. It replaces Delfina – a restaurant which always seemed to be empty even though the food was pretty good – well I thought so anyway! The outisde Gone are Delfina’s stark white walls and art gallery atmosphere; instead they’ve completely transformed the space. It’s designed like an old fashioned school gym. Why you might ask?...

  144. Published : Tuesday, 21st May 2013

    The Wolseley | The Wolseley

    The Wolseley is owned by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King and was famed for being the late Michael Winner’s favourite restaurant in London. Corbin and King also own The Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Cafe Colbert – a selection of restaurants that I simply adore and the same can now be said for The Wolseley after my visit for dinner with my parents...

  145. Published : Monday, 20th May 2013

    Elliot's Café | Elliot’s Cafe

    There was a bar with stool seats by the entrance and then a small dining area out the back. Exposed brick walls made for a shabby yet stylish appearance and the place had a seriously buzzy atmosphere. It’s all very ‘organic wines’ this and ‘homemade lemonade’ that – and they don’t sell Coke, it’s that kind of place...

  146. Published : Wednesday, 8th May 2013

    Kitchen W8 | Kitchen W8

    Kitchen W8 is a “neighbourhood” restaurant just off High Street Kensington. It’s owned by Philip Howard, head chef and co-owner of two Michelin starred The Square and Rebecca Mascarenhas who owns a whole host of similar neighbourhood friendly restaurants in Balham, Chiswick and Barnes. The restaurant also holds a Michelin star so we had high hopes for our Sunday lunch...

  147. Published : Sunday, 5th May 2013

    Launceston Place | Launceston Place

    There’s two dining rooms and both have a fairly odd layout so no two tables are the same. It’s a bit like eating in the downstairs of someone’s house – someone who has a really, really lovely house. Dark grey walls, plush carpets and tables adorned with white tablecloths made for a beautiful space with a really relaxed and comfortable atmosphere...

  148. Published : Tuesday, 23rd April 2013

    Restaurant Story | Restaurant Story

    Restaurant Story is the creation of 26 year old chef Tom Sellers, who has worked for the likes of Tom Aikens and Thomas Keller in New York. The restaurant is housed in a former toilet block near Tower Bridge (not that you’d know it now) and the concept is a rather unusual one. When booking you’re asked to bring along a book with you and leave it behind along with your reason for choosing it. This is to help “share not only ours but your story too”. As I’ve never actually fully read a book...

  149. The hotel was subtly beautiful but it was the dining room that had the wow factor. It was tiny; in fact the smallest Michelin starred restaurant in London seating just 26. Tables were compact but the comfy chairs made us feel at ease. It was a very pretty space...

  150. Published : Saturday, 13th April 2013

    Chez Bruce | Chez Bruce

    Chez Bruce is a charming Michelin starred restaurant in Wandsworth which has a real ‘neighbourhood favourite’ vibe to it. It’s the sort of place that if I lived locally I’d really enjoy being a regular. The service was warm and friendly and nothing felt too stuffy...

  151. Published : Saturday, 13th April 2013

    The Glasshouse | The Glasshouse

    Just like it’s sister restaurants (Chez Bruce and La Trompette) The Glasshouse has a really neighbourhood friendly feel to it. The darlings of Kew certainly seem to come here as trade was thriving during our visit. The dining room was a fairly simple space but elegantly designed and the whole place had a really relaxed atmosphere...

  152. Published : Thursday, 11th April 2013

    Spuntino | Spuntino

    The restaurant is small and slightly squished and everything is very exposed and worn down – very trendy! Stools placed around the edge of the bar seated no more than 26. The buzzy atmosphere at Spuntino more than made up for its lack of comfort. Oh and they don’t take reservations...

  153. Published : Monday, 8th April 2013

    The Black Rat | The Black Rat

    Having been a pub in a former life, the dining room is still very much in that fashion. It’s a quirky place too – like an eccentric antique shop which makes it a rather pleasant place to sit as there’s plenty to look at...

  154. Published : Thursday, 4th April 2013

    Kai | Kai

    Kai is a Michelin starred Chinese restaurant in Mayfair. During our visit on a sunny Saturday for lunch the dining room was rather full and business appeared to be thriving. This isn’t your typical local Chinese restaurant however: this has been Mayfair-ified...

  155. Published : Wednesday, 3rd April 2013

    Balthazar | Balthazar

    Balthazar adds to London’s ever growing list of brasseries and is the creation of Keith McNally (I’ve never heard of him either). With its location right in the heart of Covent Garden and being an almost carbon copy of the already popular original Balthazar in New York it means getting a reservation is not the easiest of tasks. My gentleman companion and I happened to be passing at 5pm and thought we’d try our luck and were offered a table as long as we returned it within an hour and a half – result!...

