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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.

Royal China 30 Westferry Circus

30 Westferry Circus, London E14 8RR

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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A quick midweek dimsum fix

by Vi V.   bronze reviewer (10)

Feb 2016

Royal China, Canary Wharf Riverside – a quick midweek dimsum fix. crispy noodles with chicken £9.50 – the noodles had a good crunch, not undercooked, and the gravy sauce not too strachy or salty. Just the perfect balance with an assortment of crunchy vegetables. roast pork buns £3.50 – quite a meagre filling but I liked the bao. Soft, fluffy and steaming hot. Yummy! turnip cake with cured meat £3.50 – not a good texture. Looked good but failed to deliver in taste and the texture was mushy and felt wrong. fried yam paste meat dumplings £3.50 – my favourite dim sum! The pastry was a little too oily and filling, too salty. Not pleasant. honey roast pork puff £3.50 – another must order dish for me at my dim sum outings. Nice! shanghai pork dumplings £3.50 – the pastry was quite thin and the soup in the dumpling was flavoursome. Pretty much average. plain chee cheung fun with peanut sauce £3.80 – I am always glad to try new variety of dim sums offered and I felt quite western when ordering this fusion dish. Well, I can say that I am definitely not ordering this dish again. The chee cheung fun alone also had a very funny texture – mushy, felt as though the proportion of flour was wrong or a substandard rice flour was used.

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Vi V.'s rating

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

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Knowles of Norwood

294-296 Norwood Road , London SE27 9AF

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Worthwhile addition

by Gourmand Gunno   platinum reviewer (161)

Feb 2016

The Antic pub chain now extends to around 40 venues spread across London and the formula deployed seems to work. The group takes buildings with a history, does them up in a ‘retro-cool’ style and then creates an atmosphere that amazingly seems to work both for hipsters and families. Prior to its venture in Norwood, Antic has worked its charms on locations as diverse as former banks (in Woolwich), job centres (Deptford) and cinemas (Harlesden) among others. Here in SE27, a former hardware shop has now been transformed. A legacy of Knowles’ previous life can be seen from the mix of tools, bric-a-brac and a communal workbench that – somehow – works. Our group of 12 (including 3 kids) were well looked after on a recent Sunday lunchtime visit, when the place was full and buzzing. In terms of drink, there is a good range of British ales and the wine list also impressed, offering diversity from a Romanian Pinot Noir through to an Argentinean Malbec. Being a Sunday, we opted for roasts and were pleased with the range spanning six options, both in adult- and child-size versions. The food came promptly and was presented well, although if I were to quibble, then the taste bordered on bland the portion sizes seemed somewhat stingy. It didn’t matter too much since everyone enjoyed themselves (ultimately what going to the pub is all about…) and the potential here for Knowles to become an established success is clear.

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Gourmand Gunno's rating

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

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Zen China

County Hall, Riverside Building, Westminster Bridge Road, Queens Walk, London SE1 7PB

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Okay restaurant with potential

by Val M.   (3)

Feb 2016

We came here for Chinese New Year, as we felt it would be a lot more relaxed than putting ourselves through the ordeal of China Town. We were very pleased on arrival with the general relaxed and spacious feel of the restaurant and felt it lived up to the 'Zen' title. We were a little shocked at: A) the fact it was half empty on such a day B) the lack of any special décor or nod to occasion C) the friendliness and even slight familiarity of the staff (not something we are used to in most Chinese restaurants The building, being part of County Hall, has quite a municipal feel about it, and the décor was quite minimal and the ceiling was quite functional and plain. We felt that they could do an awful lot to make it even more welcoming and a lot more luxurious. The views are stunning, so it's a bit of a shame that that more isn't made to take advantage of that. The food was pretty standard Chinese, and a bit lacking in inspiration too, but nothing terrible. Again, we felt an awful lot could be done to improve both the décor and the food. But overall it was and enjoyable experience. However, the place could definitely be taken up a few levels, and I'm sure it would quickly become far more populated.

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Val M.'s rating

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

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The Commander

47 Hereford Road, London W2 5AH

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar halfstar emptystar empty

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Drab and unexciting

by ian j.   (1)

Feb 2016

It was very quiet here on a saturday lunchtime. Friendly waitress was a plus but food was very dismal. Simple sirloin steak and chips was impossibly drab and dull (allegedly 24 days aged) was tasteless and anaemic whilst chips were limp and clearly of the oven variety. V. poor value for a dish that cost £24. Go to Cote brasserie next for better steaks and significantly better value. Thank god we didn't go for the whole Canadian Lobster at £38.

