Tapas Revolution, Shoreditch

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A confident new tapas restaurant in Shoreditch

8/10

The Bethnal Green Road seems a perfect fit for a misfit, and Omar Allibhoy, cited for his pro-revolutionary culinary mojo, brings a taste of his native Madrid in the form of a slick new tapas bar. The recently opened Tapas Revolution is slightly different from its sister restaurants, in that it is fully stand-alone and finally unchained from the confines of a mall which is where his previous restaurants have been. The food seems more grown up too; a polished version of his classic tapas that are served straight from the open kitchen to the copper long bar, or at more intimate tables on the periphery.

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Intercontinental, London

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British classics at a ‘Royal’ afternoon tea

7/10

The Intercontinental Park Lane is located just below the bottom left corner of Hyde Park, in what was formerly a royal residence. The once regal premises suffered the misfortune of being bombed during the war, after which being slowly rebuilt over the course of the century. Although I can’t say that I’m a fan of the distinctly industrial exterior, the interior is elegantly done and reminiscent of it’s high falutin beginnings. A marble clad reception leads through to The Wellington Lounge where afternoon tea is served, named after the views on to Wellington Arch and further into the park itself.

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One Aldwych

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Charlie and The Chocolate Factory themed afternoon tea

7.5/10

Like a burlesque show, there’s something naughty about an afternoon tea with a theme. ‘What ho!’, some of the purists may exclaim, to the thought of tinkering with such a beloved tradition. Personally, I’m all on board with the concept and therefore in a fine mood all week before this particular afternoon tea. To celebrate the showing of the musical version of Roald Dahl’s classic in London’s West End, One Aldwych have created a ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ themed afternoon tea, which is as utterly marvellous as it sounds.

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The Portman

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A village pub sitting pretty in Marylebone

7/10

The Portman is a handsome pub and restaurant in Marylebone, from the same group behind The Only Running Footman in Mayfair and the soon to be launched Pizzabuzz in the City. The ground floor is home to an unassuming pub whilst the first floor transforms into a smart restaurant. Mustard round-backed chairs and frothy chocolate banquettes fill out the petite proportions of the upstairs restaurant, and the general look is of an upmarket village gastropub, enhanced I’m sure by the gorgeous blue sky peaking in through country windows.

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The Cadogan Arms

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A little reminder to not take everything so seriously

The Cadogan Arms is now closed for a refurb. Hopefully they keep the boar.

I ate at the Cadogan Arms quite a while ago now, so I’ll keep this post short. Consider it a mini post; a post card teaser of the actual event. Everyone knows it’s the pictures that matter anyway ;)

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Intercontinental Hotel, Doha

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Afternoon Tea on the azure blue sea of the Arabian Gulf

Courtesy of an international reviewer for Wrap Your Lips Around This

An array of fountains lead up to the colonnaded lobby of the Intercontinental Doha, West Bay, which is perched upon a raised plateau. The hotel reception juxtaposes modern design with classic Arabian lattice, used to divide larger spaces into quiet nooks. The Tea Lounge is our venue for afternoon tea, with views overlooking the azure blue sea of the Arabian Gulf, landscaped gardens and palm-tree dappled swimming pools. 

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Isaan, Doha

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Thai Brunch in opulent Arabian surroundings

Courtesy of an international reviewer for Wrap Your Lips Around This

Having spent a year living at the Thai resort of Pattaya, and frequented Chatuchak Market in downtown Bangkok on many an occasion, I was seriously titillated by the notion of the Chatuchak Weekend Market buffet Brunch on offer at Isaan, the signature Thai restaurant at The opulent Grand Hyatt, Doha. With a Thai chef de cuisine (Chef Wachira), authenticity was in the offing. So off we went in anticipation of hot & sour soups, sweet and sour salads, kao phad rice dishes, pad Thai noodles, creamy curries and not forgetting crab and prawn fish cakes. Some cracked crab – well that would seal the deal.

