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31 July 2014

Restaurants & Bars

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Blog Reviews from sexdrugsandbaconrolls

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  1. Published : Monday, 21st April 2014

    Drakes Tabanco | Drakes Tabanco

    We arrived at Drakes Tabanco having heard this is a new, yet subtle Spanish tapas bar in Fitzrovia focusing on authenticity, simplicity and the people. We checked out the menu which is Spanish but has British inclinations too. The idea behind this sherry and tapas bar is that when Sir Francis Drake came back from his travels he kick started the sherry industry and so the menu reflects this era. The restaurant is small with a little sherry bar offering what they call ‘real sherry’ that is stored for years and is dry, and full bodied. Tabancos are unique as they are served sherry straight from the barrel and Drakes Tabancos serves just them. We were early but this did not seem a problem for the incredibly helpful Spanish waiters and they sat us down at a lovely table near another beer where they prepared cold food and sliced big legs of ham. The small restaurant is downstairs and is light with black and white prints of Spanish generations. I think as the place was so cozy, it would have suited to be a little darker and maybe use candles instead of bright lights...

  2. Published : Thursday, 17th April 2014

    Gaucho Smithfield | Gaucho – Farringdon

    We visited Gauchos on the spur of the moment after a long day of work and a celebratory catch up. We have always tried to avoid Gaucho having thought of it as a pretentious steak house although I secretly wanted to go to satisfy our curiosity as well as the fact I could be less of a hypocrite once I had been to try and test it. I think personally Faringdon was a good choice of location for me as it is less trendy and full of people who actually enjoy good steaks and good wine – I mean who doesn’t. Anyway we walked through the heavy glass doors and were greeted by the receptionist who found us a seat opposite the kitchen. I like to see the kitchen when i’m in a restaurant as I find that it shows honesty about their food and cooking as well as the fire being warming and adding to the business of the place...

  3. Published : Saturday, 12th April 2014

    Les Deux Salons | Les Deux Salons

    We have noticed this place pop up earlier in the year and on later inspection, saw that is was the sister of sophisticated British restaurants Wild Honey and Artubus so we suggested to visit with friend. Les Deux Salon as the name implies is French so steers away from the British fusion of the other sister restaurants and instead moves to a more casual Parisian style Brasserie. Les Deux Salon is on a side street just off the Strand so is a great meeting location. The large windows have steel piping on the antiqued windows. We walked in to the grand restaurant and met at the desk to give our names and coat. We were shown to our table which was past the large old fashioned bar and in a slight alcove. We were seated at a crisp white table on a cushioned bench with wooden seats opposite us. The floor had tiled white and black stone and when one looked up there was a second floor with a large oval shape in the centre...

  4. Published : Thursday, 3rd April 2014

    The Riverfront | BFI Resturant – Southbank

    We visited BFI before attending a jazz evening at the Waterloo Vaults. The BFI restaurant is under Waterloo bridge right on the river. There are tables outside both in summer and winter (with heaters in the winter) and then a large restaurant on one side with the bar on the other. We had not booked but fancied a casual non chain restaurant affair – which is quite hard to find on South Bank. While it is owned by Benugo, being based in the BFI gives the place a real unique feel. The waitress thankfully found a free table for us and we sat and took in our surroundings. It is an open plan restaurant with the kitchen visible from the restaurant area. We took a look at the menu which is English in cuisine. Note the bar serves some fabulous bar snacks including squid, lamb kebabs and chicken thighs...

  5. Published : Monday, 24th March 2014

    Andina | Andina

    This is Peruvian restaurant which had a lot of hype before opening. Based in Shoreditch, Andina is very chic – probably more suited to West London – it’s always busy so you need to book. We were after a nice light lunch location and this seemed an obvious choice (not only because we had never tried it and have it on our list.) We walked through the more casual ground floor restaurant and were taken to the downstairs dining area that felt a lot more Latin American. The stone walls are painted a Mediterranean bright white, set against the light wood of the the bar, starcase and tables. Down stairs there is a modern bar offering a variety of exotic spirits and they do have free cocktail making classes (at an awkward time of 4pm on weekdays but still its free!)...

  6. We went to Patisserie Valerie for a quick lunch one work day as it is close to our offices. We have visited on a numerous occasions for coffee and cake (see here) but have never really considered it as a place to have lunch and were surprised when our colleagues suggested it. We walked in and it was absolutely packed, there was no room to swing a cat but miraculously a waiter rushing by and found us a seat from out of nowhere. We squeezed in and were given the menus by a harassed looking waiter who sat us on a two person table but managed to find a spare chair for our friend and plonked it down. Ok this was squeezed between a dribbling and frankly naughty toddler who managed to conjure up a drum set, and the counter so that the waiters had to squeeze past us. But we were impressed at his resourcefulness and the fact that we did not have to wait in the non existent reception or even worse in the bitter London smog...

