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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.

Market Cafe

2 Broadway Market, London E8 4QJ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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Brunch menu on the weekend

by Vi W.   (2)

Sep 2015

A visit back to Market Cafe on Saturday to indulge on a late brunch after a pleasant midweek lunch. I’m afraid that it might not have gone down that well. Beautiful weather and bank holiday weekend, it was pretty much going to be packed. And, so it was but the crowd did not seem to be more than any other Saturday. That late afternoon, customers like us, were still walking in to ask if the kitchen was still serving lunch. At 14:00 we did expect a lunch menu but on weekends, brunch menu is served up to 16:00 hours. eggs florentine £8.00 – let’s start from the bottom. The muffins were adequately toasted, warm and soft. Spinach was well drained and did not leave the plate watery, topped with overcooked poached eggs (both of them to my disappointment) and a seriously buttery, gloppy hollandaise. It so buttery that I did not feel comfortable eating it but then I had an upset tummy so I was not sure if it was the eggs or the hollandaise sauce or both. Bad luck! ratatouille with poached egg £6.50 – the ratatouille was delicious and expected a runny egg yolk to give a creaminess to the dish. Like the eggs florentine, the poached egg was overcooked. No runny egg yolk but the dish was quite generous with olive oil. Water marks on the dishes did not make the dish look appealing and on the whole makes it look rather sloppish and unappealing. Friendly service did not helped make it better in this situation. Not too keen on this place anymore.

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Vi W.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 5
  • Service: 7
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 6

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Toms Kitchen St Katharine Docks

1 Commodity Quay, St. Katharine Docks, London E1W 1AZ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar emptystar emptystar empty

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Not rocket science

by Gourmand Gunno   platinum reviewer (148)

Sep 2015

The London restaurant scene is competitive across almost every part of the capital, and St Katherine’s Dock is no exception. This rather curious outpost of town – neither the City nor the East End, combining tourists from the Tower of London and suited office workers – has a plethora of options, one of which is Tom’s Kitchen, a cheerily English mini-chain. However, based on a recent weekday lunchtime visit here, there is no reason to return. Given the competition, it’s never been easy running a restaurant, but it’s certainly not rocket science, and Tom’s Kitchen failed conspicuously, even at the most basic, both in terms of food and service. The a la carte options here comprise around a dozen starters and slightly more mains, priced reasonably and bordering ever so slightly on the inventive side of traditional English. Owing to time constraints, my comrade and I opted for the set menu, perhaps not quite so exciting, but at the very least, a showcase for the place’s talents. We both began with a cold leek and potato soup. Despite their being two of us at our table and the place being far from busy, our server only brought one to the table and seemed genuinely surprised when we explained that – clearly – two of us had ordered the set menu. It was barely worth the wait for the second; one was even too much. The soup had to be among the blandest ever tasted, not even improved by the liberal addition of pepper. No bread was even offered to offset the pervasive sense of ennui. Maybe our server also realised this since he reappeared to whip away the dishes before my comrade had even put down his spoon. The mains were not quite so egregiously bad, more acceptable, plaice for me and pork belly for my comrade. Again, however, the server (a different one this time) pounced on our plates as we were forcing down our last mouthful. At least the bill was good value (a free drink – scant compensation perhaps – was thrown in), but Tom’s Kitchen will need to up both its food and service if it is to endure here.

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Gourmand Gunno's rating

star fullstar fullstar emptystar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 4
  • Service: 4
  • Atmosphere: 5
  • Value: 8

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Chiltern Firehouse

1 Chiltern Street, London W1U 7PA

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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Don't believe the hype!

by Joanna G.   silver reviewer (18)