  156. Published : Tuesday, 2nd April 2013

    Chickenliquor | Wishbone Brixton

    Wishbone is a fried chicken shop which is co-owned by Scott Collins – one of the guys behind Meat Liquor and it subsequently has a similar vibe. Loud music, trendy staff, stool seats and customers with greasy fingers. The restaurant is based in Brixton market which seems to be a culinary hotspot as it’s littered with nice looking places to eat. A return visit to the area is inevitable...

  157. Published : Monday, 1st April 2013

    Restaurant Nathan Outlaw | Nathan Outlaw at Rock

    During our holiday in Cornwall we were spoilt for choice for places to eat lovely food. One restaurant that we had both been really, really excited about however was Nathan Outlaw at Rock. A two Michelin starred restaurant that only serves tasting menus comprising of just fish – how would I cope with no meat?!...

  158. Published : Friday, 22nd March 2013

    The Ivy | The Ivy

    “The Ivy is one of London’s most in demand restaurants” says the The Ivy’s website and I’d agree with that – I’ve always found it a bit of an uphill struggle to get a table. But good news!...

  159. Published : Thursday, 21st March 2013

    Paul Ainsworth at No. 6 | Paul Ainsworth at No.6

    No.6 is a Michelin starred restaurant from Paul Ainsworth in the harbour town of Padstow in Cornwall. After watching him on Great British Menu cook some rather stunning looking dishes I knew whilst my gentleman companion and I were on holiday in Cornwall we’d have to pay him a visit – and we didn’t regret it...

  160. Published : Monday, 18th March 2013

    The Royal Oak | The Royal Oak at Paley Street

    Some of you might know The Royal Oak at Paley Street as the pub that Michael Parkinson co-owns with his son Nick. That along with it’s Michelin star gave me and my gentleman companion enough gusto to make the hour and fifteen minute drive from London to visit for lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Being one of only 13 pubs in the country to hold a Michelin star we had high hopes...

  161. Published : Monday, 11th March 2013

    The Ritz Restaurant | The Ritz

    just another food blog Home About me Blogs I like Contact Restaurant Reviews A-Z Apsleys The Ritz Posted on March 11, 2013 by SamphireAndSalsify Ritz business card Since its opening in 1906, the Ritz has brought glamour to 150 Piccadilly and this opulent hotel has become something of a London landmark. The afternoon tea, served in the elegant Palm Court, is booked up several months in advance. I’ve always wanted to go for a meal in the Ritz restaurant so was super excited when my gentleman companion finally agreed to go with me...

  162. From the minute we walked through the door of the hotel we fell in love with the place – the greeting from every member of staff was that of warmth and friendliness. The dining room was simply stunning with its glass roof and three huge chandeliers – it’s possibly my favourite dining room in London. It had a feeling of understated luxury which was matched by the charming and efficient service...

  163. Published : Monday, 25th February 2013

    Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental | Bar Boulud

    This being his only London restaurant it’s clearly popular with the warmly welcomed locals, as when we visited on a Saturday lunchtime it was rather busy. It had a relaxed atmosphere with a slightly posher Angus Steak House feel to it...

  164. Published : Saturday, 23rd February 2013

    Bone Daddies | Bone Daddies

    My first ever taste of the Japanese noodle broth called ramen was at Tonkotsu and what a way to lose my ramen virginity – I loved it! Since then London has become rather obsessed with the stuff and its popularity has rocketed, meaning ramen bars are opening left right and centre. Somewhere that always seems to have a queue outside is Bone Daddies so my gentleman companion and I planned a later visit at 9pm and got a table no problemo...

  165. Published : Wednesday, 20th February 2013

    Meatliquor | Meat Liquor

    If you pay Meat Liquor a visit during lunch or dinner time then you’ll most likely be faced with a rather large queue. Such is the length of the queues that the bouncer (yes they have a bouncer) stamps your hand to avoid any annoying queue jumpers or pusher-inners. Even though all this seems rather daunting, I really do feel it’s worth the wait – bear in mind I’m the sort of person who once waited two and a half hours for Bubbledogs!...

  166. Published : Tuesday, 12th February 2013

    Joe Allen | Joe Allen

    In New York during the 60′s Joe Allen opened a restaurant in the heart of theatre land and it became a big hit with show goers and Broadway performers. Following that success, in the 70′s, Joe Allen opened his London outpost in the West End which also received similar popularity with the theatre world. If you’re a lovie or a West End Wendy then you would have definitely been to Joe Allen – it’s that kind of place. Tucked away behind Covent Garden in a quiet side street you’d be forgiven for walking past the secluded doorway. Walk down the stairs however to the basement restaurant and you’ll find a rather busy and lively dining room...

