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Latest Square Meal reviews - sorted by date review written or updated

Find out what Square Meal readers thought of their latest restaurant experience. Sort the reviews bellow by a variety of criteria to find inspiration for your next meal or get the lowdown on the latest launches.

Barbecoa

20 New Change Passage, London EC4M 9AG

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Good food but Expensive

by Rita G.   (3)

Jul 2015

Overall a lovely place to eat but expensive, £200 lunch for 2. Also we had need to amend the booking and when we called the resturant they didnt have a record of the booking. They managed to accomodate us and i raised the issue with Square meals who said its a known bug in the system which should be fixed shorlty. Therefore i suggest ytiu call teh resturant in advance to ensure they have your booking.

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Rita G.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 8
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 7
  • Value: 5

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The Drift

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Good food, good atmoshphere and good staff

by Gina L.   (1)

Jul 2015

Decent spot for lunch. We all had the set menu and it was really nice. Cooked well and actually more than we could eat with the starter and main course. Cocktails were delicious and beautifully presented. Recommend it for a working lunch. Or just a good lunch.

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Gina L.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 7

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Tentazioni

2 Mill Street, London SE1 2BD

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Great find in an expanding part of London's food scene

by Mike M.   (1)

Jul 2015

It's not often one thinks about Bermonsey when one is celebrating a family occasion but I was looking for somewhere different that would satisfy the carnivore requirements of my brother in law and enable my dear partner to enjoy good seafood without the overtones of far eastern cuisine. In these circumstances Italian food is a great compromise and I went to the Square Meal database to find somewhere different and interesting. So it was that we ended up in Tentazioni enjoying a delicious freshly cooked meal accompanied by great wine. The restaurant is hidden away in the back streets beyond Tower Bridge south of the river. Although we arrived at 6.30 pm on a Saturday we weren't the first to arrive and the restaurant soon filled up creating a buzzy but pleasant atmosphere enhanced by the modern bright decor. We received a warm welcome but regrettably the service somewhat deteriorated from then on. However, the food was delicious and our starters of King Scallops and Lobster Ravioli followed by three beautiful Dover Soles were really memorable and at £28, were great value for money. My brother in law had the pigeon which he pronounced to be nice and succulent and definitely not the Trafalgar Square variety. The wine was Yume Montepulciano d'Abruzzo and a really excellent example of this earthy and aromatic wine two bottles of which slipped down very nicely. It was not only Yume but 'Yummy' and well priced at £36. Only one of us had room for dessert which was Vanilla Parfait, a well constructed raspberry meringue dish which two of us managed to share. I heartily recommend Tentazioni for a special occasion I just wish that the service had been quicker and more attentive. There were only two staff on that evening who were doing their very best and it's possible they were caught out by sickness or holidays. Hopefully it wasn't a case of the owner trying to save on wages.

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Mike M.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 5
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 8

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The Greenhouse

27a Hay's Mews, London W1J 5NY

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Up there with the best

by Paul A.   gold reviewer (40)

