Wednesday, 20 February 2008

London restaurant reviews - from my sis

My sister and brother went on an eating spree it seems. Patrick was in London for his half term holidays so they pigged out!

Here are Priscilla's reviews (and my comments):

Restaurant: Richoux
Location: There are several branches. The ones I usually go to are across the road from Harrods and in Piccadilly Circus, just down the road from Mitsukoshi, so yeah, it's really convenient!

Ambience: Quite cosy, very Victorian-esque decorations - really a plus point with me! Gotta love Victorian stuff! *heart* Lighting is alright, but true to Victorian style, it can be a little dim at times.

What they serve: A variety of foods, mostly British, French or American. I usually have the kedgeree (actually Indian, but adopted by the Brits), or the lasagne, but the main highlight is the Traditional English Tea. Comes in that typical three-tiered serving dish, with pastries, sandwiches and SCONES!!! The scones are the family's favourite!! The ones served in Richoux are baby scones, warm and with raisins in it, and served with fresh clotted cream and jam! Ooooh sinfulness.... I didn't have it this round, and I soooo regret it :(

Service: It all depends on the waiter. This time, the waiter was really friendly, and chatted with us and everything. Nice guy. Service can be slow depending on the time of the day, but usually it's alright.

Price: Well.... I don't really know how to judge prices, but it felt kind of pricey to me. Not very much more expensive, but higher than average, I guess.

Petrina comments: This is my mom's "must go to" place in London and we never fail to make at least one trip there each time she visits. I love the kedgeree here too.

Restaurant: Ed's
: Excellent location!! It's right down Piccadilly Circus (anyone realise how much time I spend in that area?), behind Troccadero. There used to be another one beside Abeno Too (somewhere along Charing Cross Road), but they've moved to inside Trocadero.

Ambience: Quite nice. "Quaint", I'll call it. It's usually very bright, and it's decorated just like any diners you see in American movies, 60's and 70's style! It even has juke-boxes around!

What they serve: True to its theme, it serves all-American style burgers, hot dogs, fries and shakes! My favourite is the vanilla malt - tastes just like thick, cold Horlicks! They serve huge portions too - one portion of a shake is equal to two glasses of shake! When Patrick and I came here after Lord of the Rings (the musical), we had a malt each, and shared a bowl of chilli cheese fries. Really good fries, with a gorgeous cheese sauce and chilli (the kind with ground beef in it). Yum!

Service: To be honest, I don't really like their service. They can be nice at times, but I dunno... I just don't like them o_O They did kind of rush us out when it was about closing time, but I can't really blame them.

Price: Quite reasonable. It costs less than £3 for a vanilla malt, so I think it's really worth it!

Petrina comments: I first went to the outlet in the O2 centre on Finchley Road. I prefer that one because less people and better service. But it's too far from where Shen lives now so no point going!

Place: Borough Market
: It's at London Bridge tube station. I used to view it as a major inconvenience to get there, but just this Saturday, Patrick and I discovered it was within walking distance from my flat!! Granted, it did take us about 45minutes to get there, but hey, a whole load less troublesome than changing buses and trains and all that rot!

Ambience: Well, it's a market, so there aren't actually any decorations, apart from banners hanging from the ceiling, and some signs. I do love the feeling of being there though - imagine being in a market full of foodies, where everyone's eating and enjoying themselves! It's like a festival, really.

What they serve/sell: They sell alot of food, but there are a few things the family must have whenever we go there! First off, the scallops. They're grilled on the spot, and served on half a scallop shell with stir-fry and bacon bits. We usually have them with a good squeeze of lemon, lots of pepper and tabasco sauce. £4 for 3 scallops, but I think they're worth it, given how large the scallops are!

Another favourite would be the chorizo sandwiches. The sausages are grilled in front of you, then placed in toasted ciabatta that's been drizzled in olive oil, with preserved red pepper and rocket salad. Yum! The line's usually quite long, but it moves fast.

I don't eat it all the time, but there's a stall that sells burgers - the best burgers ever! True, this time, my lamb burger was rather dry, but the onions and mustard more than made up for that!

Ever since Patrick and I found it, we always have to buy this cheese from Borough Market - It's called Comte cheese. Very good quality, the taste is gorgeous, slightly nutty. Anyone we've introduced it to has loved it! We never fail to buy at least £10 worth of cheese everytime we pass by.