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John Doe

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Wild game in Notting Hill that more or less fails to please

5/10

I confess – I’ve been a very bad blogger. I’ve had a month-long lapse of interest in writing up reviews, and instead have been gallivanting around The Middle East and Spain, getting fabulously brown and a little less round. Not eating out as much and as lavishly will do that, and I’ve come to realize how much damage that 3-course-meal-plus-bread-plus-petit-fours-plus-drinks habit can do. Anyway, I’m back in London and out of free-wheeling holiday mode and duty has come a-knocking, and I’m not sure I can stave off writing about my experience at John Doe, as bad as it is.

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The Drift

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Good for a casual weekday lunch

7/10

The Drift has the unmistakable vibe of a Drake and Morgan restaurant, with the same sort of easy feel as its sister restaurants The Folly, The Anthologist, The Parlour and The Refinery. Despite being located in the steel and glass ground floor of the Heron Tower in Liverpool Street, the ambience inside is both charming and whimsical. Quiet alcoves, botanical touches, wood and stone finishes and floral prints make the large space much more personable than you might first imagine, with a food and drinks menu that is very easy on the eyes.

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Smokehouse, Chiswick

Smokehouse, Chiswick, Neil Rankin, BBQ, London

Rankin does Chiswick, at last

7.5/10

I am determined to like Neil Rankin’s latest restaurant before I even arrive. Chiswick is short of restaurants, and I’m a local. I’m unwaveringly happy all day leading up to dinner, and have bored my dining partner half to death with talk of egg-topped apple pies. For a devout Pescatarian he is surprisingly supportive of my decision to clean Smokehouse out of all of its meat and, although he’s utterly the most likeable person, my God is he missing out. The recently deceased are the best things to put into your mouth at Smokehouse, beasts like the rare breed Highland and Dexter cattle, butchered on site. As the sole meat eater I’ve done my prep; I’m wearing my most yielding trousers (oh, alright, leggings) and have had a salad for lunch. 

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Rocca, Doha

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Review for Doha, Qatar – Italian in a plush Arabian Hotel

Courtesy of an international reviewer for Wrap Your Lips Around This

The Grand Hyatt opened in Doha in 2009, securing its place in Qatar’s burgeoning luxury hospitality sector with its grand facade, lustrous marble expanses, monolithic columns and lavish crystal chandeliers. Located on the poolside of Grand Hyatt, Rocca is the charming Italian restaurant that we have kindly been invited to review.

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Goodman, Mayfair

Goodman restaurant, review, mayfair, Maddox street, steak, London, cocktails, foie gras, herring

For battle of best steakhouse in London, Goodman comes a very close second

7.5/10

For battle of the best steakhouse in London, the top two contenders always seem to be Goodman and Hawksmoor. I’ve been to Hawksmoor quite a few times and, as long as you are in a small-ish party, you’ll be in for a good experience. Goodman I’ve been to once before, although not blogged about it on account of how ghastly my pictures turned out to be – the days before my trusty DLSR. To maintain the natural equilibrium of the Universe and to comply with the standards of Sods Law, the general loveliness of my pictures this time round is balanced out with food that is slightly less pleasing than I remember it. The difference is not huge however, and in the perverse psyche of an incurable food-blogger I think I prefer it this way.

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Dysart

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Intuitive fine dining, minus the ponceyness

9/10

You seldom get the things you want unless you specifically ask for them – that’s what I’ve come to realize anyway. There’s no point relying on someone else to read your mind and to figure out what will make you happy; it will only end in disappointment, and why waste time on that? There’s no doubt that coyness and mystery have their uses, but directness and honesty often save a bit of heartache. Even though I’ve found that’s true most of the time,  there are a few instances where you can rely on someone else to take care of your own happiness – as exemplified in The Dysart.