Jul 2015

Editor's pick There are restaurants where you pay the bill and weigh up whether it was value for money, and there are others where you leave with a contented smile on your face just congratulating yourself on having made such a good choice for a meal, and as we rushed through the deluge from the restaurant door to the taxi we were already agreeing that The Greenhouse is unquestionably one of the latter. An oasis of quiet in busy Mayfair, the dining room is clean-cut and decorated in an unfussy manner although with an eye to detail, such as the individual mini-sculptures on each table and the display of decanters, the smooth service is perfectly balanced between formal and relaxed, the excellent sommelier is full of nice touches and clearly not one of those who feels threatened by any customer with some knowledge of what he is drinking, and the staff in general demonstrated a surprising understanding of the English sense of humour. The impression is that this all stems from the chef, the talented Arnaud Bignon, whose classical yet innovative cooking completes the impressive experience. There was a choice of two tasting menus, and given that one of them listed three of our top favourites for the first three courses there was little argument about which to take. Interestingly, there was also a choice of wine pairings, a 'modern' with wines from a number of countries and a 'classic' with just French sources. My wife selected the modern as it was one glass lighter, and for me the classic announced itself as one of the best I've had anywhere, from Krug to Ch Rieussec via Fèvre Grand Cru Chablis, Zind Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Riesling, Liger-Belair Moulin-à-Vent and Domaine de Trévallon. Hors classe! Three types of home-made bread were served and the olive version was so good we talked about taking some home. Very good canapés followed, smoked beef tartare with anchovy, quinoa crisp and crème fraîche with a sprinkle of dill powder, and a carrot mousse-filled tartelette spiked with coriander. Just the job to set up the palate for the first course, we thought. But not so - another canapé arrived sporting apple foam with chunks of green apple, avocado, lemon grass and radish, which definitely stimulated our appetites and our anticipation of the dishes to come, and we still hadn't got to the amuse-bouche, which added a further favourite to the meal - chef's signature dish of lovely picked crab beneath cauliflower purée and mint jelly with a green apple espuma and spices which started quite neutrally but quickly all the tastes came together in one delicious whole and made a mind-blowing match with the Krug. On then to the first starter, a generous serving of top-class scallops enhanced by yuzu, verbena oil, samphire and green zebra tomato seeds. We never need any encouragement to dive into lobster, but sometimes an intelligent tweak to its natural attractiveness can make it quite heavenly, and chef had certainly done it with the unexpected addition of lime-marinated watermelon, a fantastic satay sauce and an imaginative peanut coating on some of the lobster. Winning dishes just kept on coming, the luscious poached wild turbot not only melting in the mouth but also releasing the proper freshness of taste sometimes missing in other eateries, and served with an amusing cauliflower purée looking like a half-moon crisp on the plate and matched with matcha tea powder, chives and a tricksy lemon hollandaise. Despite the claims made for English rose veal, a good number of the chefs that we've spoken to tend to source their veal from France, and so it was here. You can see why when you get such delicately flavoured, perfectly textured meat as we were treated to, with a background of tamarind and a pea purée and a decorative light pastry pyramid containing Provola cheese giving an extra dimension to the dish. A pre-dessert is always a good idea, and in many restaurants the peach sorbet with peach segments in a rose petal and pepper sauce would be counted as a full-on dessert in itself; here, though, it was merely a prelude to the suite of flavours delivered by a super matcha tea panna cotta on a white chocolate disc, little wild strawberries, a yuzu sauce and green-coloured chocolate sticklet ornamenting the rim of the dish. Sweet extras, including frozen mojito, strawberry choux pastries and sablé Breton followed and, with good coffee, were supplemented with salt caramel, hazelnut praline and very light pepper chocolates. A memorable experience that we will surely repeat in the not-too-distant future.

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Paul A.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 10
  • Atmosphere: 10
  • Value: 10

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Ceena

13 St Bride Street, London EC4A 4AS

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Korean BBQ

by Jay N.   (1)

Jul 2015

Visited Ceena in the past and have been enjoyable experience. A typical korean restaurant serving its famous korean bbq, grilled on your table. We ordered the set menu which was around £16 per person, and the starters were all excellent, accompanying sauces all complimented the foods well. We were indeed stuffed by the end of the meal, happy to have tried a range of tasty korean dishes. A must try for any foodies out there.

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Jay N.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Value: 9

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MOC Kitchen

10 The Arches, Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NG

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Authentic street food in Charing Cross

by hannah h.   (1)

Jul 2015

Moc Kitchen reminded me of my travels in Vietnam where the street food was plentiful and deeply deeply delicious. Moc Kitchen have all the favourites like Pho and rolls but there are some other quite unusual dishes like the lemongrass beef rolled in wild betel leaves - juicy, tender and filling. The aubergine and tofu hotpot was rich and meaty even though there was no meat in it. All the dishes are full of Vietnemese herbs chosen for their health benefits and flavour by the owner - at least that's what she told me when I asked about the betel leaves. She was born in Hanoi and came to London just a couple of years ago to do what she knows best - create street food for Londoners. Make sure you finish with a Vietnamese coffee - not like any coffee Ive tried before full of rich spicy notes and the coffee sits on a layer of creamy condensed milk - sounds a bit weird but it is totally yummy. Prices are brilliant you easily get a two course meal for around £10. Loved it.

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hannah h.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Atmosphere: 7
  • Value: 10

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Blixen

65a Brushfield Street, London E1 6AA

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Relaxed

by Corinne C.   (2)

Jul 2015

First time at Blixen and I think i'll come again. Love the feeling of the place. It's nice and bright. Loved the bar display. Food was good. My dinning companions enjoyed it too.

