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Blog Reviews from The Swindian

Food makes the world go round... or at least mine

  1. I blogged about Dishoom a couple of weeks ago, but we went again for the Weekend of Food 2014 and it was magnificent. The best thing about going out with a lot of people is the opportunity to taste way more dishes! I finally tried Dishoom’s granola of destiny, and I have since vowed never to eat any other granola ever again. It is drizzled with yogurt of the gods, packed with gloriously fresh fruit, and toasted to perfection. I dare you to try it and not be completely bowled over!

    A friend of mine also had the Big Bombay, which was an inventive twist on the full English breakfast, comprising of akuri (Indian scrambled eggs) and masala baked beans, amongst others...

  1. Published : Monday, 2 February 2015

    Yauatcha Soho | Restaurant review: Yauatcha | The Swindian

    A friend took me to the Michelin-starred Yauatcha a couple of years ago, a visit I remember fondly (as you can see from my choice of profile picture on the right, recreated below). I recently found out that they do ‘A Taste of Yauatcha’ from Mondays to Thursdays, 2-6pm – a mere £28.88 for two people. I promised myself I would go soon, but then I realised that I have a full-time job, which in this case is a huge disadvantage. Until I discovered bank holidays…

    I booked a table for the second May bank holiday, as my boyfriend also happened to be visiting. I counted down the days and even started following Yauatcha on Twitter – at this point I would like to add that they have one of the best Twitter feeds I have seen from a restaurant – thumbs up for that!...

  1. Having been to Tramshed before and knowing Mark Hix’s excellent reputation, we were intrigued and excited as we sat down. It took us an age to decide what we wanted, which was partly due to the misguided direction of our first waitress, who didn’t seem to understand the terms of the voucher. We were led to believe we could order any starter or main course, which later proved to be false. We were also told too late that there was only one cocktail for us…

    The decor in Hix Soho is somewhat confusing. There is a beautiful oyster bar and live jazz music, a goose hanging from the ceiling and a profane Hemingway poster in the bar downstairs. We were intrigued, to say the least!...

  1. Published : Friday, 4 December 2015


    When I first started this blog, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with it or what purpose it should fulfil. So I chose a random template on WordPress, wrote down a chicken marinade, and left it at that. Nearly three years on, I’ve learned so much from this venture. I still use a WordPress template, albeit one that fits a lot better with my content, I’ve invested in a new camera, which has significantly improved my photos, and I’ve also discovered the food blogging community a little more. I’ve decided to blog less and focus more on quality than quantity, and most importantly, I still love spending time on it.

  1. Last Saturday, I had a reunion with 3 girls from my university dance troupe. As it happens, we all live in London now, and this was the first time we’d all seen each other in 2 years! Naturally, I was asked to find a suitable watering hole, and after some research, I decided to try Foxcroft & Ginger, a small place in Soho that boasted great sourdough pizzas and coffee.

    When I walked in, it was even smaller than I expected, but it felt cosy and we took a table downstairs. Due to the nature of the evening, we spent the first half hour chattering excitedly and catching up on news before realising we hadn’t been asked to order anything. We then managed to grab a waitress, who told us there was no table service downstairs so we’d have to order upstairs, and that they were only serving pizzas...

  1. I first discovered Ping Pong when I was visiting London with my father last summer. We were wandering around Central London and saw the sign for dim sum, which immediately caught our fancy. Since then, I have eaten there 3 or 4 times.

    Their choice of dim sums is vast. I would highly recommend the steamed chicken cashew nut, steamed scallop and shiitake and fried duck spring rolls. I also love the variety of sauces they give you – besides the standard soya sauce, there are 3 different chilli sauces and if you have a loyalty card (I have a habit of getting loyalty cards wherever I go), they also bring you 3 additional, more sweetish ones (as well as free prawn crackers and fried seaweed!). The décor and atmosphere is pleasant, but we were sometimes forced to use our phones as torches to see the menu properly. Their cocktails, however, are unbeatable. I have tried both the ‘Lemongrass and Lime’ as well as the ‘Ping Pong’, and they taste very fresh, which is wonderful after all the concentrated fruit juice you get in most other places!...

