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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.

Great Queen Street

32 Great Queen Street, London WC2B 5AA

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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A welcome return

by Howard M.   (1)

Feb 2016

Haven't been back to Queen Street for some time but was pleasantly surprised - despite some reviews it has not 'gone down the pan'. My starter of potted shrimps was OK - a little over peppered. But the main of a Barnsley chop (lamb) with creamed spinach was very good. Pleasant enough staff who were helpful on the wine list. Unpretentious and good value for what it is. Will go again.

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Howard M.'s rating

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

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OKA Restaurant Kingly Court

14 Kingly Court, London W1B 5PW

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Sublime Sushi!

by Alice S.   bronze reviewer (9)

Feb 2016

Oka is my new favourite sushi joint. This restaurant is set in a perfect location, with loads of shops nearby, making Oka the perfect place to stop for lunch or dinner. The menu is designed for you to share the dishes. The sushi is so fresh and beautifully presented. We also tried the Mongolian lamb, which is a must - full of so much flavour! The tuna burger sliders are a great little dish to add to fill that extra space. The dessert is dreamy. You've got to go for the cookie dough dessert with ice cream. It's warm, gooey, and hits the spot! The food is very reasonably priced. Cheaper than your average Itsu! I've been here 3 times in one week... This place must be good.

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Alice S.'s rating

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

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The Ivy Kensington Brasserie

96 Kensington High Street, London W8 4SG

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Mr & Mrs B approve of this chic new addition to High Street Kensington

by AndMrs B.   bronze reviewer (5)

Feb 2016

Mr B's review: I’ve never quite understood what the fuss is all about with The Ivy. It’s years since I went to the restaurant (the club above is quite swish, admittedly, and I have been there quite a few times) - the food is notoriously mediocre. The clientele is the thing, I suppose. It’s a great brand of course, after all those pap shots on its doorstep – and, on the back of Soho House’s monstrous global sprawl, plus the roll-out of the Wolseley’s formula to spots like the Delauney and Zedel, it was only a matter of time before the Ivy followed suit and expanded. And so I give you, The Ivy Brasserie. On Kensington High St, something of a wasteland when it comes to personality, bar a few local exceptions like Otto e Mezzo, Ffiona’s or Il Portico, and lacking great restaurants (although The Belvedere, W8 Kitchen and Clarke’s are high-end mainstays and classy, I guess). There does seem a market among the well-heeled denizens of this neighbourhood for such an outpost. Clever Ivy! We wanted a ritzy night out and live somewhere near there, so thought we’d give it a go. The high-end brasserie design feels very familiar (see Balthazar, Colbert). It’s rather corporate somehow (the restaurant is situated in a high-end office block, bang on the high street). There are no paparazzi–level celebs here, at least not when we’re there, but plenty of well-off diners of all ages. It’s tough to get a handle on the vibe, in fact. There is a sense of occasion but little charm about the place. A localised flavour has been attempted with murals of the Great Exhibition of 1851, which took place down the road in Hyde Park, but this is hardly a neighbourhood eatery (the bathrooms have gold taps and marble floors – but then I guess some of the residences nearby too, so maybe it does fit that description!). Prices are, as you’d expect, not cheap. The food is mixed – a very poor £9.75 prawn cocktail, devoid of any zest or zing (Garfunkel’s do better – London’s best, by the way, if you’re interested, can be found at Hix in Soho) is followed by a surprisingly tasty £14.50 fish and chips. The fish, at least, is top-notch – fresh and lightly battered. Mrs B had tuna carpaccio (£9.95) and steak tartare (£9.25), the latter reminding me of Grandpa B’s famous story of how a working lunch backfired when his lunch guest, whom he was schmoozing, ordered the same dish, only – on being presented with it – to send the plate hurtling back to the kitchen, in indignation. The reason he balked at the sight of said unsuspecting steak? He was outraged to be served raw mincemeat. The offending restaurant? The Ivy... (To see what Mrs B thought, check out our blog!)

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AndMrs B.'s rating

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

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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

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

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Steak and Lobster Warren Street

Radisson Blu Edwardian Grafton Hotel, 6-7 Warren Street, London W1T 5LB

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty

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Steak and Lobster 6.02.16

by Andre J.   (1)

Feb 2016

The restaurant was nicely designed and the atmosphere was great. Although the restaurant is quite classy the dress code is casual which wasn't a problem as it made you feel more relaxed. The staff were very attentive and friendly and allowed customers to feel welcome. Food was slightly disappointing. The lobster was slightly bland but good value for money considering the portion size. The steak was not cooked to preference. Although we required medium rare the steak was still brought out well done. We also heard another customer on a table near by complain about the same thing. The steak was a good size but it was also very fatty and chewy. The fact that the chips were unlimited and the salad was excellent, bumped up points for the meal. Drinks were pricey but good. Also although they highly advertise their £20 meals, an additional service charge is applied to the bill. Again not a problem as the staff do deserve it based on their service but felt they should give the option to tip rather than just apply service charge, especially for small tables. Overall it was a good dining experience but the food could have been better. I would go back to steak and lobster but not in a hurry and I would probably try an alternative branch to see if their chef is better

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Andre J.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar halfstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 6
  • Service: 10
  • Atmosphere: 7
  • Value: 6

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Espelette at The Connaught

The Connaught, 16 Carlos Place, London W1K 2AL

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Birthday treat

by iona M.   (1)

Feb 2016

I booked Espelette at the Connaught for my sons birthday. We had a 3 course meal from a restricted but excellent menu. There was something for us all even the fussy eaters. Included in the deal was a glass of champagne. The service was exemplary. Atmosphere very relaxed yet special. All in all a lovely evening at a very reasonable £ 35.00 per head. Iona

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iona M.'s rating

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

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The Drunken Duck Inn

The Drunken Duck Inn & Restaurant, Barngates, Ambleside, Ambleside LA22 0NG

Overall rating: star fullstar emptystar emptystar emptystar empty

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Birthday celebration

by julie a.   (1)

Feb 2016

Went here for my big birthday bash based on reviews of decent restaurants near Grasmere. We were given a 9pm booking as anything earlier was not available. Admittedly we arrived 10 minutes late as the sat nav took us along a dead end lane but our table was still available. When we made the booking we were asked if there was anything we particularly did not eat and we told them just no pork. We were presented with the menu which was bizarre. There was no chicken, beef or lamb, just one fish dish and some odd veg dishes. There was nothing on the menu that any of us was interested in but it was too late to try to find another restaurant. On the foot of the menu it states to please ask if there were any other preferences. We asked the waiter if there was any other choice and he firmly said no, that was the menu and he needed to 'push' us into making a decision. We all reluctantly chose some indescribable Menu option and tried to make the most of my 60th birthday celebration. No mention was made by the staff about the celebration even though they were well aware this was why we booked. Very disappointing evening and I felt very sorry for my family who had tried to arrange something quite special for me. We will not be visiting again nor recommending.

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julie a.'s rating

star fullstar emptystar emptystar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 2
  • Service: 2
  • Atmosphere: 4
  • Value: 2

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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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