Let's not forget the brownies! The brownies from this place are sinful. So deliciously chocolate-y, not too chewy, not too cake-like.. Perfect for sinking your teeth into!On a small note, the vegetables and fish here are really fresh! Slightly more expensive than some other markets I've been to before, but the quality here is good, all the same.

Price: Depends on each stall. Generally quite well-priced, but the fruits and vegetables are slightly more expensive than some other markets I've been to.

Petrina comments: I love Borough market, love the scallops, the chorizo, the BROWNIES. I first tried the brownies when they had a food bazaar in Covent Garden. Loved it so much I bought a dozen and spent the next couple of days eating only brownies. And I don't even like chocolate!!

Restaurant: Carluccio's
: Before Saturday, I had only ever been to the one behind Selfridges. This time, we went to the one at Covent Garden, which was just off St. Martin's Lane.

Ambience: Great!! The one at Selfridge's is rather cramped, but the bright lights make it seem really lively. The one at Covent Garden, on the other hand, is nice and spacious, with decorations really befitting a romantic dinner, with long draping red curtains and candlelight. The seating areas were divided into small parts, so it was quite quiet.

What they serve: Italian food. Really really REALLY good Italian food, I might add! I always have the pasta while I'm there, half portion if I take an appetizer too. This time, we had an antipasto platter that had mozarella cheese, beans, artichoke, bread, olives, salami (not sure, actually, some preserved ham) and this aubergine thing. It was all cold, but very delicious! I especially loved the artichoke - it was our first time eating it. (I went with Patrick, Mel, and Patrick's friend Felix)

For the main, the other three had steak, while I had a half portion of spaghetti vongole. The pasta is the best! Always perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of sauce in each dish. Gorgeous. Patrick's steak was slightly overcooked, but alright otherwise. The potatoes that came with the steak were really tasty!

For dessert, Patrick had some coffee on ice cream thing, while Mel had a chocolate pudding and I had a tarte di limone (lemon tart, if you didn't get it). Ahhhh I LOVED the lemon tart! The ones we usually get are very sour, but this one wasn't! It had just the right level of sourness so that it doesn't pinch your face, yet you taste the lemon and not sugar. The base for the tart was also good; firm enough to hold its shape, yet not too hard that it was hard to break through with a spoon.

We all shared this odd thing, where there was a glass of sweet wine on a plate with some honey and almond biscotti, and you dip the biscotti into the wine. The wine was good! Not so much when you drink it as when you dip the biscuit into it. There wasn't a lasting after taste. In fact, it was more like a very thorough palate-cleanser! Great feeling to it.

Service: It's usually just okay, but Saturday's waitress was really nice! She chatted with us (i.e. treated us like humans) and teased, and was generally very good. Prompt service too!

Price: Usually quite reasonable, particularly if you have the pasta. Unfortunately, this time we all had 2 lemonades each, so that brought up the price! Also, the steaks were rather pricey. However, this was just a one-off thing, and the next time I go there with Patty, we'll probably just have pasta.

Petrina comments: I went there only once, to the one behind Selfridges. Never been back but that's really cos I dont fancy Italian food all that much! Nothing much to say.

Restaurant: Misato
: Just off Shaftesbury Avenue, a little down the road from Chinatown.

Ambience: Cheery place, bright lighting. Rather cramped at times, though, especially during peak hours!

What they serve: Japanese food. I don't pay attention to all that they serve, but I do know they serve some sushi, bento and rice. I always, without fail, have tori karaage rice when I'm there. Not sure why, but the next time I go back, I think I'll have the beef rice instead. The salad that comes with the rice is very nice, particularly with their garlicky cream sauce. Yum! The rice is usually perfectly cooked, sticky yet not too mushy. The chicken is succulent and soft, as always. For drinks, I quite like the mugi-cha (Japanese Iced Tea) and Pear Juice.

Service: This is a place with a fast turnover, so expect hurried service and people expecting you to eat quickly and leave quickly. There's almost always a line waiting to eat, so it's better to do so!

Price: Literally best value for money in London for Japanese food! HUGE portions for less than £6.50! I can get two meals out of one order! Be warned though, that every customer has to order at least one dish and spend at least £4.

Petrina comments: I miss MISATOOOOO....... One of my favourite places to get a good, fast meal. HUGE portions, not expensive and it tastes really good. One order of tori karaage rice or katsu curry rice for me please!