  1. Being back in London has been tiring so far, as moving always saps a lot of my energy. Between unpacking, organising and arranging the flat, it’s been an absolute whirlwind. Yesterday I decided to take a break from it all with a couple of friends and wandered around Marylebone in search of a nice, inexpensive lunch. We’d visited Cocomomo recently (blog post to follow), and right opposite it we found The Real Greek, a lovely, friendly restaurant very close to Baker Street.

    After perusing the menu for a good while, we opted to share the Souvlaki platter for two amongst the three of us, with the addition of hummus (I can never resist that chickpea glory if it’s on the menu!). The hummus came served with flatbread, and what flatbread! I’ve never tasted anything like it, as it was fried, oily, and delicious and very different from pita bread. The hummus was rather chunky, with an added lemony zing – a wonderful combination...

    The Real Greek – lunching in Marylebone

    August 24, 2014

    Being back in London has been tiring so far, as moving always saps a lot of my energy. Between unpacking, organising and arranging the flat, it’s been an absolute whirlwind. Yesterday I decided to take a break from it all with a couple of friends and wandered around Marylebone in search of a nice, inexpensive lunch. We’d visited Cocomomo recently (blog post to follow), and right opposite it we found The Real Greek, a lovely, friendly restaurant very close to Baker Street.
    Souvlaki wraps
    After perusing the menu for a good while, we opted to share the Souvlaki platter for two amongst the three of us, with the addition of hummus (I can never resist that chickpea glory if it’s on the menu!). The hummus came served with flatbread, and what flatbread! I’ve never tasted anything like it, as it w

  1. Yalla Yalla has a small menu, but we wanted to order every single item. As we were simply snacking, we ordered 4-5 of their mezze to share, including the hommos, falafel, soujoc and baba ghannouj. Everything arrived very quickly, and we attacked without hesitation. One of my companions, who has been to Israel, firmly said: ‘I allow you to bring friends here. This is a good place.’ We were showered with pita bread and an array of different flavours. The hommos made me swear off Tesco hummus for life, and the soujoc made me rethink my dislike of tomato. As we tucked in, conversation slowly desisted, which to me is the true mark of excellent food.

    I have been back twice since that fateful day and both times I have been lucky enough to get a seat (they don’t take bookings at the Soho branch, since there are only about 5 tables). I finally ordered one of their main dishes, the Lahem Shawarma, which consisted of beautifully cooked lamb on a bed of vermicelli rice and flat bread. The lamb juices soaked all the way through, and the meat was perfectly tender. Just remembering it makes me salivate…

  1. One of the nice things about December is the abundance of Christmas celebrations. Parties, dinners, lunches… it’s a great excuse to build up the winter belly! Last week, one of these celebrations was lunch at MASH – a restaurant I had heard a lot about but never had a chance to visit. This steakhouse is a Danish import and boasts an almost incomprehensible number of different steaks.

    It reminded me a bit of Brasserie Zedel in that it looks slightly inconspicuous from the outside but once you enter and go downstairs, it opens into a huge, ornate room. However, there is the conspicuous addition of huge see-through fridges holding giant chunks of meat!...

  1. I really love steak, but a good steak is often hard to come by. Sometimes, places that boast about the superiority of their cuts can let you down (*cough* MASH *cough*). It’s often a trade-off between price and value and some restaurants tend to forget that the sides and sauces can be just as important as the meat itself.

    With that preambling introduction, let me preface this blog post by saying that Sophie’s Steakhouse far exceeded my expectations. From the service to the cocktails, the chips to the Béarnaise, and finally the steak itself, everything was wonderful. Add to that the company of the amazing Baking Medic, and you have the perfect evening...