Sep 2015

We ate here on the weekend. Our evening started in the restaurant bar where a surly faced bartender whipped a stool away from me just as I was about to sit on it (I don't actually think he was being rude, just unobservant and really could do with learning how to smile). We found somewhere else to sit straight away and had a glass of champagne and a vodka tonic (we ended up having two drinks before dinner which of course added to the bill). Now, the food. We shared the fried chicken (a couple of gristly bits which were off-putting but the rest were very nice and crispy) and the famous crab doughnuts (excellent, thoroughly enjoyed these) - why do restaurants do starters with odd numbers though, I was nice enough to let my husband have two to my one). This was followed by lemon sole for me which was perfectly cooked, but with way too much butter and salt (with warm thik slices of cucumber, which were just slimy and didn't really add to the meal) and my husband had chicken and leeks, again all way too over-seasoned though. We followed this up with a shared key lime pie (wonderful!) and washed down with a reasonably priced bottle of white wine (under £40). The atmosphere is lively and buzzy and the staff were friendly and attentive, but if I am going to spend over £200 for a meal out, I want it to be a meal to remember and can't wait to re-visit (like Le Gavroche or Texture). All in all , this was a long-awaited Saturday night booking for dinner, which I regret spending that much money on.

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Joanna G.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 7
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 10
  • Value: 4

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Kitty Fishers Mayfair

10 Shepherd Market, London W1J 7QF

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Something a little bit different

by Joanna G.   silver reviewer (18)

Sep 2015

The restaurant upstairs is tiny, you will end up talking to the table next door even if only to apologise for bumping into them whilst getting in and out of your seat, but that's all part of the fun at Kitty Fishers I think. It is cosy, perfect for sharing and the staff are so welcoming and chatty that you feel like you are crammed into a friends kitchen. We had the bread and burnt onion butter and whipped cod's roe on toast which were divine (and I really didn't think I would like the cods roe (bad memories of luminous pink taramasalata that my parents used to buy in the 80's) so do try it. I had the lamb chops with mint and anchovies and my husband the prawns and we shared a strawberry and ice cream dessert and a bottle of wine that was the perfect end to the meal. Now, the only downside - I would definitely like to go back, I think it would be a really great autumn/winter venue on a cold and blustery day, but not sure if I can be bothered with the "only taking bookings on the phone for one hour each day", I nearly lost the will to live hitting redial many times to get this booking, in fact I gave up months ago and only ended up with this table because I was tasked with getting one for a colleague, and booked one for myself at the same time.

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Joanna G.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 8
  • Service: 9
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 8

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Fera at Claridges

Claridge's, Brook Street, London W1K 4HR

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Top notch

by Paul A.   gold reviewer (45)

Aug 2015

This was one of those occasions when you wonder whether the second visit will be up to the first, especially when you have been thoroughly convinced that, whatever the doyenne of food criticism may have thought, a restaurant actually fully merits another star. Happily we found that we had absolutely no reason to change our minds. The art deco glamour of the imposing dining room, the expert service by the well-trained, interactively skilled and knowledgeable staff, the attractive menu of dishes cooked to perfection by a kitchen which has the technical prowess to produce imaginative dishes without having to exaggerate, all combine to offer a positive, top-class dining experience. We were lucky enough to have a table opposite the kitchen, and it was clear that everything was proceeding smoothly throughout, even on a busy Saturday evening, which gave us confidence from the start that all would be well with our meal. The tasting menu bore more than a passing resemblance to its May predecessor, and we were in the mood for one or two bigger helpings, so we went à la carte. A good choice as it turned out since as well as the beautiful blue cheese foam on chickpea crisps with edible flowers with our champagne, we were treated to five amuse-bouches/starters, including a sensational brand new one. We had raved about the rabbit in onion crumbs with lovage cream, the seaweed crisp with its filling of fish roe cream and nasturtium leaves, and the pea mousse with cod and calamint on previous Rogan occasions, but now added to these we were able to exalt in crispy cheese and onion ashes, which were basically cheese and onion crisps Mayfair style, and, the star of the opening act, a striking combination of lardo and smoked eel in potato canelloni with horseradish sauce, which gave rise to a string of exclamations announcing the wow factor, and something that continued with the following courses. The rich, luscious lobster was made even more special by the quite amazing black garlic emulsion and perfect chicken wing, not to mention a light, tasty anise hyssop foam and baby potatoes done in chicken fat, and our second main course of possibly water-bathed but nonetheless excellent halibut in pine oil was distinguished by three variations on turnip, including a sauce, a mix with spring onion sticks, and a sticky concoction with truffle, and heightened by a squid ink and truffle emulsion. Then came what passed for a palate cleanser/pre-dessert, but which was well worthy of inclusion on the dessert menu - freeze-dried blueberries, yoghurt, crunchy honey cake, lemon thyme and blackcurrant snow. The desserts were also memorable, the first a strawberry macaroon-like texture with the signature sweet cicely custard, buttermilk and sorrel from the Cartmel farm, and a totally historic mélange of rock pumpernickel ice cream, apricot and Assam tea sauce, wonderful goat's cheese and simply mind-blowing macerated cherries, which climaxed an evening full of class.