  167. The Vincent Rooms at Westminster Kingsway College is a fully working college-run restaurant which allows the catering students to experience cooking for real-life paying customers and has trained the likes of Jamie Oliver and Antony Worrall ‘unexpected item in the bagging area’ Thompson. There’s two choices when booking; The Brasserie which is a large bright and airy dining room serving rustic brasserie style dishes or the fine dining Escoffier Room which is where we chose to eat...

  168. Published : Friday, 1st February 2013

    Caravan | Caravan Exmouth Market

    My Mum and I had tickets for the ballet at Sadler’s Wells theatre and as Exmouth Market is only a short walk away I decided to book us in for a quick bite to eat in Caravan. It’s more than just a restaurant as downstairs in the basement they roast their own coffee beans and my mother (Queen of the latte) can verify that it’s some of the best coffee in London. The restaurant itself was only small but had a great atmosphere and we were served by really friendly staff. The wooden chairs weren’t the most comfortable of things to perch on but I was enjoying myself so much that it didn’t bother me too much...

  169. Sketch in Mayfair is a bit like Pat Sharp’s Fun House – it’s a vast building which houses a whole host of different bars and dining rooms. There’s The Gallery – a lively gastro brasserie, The Parlour – a dazzling tea room, The East Bar – a secret and intimate cocktail room, The Glade – a chilled and relaxed bar and a collection of pod toilets which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before (see below). However, my visit on this particular occasion was for lunch at the two Michelin starred Lecture Room and Library and we were both really excited...

  170. Published : Saturday, 26th January 2013

    Clockjack Oven | Clockjack Oven

    Clockjack Oven is a new rotisserie chicken restaurant tucked away behind the heart of tourist central, Piccadilly Circus. I love a bit of chicken so I got a group of friends together and went for dinner. The restaurant was fairly small but had a really buzzy atmosphere with a family friendly feel to it. Staff were very enthusiastic and amiable. Behind the bar, chickens with their legs splayed rotated vertically on the spit and filled the air with the glorious aroma of roast chicken. Yum...

  171. Published : Wednesday, 23rd January 2013

    Naamyaa Café | Naamyaa Cafe

    Naamyaa Cafe is an “all day dining, modern Bangkok cafe” situated on St. John Street in Islington. It is owned by Alan Yau who brought us Yauatcha, Hakkasan, and Princi and like it’s siblings Naamyaa is a rather pretty place to eat. It’s huge and has a warehouse feel to it with a really high ceiling. Low hanging fans spinning round made us forget for a second that it was snowing outside – I actually felt like I was on holiday!...

  172. Published : Monday, 21st January 2013

    John Salt | John Salt with Neil Rankin

    Two months ago I had dinner at John Salt on Upper Street in Islington. It’s a neighbourhood bar and restaurant which was home to Ben Spalding for a 6 month residency and I thought it was rather bloomin’ lovely. After hearing the news that Ben and John Salt had sadly parted ways four months early (meaning I wouldn’t be able to return and try his 45 ingredient salad) I was curious as to who would replace him. That man is baseball cap wearing Neil Rankin, former head chef at Pitt Cue Co (the kings of pulled pork). I ate there when he was behind the grills and absolutely loved it but have never had the chance to eat his own food. I was super excited then when I was rather kindly invited to a menu tasting night at John Salt to sample nearly all of the dishes from his new menu. We started off with oysters and beef fat mayo (£5) which came deep fried and encased in a beautifully crisp batter. The oysters were soft and had a little hint of vinegar which was lovely...

  173. Published : Thursday, 17th January 2013

    Princi | Princi Pizza

    just another food blog Home About me Blogs I follow Contact Restaurant Reviews A-Z Lutyens Princi Pizza Posted on January 17, 2013 by SamphireAndSalsify Princi business card On the left hand side of Princi there’s a restaurant serving pizzas cooked in a wood-fire oven and on the right a cafe which is always absolutely packed. This Italian cafe was originally created by Rocco Princi who already has a successful chain of cafes in Milan but was brought over here by Alan Yaou who owns Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Busaba Eathai to name but a few...

  174. Published : Thursday, 10th January 2013

    Lutyens | Lutyens

    Lutyens resides in the former Reuters building on Fleet Street and is named after the architect and designer of the building Sir Edwin Lutyens. It’s a Terence Conran restaurant and the dining room is a rather simple yet elegantly designed space – everything’s white and very neutral and there’s a glass fronted kitchen so you can see all the action...