  7. Published : Saturday, 22nd February 2014

    Mr Buckley's | Mr Buckley’s

    We admit if you are based anywhere central/ west London this place is a bit of a pain to get to, but trust me if you like East London hip restaurants that are off the beaten track, then this is the place to go. It’s unpretentious neon sign and bare brick walls in the small restaurant is inviting. The reception is small and they took their time to find the reservation but this adds to the charm. All of the minimalist furnishings suit the Hackney interior; simple, honest and local. The waitress explained that two out of the three options we fancied were sold out/un-orderable..damn. So instead for starter we ordered the bloody Mary tartare, and the smoked salmon with beetroot & rye bread. Although our previous orders were turned down we were satisfied as the tartare, as this was incredibly tasty with the deep red tomato and tabasco, The twist on this classic steak tartar worked well and I applause the chef for his originality. The smoked salmon was fresh, lightly smoked and salty served with rye bread. The only criticism was that we were disappointed that most of the dishes we fancied were unavailable/sold out even at 7.30 on a Saturday night...

  8. Published : Monday, 13th January 2014

    Bishopsgate Kitchen | Bishopsgate Kitchen

    We have noticed this Bishopsgate Kitchen in the last few months which overlooks the Spitalfields market and is a part of the Bishopsgate Institute which offers courses, lectures and classes for adults (we are meaning to do a course – Honestly!) This place always looks welcoming and authentically Italian. The wall facing the street is just a panel of glass so those sitting inside can watch the world go by and those outside can be tempted in by the ham legs hanging, the casual atmosphere and the delicious looking food. This place does a good job at serving a number of clientele, ideal for breakfast, lunch or dinner, which restaurants often find hard...

  9. Published : Tuesday, 7th January 2014

    Black & Blue Rochester Walk | Black and Blue

    We knew of this steak restaurant but always have been a bit wary of chain steak houses so never made the effort to go. However we had agreed to meet a friend for lunch in Borough Market who suggested Black and Blue. Now this would not be my lunch location as I prefer a lighter lunch than a big ‘ole hefty steak but we were sure there would be lighter options (which indeed there were.). Each Black and Blue restaurant is noticeable because of the giant model cow standing on the roof – yes I know I am not putting this in the best possible light to start but bear with me it does get better. It was a warm day and as these are a rare occurrences in London we asked to sit on the terrace. Inside the restaurant it is light and airy with a large bar in the centre. Brass handles, mirrors and black and white colour scheme gives this restaurant a modern steak house feel...

  10. Published : Thursday, 2nd January 2014

    Dockmaster's House | The Dock Masters House

    We have heard the praise The Dock Masters House in Canary Wharf since moving to SE London and having keen interest in Indian cuisine. In fact it is one of the top recommended contemporary Indian restaurants in London and the head chef has a history of working in luxury Indian and English establishments. It is located within a listed three-storey Georgian building in the London Docklands, comprising of a large dining rooms, a bar, private dining areas and a garden. It is quite striking when walking past the docklands to turn a corner to find this beautiful old building. It feels as though you have moved from the heart finance district to a Jane Austin novel. Strange but works especially for the banking clientele I suppose. We entered the grand entrance and had a gin martini in the bar, opposite the dining room before going in for dinner...

  11. Published : Tuesday, 17th December 2013

    Galvin Café a Vin | Galvin Café A Vin

    Galvin Café A Vin is the casual sister restaurant of the Michelin starred Galvin brand and sits next to La Capelle, another Michelin brand in the Galvin chain. The café is a much more casual restaurant that offers all day food and drink serving wood-fired dishes of meat and fish as well as some of the Galvin signature bistro dishes, with an emphasis on quality and service. We came here for lunch on a sunny warm day and asked to sit on the terrace style seating on Bishops Square provides a French continental atmosphere. The service was welcoming and professional...

  12. Published : Sunday, 15th December 2013

    Oxo Tower Restaurant | OXO Tower

    We had previously been to the OXO Tower a couple of years back and never really made the effort to go back as the food was good but the atmosphere a little stifled and it does have the reputation of being fashionable a decade ago. Anyway we wanted to go for a nice meal on the Southbank and thought this would be an ideal location for the warm autumn evening. The famous OXO tower itself, is above the Harvey Nics restaurant and is out of view from diners...