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ian j.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar halfstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 5
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 3
  • Value: 3

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Wiltons

55 Jermyn Street, London SW1Y 6LX

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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The definition of a classic...

by Simon G.   (1)

Feb 2016

What can one say about Wilton's. It is an institution, and for good reasons. What is good about this restaurant? Well, pretty much everything. The food is very good - British cuisine at it's best, simplicity executed incredibly well, allowing the produce and flavours to do the talking, not a chef's ego. My meal consisted of a cheese and onion soup (delicious, utterly delicious), cod with romesco puree (delightful and full of flavour - and I say this as someone who usually avoids the fish option), and a super apple crumble. The service is first class - attentive yet unobtrusive. You are very well looked after by the staff. It is clear that they all have a specific role, but the shared purpose is simply to allow you to enjoy your meal. The restaurant itself is also beautiful. Understated style and comfort - classic in every sense of the word. Combined with a a good crowd of businessmen enjoying their lunch and talking intently with their dining partners, it had the sense of a restaurant with purpose and life. As for what is bad? Well, it's hard to really single anything out. As close as I could find is the astronomical prices of the a la carte menu, and the limited selection of Loire Valley reds on the wine list... But at this stage I think we really are getting overly critical. I'd highly recommend this restaurant. Especially if one makes use of the Square Meal deal of £30 for the three course seasonal menu with a glass of Champagne included. We did just that (and with that deal, the value is arguably four stars, as opposed to the three I gave based on the a la carte prices).

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Simon G.'s rating

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

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Buenos Aires Maidstone

63 High Street Maidstone, Maidstone ME14 1SR

Overall rating: star halfstar emptystar emptystar emptystar empty

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Buenos Aires Nights Steakhouse is a completely unreliable place which ruined my birthday party!!!

by terry G.   (1)

Feb 2016

Want your party/dinner go well, stay away from this place!!! Buenos Aires Nights Steakhouse is a completely unreliable place which ruined my birthday party!!! We booked two weeks in advance received confirmation emails, telephoned on the day to check but when I arrived with my guests for my birthday party they had no table for us. Manager was hopeless, unprofessional and basically did her best to ignore us. We were just left standing in the middle of the restaurant with no information when table might became available. 15 minutes later we were provided with drink list and offered to have a drink on house. another 15 minutes later after placing an order for drinks the manager turned down the orders and was discussing the price of the drinks with my guests instead of me. This put me in an awful position in front of my guests with already broken birthday party celebration. Eventually as we simply could get no answers from the manager we had no choice but to leave and try to find another restaurant on a busy Saturday night.

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terry G.'s rating

star halfstar emptystar emptystar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 1
  • Service: 1
  • Atmosphere: 1
  • Value: 1

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Marianne

104 Chepstow Road, London W2 5QS

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Small yet beautiful

by Gourmand Gunno   platinum reviewer (161)

Feb 2016

Westbourne Park (or, if you’re generous, the borders of Notting Hill) is perhaps not the most obvious location for many Londoners ever to consider visiting. But for those in search of fine dining experiences, make no doubt, there are some very exciting things happening here. Beyond the ever-sublime Ledbury, just five streets away lies Marianne, a small yet beautiful restaurant. And by small, I mean really small. There are just 14 covers here and this makes for an exceptionally intimate experience. In some ways, being at Marianne is akin to being in someone’s house, cosy and welcoming. Indeed, with cooking this good, one would never even need to leave home. Our senses were assailed on the moment of entering by a lovely sensation of truffles and this ingredient proved pervasive throughout our meal. On being seated, we were given some truffled popcorn – simple yet effective and remarkably flavoursome – with our pre-dinner glass of champagne. My comrade and I opted for the tasting menu and it was a delight to see not only a broad range of culinary options deployed, but also that vegetarians were in no sense treated here as second-class citizens (good news for my comrade). Indeed, a quick survey of the restaurant’s website shows the vegetarian menu listed here before the omnivorous one. We both began our meals with home-made linguine with (more) truffles. The melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation was close to perfection and set the bar high for the rest of the meal. Fortunately, it was comfortably met and the eponymous Marianne (who also made the welcome effort to come out and chat with all the diners) showed her clear dexterity with fish, game, vegetables and desserts. We noted too that the dishes were just about the right size: enough to enjoy experience, but not so much that the subsequent ones could also not be enjoyed. Being continually sated and also excited about what next was to come is a rare but welcome combination. To finish with the plaudits, it is worth adding that the paired wines were also interesting, with good geographic diversity, and presented with genuine enthusiasm. We left incredibly pleased (notwithstanding the somewhat lighter wallet – but it was worth every penny) and will be returning.

