As we head towards the summer months, SquareMeal readers continue to make their way around London’s restaurant scene, regularly rating and slating the capital’s dining haunts. Diner reviews, which can be left on our site by anyone, secure SquareMeal’s status as a one-stop shop for keen eaters. This is our chance to highlight your views, as well as a way for you to collate and compare the experiences of other diners.
Plenty of London restaurants have opened recently and SquareMeal readers are always the first through the doors to offer their opinions. In West Hampstead, Gourmand Gunno paid a visit to Ham, where he was impressed by the “friendly and welcoming” atmosphere and British ingredients – “I certainly plan to return”. However, he didn’t feel the same way about the second Bluebird site in White City, which he also tried out this month. The “not glamorous” location and a menu with a “tyranny of choice” hampered his meal, but Gunno did make allowances for the “spicy, creamy” chicken curry. Over in St James’s Market, Lizzie B tried out Scully, which serves a sharing menu of internationally-inspired plates. Lizzie was taken with the “delicious flavours” and the “generous portions”, concluding that she actually found “nothing to fault”. Now, that’s the kind of review that chefs dream of.
Not every restaurant fared so well this month though, with some of the capital’s big hitters taking a knock from our diner reviewers. In St James’s, Caroline T was satisfied with the tasting menu at Avenue (she’s a regular visitor), but thinks that the interiors are “outdated” and that the place “could do with a makeover”. In Fitzrovia, David H also returned to a favourite, revisiting Portland (above). However, he was let down by the food, asking “where has the flavour gone?” David concluded that he and his wife enjoyed a visit to Portland’s casual sibling Clipstone “much more”, and would rather dine there in future. Finally, Aqua Shard failed to impress Graham B, who was annoyed at having to wait “90 minutes for main courses”, due to “uncoordinated staff”, and resolved never to visit again. Sadly, one bad experience can put diners off a restaurant for life.
Although dining out often has a sense of occasion, you don’t have to travel into central London to enjoy a decent meal. In Borough, under the Old Union Yard arches, Emma O tried out her local Bala Baya (above), having been meaning to visit for a while. Emma loved sitting at the chef’s counter and her highlights included the chicken and trout dishes; overall, it was “great and well worth a visit.” Over in Canary Wharf, Marcia W found a local gem in Rocket by Balls Brothers, content with the “friendly and helpful” staff and an overall “pleasant” experience. Finally, Stephen P had a great evening at cheese-centric Alpes in Pop Brixton, praising the “great food” and declaring it “the best new opening in Brixton”. That’s quite a bold claim, but good cheese is enough to make anyone fall head over heels.
Register with us here to join in, search for a restaurant and then leave your comments. We’re constantly rewarding our diner reviewers with prizes, search #SMDinerReview on Twitter to see how you can win cookbooks and bottles of Champagne. Regular reviews will also make you a contender for our Critic of the Quarter prize, where you could win a £200 meal in a select range of top London restaurants.