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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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Tamarind

20 Queen Street, London W1J 5PR

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Authentic pleasure

by Paul A.   gold reviewer (45)

Aug 2015

When you go to an Indian restaurant and it is full of diners from the sub-continent you can rest assured that the food is authentic. If there is a Mayfair gloss in terms of the setting and service, so much the better. It took a little while to become accustomed to the downstairs room, but the bright, intelligent service soon helped to settle us. The Taste of Tamarind menu was full of good things, beginning with very good poppadums and three chutneys, red fruit and mango, date and fig and tomato and onion seed, followed up by spinach tikki with red fruit sauce, and then a starter of channa chaat with delightful spicy chick peas, tamarind sauce, gram flour, fresh coriander, raw onion, mint and chilli and some very welcome and refreshing yoghurt. The smashed tomato and onion seed sauce with the super scallops seemed to have a sour touch at first but it made an excellent match and was backed up well with smoked peppers. The delicious tandoor-grilled chicken breast was served with a vegetable tikki with crispy gram flour coating and a tomato sauce with fenugreek which had a real kick on the tip the tongue but it all went down a treat, and was followed by a very interesting tamarind and sensational date sorbet dish as palate cleanser. Generous lamb chops were served with a rogan josh sauce, saffron rice, spiced spinach, cucumber yoghurt and raita, a special creamy dal makhni, touches of coriander and cumin and very good naan bread. A beautiful dish, intelligently conceived and executed to show off the full range of flavours. The dessert came very close to equalling the main dish with red fruit jam dobs which harmonised exceedingly well with the carrot fudge cake, as did the essence of pistachio in the kulfi. A further bonus was provided by the petits fours of fresh mint leaf in white chocolate and chocolate orange zest, and to complete the pleasurable experience the chef came out to chat about the variety of dishes on the menu and his vision for the future of this first-class venue. This is definitely one to return to.

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Paul A.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 9
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 10

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Ganapati

38 Holly Grove, London SE15 5DF

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Cheap and cheerful, but do the cult curries live up to the hype?

by The Cheese   platinum reviewer (57)

Aug 2015

Reviewers go bananas for Ganapati, so we were over-excited about visiting. We immediately liked the look of the place; the interior is decked out in vibrant colour and a vast banana tree looms over the conservatory, while a sea of thali dishes spreads as far as the eye could see. We squeezed onto a tiny table beneath a row of brass elephants and a picture of Ganesh, soaking up the nu-hippy vibes (so much so that I regretted changing out of my yoga pants). Our waitress was infectiously zen, even when a glass went flying; the poor culprits were a couple shoehorning themselves into the minuscule space beside us. Admittedly I wasn’t convinced by the cocktails - the signature Ganapati Elixir was eyewateringly heavy on the ginger - but the wine list was on the money for spicy cuisine. The Woollaton Riesling (£28) admirably tackled the occasional sources of heat, with a winning combination of floral elegance and low ABV. The menu sidesteps traditional curry house classics - no bhajis or bhunas here! - in favour of more authentic fayre and cleaner cooking. The homemade pickles delivered a refreshing jolt to the tastebuds, and the parathas were certainly something to shout about; like vast, crumbly cinnamon whirls of joy. So imagine our surprise when the curries didn’t stand out as special, and lacked the awe-inspiring dimensions of flavour we’d come to expect. Though tempted by several intriguing vegan dishes, I plumped for peas paneer masala; it was alright, but I’ve enjoyed better on nearby Lordship Lane. Iddukki curry with tender chunks of lamb was hot (as billed) and proved the favourite, but was also a bit… well, ordinary. The condiments were far more interesting, as little pots of thoran (Keralan dry curry) and carrot pickle combined to gorgeous effect. Ganapati has been showered with such praise that we briefly wondered whether we’d chosen unwisely… but clearly said dishes shouldn’t have made the menu if that’s the case. Given the inconsistent impression our mains left, I’d order street snacks or a thali next time.