  13. Published : Thursday, 12th December 2013

    Lemonia | Lemonia

    Lemonia is a Greek family fun tavern situated in between Primrose Hill and Chalk Farm. This is not our usual hangout but we had been recommended this place by Greek friends. The restaurant is huge and split in two by a brick fireplace, wall and bar. It is light and airy and the large windows open out onto the front of the street in the summer and tables spill out onto the bustling paths...

  14. Published : Thursday, 5th December 2013

    Milk & Honey | Milk and Honey

    Milk and Honey is located behind a secret door in Soho. By touching the correct buzzer on the correct anonymous door you are let in to the glamourous reception where we gave our coats, bags and brolly’s. We were seated by an hip east end waiter to two stools in the centre of the restaurant – not the most comfy but at least we got a good view of the bar. The bar and seating area was small and compact, 1920’s in theme and very dark. A perfect speak easy. This place apparently has a number of floors which are mainly used for members but non-members can come on weekdays when less busy. We ordered a range of cocktails that were all delicious and quickly devoured. The waiter observably topped up our glasses of water with the cucumber and mint water to our side...

  15. Published : Friday, 29th November 2013

    Ping Pong Soho | Ping Pong – Soho

    We had been to Ping Pong before for a quick lunch and were underwhelmed but had been invited there by a friend for a celebration. We had higher hopes as this was in a different location; in Soho, and had chosen the set menu. The restaurant – like all of the Ping Pong chain are dark with black wall paper, ebony tables and black leather benches. This place was smaller than the one we previously visited in Southbank. As you walk through the entrance there is the front kitchen with the chefs preparing dim sum in front of you. On the other side is a small waterfall and river running through the entrance guiding guests into the sitting area. We were seated by a polite Chinese waiter who took our order of hibiscus mojito and the set menu. The drinks were watery and very flowery in taste – refreshing and although weak were not full of fake sugary purees. We were impressed...

  16. Published : Monday, 18th November 2013

    Hispania | Hispania

    Hispania in Lombard Street looks like an unassuming typical banker location for lunch when you walk by, however you should not judge a book by its cover. When you walk in you immediately feel the vast size of this place. Hispania is the largest Spanish restaurant in London. This place has been rumored for months to be one of the very best restaurants in London in the Spanish cuisine. As we walked in we felt as though we had really stepped out of the busy city to a parador in Spain. Almost everything in this vast place is authentic from the magnificent Spanish floor, to the wooden private dining table that was owned originally by a notorious Spanish banker...

  17. Published : Tuesday, 12th November 2013

    Stein's | Steins Beer Garden Richmond

    We love Steins, a Bavarian beer garden at the side of the Thames in Richmond – what is there not to like? This beer garden is owned by Bavarians so it does not have the tacky atmosphere, instead serves traditional German food, wine and beer. Be warned this place is only open when the weather is good – not that you would want to go if it was raining heavily as it a beer garden after all. Stein’s lies about five minutes walk from the Richmond River and is tucked under a few low hanging trees. This place has no roof and is a patio floor with wooden benches and tables. Customers share seating on long benches and share in the communal love of eating and drinking. As you walk through the entrance there is a general hustle and bustle but not encroaching on the leisurely strollers along the river. It is sometimes hard to get a table...

  18. Published : Sunday, 10th November 2013

    Smollensky's Canary Wharf | Smollensky’s Canary Wharf

    We opted for a steak one night when in Canary Wharf and decided to try Smollensky’s as it was close by and we hoped they could serve up a good steak as they were a grill house. We walked into the upstairs part of the restaurant from the top floor entrance which was empty apart from two couples dining at opposite ends of the restaurant. Not the best sign but then it was fairly late on a Tuesday. We were unsure if it was open as it was so dark but once we popped our heads inside, a waiter/bar man behind the bar showed us to a table. We had a choice of any tables as it was so empty. We choose a seat at the end of the restaurant by the window that over looked the water at the dock and the Reuters building opposite with its constant stock updates...

  19. Published : Monday, 4th November 2013

    Duck & Waffle | Duck and Waffle

    You enter the Heron tower through the exclusive lift hall just for the Duck and Waffle and Sushi Samba restaurants, separating these two fine dining restaurants from the rest of the financial skyscraper. There is a small reception desk at the front of the lift, which I can only assume is there to check that you have reservations and keep a watch on the capacity limits as there is only one button to press in the lift, so it is not like you need a guide. The lift is completely made of glass – except for the floor, thankfully – and is very fast for a life. The experience is amazing seeing the London skyline open up to you within a few seconds. Fabulous!...

