Ich bin Urbanite aus London. Ich bin Qyper seit dem 08.12.2007
"You have to eat a lot of cereal to get a free toy"
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153 Concert Hall Approach, Southwark, London SE1 8XU
Have mixed feelings about this place and ultimately would go back, but a couple of little drawbacks.
On the plus side the decor is pretty cool - under the archways of the train tracks around Waterloo Station - so pretty easy location too. They have live jazz most nights that goes on until quite late, which neatly masks the rumble of the trains above, although they do seem to stop for quite long periods.
Having had an early dinner I just got the charcuterie starter platter which was quite good, and should be for £9, though had to order extra bread as the two mini wedges didn't cut it. They have a decent cocktail menu, each at £8, a decent wine selection but unfortunately no beers on tap.
We had a big table and service was pretty slow with only mass orders every so often so I took to ordering a couple of drinks at the bar and so came face-to-face with a few employee fights which give you that same feeling as when you're out with a couple you know and they start arguing in front of you. Awkward.
In terms of a decent spot to have a meal and few drinks in tourist central, The Archduke isn't bad. But there are a few things they could work on.
14 Palace Street, Victoria, London SW1E 5JA
One of those pubs where you're always surprised to find it busy - I think in this case it's due to a lack of decent pubs in the area and so collects all the local work folk. It's decent enough with a few tables outside, a good selection of wines and beers but is on the pricey side. We came here on a Thursday evening and ended up standing near the door for most of it, reminding ourselves it's probably not worth it. I imagine it's very quite on weekends.
If you worked around the corner I could undestand why you might pop in, driven by convenience, for after work drinks. But if you don't have a location-relation, it's nothing special and not ideal as a meeting spot.
342 Edgware Road, Paddington, Marylebone, London W2 1EA
The restaurant has lovely decor that's both warming and charming. The toilets are some of the best I've ever seen in London.
The waiters and owner were a little wooden and there was a feeling of being processed through a factory, even though the place was rather empty.
We had booked with a taste London card which said '50% off the food bill' and, after double-checking the small print, booked our table stating we were card barers. As we walked in and said we had a reservation he said 'taste london yes?' and motioned to our reserved table.
We placed our order of a few starters and mains and were surprised when he shook his head and said sternly 'everyone must order a starter and a main course to get the discount' - clearly nothing about this on the taste london website, I was a bit annoyed but we ordered up and off he went. They do have their own offer of 50% off food during the week and state the main/starters thing there, but he clearly knew we were from taste london.
The starters had mixed comments - the mussels in white wine sauce weren't bad (£7.45), but the grilled calamari was tasteless and pretty disappointing (£7.45). For mains two of us went for the Saltimbocca which is a favourite of mine and again it wasn't bad, but it wasn't amazing. Also only came with a few dry roast potatoes and what looked like the end of a raw leek (?!) I sort of expected some greens and these were missed (I would have happily added some spinach or vegetables of the day to it to keep the scurvy at bay). The calzone my friend ordered looked pretty good and the pasta of our fourth companion was cooked well, if a little on the bland side.
When we got our bill I was rather shocked to see that, unlike the customary 'optional 12.5%' I'd come to know and dislike immensley, they had chucked on 18%! 18%! This was just ridiculous, but we worked it out to most likely be worked out before the discount on the food. Unfortunately this left a pretty sour taste in my mouth.
All in all the setting was lovely, the waiting staff a bit off, the food alright. Doubt I'd pop back - only maybe to use the toilet.
71A Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2PJ
After aborting dessert at the previous spot due to it being a bit shoddy, we ambled down the road and settled in here for our coffee and sweets. The menu is quite extensive and we took our time drooling over it and eventually ordered. For sweet pancakes I found the prices a bit on the steep side, and what came was very different to what we were both expecting. The toppings were pretty sparse and didn't quite match up to the descriptions; 'melted white belgian chocolate with strawberries, toasted almonds and cream sounded A-MAZING. When it came it sported two lost strawberries, a few almond flakes, syrup and a blod of cream. With a couple of hard little chips of white chocolate on the top. Basically a syrup pancake with some pretty garnish. And considering it's around £8 it was a little disappointing.
The owners are all very French but in a good way and this really has potential to be a good spot but unfortunately a creperie is judged on it's pancakes and these failed to deliver for me.
66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD
Went here as recommended by a friend and sat in the dining room but ordered from the cafe menu (weird tables plonked outside in what seems to be a walkway) as it wasn't as expensive or fancy.
After flagging down staff who didn't seem too keen to attend to us, we all ordered the hamburgers which came with a bit of greenery and a side of potato wedges. We asked how the burgers came - whether medium or well done and the reply was 'we only do them standard'. Standard, by the way, appears to be 'pretty darn dry'.
