Mamounia Lounge

Mamounia Blazer – Flora de Cana 18yr, berries, Mamounia Lounge Mayfair, Curzon street, Arabic

Arabian nights meets Vegas, baby

7/10

The Mayfair outpost of Mamounia marks the second site for this popular Middle Eastern brand, which is both restaurant, club and shisha terrace in one. Any skepticism that this unruly combination might inspire is generally unwarranted where the food and drinks are concerned.

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World’s End Market

World End Market Fish Kings Road Chelsea

Slick Fish market meets old school pub

7/10

Chelsea’s infamous Kings Road begins at Sloane Square and passes deep into the south west of central London. Past the moodily lit designer boutiques, art galleries and vintage cinemas, and under the belly of Earls Court and Brompton Road, there is a building as old as time itself.

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Gibson’s at The Yacht London

Gibsons yacht london temple restaurant review

Pub food on a Thames steamer. Save it for a good day.

5.5/10

The Yacht London is a steamer moored on Temple dock on the Thames, and has had an illustrious past which includes hosting Winston Churchill and the Queen. The on-board restaurant, Gibson’s, is located on the lower deck and offers sweeping views across the river and onto the opposite bank, from the London Eye on one side to The National Gallery and The Shard.

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Bad Egg

Bad Egg, Neil Rankin, Moorgate

Rankin goes to Moorgate with an egg restaurant, but its no Smokehouse

6.5/10

When I first heard that Neil Rankin was opening a new restaurant with a focus on one of my favourite things, the humble egg, I was excited in a way that I haven’t been in a while. In retrospect, I think I was expecting something more along the lines of Smokehouse, where Rankin first romanced us all with seared foie gras, buttery apple pie and duck egg. Bad Egg is less rousing than all that, and I must apologise to all the other Rankin enthusiasts in the I Heart Neil club, but I leave a little disappointed.

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Mark’s Bar

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Flying the Union Jack with Brit-inspired cocktails

7/10

You’d have to have lived under a rock for the last few years to not recognise the name Mark Hix; like an insatiable vandal, his scrawl is on everything. His role as a chef, food writer and restauranteur means that he’s had columns in Esquire and The Independent, as well as authoring a number of cookbooks. His empire extends to various restaurants across London, which include the chicken and steak concept restaurants ‘Tramshed’, ‘Hixter City’ and ‘Hix Soho’. He’s been a busy boy.

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Modern Pantry

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A thoroughly enjoyable take on ‘fusion’

7/10

Brunch isn’t that popular in London; less treasured than the tradition of afternoon tea, a quick google will nevertheless bring up Modern Pantry as a top contender in the egg and soldier race. I have to admit to not reading much about it beforehand, and so the ‘fusion’ element of the menu is something of a surprise. The global pick & mix of ingredients and cuisines result in things like curry leaf waffles, plantain fritters, yuzu hollandaise, pickled red cabbage and black sesame labneh, and that’s just the brunch menu. The all-day menu is just as jumbled, but happily, most of it turns out well.

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The Zetter Townhouse

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Tony C’s cocktails for under a tenner, in a fabulously eccentric hotel

7/10

The Zetter Townhouse is a small boutique hotel on the cobbles of St Johns Square in Clerkenwell. An offshoot of The Zetter Hotel, The Zetter Townhouse has just 13 guest rooms of varying sizes and degrees of quirkiness. The hotel is themed around the home of an eccentric aunt from centuries past, the rooms hoarded with her assorted curios. Nowhere is this more evident than in the reception area which also doubles as the cocktail lounge and breakfast room. Often featured on ‘London’s best’ lists, the well made drinks and attractive ambience make it deserving of such accolades.

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Valentina

Valentina Fine Foods Chiswick Italian Deli
Humble Italian deli and restaurant in Chiswick

7/10

The family run Valentina Fine Foods have just opened their seventh branch in Chiswick, bringing their brand of homely Italian charm to my neck of suburbia. The front of the store serves as a delicatessen, selling essentials from the Lazio region of Italy. Shelves groan under the weight of assorted pastas, antipasti, olive oils, jams and honeys. An olive bar is also available, stocked from the annually harvested family grove, or pick from cheeses, charcuterie, cakes and freshly baked breads. The restaurant at the back of the shop is ideal for young families to refuel after a wander down the common and high street, and I can see why it’s so busy.

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Lyle’s

Lyle, Lyle's, Shoreditch, tea building

Simplicity to a fault.

6/10

Lyle’s opened up earlier this year to a flurry of press and reviews, undoubtedly due to the ‘provenance’ of it’s owners. Chef James Lowe has previously cooked at pop ups like Upstairs at The Ten Bells before moving on to St John Bread & Wine, where he met restaurateur John Ogier’s. Lowe and Ogier went on to set up Lyle’s with help from the owners of Trishna and Gymkhana. Despite the depth of experience of all parties involved, I wouldn’t recommend eating here.