  1. I love the diversity of London, but sometimes, amidst all the Korean, Eritrean and Lebanese food, it’s wonderful to find a place that just does simple rotisserie chicken. My university friend took me to Clockjack Oven tonight – a lovely little place just off Piccadilly Circus (opposite Brasserie Zedel). It’s quite small, but it wasn’t crowded at all – surprising given its location. The rotisserie was on display behind the bar, and we saw the chickens twirling, making our mouths water.

    The service was incredibly friendly, and the waiter proclaimed us ‘soulmates’ when we ordered the exact same dinner: 3 chicken pieces, twice-cooked chips and gravy. The food arrived very promptly, and my, was it delicious. The chicken was tender and not the slightest bit dry, and the gravy, which was thicker than I’d had it before, brought out the flavours perfectly. There were some sea salt crystals on the chicken skin, which made my favourite part of rotisserie chicken even more tasty!...

  1. Published : Friday, 23 January 2015

    Mandalay | Mandalay, a family-run Burmese delight | The Swindian

    I love trying new cuisines, and London has so far introduced me to many, including Eritrean, Vietnamese, Korean and more. Burmese was yet another new discovery, and Mandalay was a wonderful place to have this first experience.

    I had heard a lot about Mandalay from a variety of different people, yet I didn’t actually visit until December. I recommend making a reservation, as this tiny place only has around 6 tables, and it was full when we got there. We squished into our table and perused the menu, and I immediately wanted to order everything. Luckily, the owner came over and recommended one or two dishes per category, so we ended up sharing the raw papaya and cucumber salad, the chili king prawns, and the lamb in tamarind sauce...

  1. Yesterday I reviewed The Real Greek - a lovely restaurant in Marylebone. We found it because we were heading towards Cocomomo, which my flatmate and I discovered a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for brunch, and she was looking for a light lunch – Cocomomo gave us the option of combining the two in a nicely decorated, hipster-but-not-too-Shoreditch way.

    It was a beautifully sunny day, and so we sat by the window and benefitted from the warm sunshine (in London, you have to take what you can get). After perusing the menu, I opted for Eggs Benedict (my staple brunch dish, although others also looked fantastic), while my flatmate took the Coco Lunch – a soup and salad combo with a reasonable price of £9.50. We also got some fries on the side, but these were a little unnecessary, albeit deliciously crispy!...

  1. My excitement and eagerness at finally visiting The Palomar is equivalent only to what I feel before visiting a new country. I always look forward to eating out in London, but with this one, it was different. Since The Palomar opened last year, the reviews have been unprecedented. Even the most critical publications and bloggers have raved about it, and its awards and accolades are too many to list here.

  1. I have heard many a tale of the establishment that is Bodean’s. People have raved about the meat, and I’ve read reviews of the meat, plus it kept popping up on my Twitter feed because of the… yep, the meat.

    Now, I am vegetarian for one month a year and egg curry is probably my favourite dish ever. But I am a carnivore at heart, so when a work lunch was scheduled to take place at Bodean’s BBQ, I salivated at the mere thought...

  1. Bacco is an Italian restaurant in Holborn and a truly incredible find. How did I discover it? Through the magic of Tastecard. For those of you who don’t know about this card, it offers 50% off hundreds of restaurants in London, and is a great way to discover new places at nearly unbeatable prices. You can purchase it here.

    I am somebody who loves fancy food, even more so when I can get it for half price. And when there’s a real burning fire, impeccably dressed Italian waiters, AND a tantalizing menu, I am sold. My starter was the sea bream carpaccio, which was covered in perfectly chopped onion, avocado, cucumber, tomato and croutons and served with a wedge of fresh lemon. My friend chose the antipasto platter of cured meats, which went perfectly with the complimentary bread basket. As for the mains… both the tagliatelle with veal ragout and the rabbit in white wine sauce with potatoes were irresistible. We were offered fresh black pepper for each of the dishes, and the waiter carefully ground it onto our plates according to our instructions – so the quantity was exactly what we wanted...