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The Cheese's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 6
  • Service: 7
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 8

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Les Deux Salons

40-42 William IV Street, Strand, London WC2N 4DD

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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New owners don't seem to have improved it.

by David H.   platinum reviewer (60)

Aug 2015

We've been here quite a few times since it opened, and it seemed to be sliding a bit before Mr Conran took it over. But frankly you'd be hard pushed to notice a difference. The staff have changed, but then they often did, latterly, and the restaurant changed from reliable to rather hit and miss. So we'd hoped that a new broom might restore the place to what it seemed when first opening Today's meal had elements of hit and of miss. The waiter was good and the service reasonably paced. The wine we bought- the cheapest on the list at £21 - was good too. The place looked the part but then it always did. It was however much quieter today than we'd seen it before, but maybe wet Monday lunchtimes are always slow. The food was middling. Whilst my fish soup was decent, I might argue that for £9.50 it should be. My wife's butternut squash soup was low on squash and higher on cream than she'd expected for something described simply as "butternut squash soup". Again my main- a special of rolled belly of lamb with a cassoulet of beans was OK, and there was certainly plenty of it. But the beans needed longer cooking and there wasn't much sauce for a cassoulet. My wife's coq au vin was odd- it didn't taste like coq au vin at all- it tasted like a rather sweet barbecued chicken. Two courses, a couple of uninspiring veg (the potatoes dauphinoise were downright mean) the wine and coffee came with service to £86- so not expensive but I'd suggest a little more than the meal was worth. And it wouldn't take much to spend more- the cheapest white wine on offer was £24 and the second-cheapest red was £27. Still I'd have been happy with the bill if the food had been expertly cooked , and sadly it wasn't. Wonder whether Monday is chef's day off?

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David H.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 6
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 7
  • Value: 7

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Balls Brothers Victoria

50 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1W 0RN

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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Could be a lot better

by Werner B.   bronze reviewer (5)

Aug 2015

Got there a bit early for lunch, to meet my daughter. Asked if there was a paper shop in the neighbourhood and the guy behind the bar struggled to understand me. Lucky one of the waitresses did understand and pointed me in the right direction. As I was reading my paper, nobody came near me for at least half an hour. My daughter was late and eventually somebody took my drink order. Service was a bit abrupt and the Eastern European style was showing through, like, I don't care too much if I give good service. The meal was ok but nothing special. A shame, because there are so many good places in London.

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Werner B.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 6
  • Service: 6
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 5

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Jinjuu

15 Kingly Street, London W1B 5PS

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Fast service and good food

by Lynn W.   gold reviewer (33)

Aug 2015

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

There's lots of choice in Kingly Street but this is a good one. We liked the small plates especially, the Sae Woo pops (prawn lollies) with spicy chilli mayo for dipping, so cute and so tasty; the bulgogi beef tacos with soft flour tortilla and plenty of filling; and the veggie kimbap rolls. After that, the bimbibap appeared sizzling hot in hefty stone bowls, the rice forming a crispy crust under finely sliced and shredded vegetables plus prawns, topped with an egg and gochujang sauce stirred through. Really we were full but the Snickers hotteok sounded too tempting, and we demolished the lot - a firm, flat Korean pancake with salted caramel filling, crushed peanut brittle, ice cream and chocolate ganache. A bottle of Molamatta went very well with the mix of flavours and spices. Service was pleasant and brisk - so you could be finished and out in an hour if you want.