  20. Published : Friday, 1st November 2013

    The Modern Pantry Clerkenwell | The Modern Pantry

    We have been to The Modern Pantry for dinner before but decided to try it as a brunch location. It was a lovely sunny day and all of the tables on the terrace outside were taken; this was fine as there was a light breeze and there is nothing worse than luke warm food due to wind chill. We walked up the couple of stairs to the reception and gave our booking reference , the waitress looked for a good couple of minutes and then gave up and showed us a free table – clearly they hadn’t put us on the system even though we had called the day before. Fortunately the restaurant indoors was pretty quite so she could give us a table without losing face. It’s a little awkward as the reception desk is right by the door (which was open as it was sunny) and the waiters kept having to push past us as they were serving outside...

  21. Published : Tuesday, 29th October 2013

    Naamyaa Café | Naamyaa

    We had booked to see a production at Saddlers Wells and thought we would grab a bite to eat at this close by restaurant as it was on our ‘to do’ list. Naamyaa is the new restaurant in the group owned by Wagammma founder, Alan Yau who also has the popular Busabai Eathai under his belt. Knowing this you will get a sense for what this place stands for; quick, hearty, authentic dishes from Asia – this time Bangkok. Naamyaa is inspired by the Bangkok cafes; however having been to Bangkok I would say this is far more Westernised than any café or traditional restaurant I was in Bangkok (and cleaner too.) The restaurant sits on the main road junction of Long Street and St John St and has a few nice wrought iron table and chairs for people to sit outside and drink if the weather is nice. There is a small little tuk tuk outside as a half hearted attempt at proving its cuisine of choice...

  22. Published : Friday, 25th October 2013

    No.67 | No. 67 Cafe

    We went to No. 67 Cafe in Camberwell which is part of South London Gallery for brunch. The weather was lovely so we sat outside on the wrought iron chairs and circular tables. We were handed paper menu’s which was the brunch menu. The menu options are broad ranging from yoghurt and granola, eggs benedict and waffles. We arrived at 10am just as they had opened and so had to wait a while to be served. We were given a glass of water served from a jar that had with lemon and mint included...

  23. Published : Friday, 18th October 2013

    Kettner's | Kettners

    We have been meaning to go to Kettners for a long time now; for dinner and even more so for the ‘Herr Kettner’s’ 1940’s Berlin inspired nights. We had finally got round to going for lunch with a couple of friends. Situated on a corner of Soho this restaurant was originally a series of four Georgian town houses, Kettner’s was popular with Oscar Wilde, Edward VII, Lillie Langtry, Agatha Christie and Bing Crosby. We walked in the bright glamorous hall way and gave our names for a booking; I suddenly remembered that I had forgot to book! Playing it cool I said that I had done it online (which I had tried in my defense but an error occurred and I meant to call up). We were taken into the large airy L shaped room which was painted a peppermint green and white with plenty of mirrors to increase the feeling of space...

  24. Published : Thursday, 10th October 2013

    John Salt | John Salt

    We had high hopes for John Salt, a trendy café/restaurant/bar in Islington as the food menu and website was simple yet well nice little details. The restaurant is based at the end of Long Street nearer Kentish town/Hampstead and so is off the main tourist route. There are two floors to the restaurant, the downstairs which has a vast bar and leather sofas as well as benches for diners near the window. Upstairs there is a balcony floor a quarter of the size of downstairs and this is dedicated to food. The restaurant/bar is extremely simple in style. Plain cement floors with brick bare walls in an almost warehouse type feel...

  25. Published : Saturday, 17th August 2013

    Baltic | The Baltic

    We have fancied The Baltic for a long time, although it is not one of these non reservation, simplistic, trendy restaurants it is still edgy and on trend. The Russian restaurant is located in Southwark a short walk from the tube. The banner in front of the door is black which is in front of the black wooden door and leads into an even darker reception that hosts a wide and exciting looking bar with homemade infused vodkas as well as the usual brand name spirits and beers...

  26. Published : Tuesday, 13th August 2013

    The Clove Club | The Clove Club

    The Clove Club, situated in Shoreditch Town Hall is the epitome of East London restaurant. Located in an old, decadent building, the restaurant is designed with simplicity in mind. It has plain stripped wooden furniture, a dingle tea light candle for decoration and a bare bar with hanging herbs, lavender and some chintzy old fashioned champagne glasses...

  27. Published : Tuesday, 6th August 2013

    Hawksmoor Air Street | Haksmoor – Air Street

    For background I have been to the Hawksmoor Seven Dials twice and both times I had the most delicious time so I was very excited to be invited by a colleague to the Air Street branch. This is the newest restaurant of Hawksmoor family in London and is carving a name for itself by having a menu offering both meat and (which the Hawksmoor is famous for) and fish options. Interesting idea considering people will only go to the Hawksmoor if they are carnivorous and want a bloody good steak. The other Hawksmoors I have visited are underground but at Air Street you are welcomed at a ground floor reception but then led up to the restaurant; making it much lighter than previous outlets. The decor follows the same theme, however with dark brow wooden seats and tables and brass lamps and fixtures...