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Androuet

Androuet cheese spitalfields

Fondue in Old Spitalfields Market: tip – take it to go

6.5/10

Androuet is a tiny cheese shop with a big reputation. Established in France in 1909, the fromagerie has extended its roots to Old Spitalfields Market and stocks various cheeses, from Berkshires Barkham Blue to the French Gaperon d’Auvergne and most things in between. Behind the little shop is an even smaller restaurant in which even a dozen covers would feel cramped. Ambience issues aside, the cheese itself is lovely.

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Bassoon Bar

Bassoon Bar Corinthia Embankment

Cocktails, live jazz, glamour

8/10

Corinthia is easily one of the most elegant 5 star hotels in London, and is tailor made to impress with its crackling fires and stunning crystal chandelier, under which can be heard the thrilling clink of champagne flutes at afternoon tea. The hotel also enjoys a Harrods concession, a Daniel Galvin hair salon and an in-house florist – everything that a girl could ever want and need, basically. It should then come as no surprise that Bassoon, Corinthia’s super-smooth cocktail bar, is just as sophisticated.

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Corinthia

Corinthia afternoon tea, festive christmas

Afternoon tea: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

9/10

I reviewed the traditional afternoon tea at Corinthia recently and was instantly won over, and so an opportunity to go back for the festive version was a no brainer. Everything I initially loved is still there, and then some. The venue is perfect for Christmas; it’s domed glass cupola spills natural light through the 1000 baccarat crystals of the Full Moon chandelier, and room itself is transformed with festive finery and crackling fires. Frosted firs line the periphery, and a special 10-foot tree made entirely of gingerbread lends a fragrance and luxury that is very becoming.

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Comptoir Libanais

comptoir libanais lebanese chelsea

Like any good chain, the ethos centres around dependability

7/10

As a western expat brat growing up in the Middle East, you get used to a certain ‘bubble’ culture; pools, American malls, coffee shops on every corner and endless Lamborghinis. In such a sanitized environment of absolute wealth, conservative traditions and punitive justice, there isn’t very much in the way of criminal activity. Even though I love London to absolute smithereens, it’s times like this that I miss the bubble. The recent news of a serial sex attacker wandering around my neck of the woods has me worried, and I am prone to paranoia. Nobody knows the extent of this more than my dad who, at my behest, erected an impenetrable metal mesh on our front door after I watched a particularly disturbing movie trailer. He wishes I was joking.

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Spiaggia

spiaggia london

Beachy keen – A chilled out and casual Italian eatery in Fulham

6.5/10

It not easy to create the illusion of sunshine when there is none, and the miserable grey-hued sky above our little city is particularly hard to correct. In a modest nook of Fulham, just an inch-on-a-map, there sits a restaurant that seeks to improve our dismal climes. Whilst the beach-themed Spiaggia will not magically transport you to a Caribbean paradise, it is cute and, most importantly, not tacky. The 50-cover ground floor features deck chairs and a tropical palate of turquoise, bright orange and pink splashed across fresh, white-washed drift wood. The basement bar is much more den-like; a beach at midnight strewn with cushions and secret alcoves. Movies are played onto the wall from a projector on Mondays, and the vibe is relaxed.

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108 Brasserie

108 Brasserie Marylebone

A blessedly legit hotel restaurant

7/10

108 Brasserie has just re-opened after a top to tail refurbishment, gutting its innards and replacing them with long bars, frosted glass and taut, red leather. Kinky. Although it now looks like a brasserie, that is where the French connection both begins and ends. The menu is styled loosely on homely British food, and is well suited to the village-like crook of Marylebone lane in which it sits.

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The Cavendish

Cavendish new 35, marylebone restaurant cocktail

Unfussy cooking and inventive cocktails from an ex El Bulli chef

8/10

Trained at El Bulli, it will be of little surprise to you that head chef Alfonso Lillo Fas is a stunner in the kitchen. The Cavendish provides a cool new medium in which to experience his obvious culinary prowess, without the fussiness of fine dining. Spread over two floors, the glossy 1940’s interior is accented in jeweled teal leather and wood, and gulps in light through ample windows. Views onto the busy Marylebone streets below are ripe for people watching, or choose to be entertained with some slick table side cooking.

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Pont St

Pont St brunch knightsbridge chelsea sloane square kensington

A capable, if expensive, Knightsbridge brunch

7/10

Brunch! The gloriously unhurried ceremony of grazing away the early afternoon. Brunch isn’t always about fine dining; it’s one of those things that is as enjoyable when it involves simple, unchallenging and casual cooking. As such it is well suited to Pont St, the most recent addition to Belgraves Hotel.

