River Café

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We have had a time long desire to come to River Cafe, which is based in Hammersmith by the river (hence the name) and was owned and run by chef Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray (until her death in 2010). River Café specializes in beautifully traditional Italian cuisine.

It is located by the river it is a long walk from the station through housing estates – which is rather bizarre setting for this Michelin stared restaurant.  As we entered the relaxed reception we were warmly welcomed by the receptionist who allocated us a waiter who sat us down. Now I have to say this booking was for my birthday and to add to this that I have been looking forward to coming to this restaurant for years; so when we were seated on the thoroughfare to the kitchen I was a little put out. I asked to be moved as we were constantly being knocked by hurried staff as we were situated right on the aisle to the kitchen and bar, we came early in the evening so the place was half empty  – there was no excuse. However when I explained we were seated by the window – which was much better.

Our waiter was a larger than life Londoner and he rolled off the list of specials. After ordering an aperitif we looked at the extensive menu. I have to say everything looked so good I was really torn (even though I usual hate when people waiver usually over choices). In the end we ordered the chargrilled squid with fresh red chilli & rocket and the buffalo mozzarella with marinated in crème fraiche & marjoram. The food looked almost as good as it tasted; rustic, full of flavour and most importantly simple. We devoured the dishes very quickly.

For main course we both ordered the steak fillet with seasonal greens. I ordered mine medium rare and my fellow diner went for medium to well done. Now this is the meal I would order on my last day on earth – juicy bloody slices of the best quality steak with al dente greens that were well seasoned. Unfortunately my fellow diner cannot stand bloody steak so she could only eat the outside of the steak. I say unfortunately but I got to eat the rest of her steak. Happy Birthday me!

Service throughout was fun, friendly yet sublimely professional so we could forgive the seating issue earlier. As we walked out the restaurant was full to bursting point. We saw Ruth Rogers in the kitchen finalizing dishes – how incredible. Needless to say we left on a high (me more so than my fussy friend) and as a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls would give this place:

Food                             Service                          Atmosphere

5 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

rivercafe

Adonis‏

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This club/strip joint/theatre is based in Old Street. We had bought tickets for a birthday and drinks and buffet were included into the ‘entertainment’. Needless to say I ate before I went out  – a strip club and buffet really?

There was a huge queue of hen do’s and birthday girls but we managed to get to the front of the queue pretty quickly. We had a cheesy photo taken and managed to get a seat for the entertainment. Now the buffet was worse than expected – a huge queue, with very rough women looking for an argument and luke warm food. Food options included Iceland’s sausage rolls, Lidel cocktail sausages and breaded chicken fillets.

Entertainment was fun and slightly weird –  I loved. Drinks were cheap and atmosphere cheerful. I am less naïve after the shows, put it that way…

As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

             Food                             Atmosphere                 Entertainment

 Star3 Stars2 Stars

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Jones Family Project

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We went to Jones Family Project for a team get together’ as it was close to the office and hell it sounded trendy. Note to self: never judge a restaurant by its name like you never judge a book by its cover. No I am being harsh; this place is nicely snuggled in between Shoreditch and Old Street. The restaurant has a ground floor and basement. The ground floor seemed to be more casual, better suited for coffees, drinks and nibbles and the basement was designed for the diners – as far as I could see anyway.

We came here for lunch and were taken downstairs into a huge dining room that has slightly different themes in each section of the room. Some areas seemed post modern others organic and we were seated on green velvet benches at the end of the restaurant. It was different but not unpleasant.

We were seated by a friendly waitress who asked for our drink orders. They have a great cocktail and wine list and the food selection is not half bad either. They have a nice selection of charcuterie board, steak tartare and the famous Burrata cheese on Bruschetta. We had a bit of a wait for our starters to come out but it allowed our group to catch up. When the starters did come out we were satisfied with the quality and taste on the whole. The charcuterie platter was traditional yet varied in types of sliced meat, the tartare lacked spice but was good in texture and size and the Burrata went well with the rich roasted tomatoes and tart capers.

