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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.

The Red Pepper

8 Formosa Street, London W9 1EE

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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The past is a foreign country…

by Gourmand Gunno   platinum reviewer (220)

May 2018

L P Hartley’s famous line seems an appropriate way in which to describe The Red Pepper. Time does funny things to one’s memory and, of course, we all grow up, but put simply, a recent visit to this restaurant showed demonstrably that in the past, “they do [did] things differently.” A 24-year history undoubtedly puts The Red Pepper into the category of successful neighbourhood locals, but over the 20 years I have been visiting the venue (albeit with less regularity in recent times), it is definitely fair to say that quality has ebbed and flowed. We left feeling underwhelmed and distinctly disappointed by the utterly indifferent/ bordering on rude attitude of our server. Since our previous visit, the venue has had a lick of paint and some of the tables have been removed. However, what The Red Pepper gains in terms of more space, it has probably lost in terms of atmosphere. There was a lack of buzz and surprisingly a number of empty tables on the Saturday when we visited. Historically, one would always struggle to find a seat, particularly at weekends. Onto the food and diners get to choose from around a dozen pizzas and a handful of meat/fish options. I chose a Stagioni pizza (four seasons) and my comrade the Parmagiana (with aubergine and herbs). Both did the job, but little more than that. Mine had a reasonably generous selection of toppings but my comrade noted that hers was somewhat greasy. Our enjoyment was not enhanced by the fact that the pizzas were almost plonked in front of us with the barest of eye contact from our server. Furthermore, our original choice of wine was unavailable and the alternative suggested was in no way similar. The meal was at least somewhat redeemed by the tiramisu dessert. In my experience and opinion, the Red Pepper serves one of the best renderings of this dish in London, beautifully presented in a brandy-snap basket, full of cream, luxury and indulgence. It was though delivered to us with similarly graceless cheer. There was no need to linger at the meal’s end, quite a strong temptation to deduct the ‘optional’ service from the bill (laziness prevented me from so doing) and a distinct feeling that we would not be returning any specific time soon.

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Gourmand Gunno's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 8
  • Service: 4
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 6

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Titu

1A Shepherd Street, London W1J 7HJ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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Yuzu mayo to die for

by Ms. Macaroon   bronze reviewer (13)

May 2018

Dined next to a group of senior ladies-who-lunch whose conversation about The Goring vs Petersham Nurseries was entertaining. Though their presence felt somewhat incongruous to the surroundings and menu. A complimentary snack of deep fried lotus root was heavenly, mainly due to the addictive yuzu mayonnaise served with it. Wine list was interesting and not overly pricey. Popcorn chicken to start was improved on with another pilfered pot of yuzu mayo. Crunchy prawns with deliciously crispy heads disappeared in seconds. Soft shell crab salad was fabulous (the crab stayed crispy despite the dressing), but the foie and chicken gyoza were the star of the show, once we had freed them from their lacey batter. A trip to the loo felt distinctly nautical with very narrow, steep steps descending into the world's teeniest loo, next to the galley-style kitchen. How they knock dishes of this quality out of that tiny hole is beyond me! A great addition to the area, best for a couple as too small for larger groups.

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Ms. Macaroon's rating

star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty
  • Food & Drink: 10
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 6
  • Value: 8

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blacklock

The Basement, 24 Great Windmill Street, London W1D 7LG

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Amazing Sunday Lunch

by Lloyd S.   gold reviewer (36)

May 2018

This was a real Sunday Lunch treat thanks to the amazing food and excellent service. We first visited Blacklock back in January after hearing so many good things about the place and our experience then was fantastic. While chatting to the manager having said how much we enjoyed everything it was put to us that we must come for a Sunday Lunch. So with that in mind we looked for a space in the calendar and she very kindly booked us in. This took us to yesterday as the day chosen. Our arrival was once again given a friendly welcome and even nicer the fact they remembered us. On looking around the roast dinners looked amazing but we had to be patient. You can choose one of the roasts either Beef , Lamb or Pork but we liked the majority plumped for the All In Sunday Roast which is a mixture of all three meats. We started first though with the two dishes for the table the Pigs Head on Toast & Coal Roasted Scallops with Black Pudding and both were absolutely delicious. Now it was time for the main event the All In roast and oh my god it's stunning. The vegetables & roast potatoes are on the bottom then two of the biggest Yorkshire Puddings sit on top before the beef , lamb & pork is draped over the puddings. We also decided to order two of the sides the Roots & Gremolata as well as the Minted Peas & Horeradish only because we wanted to try as much as we could. Everything is cooked to perfection so succulent & tender just heaven on a plate While enjoying a little rest before dessert I spotted this drinks trolley in the corner which had to decanters on it so when I asked our waiter what they were he said one was a whisky cocktail and the other was the Spring Negroni to which he made us one each and very nice it was to. It was then time for dessert to which they only do one but it is fantastic a homemade White Chocolate Cheesecake with Summer Fruits a dessert lovers dream So there you have it a truly amazing Sunday Lunch comes to an end and who knows when I'll be back. I know one thing it won't be long as the food is fantastic matched equally by the friendliness of each member of staff. Therefore please take my advice if your in London and think where can I get a great Sunday Roast then head to Blacklock for a lunch you won't forget. But please make sure you book as it's very busy on a Sunday
Until next time Thank You All at Blacklock for an amazing Sunday Lunch