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Lamborghini Vodka

Lamborghini vodka Knightsbrigde cocktail

Product review – Italian vodka from Lamborghini

Lamborghini, a brand synonymous with luxury, expense and fine Italian quality, have recently launched their bespoke vodka in Britain. Already widespread in Italy and France the vodka is destined for high end clubs, as well as some of the kookier outposts. The venue for tonight’s tasting is Beauchamp Bar, a covert Knightsbridge drinking hole just south of Harrods.

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Lanes of London

Lanes of London, Marriot, Park Lane, Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea: a festive take

8/10

Come one, come all, for I have glad tidings. Lanes of London, previously criticized for its ‘concept’ heavy menu, ticks all the right boxes for afternoon tea. Not just any afternoon tea either. During November and December there is an exclusive festive afternoon tea to hail in the Christmas season. Now that the weather is suitably chilly, a pot of something hot with lashings of carbohydrates beckons. I’m not sure what my excuse was before the cold weather, but I think it might take whole other blog to rationalize my excesses. Someone’s got to do it!

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‘Dining Around’ The Landmark London

Landmark London dining restuarant review

Bloggers eat, drink, and explore The Landmark London

8/10

The Landmark London is a stunning Victorian hotel in Marylebone, resplendent in red brick and vaulted architecture. As well as providing lavish guest rooms, it also features a variety of dining and drinking options. Having already sampled their afternoon tea, I’m keen to try out their one-off ‘Dining Around’ blogger event. The event is designed to give a more detailed look into the magic of The Landmark London, and the first of the three venues tonight is The Mirror Bar.

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The Manor

The Manor, Dairy, Clapham Common restaurant review

Full of potential and nowhere to go but up

6/10

The Manor is the second restaurant from the people behind The Dairy, located up the road from Clapham Common. Although it’s a tad unsporting to be writing a review based on a trip made just four days into the restaurant opening, I happen to be free and at a loose end. With that in mind, consider this as a kinder review than I would have normally written, with the hope that the rough edges will be ironed out in the coming months. The 25% off soft opening offer is now over, so bear in mind that you will now be paying full price. For everything pictured here, I would have paid around £50.

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The Balcon at Sofitel

Balcon Sofitel Hotel St james London restaurant review

Franco/Anglo cuisine just south of Piccadilly Circus

6.5/10

The Balcon is located inside the Sofitel St James, a multi-branched French hotel. The exterior building, which once belonged to Empire builders Cox & Kings Bank, is a glorious grade II listed monolith of stone. The interior design is less confident however, and The Balcon does not escape its hotel association. Nevertheless, in this arena of patterned-carpets and heavy drapes, we hold on to the prospect of receiving a good meal.

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Kouzu

kouzu Japaense Victoria Belgravia
Upmarket Japanese in Belgravia with a fun little sushi bar

8/10

London’s latest Japanese restaurant boasts a collection of some of the most experienced chefs and front of house staff. The all-Japanese entourage includes Chef Kyoichi Kai of Zuma and Kyubi of The Arts Club, and Yasuhiro Komatsu of Chisou as General Manager. Kouzu sits comfortably in its Belgravia location; occupying a sensitively restored grade II listed building. If you’re not familiar with the area, google maps will send you slightly awry on this one. I confess to spending a good 20 minutes squinting at door numbers, puddle-dodging and stopping dazed commuters to try and get there. It’s an unhappy realisation to know exactly how useless I would be without the augers of my trusted technology. Utterly bereft.

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Marcus

Marcus Wareing Berkeley knightsbridge london restaurant

Marcus Wareing at his very best in more informal settings than previously seen

10/10

Marcus Wareing is notorious for his piercing stare and formidable presence, but he’s been positively beaming of late. It’s no wonder really; 2014 has been very kind. From the relaunch of his restaurant Marcus (previously called Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley) to the hotly awaited opening of his new restaurant Tredwell’s (mixed reviews ranging from punitive condemnation to bilious acclaim) everyone’s been talking about Marcus Wareing. To add to the chatter, Marcus has taken over the lead judge role on Masterchef: The Professionals from Michel Roux Jr, a move which puts him further into the public eye. Roux’s 6 year role in the position has done wonders for his reservations book at Le Gavroche, which is harder to get into than a pair of leather pants on a hot day. I wouldn’t be surprised if Wareing is already feeling the warm buzz of new custom, and good for him too.

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Truc Vert

Truc Vert

A wintery tasting menu that combines the luxe of Mayfair with the ease of a country cafe

7/10

An eight course tasting menu is not necessarily the first thing you would think that a café/deli would serve, but then anything is possible. Our venue tonight is named after a scenic French beach and takes its style cues from the same. Cottony-white table cloths, shelves stacked with gorgeous baked things and tinned things, and rickety furnishings speak of simpler pleasures.

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