Restaurants & Bars 2

Some places around Mayfair/Marylebone, London

limster | Mar 23, 200802:01 PM

• La Genova (Mayfair)
A classic flavour combination: salty meatiness of firm dense slices of salami, sharp and bitter rucola/rocket, nutty parmeggiano reggiano. A dash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar help it along. The trofie is a tiny shade softer than my preference, but it's still al dente. The pesto is classic, textbook stuff -- the vibrance of basil and garlic dominate, the nutty flavours support. Green beans and potato serve as the traditional accompaniments. Strawberries and raspberries with a fairly thick creme anglaise and strawberry sauce. Expensive to very expensive on the whole; £12 or 14 for the pasta iirc, and a very hefty £9 for a basic dessert. But for Ligurian cooking, this is the real deal. I'd recommend skipping dessert.

• Busabai Eathai (Marylebone branch)
The jicama filling in the fried spring rolls were undercooked, should have been soft -- these retained a crunchy texture. The pandan chicken was a pleasant surprise -- slightly aggressive with the pepper, but otherwise nicely flavoured, using the right parts from the leg and still relatively moist; a sweetened soy sauce with raw garlic for dipping was just right. I was happy with the ginger and honey tea -- robust, heartwarming ginger, nicely honeyed. Comes with two pieces of cookies with almonds. Overall, better than I expected.

• Pain Quoditien (Marylebone branch)
Good brioche (buttery, wispy), ordinary hot chocolate. Very good 70% chocolate bar -- nice balance of fruity and woodsy components (would not mind buying this for day-to-day consumption).

• Beiteddine Express (Mayfair)
A nice plate of mezze: rich hummous surrounding whole chickpeas with just the right texture and olive oil. Lemon juice, aubergine and tahini are all evident in the puffy moutabal. Warak Ina/stuffed vine leaves are filled with something very zesty and tangy. Loubieh-Bil-Zeit/green beans cooked in tomato sauce are nice and homey. Foul moukala /broad beans is straightforward, and cooked to the right texture. Basic pita. Rosy jallab, with a flourish of pinenuts. Premade baklava that's ok but missable. Enjoyable on the whole. (Any relation with Beiteddine in Kensington?)

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