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Corinne C.'s rating

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  • Food & Drink: 7
  • Service: 7
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 7

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Balthazar

4-6 Russell Street, London WC2E 7BN

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Believe the hype

by The Cheese   platinum reviewer (52)

Jul 2015

I heart Balthazar. So much so, I want to scribble its name across exercise books, and practice my new signature (in the event that we marry). Granted we had an excellent meal, but it was more than that; something majestic happened when we skipped up the stairs, past the doorman and through its tarnished golden gates. The tourist hell/hen armageddon that is Covent Garden’s Piazza simply melted away, leaving in its place a spectacle with all the trappings of a London institution. It attracts a mixed crowd, but finds equilibrium between any restaurant snobs, deal-closing high rollers and clued-up tourists. Vibrant chatter erupts from each leather banquette, with an atmosphere that is buoyant, bustling and super animated. Bookings during peak are still elusive, but the room was already buzzing during an early Wednesday sitting. (Corner booths proved to be the sweet spots, so worth requesting in advance of dinner a deux). We’d perved at the menu ahead of our visit, so were mentally prepared for (very) steep prices. It takes some chops to charge a tenner for buttered asparagus and a fiver for fries, but - bafflingly - we both felt okay with it, given the whole experience was such an unadulterated pleasure. (It's worth noting that the £22.50 prix fixe menu bags you steak tartare followed by seabass and dessert; the veggie alternatives are less grand, but remain a bargain). I was gutted to miss out on 'schnitzel Thursday', but the menu was lust-worthy nonetheless. I’d recommend starters on the lighter side as mains are rich and ducktastic. My friend flagrantly disregarded this, plumping for a ballsy chicken liver parfait followed by the day’s special of saffron scallop risotto. Within minutes, there wasn’t a grain left, so I’m guessing the latter was pretty dreamy. I sampled the lauded shepherd’s pie; a fiercely bubbling duck ragu topped with gloriously browned mash. Resolutely French puds included a tarte tatin with obscenely buttery pastry and luscious caramel, then a voluminous raspberry soufflè with an accomplished degree of wibble. Both were delicious but - lordy - I do hope the Gascon paradox was at work… we must’ve knocked back eight pats of butter between us, so a glass of medicinal red should’ve been on the cards. Which brings me to the wine list: exclusively French and manageable in scope, with plenty by the glass or carafe. Having been seduced by our surroundings, we splashed out on sparkling wine. Non-vintage Champagne starts at £61, but here’s a tip: scoot down the menu to the lesser known regions, and you’ll find bubbles in the form of Blanquette de Limoux for 40 quid. Très bon! As for staff, there was never a downturned mouth, with beaming faces in all directions and pitch-perfect attentiveness. Our verdict? Management has the formula right, and then some. I’m astonished by anyone immune to Balthazar's charms, as I’m already plotting excuses to return. Ahead of our visit, my friend asked if it was merely a 'jumped-up Cafe Rouge’, having heard that the tablecloths are made of paper. Moments in and any regrets concerning starched linen (or the absence thereof) had disappeared in a flurry of child-like glee. This place already carries a sense of gravitas akin to the Ivy, so I’d be inclined to chime in and endorse the considerable hype; we couldn’t recommend it highly enough.

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The Cheese's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 9
  • Service: 9
  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Value: 6

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Gymkhana

42 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JH

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Interesting and tasty Indian food

by David H.   platinum reviewer (57)