  28. Published : Wednesday, 31st July 2013

    The Real Greek Spitalfields | The Real Greek

    We have been to The Real Greek for dinner once before and were disappointed with the service, food quality and portions but we were invited for lunch at their Spitalfields branch and could not decline. We went to this ubiquitous restaurant in Spitalfields Market, underneath an arch in the centre of the market place. The small restaurant was pretty quiet so there were still some booths available. The booths were on high seats so it was rather humorous...

  29. Published : Tuesday, 2nd July 2013

    Tokyo Diner | Tokyo Diner

    I have to admit, I did not have high expectations and expected the food to be low par’. Needless to say I was wrong and I will go as far as to say I may even try this restaurant again. As I said this place is located in the heart of China Town on Little Newport Street and looks very plain and a little run down. It is on two floors and as we entered and were greeted by the waiter at a desk by the door we were seated on the first floor in the corner near the kitchen. The old fashioned wooden varnished tables and benches were fastened to the ground so we all had to scootch along the benches for the six of us to fit in...

  30. As any of you who have been to the Breakfast Club will know there is always a long queue, but if you are in the know (or have read this post and want to give it a go) in The Spitalfield’s Breakfast Club you can ask to be taken to the Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town and skip the queue. Ok I admit you will be given the evil eye by those waiting in the queue (I have even been called names for pushing in) but it is much better than queuing outside. You are then taken through the Smeg fridge, which before you know would never guess it is a secret door to an underground bar. You are then taken down a black staircase with a neon sign stating ‘Thrills’, pointing downstairs...

  31. Published : Saturday, 22nd June 2013

    The Phoenix | The Phoenix

    The Phoenix is a nearby to my offices in Victoria and if any of you know Victoria, there are limited places to eat or drink out for that matter, but the Phoenix is a refreshing change. It is a modern pub situated behind the Cardinal Place shopping area and therefore not on the tourist route. This pub is painted white on the outside as well as inside and it is quite stark but in a good way. It has the feel of a beach hut and is uncluttered, bright and airy; which is good considering it can get busy with office workers at lunch and after work...

  32. Published : Wednesday, 19th June 2013

    Hawksmoor Seven Dials | Hawksmoor – Seven Dials

    In this unassuming side street of Covent Garden is a black wrought iron door that once pushed leads on to one of the best steak houses (arguably) in London. The Hawksmoor is one of four steak restaurants (Air Street recently opened), which are all located in London. As we pushed open the door we were welcomed into a dark reception area, where we gave our names and coats. Our bags and coats were stored in huge wardrobes that looked as though they came from Narnia...

  33. Published : Monday, 17th June 2013

    Barrio East | Barrio East

    We were invited to Barrio East, the new restaurant in the Barrio chain, which has just opened in Shoreditch. We have been for happy hour in the Soho establishment but it never crossed our minds that they would do food in the happy hour rush. Anyway we had an invite for brunch – Barrio East is a Latin American joint that tries to capture the enthusiasm, honesty and colour that is associated with this continent...

  34. Published : Wednesday, 12th June 2013

    Founders Arms | The Founders Arms

    We have noticed The Founders Arms, a charming pub with a large outdoor area, many a time when walking along Southbank. As we were going to the Tate for a Friday Late we thought this was a perfect place to grab a bite before the exhibition. This pub is fairly new and located right next to the river opposite the Tate. It is a circular wooden building that has a wooden beer deck outside looking the water in the summer and have cheery blackboards tempting passer bys...

  35. Published : Monday, 10th June 2013

    Santini | Santini

    We had planned to go to a cool little cafe in Soho but due to lack of time we decided to have lunch at Santini, a restaurant near our offices. Our guest chose the location, which was good as we had no real idea of nice places in Victoria (if you have never been it is a desolate wasteland at the moment). So we were told to go to Santini at 1pm. Santini is about a five minute walk from Victoria station and is hidden in a corner of Ebury street. It looks very 90’s in design from the outside and I suspect it has a little terrace in the summer as there is a little concrete paving area in front of the restaurant (yes concrete please do not comment)...

  36. Published : Friday, 31st May 2013

    Benihana | Benihana

    We walked in Benihana, located on a side street in Piccadilly and were daunted by the size of the room. The restaurant is one room with a sloping stairway leading up to the dining area and has tables shaped as perfect squares replicating the shape of the room with space in the centre for the Japanese chefs to cook in front of diners...