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Lloyd S.'s rating

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

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Orwells

Shiplake Row, Binfield Heath, Henley-On-Thames RG9 4DP

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Brilliantly surprising

by Paul A.   platinum reviewer (107)

May 2018

When you get to the end of a meal out and you just sit there, utterly content, reflecting on the superb food you’ve had, you know the restaurant has got everything right. Once again our dining experience here was absolutely brilliant and Orwell’s is a prime example of the tyre maker cum booking app (conflict of interests?) getting its rating wrong. We began the ‘Taste the season’ menu with a pre-amuse-bouche of radishes fresh from the garden with a wild garlic mayo which were followed up with a cheekily tasty smoky (cheddar) cheese and (Branston) pickle foam before things started in earnest with mouthwatering chicken skin wafer and smoked paprika cuttlefish and then sweet cured scallop in smoked roe sauce accompanied by charcoal focaccia and then cock crab with cunningly smoked rhubarb and a parmesan crisp. The signature duck crumpet was again something of a rich, ravishing surprise with the duck heart and sauce, meaty shiitake, parsley and burr cheese taken together providing a real treat. The John Dory that followed was day-boat fresh, perfectly cooked and splendidly combined with caviar, verjus and spring onion. Top-class wagyu was as good as you can get, melt-in-the-mouth yet with a quite imperious taste and seconded by local hen of the woods mushroom and a creamy wild garlic sauce. While purists might prefer lamb before beef, the sequence on the night seemed just right, with properly young lamb, pea mash, tiny potatoes and a black olive purée making a perfect match with he meat. The pre-dessert of sorrel sorbet, puffed rice, natural yoghurt and strands of fennel was good enough to be a dish in its own right, but it cleverly introduced the first dessert of rhubarb and custard, the aerated custard light as anything with smooth rhubarb and crunch added with flaked almonds; the final dish contrasted white chocolate with a subtle ginger ice cream and pistachios for the ultimate in sweet textures and flavours. The kitchen was excellently backed up by the minimal front of house staff who somehow manage to look after all the tables, and especially Arnaud who combines a wealth of wine knowledge, and has put together an exemplary wide-ranging wine list, with a number of Coravin selections. We will be back.

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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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The Waterside Inn

Ferry Road, Bray, Maidenhead SL6 2AT

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar half

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Just classy

by Paul A.   platinum reviewer (107)

May 2018

In a way it is almost like stepping back into the old world of classic French dining with an atmosphere and service to match when you treat yourself to dinner at The Waterside with its super riverside setting. At first glance the menu appears familiar and conventional, but in fact a good deal of updating has taken place in the presentation and the combination of ingredients, as exemplified by the introductory plates, which were far from simple canapés: goat’s cheese and asparagus mousse with Campari and grapefruit jelly and salmon roe, followed by olive palmiers, an outstanding hot smoked eel and apple mousse, and a jokey ‘pork pie’. The assembly of flaked crab influenced by the effect of a ginger scented cucumber jelly and oscietra caviar showed how standards can be upheld, and a second inspired entrée mixed and matched foie gras, capers, bean sprouts and terrific caramelised orange - à la grenobloise maybe but entirely modern. The fish dish was probably the standout for us - superb turbot with a hint of marjoram and its beurre noisette, parsley sauce, swede and root vegetables, excellent morels, and an exemplary vin jaune. The pigeon breast main course took things down a peg for us as it seemed rather underseasoned, although it has to be said that the sauce diable was devilishly good, as was the barbajuan with the bird. A basil sorbet with mango espuma led us into the first dessert - delicious cannelé with hazelnut praline and citron vert at its centre. A good old soufflé, rhubarb this time, enhanced with raspberries, finished things off, a perfect example properly coming away from the sides of the dish without collapsing and literally melting in the mouth. With a wine flight of high quality, we can only say that for once a three star rating is deserved.

