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Some London restaurant reviews and notes from a New York Chowhound


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Restaurants & Bars U.K./Ireland

Some London restaurant reviews and notes from a New York Chowhound

sam1 | | Oct 10, 2010 06:10 AM

Anchor Hope
not as good as it used to be...both in terms of quality of food or service. Apparently others agreed considering that there was no wait for a table at 745pm on a Monday evening. Had a cuttlefish starter that was quite large for ~6.50 pound and satisfying but ultimately forgettable. My main was a veal special with some sort of cheese risotto. Slow cooked and very autumnal. Very filling but not entirely tasty. My friend's hare and semolina gnocchi was a bit better. Puddings including a pretty lousy espresso mousse and a giant glob of buttermilk pudding with roasted plums. Not enjoyable. Service was friendly but the wait for our entrees took quite a bit of time. This used to be a favorite of mine in London but I left rather blah on the place.

Le Fromagerie
espresso was merely okay, so was the pain au chocolate. My toasted cheese and ham breakfast sandwich was forgotten by the cook and came out very late. They apologized and comp'ed the espresso. Cute place but I wouldn't return. Pretty blah overall.

had the pork and miso udon after reading some positive reviews. Noodles tasted pretty goo-ey to me. Pork and miso was ultra salty. Place was decent in terms of price and I'm more of a ramen guy but Koya was not much of a winner for me. I suppose you could so worse in Soho for an inexpensive lunch though.

Milk Bar
Also in Soho, a solid machiatto though a bit on the burnt side, pleasant staff though.

Hereford Road
Had the set lunch since I was staying near Westbourne Grove. Decent value for lunch...15 pound for 3 course if I recall. Unfortunately, I ordered the sand eels with tartar sauce to start...just not my thing. I was expected some smoked eel or something along those lines. These were fried critters...a lot of them. I ate half of what was on my plate. My friend's salad with pork belly looked like a much better way to start. We both had the bavette of beef with some rather good fried potatoes. The steak was okay and for the price, a deal. My dessert was a of the better ones I had. The place was rather empty for weekday lunch, service wasn't great. Took forever to get my espresso with dessert...and it was served barely warm. I would be hard-pressed to try this place for dinner after this rather mediocre lunch meal.

St. John Bread and Wine
Stopped in for a late breakfast. Had the bacon sandwich and the eccles cake with a machiatto. From my last time in London (2007), I rather loathed my meal at St. John proper but this was a better option. Bacon sandwich was salty and buttery and rather delicious...very big sandwich. I wish I couldve shared it with someone. Eccles cake...good but not my thing. Currants, buttery crust but pretty rock hard. Espresso was solid. I think I like Bread and Wine much more than St. John because there's some value here as opposed to St. John where there is zero quality for the money.

Great Queen Street
Surprisingly, my favorite meal in London. Never went here as I think they just opened when I was last in town. Considering my meh Anchor and Hope meal, I expected little. We ordered an absolutely delicious plate of mixed mushrooms, flatbread and kale...super yummy...very good. The codfish roe was served in a salad of sorts and acted like an alternative to anchovies. A great choice. The chicken pie for two was delicious. Super buttery crust, the chicken was perfectly seasoned. We were angry we couldnt get more crust off as the plate cooled. Service was solid, great crowd as well. Perhaps Anchor and Hope's owners are more interested in focusing on Great Queen Street these days? Much more enjoyable meal.

Close to where I was staying, I went to Alwaha for lunch by myself. At 12pm on a weekday, I was the only customer and the staff were pretty unfriendly. I ended up getting a set lunch rather than the famous baby chicken. My shish touk was rather delicious though. I'm not an expert on Lebanese but I can tell this was above par for the cuisine. Very flavorful and filling. A bit on the price-y side considering that I can eat the same quality in NYC for 1/2 the price but a good option nonetheless. Followed it up with a chocolate ice cream cone at artisan chocolates next door. Best 2 pounds I spent in London...absolutely delicious.

Queens Head and Artichoke
Met a friend here for a pint and some tapas based on some good reviews. Food was fine enough. I had some pork meatballs which were good, some greasy fried calamari with aioli and lamb kebabs. Everything was solid but nothing worth traveling for. Staff was friendly unlike some reviews I read. Solid option in the area. Oh, chocolate souffle for dessert was excellent.

Coffee Plant
Best espresso I had in London. Super fresh pain au chocolat as well. Those ravers sure know what they are doing. A good respite on Portobello Road.

Had a mixed grill that was on the small side but at 10 pound, the price was reasonable I suppose. Friendly staff, great option for Indian in Westbourne Grove.

No. 10 Chinese
Had lunch here during the Cycle Show in London. I was actually staying on Hogarth in 2007 and never even remembered it. A real shame because the sichuan food here is excellent. Best dan dan noodles I've ever had. Almost tasted like a peanut curry. Double cooked pork was good too. Prices were great...only wish the staff were a bit friendlier.

Borough Market
I keep forgetting what a mob this place has turned into. That being said, the grilled cheese toast from the Raclette stand was insanely delicious and worth my 15 minutes on line...not too long actually. Best grilled cheese I've ever had.
The Brindisa (sp?) chorizo sandwich...the line was massive but once again, surprisingly worth it.
The chocolate mousse for 2 pound was just fantastic. Perfect dessert there. Finished my meal with a pint of ale at the George on Borough High Street...very enjoyable despite the mobs.

I ended up missing a dinner here in 2007 due to work so I was very much looking forward to Arbutus. With that said...what a huge letdown. Had a late reservation on a Saturday night. Staff was nice but completely not professional. Definitely not a high end eatery. Little things like having to pick your bread out of the bowl or being served espresso after we finished our dessert...this place is not polished whatsoever. As for the food, my smoked eel starter was good but pricey at 11 pound for a small portion. My main, the famous saddle of rabbit was a good quality piece of rabbit but completely underseasoned and mediocre. I wouldn't call Arbutus a horrible restaurant but it also is definitely not worthy of the praise it receives. Dinner of 3 starters, 1 entree, a carafe of mediocre syrah blend, 1 dessert and 2 espressos was 75 pound including 12% service.

Pearl Liang
Had Sunday dim sum here. Nothing mindblowing but definitely on the higher end in terms of quality of dim sum. Wasabi prawn dumplings, pork buns, cheung fun...all super yummy. I thought the staff was solid despite reading negative reviews.

I still have dinner at Harwood Arms tonight and dinner at St John Bread and be continued.

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