  37. Published : Friday, 17th May 2013

    Quaglino's | Quaglino’s

    The restaurant is tucked behind Fortnum and Mason in a side street in Green Park and is not easy to find. Once you find Quaglinos it looks like a reception of an advertising/ PR agency or an art gallery as it has arty coloured glass and a white room with stairs leading downstairs to the cloack room. There are always a number of waiters at the entrance, one greets, one takes name, one takes coat and another one takes you to your seat. All this is very well orchestrated and doesn’t feel too cluttered surprisingly...

  38. Published : Friday, 10th May 2013

    Tuttons | Tutton’s

    This restaurant is situated on the corner of Leicester Square near the Transport Museum. It is in a English Brasserie style with a light airy room with tiled flooring and wooden alcoves for diners...

  39. Published : Wednesday, 8th May 2013

    Aqua Kyoto | Aqua Kyoto

    Aqua Kyoto is an Asian fusion restaurant with sister restaurants in Hong Kong and in Dubai. In the next few months a new one will open at the Shard – watch this space. The restaurant is made up of tables surrounding the large chef’s station, which is where Japanese chefs prepare fresh sushi with extreme skill. This perfect square of a station is strikingly large and is surrounded by tables. We were actually seated on the chefs station so had a perfect view of the sushi making in action...

  40. Published : Saturday, 13th April 2013

    J Sheekey | J Sheekey

    J Sheekey is located in St Martin’s Lane and is primarily a fine dining fish restaurant. We booked this place for a pre-theatre meal and when we called to book we were impressed by the care and attention we received from the gentleman on the phone. He informed us of the time of the play that we were going to see and recommended the latest time for us to thoroughly enjoy our meal without rush...

  41. Published : Tuesday, 9th April 2013

    This Bright Field | This Bright Field

    This is a fairly new restaurant located in a rather run down part of Bethnal Green (and yes, I mean by Bethnal Green standards). The restaurant is on Cambridge Heath Road and is easily missed as it is squeezed in between offices and a few shops. This Bright Field probably used to be a shop as the walls are all made of glass which makes the place looks airy, modern although shame the view of Cambridge Heath road and the working men’s pub) isn’t nicer. None the less as you walk through the door you can tell this place is cool, modern and had a lot of thought put into it...

  42. Published : Sunday, 31st March 2013

    Mint Leaf | Mint Leaf

    We have had a few cocktails in the stylish bar at the Mint Leaf in Piccadilly during happy hour and made a mental note to one day try the exotic food here. Another incentive was that we have a discount with our gourmet society card so win win! Although the Mint Leaf is an Indian restaurant it is not a curry house and instead focuses on well presented dishes that have an Asian heat to them. We had a much needed cocktail in the bar after a long day at work and then were taken to the restaurant...

  43. Becca Moriarty reports back from our visit to The Tea Prince latest Cosplay Cafe held at MADD café in Soho. “This was my first experience of a cosplay café, I have always been far too busy with crewing to enjoy the one Anime League provide at Alcon so was very excited and intrigued to experience this! Purchasing V.I.P princess tickets, entitling us to chekkis (photographs), a waltz and confessions letter from our butler...

  44. Published : Sunday, 24th March 2013

    Cote Wardour Street | Côte

    We went to Côte as we wanted to treat a friend for their birthday so we wanted somewhere affordable yet stylish. We chose Côte in Soho as it was centrally located and they did a pre-theatre option that had a simple yet well thought out Parisian menu...

  45. Published : Saturday, 16th March 2013

    The Driver | The Driver

    We were meeting a friend in Kings Cross and had heard a number of good reviews of the gastropub The Driver...

  46. Published : Thursday, 7th March 2013

    Boisdale of Bishopsgate | Boisdale of Bishopsgate

    The original Boisdale (and arguably the best) is based in Victoria but we were invited to the Liverpool Street Boisdale that opened only a few weeks earlier. We walked through the little alleyway into the restaurant. It is situated underground and in true Boisdale style is dark and cosy. We booked at late notice but still had a fantastic seating location right next to the piano with an East end hipster playing jazz songs on the piano...

  47. Published : Tuesday, 5th March 2013

    Scarlet Dot | Scarlet Dot

    We chose to go to Scarlet Dot more out of convenience than anything if truth be told. Having worked in this area, I knew that Scarlet Dot did two for one cocktail and so my penchant for cocktails really had this locked down for a while. This was originally an Indian restaurant but has now turned its hand to Thai so is a mixture of the two...

