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London / Paris Trip Report February 2012

illshame | Mar 12, 201209:35 AM

I have been a long time stalker of Chowhound and have been to many recommended restaurants all thanks to CHers like you. To start it off, I do not consider myself an educated foodie, but I just like to eat food. So I was in London / Paris for a week and these were my following meals / thoughts in chronological order.
A little about myself, I am from the states and have not travelled too extensively. However, when i do travel, I generally map out where to go based on food. Please forgive me if this post is too long...Also, I travel with the lady friend, who is preggers right now, so LF did not get the breadth of selection otherwise. In addition, I tried to order food that she would (i) not be jealous that I am eating and (ii) could potentially share with her. And lastly, I am that tourist that inappropriately wears jeans and sneakers everywhere (unless the restaurant specifically has a dress code like Ledoyen or Mirabelle). And due to the LF being big right now, there generally have not been any wine pairings.

1) The Cinnamon Club - I chose this restaurant knowing it is not a traditional Indian restaurant. Although the food was good (5/10), unfortunately my goal of trying Indian food was not satisified. And as I said, I am not a foodie, so when I am talking Indian food, i default to chicken tikki masala. So lets start with the decor. I thought the dining room was very nicely appointed with a sophisticated feel...yes, books to me = sophistication. Now onto the food, I started with the crab and prawn risotto and had the duck, while the lady had the plantain kafta.. We also ordered the garlic naan and The risotto was good but it was very rich and the plantain kafta was very very heavy. we couldn't finish the dish. All in all, it was not a memorable meal at all. It was a contemporary twist with traditional flavors. Honestly, just give me the old school chicken tikki masala and call it a day. This one was my fault, as I knew what I was getting in to when I made the reservation but....

2) Rules - I was suckered in to the whole oldest restaurant in London. We did the oldest restaurant in Rome and loved it, so we thought there must be a reason Rules has been in existence for that long...well we were wrong. Nothing memorable nor redeemable to this restaurant. Decor was messy and the service was ok. I ordered the veal cheeks and the LF had the beef pie. Unfortunately it was not good. Though when I said no redeemable, I slightly over-exaggeratted. They had a nice pineapple carpaccio. But I think it was just nice compared to the crappy meal we had. 3/10

3) Pollen Street Social - I thought this was a great restaurant, As you know, this is a Jason Atherton restaurant. I found the decor very hip bordering on pretentious, but definitely too cool for me. However, they did the food great. I would grade this out at 9/10. I had the scallop ceviche for starters and the duck for dinner. The LF had the squid app and scottish cod with the cockles. Everything we had was very tasty and cooked very well. My highlight was the scallop was a shame the LF couldn't try this. It had enough acidity, sweetness and texture for the scallop. Very very well done. I actually have no complaints of the great food...but 10/10s are only for SPECIAL MEALS, like Ledoyen.

4) Petrus - I really wanted to like this restaurant. This is a 6/10 for me and it was basically because of the pop rocks ice cream. That was pretty fun, however, I found the fish overcooked . The LF had the pork, which was dry; however, to be fair, we asked the kitchen for well done due to my LFs fat condition. We both had the prawn app, which again was just ok. Now the inner foodie in me tells me this restaurant could be very good because all the sauces were very tasted. The protein itself was overcooked, which made the meal mediocre in my eyes. We may have to go back again when LF is skinnier so that we can try more. As for the decor, it was a little to frou frou for me.

5) Roganic - 9/10...cannot even explain it. You just have to go. A whimsical play on food without ever losing the taste. I have had "fun" food before but invariably the taste does suffer. However, this food was fun and tasty. To be fair, I preferred the taste of the Pollen Street Social meal BUT I look forward to going back to Roganic to have the chef take me on another culinary journey. I just want to see what he will think of next. Do try the 10-course meal and just get wowed. Also, we explained the limitations the LF had and they were very nice in explaining the meal to us and ensuring it was safe to eat. Only restaurant that was this thorough on our whole trip.

Let me know if you have any questions for the meals we had...just wanted to share back with fellow CHers...also, let me know if you want some recommendations on Italy (Sorrento, Venice, Rome, Florence), Japan (Kyoto, Tokyo, Fujiyama), Hong Kong, more on Paris or the States (San Fran, Boston, NYC, Seattle, Portland). I am not an expert but did try quite a few restaurants in those places.

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