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Gourmand Gunno's rating

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

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Nobu Berkeley St

15 Berkeley Street, London W1J 8DY

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Consistently good, but lacking something.......

by Sarah .   (3)

Feb 2016

Once you get over everyone staring when you walk in as the waiters announce your arrival to the restaurant in Japanese, you can sit down knowing you will be served good food, on time, with good service at Nobu B......I'm not sure exactly why, but I can't pick a better word than good...... Back in the day, Nobu B was heaving and the restaurant was buzzy, the bar packed.....I had lunch on a Thursday and the bar was empty, one half of the restaurant was empty and our side had a few mums & kids, plus some business diners. I just felt it was less special now - I wasn't as excited to eat here a few years on, but I don't feel that at Zuma - I still get the buzz and the kick. I had what I usually have - the bento box.....it is a little bit of everything - black cod / rock shrimp / sashimi / nigiri - all very good, especially the Matsuhisa dressing. I didn't enjoy the vegetables with rice - very buttery which just didn't fit in with the rest of the meal. I also didn't drink and chose one of their juices and was pleasantly surprised how nice it was, with a spicy kick. So definitely eat here, it's good, you won't be disappointed.......but I am sad that it's lost it's spark somewhere on the way.

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Sarah .'s rating

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

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Sticks n Sushi 11 Henrietta Street

11 Henrietta Street, London WC2E 8PY

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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New fan - can't wait to return!

by Sarah .   (3)

Feb 2016

I'd heard a lot of good things about Sticks n Sushi, I was apprehensive that a dutch restaurant would be able to win me over on Sushi - but they absolutely have! The restaurant is really cleverly designed in what is essentially a narrow long room with two entrances each side of Covent garden, all the table are well spaced and great for sharing. Sticks n Sushi is one of the only restaurants that has nailed printing photos of the food on the menu......most other places that do this are really only doing it so drunk-you doesn't have to try and read what kebab or pizza you want, you can just point and pay! But everything that looks fabulous on the menu at Sticks n Sushi....tastes just as fabulous on your plate at Sticks n Sushi and I was ever so relieved, as we ordered a lot. It's hard not to when everything looks so good so if you are watching the wallet - perhaps go with one of their set menus (we had the Monte Carlo) and you can get a bit of everything. (we then obviously ordered more to be greedy!) I preferred the sushi overall to the sticks -but the highlight was the Rib-eye beef with Japanese barbecue marinade - SO GOOD. They even take the simple stuff to a new level - grilled edamame beans tossed in soy, ginger & garlic was a game changer. I am so happy I've found this gem and I can't wait for my trousers to get a little looser so I can go back, order everything again and start the circle all over again.

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Sarah .'s rating

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

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Bocca di Lupo

12 Archer Street, London W1D 7BB

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Food exceeded expectations - service didn't

by Sarah .   (3)

Feb 2016

Bocca di Lupo has been on my list to try for so long and sadly kept getting overtaken by newer places so I was very excited to have a table booked and I was finally going! The restaurant was busy and is the perfect setting for a get together with friends - if you're a couple, then the counter is for you - as the main restaurant is lots of round tables designed to get conversation and drinks flowing so volume levels are raised.....perfect for the birthday we wanted to celebrate! The food was without fault - we shared starters: Sage leaves filled with anchovy, buffalo mozzarella bocconcini, Tortellini stuffed with pork & prosciutto and a fab radish salad......all full of flavour and decent portions. I ordered the tuna steak for main course, it was served with a fresh herby pesto and I was super happy -it was cooked to perfection, the pesto was the perfect accompaniment. Sides I was a little disappointed not to see a potato offering, but the caponata was incredible and I guess I could fit more food in without the carbs so all was not lost :) Sadly we felt let down by the service, even considered asking them to remove it but then chickened out! There is a service hatch near the bar where I assume the plates are sent to from the kitchen for waiters to distribute - and this was where our waiter spent most of his time, along with his colleagues - so trying to get their attention was very hard when they were all hanging out by this station chatting to each other with their backs firmly turned away from all of us in the restaurant. My main course was brought out wrong so I waited for mine to be made whilst my friends started - not the end of the world at all and I didn't have to wait long, but perhaps a read back of what we had ordered at the start could have avoided this. Our water was forgotten - not a big deal but just very hard to get anyones attention to ask! My friend had her back to a double swinging door and sadly our waiter took it apon himself to let us know when he was in or out of the door by gently bumping her chair every time - the first few times you can ignore -the next few are just plain frustrating! Food - really good Atmosphere - lovely, full of people having a great night