  175. Rather than buy each other rubbish presents we’ll never use, each year my sister and I go out for a nice lunch as our Christmas present to each other. As the designated foodie (I hate that word) it’s always my decision to choose somewhere amazing. Last year Rhodes 24 atop of Tower 42 in the City was a total disappointment so this year the pressure was on to prove I know something (anything) about restaurants. I decided to take us to two Michelin starred Hélène Darroze at The Connaught hotel. It’s a beautiful hotel and I’ve been to the restaurant before so thought it would be a safe bet – and on the whole I wasn’t wrong. Phew!...

  176. Published : Friday, 4th January 2013

    Meatmission | MeatMission

    Last year a restaurant called MeatLiquor provided me with my first ever “dirty burger”. I remember it being greasy, drippy and messy to eat but above all it was ruddy delicious. Since then my burger obsession has taken me to Slider Bar, Burger Breakout, Honest Burger, Burger & Shake, Tommi’s Burger Joint, Patty&Bun, Burger & Lobster, BRGR.CO and Dirty Burger and I’m still not bored! When I heard the people behind MeatLiquor and MeatMarket were opening MeatMission I couldn’t resist going...

  177. Published : Thursday, 20th December 2012

    L'Enclume | L’Enclume

    L’Enclume is a two Michelin star restaurant which resides in a little medieval village called Cartmel in the Lake District. Owner Simon Rogan (who also owns Roganic in London) is known to many as the chef who cooked his dessert at the final banquet on BBC’s Great British Menu. The restaurant has plenty of character and blends modern dining furniture with old fashioned exposed beams – it’s a lovely space. We were seated in the restaurant’s conservatory which had views to the garden – perfect for watching the rain pour down and it poured down for our entire visit!...

  178. Published : Wednesday, 19th December 2012

    Burger & Shake | Burger & Shake

    So what happens if you’re near Russell Square and you desperately need a burger but don’t want to travel into town and then queue for a few hours? Well, panic not little ones as Burger & Shake has opened and it’s just a short walk from Russell Square tube station. It’s a small, simple but pretty restaurant with booth seating on the right and close packed tables for two on the left. It’s a bit like sitting in a posh pie and mash shop – in a good way. We arrived at about 8ish on a Monday night and got a seat no problemo...

  179. Published : Tuesday, 18th December 2012

    Le Champignon Sauvage | Le Champignon Sauvage

    Le Champignon Sauvage resides in the historic spa town of Cheltenham. It’s run by husband and wife team David Everitt-Matthias in the kitchen and Helen out the front and they’ve proudly held their two Michelin stars for numerous years. We hoped that the 2 hour 45 minute drive from London (with slight traffic) for lunch would be worth it and we were relived to say that it was...

  180. Published : Monday, 10th December 2012

    Flat Iron | Flat Iron

    After a successful pop-up above The Owl & Pussycat pub in Shoreditch, Flat Iron has found itself a more permanent home on Beak Street in Soho. The outside It’s a no reservation restaurant with a downstairs bar and a small ground floor dining room which seats around 30 people. The room is everything you’d expect from a new trendy restaurant with exposed brick walls and a general feeling of shabby chic which seems to work well in the small space. The only thing I wasn’t that keen on was the loud rap music – maybe I’m just getting old!...

  181. Published : Friday, 7th December 2012

    BRGR.CO | BRGR.CO

    Having recently experienced near burger perfection at Patty&Bun I thought I’d give newly opened BRGR.CO a go. It’s in a pretty good spot right in the heart of Wardour Street in Soho and as I walked in and smelt the waft of smokey grilled beef, things were looking positive. Sadly however it went downhill from there. The first of two small dining rooms had an open kitchen and quite a buzzy atmosphere but the one in which we were seated lacked any personality whatsoever. The tables were minuscule and the wooden chairs were uncomfortable – it wasn’t the sort of place we wanted to spend very long...

  182. Published : Wednesday, 5th December 2012

    Medlar | Medlar

    Medlar is a Michelin starred restaurant situated on the Kings Road in Chelsea. It’s owned by Joe Mercer Nairne (chef) and David O’Connor (front of house) who both have pretty impressive CV’s between them, having worked in many of the countries top restaurants. We didn’t find it the easiest of restaurants to get to as it’s a good 20 minute walk from Sloane Square tube station and we struggled to find pay and display parking close by but boy oh boy was it worth the struggle to get there...

  183. Published : Monday, 3rd December 2012

    Patty & Bun James Street | Patty&Bun

    After a string of successful pop ups Patty&Bun has found itself a permanent home in James Street just round the corner from Selfridges. Being only a stones throw away from Meat Liquor and Tommi’s Burger Joint, this is the area you need to visit to get your burger fix. The outside The restaurant is only small, seating around 30 and has a very simple appearance. With wooden chairs, exposed piping and low hanging lights it isn’t the warmest place to sit but the loud reggae music gives the place a great atmosphere – it was a really fun place to be...