The three burgers took half an hour to arrive, quite long considering it was lunch time and the place was nearly empty - no I'm not expecting MacDonalds here by any means, but generally lunch should be viewed as an hour window, and to spend over half of it waiting for a dish means no coffee or desert, which was the case here.
Anyway, summary of what I had: for £9, burger was a bit overdone and small, coming without any relish/sauce and plonked on a bigger bun that had been toasted black. Wedges were okay.
To top it off after we flagged down someone for the bill there was an extra random item on there. But to be fair it was promptly removed once pointed out.
The food and staff let this place down - pity as the room itself is quite glorious - high ceilings and big windows letting the light in. But unless I had an architect friend who was bound to this place and I could only visit them there, I'm afraid wouldn't pop back.
342 Kilburn Lane, Queens Park, London W9 3EF
A prime little gem proving that there are spots outside of the centre that rival any of those based in central London - and may be worth the few extra tube stops. Went here to learn how to make a proper cappuccino and had a lovely night with the Alimentari team - and of course ended up buying half the shop on the way out including cold meats, cheese, olives and the obligatory bag of Mulino Bianco biscuits.
Besides killer cappuccinos this cosy spot also offers wine tasting evenings, takeaway paninis, and big barrels of olive oil that you can either buy bottles of or bring your own to fill up which is really nice.
If you live anywhere in North West you should definitely book-mark Alimentari.
131-132 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6PS
Must say I hopped between 2 and 3 stars in my mind for some time but settled on 3 considering it was Pancake day, thus possibly their busiest ever and may have contributed to the mishaps. Mishaps being; pancake a little undercooked so quite stodgy, toppings being sparse, waitress bordering a little on the rude side. The place is big and has some interesting pieces on the menu but many of the ones our group sampled where a touch on the bland side - either go traditional or go saucy but straddling the two didn't seem to yield the most favourable result.
I think they pancakes are quite pricey for what they are, and while the pates are big and exciting as they arrive, I just don't think they deliver on taste.
I think perhaps the sweet options might be better here - the poffertjes are a must if you do pay this spot a visit. Might be worth returning on anything-other-than-pancake-day, but sadly didn't quite live up to my expectations.
15 Westland Place, Shoreditch, London N1 7LP
I was excited as hell to be visiting Fifteen, and while my visit was enjoyable, it didn't quite live up to the hype. We were bookd into the dining room - if you're heading over and are anything like me I would suggest you nab a table at the Trattoria as it is far more lively and a much better ambiance. I felt the dining room was on the whole trying to be something it wasn't and so instead achieved very little in its washed over decor. The staff were attentive and presentation of food good. But the misplaced decor resulted in the space feeling a bit dull and tired, and I didn't really like the no-windows-just-down-these-stairs feel. My beef carpaccio starter was brilliant, my pork-cooked-with-blood-sweat-and-tears-for-12-hours was not bad, but not amazing.
All in all an enjoyable experience but quite pricey for what it was, and would most definitely only return to the Trattoria, which was sadly booked up on the day of our visit.
96 Clifton Hill, St Johns Wood, London NW8 0JT
A blanket for my knees while I sit outside under the heaters? Why I don't mind if I do. I think to be honest what sold this spot to me was the cupboard overflowing with board games - sure half the pieces will be missing and unless you're there from opening time on a Sunday you'll be stuck with rummy, but it just added another 'tick' to what makes a pub really cool for me. An off-the-beaten-track local - tick. Sunday roasts - tick. Pub quiz somewhere in the week - tick. Pubby menu - tick. Big space with a few different rooms - tick. Seating outside - tick. Friendly staff - tick. Decent wine list with someone who knows what they're talking about - tick.
On top of that they've got a couple of tellies and I hear sports days are pretty busy. (you can have my seat on these). Impress some friends or visitors by whisking them passed the Beatles Abbey Road crossing and straight on to a place that the tourists are less likely to know about.
37-38 Great Marlborough Street, Soho, London W1F 7JF
Er, so had a hearty Irish stew craving and due to where our office is based, O'Neills popped up first on the radar and I figured 'meh, why not?'
One has to be reminded that it's a pub chain and the positioning of this particular speciman is to catch unwitting tourists as they stumble out of the bleary lights of Oxford Street. The interior is a lot bigger than you'd think - head past the bar and there's a big cavern of tomb-stone rows of 2-seater tables.
They've got a very afforable Irish special menu with all meals £4.89 > Irish stew, bacon and cheese burger (er not particularly Irish in my eyes), fish n chips etc. Come on lets face it, you probably can't even eat in at Pret for that price. So for a quick dirty pub meal it's pretty good - don't think gastro but more gastro-enteritis. No just kidding, I just thought that was funny. The stew hit the spot and for a decent price and speedy delivery, why not? Don't forget to memo your table number and hop to the bar to place an order - no one will tell you this.
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