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Sarah .'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 4
  • Atmosphere: 10
  • Value: 8

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Lobos Meat and Tapas Bar

14 Borough High Street, London SE1 9QG

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Interesting tapas in Borough and you can book!

by Sarah R.   silver reviewer (19)

Feb 2016

My friends and I had an early pre-theatre tapas meal last night. When I arrived we were shown to our table promptly. The menu is varied and changes regularly. The focus is on meat but as a vegetarian I found there were enough meat free dishes for me to order that I could also share with my friends. They tucked into the meat dishes and said they were delicious - winners were the croquets and the rack of lamb. The green salad was very interesting with a lemon and nut dressing and the tortilla perfectly cooked. The dishes are all served on different interesting plates that turn up when they are cooked rather than all together. The waitress recommended 3 each, which was about right. They were small but the food is rich so you don't need too much. The wine was delicious and the service friendly but very efficient. Don't skimp on the desserts, it was the best I've had in a while - chocolate and pistachio cake with chocolate and hazelnut icecream. Very good! The bill came to just under £200 for 4 of us and included 2 bottles of wine. The atmosphere was buzzy and fun. It is set in a railway arch so I thought would feel cramped but there was enough room to move between tables. I loved the fact I could book as at Brindisa down the road they don't take bookings which is a problem for an organisation freak like me!

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Sarah R.'s rating

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

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Koya Bar

50 Frith Street, London W1D 4SQ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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A date that excels in culture!

by Vi V.   bronze reviewer (10)

Feb 2016

Koya Bar, Frith Street – Koya Bar is a proper Japanese noodle bar. In the night of Soho lights, it sits humbly among the other eateries with their attractive and catchy signs. A black shop front with large glass window and a one door entrance, it would have been easier to keep an eye out for their logo. Did it attract any less customers? No, in fact, queues can build up easily as seating are limited. Koya Bar does not take reservations and you will only be seated when all of your companions have arrived. fish and chips £9.10 – served as a starter, small plate, sharing style it is the Koya's take on English fish and chips. Brilliant! I suspect that the chips were from a sweet vegetable like plantain or sweet potato. It was feather light like the batter on the fish. No vinegar or tomato sauce but served with their dipping sauce of radish and spring onions, it was so delicious that we didn't stop eating until the plate was empty. kamonabe (duck and vegetable hot pot) £14.30 – from a spectator's view, I thought that they were a little mean on the duck and vegetable. My dining companion confirmed that it had the proper proportion of udon to filling to broth. It was good but the broth was a little on the oily side. hiya-hiya zaru udon tenzaru (cold udon with cold sauce to dip with prawn and vegetable tempura) £13.90 – after the fish and chips, I was glad that I chose the tempura to go with my noodles. It was delightfully crispy and each bite into the batter was so satisfying. The kind of batter that possibly every OCD foodie/chef is trying to create at home. I give up, and will just dine here from now on. The assortment of vegetables were all but one slightly undercooked. With Koya Bar, it was more than just the food. The place exudes the Japanese culture of eating and looking around the place for a moment, I could be fooled that we were in Japan. Koya Bar was full and most had their heads down totally engrossed in their bowls of udon, I was quite amazed that a steaming hot broth noodles was favoured equally well in the West as in Asia. I thought it was only the kind of dish only understood by the Asians. Seating by the bar might not be suitable on certain occasions – like if you have a crowd of friends or have sharing dishes - but on second thoughts, sitting opposite someone who slurps their noodles is not particularly inviting. I still have to work my way through the menu - udon noodles being the main which comes with different toppings, rice in donburi style and various small plates to choose from. Not to mention that there are specials from time to time. What seemed like a small portion of noodles turned out to be quite filling and with a small plate to share between the two of us, I was full. A good place for simple yet flavoursome food. No desserts served and I did find myself wanting one. Koya Bar exudes a casualness with personality and integrity. It is not the kind of glamorous place with awkward formalities, numerous cutlery, hostile service and an expensive menu that makes you think twice but if I were taken on a date here, I am glad to walk away with the date that knows and has good taste! Will I be back for more? You can certainly count on it!

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Vi V.'s rating

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

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