  48. Published : Friday, 1st March 2013

    The Balcon | The Balcon – Sofitel St James

    We had not booked but as it is quite quiet it was not an issue and we were seated next to the window overlooking Pall Mall and St James Park. Bear in mind when you picture this place in your head; it is a French restaurant in a French hotel with French waiters, who are relaxed in ‘their’ environment. They are impeccable polite and gracious but I really do think you see the best standard of them if you are French (which our friends were) In that case they are chatty, friendly and funny instead of professional and aloof as the English can easily take them...

  49. Published : Wednesday, 27th February 2013

    Yalla Yalla | Yalla Yalla

    his Lebanese restaurant is growing in fame not only because it is successfully opening pop-up subsidiaries in a number of areas in London but because Yalla Yalla is known for being cheap, good quality and one of those trendy restaurants that doesn’t take bookings. We were hungry but decided to make the most of Soho happy hour so did not get to the restaurant until well after 8pm, at this point we were in need of food. Unfortunately however this was peak time for Yalla Yalla and so there was a long queue and to make matters worse there was nowhere to wait inside so we had to stand outside on a very cold January evening in London Brrrr. If it hadn’t been so cold it wouldn’t have been too bad, I still like the trend of the non booking restaurants as it makes the evening relaxed and curbs my control freakery to an extent. My friends however kept bringing up the subject of moving somewhere else but I was stubbornly determined, which was also helped by the fact that we were being served drinks while we stood outside. It did get a little too cold however and I did ask numerous times on the wait, to which we were told 20 minutes when in fact we waited at least an hour possibly more. Had we been told this we probably won’t have waited and I am glad we did but I don’t like to be told a time and it is much longer; that is just annoying. To be fair on the waitresses they couldn’t really judge as there were only about ten tables so it is much harder to judge timings than if a bigger space. The waitresses were polite and understanding in our frustrations so this worked in its favour...

  50. We went to the Cinnamon Restaurant at the Hilton – Canary Wharf for brunch on a deal which was a cocktail and brunch for £17.00 for two. Usually we are sceptical about these deals but we had nothing to do on that Saturday. So we booked this deal and arrived at the busy restaurant in the Hilton. The restaurant was open plan and very airy. It was literally fully booked (apparently this deal has got very popular in the last few months)...

  51. Published : Wednesday, 20th February 2013

    Galvin at Windows | Galvin at Windows

    We have heard mixed reviews of Galvin at Windows, a Michelin restaurant located in the London Hilton on Park Lane; overpriced, two years unfashionable and on the other scale fabulous food. The only thing we have found people tend to agree on is the amazing views. Galvin at Windows is set on 28th floor of the Hotel so I made sure I asked for a window seat. As you arrive from the elevator you are welcomed by a reception, with the bar to the left and the restaurant to the right. The bar overlooks Mayfair and is light and airy and exudes sophistication. The bar follows this theme with a raised area in the centre making up the most of the tables and then tables surrounding the raised area by the windows. The tables on the lower levels have the best views out of the windows but the raised levels do offer views from the raised height...

  52. Published : Tuesday, 19th February 2013

    Tayyabs | Tayyabs

    We have heard a lot of positive reviews about Tayyabs, an Indian restaurant in Whitechapel that has been around since the 70’s. It is not an easy task creating a name for yourself in Brick Lane/Whitechapel area as if you have ever been to that area you will realise there are just so many Indian restaurants in that area, competition is rife...

  53. Published : Sunday, 10th February 2013

    Arbutus | arbutus

    We had arbutus in Soho on our Restaurants to do list for a while now. We were looking for a restaurant to take clients, which was in central London and arbutus seemed like a nice option for a casual business lunch. This restaurant is fairly small but is bright and airy. The restaurant has a distinct French feel in terms of service but the food is English/Italian in style. We were welcomed into the bustling restaurant and taken into the back room that overlooks Dean Street and seated on the benches with our back to the wall. There was four of us for lunch and although I really liked this restaurant it probably wasn’t right for the people we were entertaining as it was modern and surprisingly loud and our guests were more old school and prefer it a little quieter...

  54. Published : Saturday, 9th February 2013

    The Abbey Tavern | Farmer Tom Jones at The Abbey Tavern

    The Abbey Tavern in Kentish Town, whose kitchen is run by Farmer Tom Jones, is one of the newest restaurants in London. I had heard that it is a great place for good value steak. The chef at this restaurant is a farmer (hence the name) from Stafford who supplies all of the meat to the restaurant. I had heard that it is one of the best sourced meat restaurants as well as incredibly cheap for the quality. What I didn’t realise until we visited it, was that it was part of a pub; not a gastropub type style instead a dark indie pub that served cheap alcohol. Now I know I always ramble on about food being more important than decor and location but this is the exception and yes, I admit I am a hypocrite...