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Murakami

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The time of your life (for now)

7/10

I don’t understand why some people yearn to back at high school, or secondary school, or uni, or whatever. I just don’t get it. I, for one, was broke, bullied and spotty, and remained broke at least until after university. I dated idiots and wore flares, and the height of sophistication was going to a TGIF and ordering the brightest, bluest mocktail. I guess I wasn’t the coolest teenager, but university wasn’t much better – a brain-fuck of a degree lubricated with the cheapest food and drink. As I am clearly missing the particular shade of hindsight that makes the past look so preternaturally rosy, then I must resolve to enjoy the present. A recent visit to Murakami, a kick ass new Japanese restaurant that sets fire to sake-laced cocktails and spins out more sushi than you can wave your chopsticks at, makes me glad to be alive.

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May Fair Kitchen

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Steak and seafood in an immaculate Mayfair Hotel

7.5/10

The May Fair Kitchen opened earlier last year in the May Fair Hotel located in, yes, you guessed it, Mayfair. In keeping with the area, both the hotel and the restaurant are slinky-smooth and the epitome of tasteful elegance. Super-buffed oceans of pristine marble are a joy to swoop across as you glide past the hotel reception and through to the restaurant, or enter the dining room from the street itself, under canary yellow awnings and a pretty excess of flora and foliage.

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64 Degrees

64 degrees restaurant

Honey, you’re familiar,
like my mirror, years ago.

- Hozier

7.5/10

I’ve only just come across Hozier, and I can’t stop listening to him. An ex choir boy from the Wicklow Mountains, his voice is chiselled with an Irish twang that is both soulful and bluesy, which tapers into something blacker for the grittier, more divisive lyrics. His voice is the crook of an elbow which encircles you in a deep, dark place, and it’s been romancing me since last night. I mention this because it’s the soundtrack that I’m writing my review of 64 Degrees to, and they seem to fit together.

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Tentazioni

Tentazioni, Mill Street, Bermondsey, Italian, restaurant review

The day my blog died, and I found a great Italian place

7/10

Earlier this week something happened that made my heart plummet from its usual cavity to somewhere between my kidneys. The alarm sounded and I hastily scrambled for the wretched clanging, finally opening a single eye to locate my phone and silence the banshee from within it. Several furtive fumblings revealed it to be by my knees, the scoundrel, but now that I was awake my usual morning activity could resume: Twitter: tick, Whatsapp: tick, Blog: ……………….. 404 error.

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Rum Kitchen, Wings Day

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Nothing but rum-soaked love for the concept of bottomless wings

7/10

The heart of Notting Hill has always been in its thrumming West Indian community and, at its epicentre, a vibrant culinary tradition of ackee, jerk chicken, curry mutton and gumbo, alongside the infamous annual carnival. As such, the Westbourne Grove and Portobello area of Notting Hill makes for an excellent location for The Rum Kitchen, a feel good Caribbean restaurant serving spiced soul food and tiki-esque cocktails.

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Blacklock

blacklock soho chops, hawksmoor, gordon ker

Fabulous Chops from a trio of Hawksmoor Alumni

8/10

I’ve been getting to know someone recently and we’re in those delicious early stages where conversations last long into the night, and everything is unchartered and unspoiled. Everything except, of course, figuring how to navigate Valentines Day. What’s the right etiquette for saying yes, I like flowers, but don’t feel like you need to get me any just now? You can’t admit to enjoying the tradition this early without sounding like you have Expectations with a Capital E, but I do like Valentine’s Day. I like having someone else organise dinner, I like flowers and flutes of Ruinart Blanc de Blanc. Not that I’ve been thinking about it or anything… In the end however, I got sent a single emoticon of a flower, which I might have dwelt on if it hadn’t been for a fabulous lunch at Blacklock.