  1. Published : Monday, 23 February 2015

    Kiku | Kiku - sushi in Mayfair | The Swindian

    Kiku is slightly tucked away in Mayfair and when we walked in, we were struck by the quiet, unassuming decor. The service was inconspicuous and unobtrusive. As usually happens when I eat with my father, I let him do the honour of ordering and I simply ate what was put in front of me. As always, it worked really well, and everything he chose was absolutely delicious.

  1. I love small menus, as it makes it so much easier to choose what you want. Burger & Lobster go one step further, as they don’t even bother giving you a menu. There are only 3 choices: burger, lobster and lobster roll. We found out at the end of our meal that they recently introduced a 4th (!) option, the California burger (which substitutes the bread for lettuce as a healthy option). No matter what you choose, it comes with salad and fries and costs 20£.

    I’ve been hearing about this place from many different people for a while now, and then I finally planned an evening with my (newly named) restaurant buddy, and we decided to go early (6pm) to avoid the long queues we had been warned about (they don’t take reservations). Luckily, it wasn’t a busy evening and we got a table immediately. The service was excellent and seeing the lobsters and burgers everywhere got our mouths watering before we even sat down. We decided that instead of choosing lobster or burger, we would take both and share – thus maximising our pleasure...

  1. Published : Monday, 23 February 2015

    Lucky 7 | Restaurant review: Lucky 7 Diner | The Swindian

    have never quite understood the allure of the All American Diner Experience (yes, it should be capitalised). I neither liked nor disliked it – there was neutrality about my feelings, where I would agree to go if somebody else suggested it, but would never propose it myself.

    Until I visited Lucky 7.

    My All American Flatmate took me to this little diner on Westbourne Park Road to brighten up a dreary Saturday morning in London (although it may have been noon by the time we arrived…). As we pushed open the door, we were welcomed by the sounds of jazz and the smell of coffee and bacon. The atmosphere was incredibly friendly, and we were quick to order the Eggs Royale and the Huevos Rancheros, with an extra side of bacon and French fries as we felt quite over indulgent!...

  1. Published : Monday, 23 February 2015

    Matsuri | Matsuri St James; a show with our dinner | The Swindian

    Matsuri, a glamorous and upmarket restaurant in St James, makes a point of infantilising its predominantly corporate clientele. Soon after we ordered, our waiter carefully hung napkins around our necks, clipping them into place with almost maternal tenderness. It was a somewhat strange feeling in this very luxurious place, but I for one quite enjoyed it.

    The four of us ordered a starter each and then a variety of teppanyaki to share. I still remember the first time I had a teppanyaki experience in a restaurant in Zurich, and this dinner proved that it will never fail to amaze me...

  1. Published : Tuesday, 8 March 2016

    Ceviche Soho | Ceviche- hit and miss in Soho- The Swindian

    My first experience with Peruvian food was a few years ago at Lima, where I left slightly dissatisfied. Ever since then, I have warmed to the cuisine, though I still remain doubtful about which bits I actually enjoy!
    To try and understand this further, I did some research at Señor Ceviche, Lima Floral, and now Ceviche. I’ll focus on the last one in this post, mainly because I didn’t take photos or notes of the other two…
    It was a beautiful day and earlier that morning, I had taken the boat down the river for the first time (using my Oyster!), and so I was certainly in the mood for some great food.
    We started with a round of cocktails, and my Shark Ahoy! was a sight to behold. Blue tea foam was something I’d never seen before, and whilst it turned out to be more aesthetic than flavourful, it was nonetheless a great cocktail. I definitely preferred my second one, although for the life of me I can’t remember which one it was. I think it had passionfruit in it…

  1. Published : Tuesday, 8 March 2016

    Galvin at Windows | Galvin at Windows

    Holiday days are precious things, so when I use them I tend to jump on a flight to… well, anywhere, really! But when my two best friends from Switzerland came to visit, every minute counted, so I took the day off. What a day in London – we ate amazing food, saw a beautiful exhibition, and bagged last-minute front row seats in the West End!
    The highlight was definitely our Michelin-starred lunch, with a view over Hyde Park and service that made us feel like princesses. Galvin at Windows is on the 28th floor of the Hilton on Park Lane – a building I never thought I would enter, yet here I was, at a table at the window, with a gorgeously fresh strawberry bellini in my hand. The room was beautifully decorated, and the excellent interior architecture dampened the sound, so we heard but a hum from the other tables.