  55. Published : Tuesday, 5th February 2013

    Crazy Bear | The Crazy Bear – Fitzrovia

    After a few drinks at the Sanderson Hotel, we headed towards The Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia. This place serves Eastern Asia fusion cuisine, in a 1920’s Art Deco style restaurant. Don’t let this rather awkward explanation put you off. The décor oozes old fashioned decadence with a fresh modern style in its food. The restaurant is off the main road and is hidden behind a few well positioned shrubs. As you walk in you are welcomed by a small receptionist desk which leads on to the main restaurant floor. The restaurant is made to look smaller than it is for a cosy intimate feel. As there is a wall that splits the restaurant floor and a downstairs bar. It is dark and lit by 1920′s bars lamps and candle light emphasising the glamour of this era...

  56. Published : Friday, 1st February 2013

    Momo | Momo

    We have always quiet fancied Momo in Heddon Street, a high end Moroccan restaurant that is owned by the people who created Sketch. This restaurant is tucked in a corner off a side street of Regent street and has trees covering the outside seating area which, had couples smoking shisha. As you push open the heavy wooden doors you have a sense that you are walking into a slower pace of life than the one outside bustling in Regent Street. The restaurant has a cream stone wall that looks almost like a cave with windows and doorways carved out. The seats have Arabic materials covering the stools and poofs and the cutlery and glasses are very elegant and in keeping with the theme...

  57. Published : Tuesday, 29th January 2013

    Laughing Gravy | The Laughing Gravy

    We chose this place as we wanted to find a casual restaurant for Sunday brunch and The Laughing Gravy seemed the perfect option. Situated 5 minutes from Southwalk tube station this unpretentious restaurant sits on a side street along with a number of other cafes, galleries and houses. The restaurant is long rather than wide. It is situated on two levels both reserved for diners. It is light and airy and perfect for families. We were welcomed by bohemian waiters who seated us at the other end of the restaurant on the levered floor. There was a group of us so we were situated on a large round table. The service was friendly and relaxed although a little slow at some times...

  58. We went for cocktails in Regent Street and decided to grab a bite to eat nearby. I suggested Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill because it has a good reputation and has been on our ‘Restaurants to do list’ for a good while. It was a Sunday so luckily there was a table available for us. We were seated in the main dining room, which is much smaller than I expected (although there is another dining room the opposite side of the hall and bar). We were seated along the side of the wall with the other diners and my fellow diner sitting opposite me with their back to the bar...

  59. Published : Thursday, 24th January 2013

    Bank Westminster | Bank – Westminster

    We went to Bank in St James’s for lunch. Although a hotel restaurant it does not have this feel as it has its own entrance and is only connected to the hotel via the terrace at the back. As you walk in there is a small bar at the side of the wall. The hall way past this leads to the restaurant which is split on two levels. The restaurant on the ground level is light and airy as the end wall is glass which looks onto the hotel courtyard. The terrace is one of its selling point as there is a huge fountain with tables and chairs out in the summer (a lovely place for after work drinks if you are feeling fancy too). The hotel surrounds the courtyard into a square and is made of a lovely red brick which has white sandstone etchings on the four walls facing the restaurant...

  60. Published : Tuesday, 22nd January 2013

    La Poule au Pot | La Poule au Pot

    This beautiful little French restaurant is nestled within the heart of Belgravia next to the old square in Ebury. It is easy to walk by La Poule au Pot especially in the winter at it is dark inside and has little promotion (it really doesn’t need it). In the summer however they have seats on the path way where people enjoy long afternoons of wine, cheese and friends (that is the life, no?). We walked into this small quaint restaurant and were greeted immediately by the waiter at a small wooden desk, he spoke French and we managed to get by (clearly he spoke English but it was clear it did not come naturally to him). All the waiters for that matter were French and would speak French to you whilst I (true ignorant Brit) would answer in English and point to things; I really didn’t meant to be rude but I have never studied French and to tell the truth even if I did I doubt I would be able to say much as my linguistic skills are lacking to say the least...

  61. Published : Friday, 18th January 2013

    Cabana Brasilian Barbecue - Westfield | Cabana

    We decided to go to Cabana as we had a Tastecard and wanted a cheap eat in Stratford. Cabana is a Brazilian restaurant that has the look, feel and taste of a chain restaurant by that we mean that the service is mechanical, food lacking surprise. As we walked in we were welcomed by a chef grilling skewers of meat on one side of the room. The restaurant is simply designed with light wooden tables, warm colour tiles and a simple bar in the center of the small room which backed onto the open grill. We liked the fact that you could see the man with the grill although the kitchen itself was partially hidden...