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Holborn Dining Room

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Holborn benefits from a comforting ‘Brit’ brasserie 

7/10

Although I am loath to speak about work on a Friday evening, I’d hazard a guess that most of you have just thawed your personalities out of their mid-week hibernation, in anticipation for the weekend. Some of the especially cursed amongst you may have just left the confines of Holborn, where there is an extra special need for the numbing caress of that weekly lobotomy. To make things worse, a few unspeakably awful people have now taken to calling the area ‘Midtown’ which, every time I hear it, makes me want to gouge out my own eyes with the stump of my chewed-up bic. All things considered, the silver lining of having to be in Holborn regularly is the proximity to the new Holborn Dining Room.

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The Park Lane Hotel

The Park Lane Hotel - Palm Court 1

A civilized afternoon tea for a more mature clientele

7/10

Afternoon tea is one of those things that I adore in all and any of its manifestations, from the Bloomsbury-cafe varieties to formal silver service affairs, and everything in between. Asking me to choose my favourite would be quite unholy but if I’m honest, like any parent with a pet child, I do have a preference for the old school hotels. It’s the way in which the waiters’ lean in to you, with one hand tucked behind their backs, and gently twist a cocked champagne bottle in position. It’s the nudge of a loose leaf tea into a china cup, the tactile stiffness of ironed linen and the reassuring weight of the cutlery. If all of that sounds appealing, then you too will probably enjoy experiencing afternoon tea at The Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.

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Chinese Cricket Club

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Celebrating Chinese New Year with Szechuan cooking and dim sum

7/10

My fondness for Chinese New Year is totally unbiased, and has nothing at all to do with the fact my birth year just happens to coincide with Year of the Dragon. In case you haven’t already twigged, Dragon people are pretty fucking cool. Like any upstanding human being, I have the utmost respect for any centuries-old tradition, whether or not it happens to confirm my own beliefs in an incontrovertible way. Like I said, totally unbiased. With the next Chinese New Year just round the corner (19th Feb to be exact), an invitation to The Chinese Cricket Club seems an opportune time to to get intimate with tongue-numbing Szechuan cuisine.

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Medlar

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A lack of stars does not mean an absence of good food

6.5/10

Occupying the less salubrious end of Kings Road, Medlar has recently had the misfortune of suffering a rather public ‘demotion’ with the loss of its Michelin star. An online perusal reveals Medlar to have an ardent and loyal following of critics and commoners alike, many of whom were quick to spring to its defence. It has since been floating around my conscience, and the time has finally come to pay a visit.

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Rex & Mariano

Rex and Mariano

Quality seafood that won’t cost you your first born

7/10

Rex and Mariano is the newest seafood restaurant from the guys behind Goodman, Burger and Lobster and Beast. The aim of their new venture seems to be to make seafood more affordable and accessible to Londoners. By all accounts, it’s working.

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Hibiscus

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Let’s hope I don’t get called a C**t.

7/10

Claude Bosi has made quite a name for himself over the past few years. In Paris he worked for Michel Rostang, Alain Passard and Alain Ducasse before moving to Ludlow, Shropshire, where in 2000 he opened up his restaurant Hibiscus. He soon gained two Michelin stars before moving Hibiscus to Mayfair, and then quickly regained those stars. With such a prestigious culinary journey it seems a shame to think that Claude Bosi is also remembered for his particularly unsavoury reaction to a blogger who wrote a review which was, to put it mildly, not entirely to the chefs liking. Said blogger got a pretty rough ride on Twitter from a lot of chefs who resorted to a spot of rather nasty bullying.

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La Porte Des Indes

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Impossibly pricey Indian with a penchant for colonialism

6/10

The first thing you’ll notice about La Porte Des Indes is how inconceivably big it is – humongous really. The vast interior of this Indian restaurant spans over two floors of a former Edwardian ballroom and has a sizeable menu to match. There are culinary nods to the French-Indian town of Pondicherry with things like Poulet Rouge and Cassoulet de Fruits de Mer, as well as pages and pages of other regional dishes.

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