Jul 2015

Its taken us a while to get here, with a couple of failed attempts to get a reservation even at lunch . However yesterday we made it for the first time to a very busy restaurant , which they seemed to manage whilst keeping to reasonable timescales for ordering, food delivery and bill. I have to say that the place itself was not as plush and serene as I'd expected- looks a bit more like a nice pub than a top restaurant. We chose from the lunch menu , me with soft shell crab with what seemed like puffed rice and samphire, and then kid goat methi keema, and my wife with Papdi Chaat and Mushroom and Pea Pilau. Dishes of dal Maharani (very like Dal Makhani) and spinach were served alongside together with basmati rice and mixed breads. All the dishes were nicely presented, tasty and spiced about medium. There were no discussions or debates about "how spicy is that ?" or "what does two chillies actually mean here please?" I'd imagine that if your usual indian dish is Madras or stronger, you're going to find the food we ate to be gentle. On the other hand if you struggle with anything beyond a Korma, you might find this food a little spicy. But ( and this is, we believe, important) the spice never overcomes the flavour and we found words like "tasty" more apposite then "hot" or "bland". We were a little surprised by quantity and value, after reading Square Meal's own review. I ate two courses plus sides yesterday and had certainly eaten enough as a main meal of the day. My wife managed a dessert too without changing an opinion that desserts are not a strength of Indian cuisine. Our bill for two came to £74. We stuck to beer and voted for coffee round the corner (Influenced by the fact that I prefer Café Nero or Costa to any coffee I've had yet in an Indian restaurant), but nevertheless thought this was good value and maybe better than we expected when we walked in. A similarly structured meal from the a la carte menu would have been arounfd £100 for two. So how good is Gymkhana? Well it was certainly one of the best Indian meals we've eaten anywhere. The cuisine is a little finer and not hugely more expensive than our usual favourite- Southall's Mehfil. Is it so different that it provokes a fundamental re-appraisal of Indian food?-perhaps not . It is good food but it isn't for me at least a game changer . I do enjoy Indian food but I retain some difficulty in seeing it as "gourmet", Michelin Star territory. I don't expect everyone to agree with that , but to my taste I don't see Gymkhana hitting the same culinary high spots as say Pollen Street Social, or Fera,, or Trompette where the food is modern European. I wouldn't expect to go for a celebration. Its more normal than that- but frankly at the price we paid it can be just that a good lunch, but not special. And before I leave an impression that I think Gymkhana is fortunate to get its star, I have to say that living west of London we're surrounded by places that were pubs but have now gained a star-occasionally two. I'd rather eat at Gymkhana than at any of those, and we'll go again. One final thing. Whilst the a la carte menu incudes many of the usual Indian favourites, there's a fair smattering of dishes that I haven't seen anywhere else. To us, one of the primary measures of a good Indian restaurant is its ability to serve distinctive and unusual dishes and it's those I tend to remember much more easily than a quality Rogan Josh or Chicken Tikka. Gymkhana scores well on that dimension.

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David H.'s rating

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  • Food & Drink: 8
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 7

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Zizzi Bankside

Unit 4, 2nd floor, Riverside House, Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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More 'so so' than 'si si'

by Luncheon Vulture   gold reviewer (42)

Jul 2015

You can usually rely on a Zizzi to offer fairly standard Italian-ish dishes, served quickly, without fuss and for a reasonable price. And that was pretty much the case at this one, located along with other High Street names on a fairly non-descript section of the Thames between the Globe theatre and Southwark Bridge. It is a of a shame that Zizzi Bankside really doesn't take advantage of its location; whilst the upper floor location offers uninterrupted views of the river, the room itself feels very dark, especially on a bright summer evening and the window tables are pretty cramped, with low ceilings. We were offered a window table, but even at my average height, the low ceiling felt somewhat claustrophobic so we opted for a table facing the window in the main part of the restaurant instead. The menu appears to have been scaled back from previous Zizzi visits, now offering more from the pizza oven than the pasta pot which . We opted for the prawn linguine (a request for no chilli in the sauce was accepted and adhered to with grace) and seafood risotto. Both were fine, although I do think the chilli in my risotto could have been better distributed; was like a mild form of Russian roulette as I never knew quite what I would get from each mouthful. Desserts again were not terribly inspiring so we opted for three scoops of sorbet each, with what then turned out to be a very decent cup of coffee. Overall it was ok, but can't say I'd rush back but then again, I can't say I'd run away should I be in the area again and in need of a plate of pasta and a decent coffee!!

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Luncheon Vulture's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 6
  • Service: 6
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 6

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The Botanist Broadgate

Unit T5, Broadgate Circle, London EC2M 2QS

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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I love it here

by Charlotte H.   bronze reviewer (7)

Jul 2015

I went to the Botanist for after work drinks and nibbles with colleagues. The atmosphere is great and is perfect on a sunny evening. The food was really nice, we had chips, fish fingers, hummous and mini sausages, all were great. The music starts at 7pm and there is a late night bar downstairs. I will be going back and would recommend it.

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Charlotte H.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 10
  • Value: 10

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