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Lynn W.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 9
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 8

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Augustine Kitchen

63 Battersea Bridge Road, London SW11 3AU

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Regional French food in Battersea

by Lynn W.   gold reviewer (33)

Aug 2015

A lovely independent restaurant with authentic regional French cooking and charming service. Mid week in August it was quiet, but this suited our party of four. There were plenty of things on the menu we wanted to eat, and I started with king prawn and basil papilotte - 5 juicy fat prawns, individually wrapped with a sliver of basil leaf and transparent crunchy filo pastry - these created menu envy around the table. Grilled entrecote with tarragon butter for the main course came with proper thin French fries, while the rack of lamb for others arrived with luscious gratin potatoes and we couldn't help dipping in to the creamy-cheesy sauce. The pike mouse with lobster sauce and pearl barley looked quite light, but was said to be good as well as filling. It was all going so well we had to have desserts. The diplomat pudding was good, a sort of bread and butter pudding with plenty of rum, the chocolate and pistachio mousse suitably rich, while the pink praline floating island was a bit underwhelming. The locals are lucky to have this smart but not stuffy restaurant on their doorstep.

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Lynn W.'s rating

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

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Odette s

130 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 8XL

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Posh lunch and plonk in Primrose Hill, for under £30

by The Cheese   platinum reviewer (57)

Aug 2015

Despite being impressed with Odette’s, I confess that veggies miss out on its killer lunch deal: three courses for £17, Tuesday to Friday. Pescetarians do alright, but you may need to order a la carte for an entirely meat-free meal. We plumped for the set menu, lapping up the fact you can add half a bottle of house wine - a perfectly quaffable cabernet sauvignon - and coffee for just £9 (er, yes please). Fish soup arrived with an artfully-adorned crouton, kicking off the meal with a summery flourish. My own starter of lamb ragu was served with perfectly al dente pappardelle, and perked up with satisfying bursts of pickled mustard seed. Mains were a mixed bag as my crushed celeriac with roasted beets was flavoursome but seemed incomplete; it lacked crunch, and the combination felt more like a showy side dish than the main event. It undoubtedly played second fiddle to my pal's regal-looking plaice with mussels, coastal herbs and a delectable butter sauce. Bitter chocolate tart with a cooling goat’s milk ice cream rounded off the meal satisfyingly, and several little extras made a lasting impression; excellent olives and soda bread, and homemade raspberry pastilles alongside supremely aromatic Americanos. Sailing past a picture of Morrissey on route to the conveniences, we were very taken with a quick peek at the private room, seating ten. On this occasion, it provided ample space and soundproofing for Primrose Hill’s yummy mummies and their offspring (presumably named Oscar, Sophie, Halloumi and Caper). The main dining room was therefore free for the ladies who lunch, yet the space felt unintimidating (despite the starched linen and high incidence of twinsets). Our waiter seemed genuinely gratified by our enjoyment, and enthusiastically shared titbits about ingredients without ever being intrusive. We left with a warm invitation to pop back soon; an offer we hope to take up, despite being strident South Londoners. Given the bum note that was my main, I’m not sure I’d fork out for the tasting menu; but with a lunch deal that reasonable, why wouldn’t we be back?

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The Cheese's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 7
  • Service: 7
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 8

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Morden and Lea

17 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PJ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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An unexpected find

by Denise I.   (1)

Aug 2015

The surroundings are not salubrious given its location at the unlovely end of Wardour Street, but Mark Sargeant knows how to brief his interior designers and the result is very pleasing. He also knows how to put together a menu. This time he has gone for a large space over two floors and it needs to be filled a great deal more than it was to make economic sense. We dined upstairs.It is classy cooking with imaginative use of spicing. I would have loved a more adventurous white wine list, but for that you have to turn to the Reserve list which naturally carries a hefty price lift. Just go. Morden and Lea will not readily fall short of expectations.

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Denise I.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 8
  • Service: 10
  • Atmosphere: 9
  • Value: 9

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