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Paul A.'s rating

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

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The Botanist

7 Sloane Square, London SW1W 8EE

Overall rating: star fullstar emptystar emptystar emptystar empty

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On the wrong way..

by vincent h.   (1)

May 2018

Not happy about the service at all. The Botanist's reputation is sinking. Years ago it used to be the pearl of Sloane Square...now it's the place where you DON'T want to be. Locals and regulars are usually the ones who bring the good vibe (as well as the money) but we are not treated as such so we prefer go elsewhere now.

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vincent h.'s rating

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

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The Riding House Cafe

43-51 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 7PQ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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A great atmosphere

by Paul T.   bronze reviewer (10)

May 2018

I've visited many times, but on this occasion it was for breakfast early on a Saturday morning. The service was just as good as usual, and the atmosphere was very pleasant; buzzing but not noisy. The service was friendly and attentive, and we weren't rushed at all. The plates for the hot food could have been warmer, but the food was as good as usual.

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Paul T.'s rating

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

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Canto Corvino

21 Artillery Lane, London E1 7HA

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Amazing Italian Feast

by Lloyd S.   gold reviewer (36)

May 2018

Having visited twice before for brunch we were very keen to return and try the Al a Carte Menu so last night that's exactly what we did. The evening got of to a great start as we were there before 7pm so got to have two delightful cocktails for the price of one . We then moved in to the restaurant with a nice greeting from the very friendly staff. Looking at the menu our choice wasn't going to be easy as there were many delicious dishes to choose from and to make it harder you get told about the special.
Starters
We decided on the Truffle Burrata , Isle of Wight Asparagus , Quinoa & Summer Truffles and the Scarlet Tiger Prawns Arancini with Tomato , Habanero Chilli & Lime. Both dishes were amazing and a nice Italian white wine to match which was perfectly chosen by the sommelier Following on from our starters we then decided to have a pasta course and this dish was heaven on a plate in fact stunning it was the evenings special a Crab & Tomato Linguine Now it was time for the main courses and in keeping with the fantastic dishes that we'd already enjoyed we were eagerly awaiting what was to come and we needn't have worried as they were both amazing. From the Clay Oven we chose the Wild Halibut , Roman Artichokes , spinach & anchovy aioli and from the Josper the Miso Iberico Pork Neck Nduja with fermented kohl rabi & padron accompanied by excellent side dishes of Burnt Greens with Chilli & Garlic plus some Rosemary Al Forno Potatoes. These dishes were once again matched beautifully with a glass of Italian Red & White wines Cheese & Desserts
As we were in the mood to try as much as possible it was only right to have a cheese course so we shared a nice selection of 5 Italian cheeses before enjoying some delightful Italian ice cream & sorbets Coffee & Petit Fours
A great way to finish was to sample the delights of Italian coffee and fabulous petit fours Summary
 This brought an end to a truly amazing Italian feast where I would like to personally thank the chefs & staff as the food and service was excellent so I would definitely recommend a visit whether it's for breakfast , brunch or an Al a Carte evening you will not be disappointed

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Lloyd S.'s rating

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

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The Harcourt

32 Harcourt Street, London W1H 4HX

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar emptystar emptystar empty

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Mutton dressed up as Lamb

by Julian F.   (1)

May 2018

Extremely slow service, especially for a lunch time sitting and the food was very average. The music was way to loud for a restaurant, making it difficult to have a simple conversation.

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Julian F.'s rating

star fullstar fullstar emptystar emptystar empty
  • Food & Drink: 4
  • Service: 1
  • Atmosphere: 1
  • Value: 1

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Ekte Nordic Kitchen

Bloomberg Arcade, London, London EC4N 8AR

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Simple, pure, classic Nordic

by Soren J.   (1)

May 2018

Let me declare up front that I am the owner. But this is why I love Ekte. Smorrebrod is a wonderful sandwich option. Half the bread and it's on rye! Also roasted cod, brown butter, roast celeriac, pink pepper, dill pickled cucumber. Carefully sourced ingredients served with minimum fuss. Sustainable where possible. Relaxed friendly atmosphere. Great Norman Foster architecture and cool nordic interior design. What is not to like?

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Soren J.'s rating

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

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The Drift

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London EC2N 4AY

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar emptystar empty

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Two visits in the space of one week

by Chris H.   silver reviewer (20)

May 2018

Initially booked for a party of 6 colleagues. The feeling was it was noisy but buzzy. There was too much to choose from on the menu. Everyone enjoyed their visit so much so that one of the director returned a week later as he liked the duck salad so much.