  1. Published : Monday, 22 February 2016

    Ottolenghi Islington | Ottolenghi - fresh and fabulous flavours

    Yotam Ottolenghi has become a household name, at least in Britain, with cookbooks and restaurants galore, all featuring a multitude of fresh flavours. I first stumbled across his beautiful food on Instagram, before eating at the Spittalfields branch last year. Recently, a friend of mine cooked me his chickpea dish, and a few weeks ago, I spent a large part of my Sunday in the Islington branch. And I simply can’t get enough! My recent trip to Israel awakened a new culinary part of my brain, and Yotam is satisfying it to a very high degree…
    The flavours are incredibly fresh, and the prices surprisingly reasonable. The concept at their restaurants is to mix and match mains and salads, with around seven or eight choices for each. I’ve found that one main and two salads is just enough to get me comfortably full, and the best thing to do is go with somebody who is willing to share their plate, so you can get more variety! They also have a number of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
    All the dishes are displayed at the front of the restaurant, so you can take a look and see what catches your eye, in addition to the beautiful descriptions on the menu.

  1. Published : Tuesday, 22 December 2015

    Sushisamba City | Sushisamba amp sky high views and prices

    My favourite view of London is the one from Primrose Hill, above Regents Park, where I can sit right on top and feel like the kingdom of London is at my feet. Last week, after dining at the illustrious Sushisamba on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower, this opinion has not changed. But let’s just say that Primrose Hill didn’t serve melt-in-the-mouth tuna belly sashimi, and my ears certainly didn’t pop on the way up…
    Let me preface this review with the disclaimer that I did not, and could not have, paid for the meal myself. The prices at Sushisamba are nothing short of extortionate, but this is clear when observing the clientele, as the place was swarming with suited and booted city types who are not averse to splashing the cash.

  1. Published : Wednesday, 20 July 2016

    Chakra Holland Street | The Swindian Chakra Holland Street

    Ever since I moved to Camden from Maida Vale, I have spent less and less time in West London. Nevertheless, I still love the Notting Hill area, with its beautiful houses, bustling high street, and memories of a soppy 90s film, so I was glad to return. And what better excuse than to try a new restaurant?
    Chakra on Holland Street is a recently relocated fine dining Indian restaurant, and its tiny interior boasts some impressive flavours.

  1. Published : Wednesday, 20 July 2016

    The Lawns | The Swindian The Lawns Thornton Hall Hotel

    Last year, I took a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of London and drove up to the Wirral with a friend, where we enjoyed living in the lap of luxury for a couple of days – a world-class spa, a beautiful hotel, and one of the best meals of my life. It was such an incredible experience that one year later, I was eager to repeat it, particularly when I found out that said restaurant had a new and exciting young chef. And in return, I received the absolute best meal of my life.

  1. Published : Monday, 12 September 2016

    Honey & Co | Honey amp Co The Swindian

    One of my friends has the Honey & Co cookbook, and raves about it constantly. He made us one of the recipes on a trip to Wales this year, and I later found out that the restaurant is a mere 20-minute walk away from home. Jackpot! A few months ago, I had their sabich for breakfast, which really took me back to when I discovered the dish on the streets of Jerusalem. Today, we ventured there for lunch, and boy were we in for a treat.
    Honey & Co is inconspicuous from the outside, with a blue awning and a few tables on the pavement. Inside, there are no more than 8 tables, and a very conspicuous counter of delicious-looking baked goods at the back of the room (unfortunately, we were too full to sample any, but it’ll be top of my list next time!).