Becky B’s Blog

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Restaurants I want to visit

Corner Room
Dinner
Hawksmoor
Hibiscus
J Sheekey
Les Deux Salons
Pollen Street Social
Spuntino
St John
Meat Liquor
Mishkins

SeeSaw does food

SeeSaw has a food theme going on this week, go on make me a happy bunny…

http://www.seesaw.com/Food-Glorious-Food

Wodka

12 St.Albans Grove
London W8 5PN
020 7937 6513

Oooh polish food my inner Dora said to herself. Having worked nearby in the past and had this place recommended to me more times than I could remember I was excited to be finally trying it.

I foolishly didn’t order a starter and regretted once I saw some of the other Yelpers order dishes such as Pierogi and Steak Tartar. I managed to sample both and was really glad I did as they were exemplary.

I made another mistake in ordering the Spiced Beef and Sausage Goulash with Dumplings. It’s not that there was anything at all wrong with the dish, tender beef, tasty sauce, I just had food envy, for which only I was to blame.

This is definitely on my list of places to revisit and soon…

HK Diner

22 Wardour St
London W1D 6QQ
020 7434 9544

I’m not going to write some gushing review here. The case for the HK Diner is a simple one, good Chinese cafe food at reasonable prices and open all hours. Service is always minimal and can be plain or quite sweet depending on the card you’ve been dealt.

My personal favourite (as per the quick tip) is the Salt & Pepper Squid. It’s crunchy, a little spicy and very yummy. At worst it’s a bit like your local takeaway and best Maxim’s in HK, though it’s always decent which is rare any time after 11pm.

Go, gorge yourself on cheap plentiful food and walk out only marginally lighter in the wallet.

Dri Dri

189 Portobello Rd
London W11 2ED

Soo I had read good things and it’s distance from my house makes it almost in the garden so I felt obliged to test it out.

I’m really glad I did. I had a large cup (large but not insanely so) with Bacio and Hazelnut, what can I say I love nutty ice cream.

The Bacio was amazing, the clumps of nut throughout really took it from a good Gelato to heaven, and this is comparing to the Gelateria’s of Italy rather than London. And the Hazelnut was really yummy, but couldn’t compare to the Bacio and I wished I had only that.

The only reason it gets 4 stars is the price, I know this is Notting Hill and that they are next to the Electric but a “large” cup for £4.95 is a bit extreme even for me. This said I’m sure I’ll go back, just make sure it’s when I’m in treat mode…

Vapiano

19-21 Great Portland Street
London W1W 8QB

I had a really awful experience here last week and have been telling everyone who’ll listen. I was persuaded by a German friend who prescribed it was the best thing since sliced bread, well in Germany at least. We went in about 6:30 on a Wednesday evening, it was buzzy and bright.

I headed straight for one of the many banks of people waiting for pasta. I chose my pasta after a minute or two and 10 minutes later I was still waiting to have my order taken. Another 5 minutes more went by and I finally got to order my Fig & Spicy Sausage Pasta. Another few minutes a swipe of my card and I had a tray and a big bowl of pasta.

By the time I had arrived at the table my companion had about a third of a cold pizza left and a lonely look on her face. I sat down and was glad too see she had been prepared enough to buy drinks for us both, as I certainly wasn’t going to venture back out.

So to the reason people come here ‘apparently’. My Fig & Spicy Sausage Pasta had plenty of fresh fig, which pleased me, but last time I checked there was a difference between Italian Spicy Sausage and peperoni. This is the kind of school boy error that Pizza Hut would make and I wouldn’t expect of a place that charges nearly £9 for a bowl of pasta, accompanied by the privilege of queuing 20 minutes. It doesn’t help there are a few perfectly fine Italian chains a block away.

I decided to order a salad and park my pasta, and stupidly didn’t check the prices beforehand. I really shouldn’t have been surprised that the mozzarella and tomato salad was about £5.

A large bottle of water later and a bill for over £18, I wasn’t a happy bunny…

Koya

49 Frith Street
London W1D 4SG
020 7434 4463

I absolutely love this place.

It’s so very Japanese in it’s simplicity and execution. They do one thing very well, which is udon.

We went wild on the Small Plates, there’s something about tasting a variety of dishes that makes a meal all the more enjoyable. The umeboshi plums are yummy salty goodness, clean the pallate and remind me of a childhood delight. I love Tofu in most of it’s guises and the Kizami is no exception, really tasty. We also had the Kakuni roast pork belly which was beautiful though unexpectedly cold.