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Chris H.'s rating

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

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The Terrace at The Montagu Arms Hotel

Beaulieu, New Forest, Brockenhurst SO42 7ZL

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar empty

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New Forest treat

by Paul A.   platinum reviewer (107)

May 2018

It helps, of course, if the sun is shining and you get a table overlooking the garden, but if you add to that a set menu at a very reasonable price cooked for you by a Roux Scholar and a decent wine list at less than London mark-ups, you can count yourself very lucky. While we previewed the menu we enjoyed one of our favourite Hampshire sparklers, made our choices at a leisurely pace and were shown to our properly laid table. We were impressed with the front of house staff who made every effort to ensure our comfort and made sure that my wife’s dislike of hake, which was the fish dish on the set menu, was not a problem by substituting the sea bass from the à la carte menu. A good half bottle of Chablis made a perfect match for both the lovely creamy home smoked salmon risotto which was beautifully balanced against an imaginative fennel and beetroot salad, and continued well with the excellent Cornish hake with its light braised pearl barley, generous sauté of wild mushrooms, contrasting sprouting broccoli and really tasty cep sauce. The sea bass clearly demonstrated its freshness and its accompaniment of yummy pressed potato and black pudding, perfectly done roasted pumpkin and, again, crunchy purple sprouting broccoli all served to point up the splendid fish. We finished with something of a traditional English dessert updated for today’s tastes, a warm pear and almond tart with brandy cream which was attractively light and showed off the main ingredients really well. Good coffee and petits fours rounded off this New Forest lunch treat.

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Paul A.'s rating

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

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Ametsa with Arzak Instruction at The Halkin

COMO The Halkin, 5 Halkin Street, London SW1X 7DJ

Overall rating: star fullstar fullstar fullstar fullstar full

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Top-notch

by Paul A.   platinum reviewer (107)

May 2018

The last time we dined at Ametsa we raved about it, and, although we have had disappointing second visits to some other restaurants, at the end of this treat we were wondering why on earth hadn’t we been back before. It started off with a properly professional welcome, and the front of house, impeccably schooled by the outstanding restaurant manager, Ednor Pronjaj, made us feel right at home throughout the meal. We chose the tasting menu, and as we discussed it with Ednor we let slip that lobster was a great favourite with us; quick as a flash he informed us that they were preparing a dish for inclusion on the menu at a later date, he checked with the chef and sure enough one of our “entrantes” became lobster instead of langoustine. A lesson to be learnt here by other top venues. Even before the super “aperitivos” which set the tone for the evening, we happily indulged in some very good olive oil with with our home baked bread and then began the parade of delicious dishes: thick cep soup with manchego crackers, followed by an excellent combination of kataifi with light fish (in this case scorpion fish), a brilliant prawn gyoza style dumpling, and a crafty crunchy black pudding set against a sweet marmalade syrup. As with the whole menu the level of seasoning in these better-than-amuse-bouches was just perfect. The first starter caused us to raise our eyebrows as it had hemp seeds as one of the ingredients; however, the brilliant Scottish scallops mounted on a parsley base were perfectly matched with the nutty hemp crackers and given a memorable contrast against a wonderful mango salsa for a dish that could justifiably be called historic. Balanced textures enhanced our special serving of lobster which was perfectly lightly poached and matched with orange blossom, a seaweed cracker that was almost like crackling and finely sliced beans - another winner. The final starter kept up the amazing standard of cuisine and presentation, a signature dish called eggs in the moon, a crazy yet somehow logical take on eggs and bacon with a combination of fried egg wrapped in its own white, chorizo, a tomato coating and apricot salsa and turmeric. Another nice idea was the diner being able to choose a fish dish and a meat dish from the à la carte menu. The fish had to be turbot for both of us, but we differed on the meat, my wife taking the ox cheek, while I favoured the suckling pig. Blackberries would not be the first ingredient one would think of to accompany turbot, but it really worked, somehow pointing up the supreme delicacy of the the king of fish when properly cooked, and here it was emphasised by a concentration of dried loganberry and reduced cauliflower which was soft and reshaped to look like florets. This was a triumph! Not to be outdone, the melt-in-the-mouth ox-cheek with its melon pickle, Jerusalem artichoke and black sauce reduction, and the tender, gently porky suckling pig with its delightfully sweet fat under light crackling and “pseudo-cereals”, vegetables transformed to look like grains, were both splendid. A yuzu-tasting palate cleanser prepared us for the first dessert - the “coloured crystals”, a signature dish amounting to a lesson in mathematical/molecular gastronomy, in which a red-coloured grape vinaigrette is poured onto a mead base and it spreads to produce a sort of snowflake pattern, showy but nonetheless amazing. This was followed by a geometrical structure of triangular wafers of different colours and tastes and hardness arranged round a fruity crumble, and finally an explosion of passion fruit with churros reduced to crunchy crisps and served with the required rich chocolate, a truly Spanish classic in the making, and like all the other courses presented in an imaginatively artistic manner. Bravo chef Briones! A brilliant dining experience that we will definitely be hoping to repeat.

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Paul A.'s rating

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

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