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Restaurants & Bars

Odds & Ends, London

limster | Jun 10, 2012 11:50 AM

• Kimchee (Holborn)
Stylish decor, with solid middle of the range Korean food. Solid kimchee and a bean sprout salad glossed with sesame oil. Bindaeduk, the mung bean pancakes, crisped on the surface, and slightly crumbly, were satisfying. Grilled beef tongue, pork belly and marinated beef short ribs/bulgalbi were in the pretty good but not great range, with the beef tongue, perked up by a bit of horseradish or wasabi in the dipping sauce, being probably my favourite of the lot. Seafood jigae, a stew of mixed seafood and soft tofu/soondoofu and kimchee was moderately spicy and fairly flavoursome. I guess if Busaba Eathai was Korean, it'd be a lot like Kimchee.

• The Delaunay (Covent Garden)
The kind of place where one pays a premium for the rather impressive decor and location, rather than the food. A schnitzel a la Holstein, comes with a fried egg and four anchovies draped over the egg. The veal is quite delicate and pounded fairly thinly, the batter more breadcrumbs than egg, and a base of sauce, probably demi-glace. Expensive at ~£21, since sides are extra. Latkes, coalesced as leaden balls with a slightly crunchy surface rather than the flat potato pancakes, were nothing special. A dacquoise with pleasant strawberry jam and coconut flavour wasn't particularly crisp and didn't provide much textural interest as a result. Competent food overall, but somewhat overpriced for what it is. The more casual deli next door is cheaper, especially for take-out, but what I had wasn't particularly outstanding that would make the cheaper deli a bargain destination. (The less delicate and more homey schnitzel at Kipferl in Islington is probably a better value IMHO.)

• Brigade (London Bridge/Tooley Street)
An ok burger, drenched with a stocky broth and topped with braised shortrib. A lot of meat with decent flavour. OK chips, not particularly soft on the inside nor particular crisp on the outside.

• Vinoteca Soho
Their newest branch, similar to the one in Clerkenwell in terms of quality. Well made and competent food, in the good not great category. Courgette flowers fried with a stuffing of goat cheese had the requisite contrast of crisp and softness, and some acidity in the sauce for balance. A herby/nutty salsa verde was fairly neutral on a rosy hunk of veal. Went well with a rustic pinot noir, slightly rough, woodsy and fruity with a food friendly acidity.

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