I really enjoyed my Yasai Ten Hiya Atsu, with really great fresh Udon and crispy Veg Tempura. The veg selection was what one would expect but yummy despite it’s unchallenging range. I resisted adding an egg though it’s something I’ll definitely try next, how can you go wrong with a hot spring (Onsen) egg.

Service is sweet and unassuming, if a little hurried. The bill was about £20 each with more food than we needed and one alcoholic drink each. It would have been cheaper were we to have been more restrained with our small plates, but restraint is not one of my strong points.

I’d definitely recommend this place to anyone even those who aren’t fans of Udon.

9/10 – Must Visit

Update: I still love this place, and a few more visits in I won’t review again but would simply recommend the pickled tomatoes. Amazing…

Hix/Mark’s Bar Soho

66-70 Brewer St
London W1F 9TR

I’ve only so far experienced the downstairs bar “Mark’s Bar”, has the feeling of a members club. The drinks menu had some of the most unusual cocktails I’d seen in a while and mine was a really tasty concoction which I struggle to explain.

Definitely worth a visit if you want a drink in civilised and quirky surrounds without the usual crush of Soho…

Hix on Urbanspoon

Polpo

41 Beak Street
London, W1F 9SB
020 7734 4479
http://www.polpo.co.uk

Only working a block away, I had high hopes from the moment this place opened its doors. We strolled in yesterday at about 1pm without a reservation and were offered a seat at the bar.

The menu was appetising, and we ordered quickly as we didn’t have long. Our drinks arrived straight away and our first order (Polenta topped with Salt Cod) came within 5 minutes. The creamed cod was really tasty but unfortunately the Polenta really let the side down being cold, damp and sweet. I suspect it would have been lovely had the polenta been crispy and hot. Also it was only one rather small piece.

Our Tapenade & Tomato Pizette arrived another 5 minutes later, hot crispy and tasty. It was nice but nothing to scream about.

We were already halfway through our beers at this point when the food simply stopped coming. We’d probably had 50g of food each and both looked around confused and food kept arriving but nowhere nearby enough to eat.

30+ minutes later we had chased and cajoled and though the staff seemed to be looking into it and promising us of food shortly to arrive nothing did. They were all very sweet and obliging but this didn’t seem to help expedite our food.

So after almost an hour we’d had a beer each and 75g of food and we cancelled our order to go to the sandwich bar next door. They initially intended to charge for our two tiny pieces of food and beers, though whilst we were in the midst of paying, the manager came over and apologised for the wait and said there would be no need to pay. This was definitely a saving grace on their part, had they not said that the tone of this review would have been much harsher and I would have definitely not returned.

All this said; the sweet staff, tasty food (what we received), & nice ambience will make me go back again. I’d really like to experience what all those food reviewers loved so much; surely Giles Coren can’t be wrong…

3/10 : Definitely some overdue homework
Polpo on Urbanspoon

Tierra Brindisa

46 Broadwick Street
London, W1F 7AF
020 7534 1690

Having walked past this place a million and one times I had hopes of Tierra Brindisa. I’d read enough reviews by others to know that the back half with the bar was the best place to eat. And my forerunners were right; the airy second half of the room was a pleasurable light environment.

We’d had no plans to dine out and as such hadn’t thought of reservations, luckily it was relatively early and we were found a table for 3.
The waitress who greeted us at the door was charming and accommodating, this trend continued throughout our meal. They smiled at our poor jokes, frequently cleared the tables and re-filled our glasses.

To the dismay/confusion of my fellow diners I had already decided that choosing a wine would be easy. My theory that a good mid range European restaurant should have a quaffable fruity red under £20, perfect with tapas was met with a great house red (Tempranillo) at £16.50 (?).

We opted for the staples of toast with tomato (what I’ve always known as Pan Tomaquet), and Potatoes with Aioli (not dissimilar to Patatas Bravas) for some starch to absorb the worryingly drinkable wine. They were both tasty well executed versions of their Spanish counterparts. We mulled over the cheeseboard, and having seen a few passed decided that it was quite possibly too much cheese for this occasion. Though having missed out, will mean that I’ll inevitably have to go back.

We opted for the deep fried goats cheese with honey and beetroot to ensure dairy received a mention. It was a beautiful combination of sweet/tart and creamy/crisp, and should rightfully spawn many a dinner party interpretation. We attempted to order the scallops from the specials, but were dutifully unformed that they had run out(read: some greedy person in front of us had eaten them all).

All up we’d spent about £30’s each had 2/3rd’s of a bottle of wine and more food than you need in a day. Lovely service and great atmosphere, all in all a winning combination…

9/10

Posted with LifeCast

Tierra Brindisa on Urbanspoon