Now the cracks started to appear, we had ordered the burger, the fish of the day and the fillet steak and although it was not a busy service we were left waiting for over 45 minutes after we had finished our starters. It took a good 20 minutes to flag the waitress down to let her know we were finished. The issue is the dining room is so spread out with areas in different nooks and crannies that what is needed is a waiter per area. I guess as it was a quiet day they decided to have a reduced number of staff for the whole dining area, who seemingly ignored us. This really did sour our enjoyment of the place and although our main courses were cooked well the service just ruined our enjoyment. Again when the plates were cleared we asked for coffees and the bill and again the wait continued. Half the team had to leave while the others stayed as we had not expected our lunch to run on this long – it was not even heavily boozy.

I am afraid to say the service really needed a good shake up, which is a shame for a trendy place with great drinks and food menu. Maybe a dinner service would be better as there may be more staff on. Please do let us know if you ever had a different experience at Family Jones project dear readers.

As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

           Food                              Service                    Atmosphere

3 Stars Star3 Stars

jones

Riverton Grill

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We have fancied The Rivington Grill for a long time – not only as it’s in our favourite area of Shoreditch but it has a reputation for its good meat – not unlike the fantastic Tramshed opposite.

We came here for lunch as it was close to the office and we fancied a change. We walked into the old building which has high ceilings and large heavy sliding wooden doors and were welcomed by a cheerful waiter who seated us. The restaurant was not busy but had a good vibe; tables are spread out sparsely which is a refreshing change allowing diners to eat in peace without hearing other diners drivel.

We ordered the watercress soup with duck egg and the rabbit terrine for starter which was expertly recommended by the waiter. There was a little wait but once out we certainly weren’t disappointed! The terrine was served with crispy bread and was firm yet spreadable and had a strong game flavour. The watercress soup was tasty – bitter yet creamy with the large duck egg adding richness to the soup.

For main course I went for a vegetarian option (unusually for me) which was mushroom sausages with onion salad. Now I have to say it was well presented and well cooked however – and it’s an unfortunate however – I am really not a big cheese fan – and the sausages were full of stringy cheese. I just found it difficult to stomach. The sausages were covered in slight breadcrumbs and as I said were lovely – if you like cheese.

My fellow diner had the whole roasted sea bass. Now I need to tell you that they were from overseas and clearly had never ate a fish on the bone. They managed to literally cut through the whole spin and not take the meat off the bone. They were then surprised to find that they had a load of bones in their mouth. Completely awkward for me as I then had to try and keep a polite conversation going while they were picking bones out of their mouth! I did end up filleting the meat for them as it was so painful. Sorry I digress despite this, the fish was well cooked – slightly over done for my liking but only slightly and was served with capers and tomatoes.

Service was friendly yet extremely professional, the atmosphere relaxed yet formal and food was lovingly put together. I still do think there meat dishes are particularly strong.

As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

           Food                                Service                         Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Parparellu

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We went to a Maltese Café in Hammersmith with our Maltese friend (a shocker I know). This small cafe served classic Maltese dishes that were traditionally and quite hearty. Service is amazing – the Maltese are very friendly.

They have a small and perfecting crowd of diners. We looked through the breakfast/bruch menu as well as the specials board – which looked fabulous. I decided on the mushroom omelette while my Maltese friends ordered the Pastizzi which is a mushy pea/ricotta tart and the Qassatat which is tuna, spinach & anchovy savoury pastry.

The omelette was light but did have a lot of cheese in it which I didn’t expect (or want), the tuna pastry was delicious, very well spiced and full of flavour. The pea and ricotta triangle was nice but a little too heavy for lunch.

On an aside, I went to the toilet and managed to get locked in. Apparently this is normal – really? If I were the owners I would sort out. Rather annoying – and affected my thoughts of place (although bloke did talk me through how to escape). Very awkward!

Maltese food is heavy but luxurious, we really loved. Service is incredibly polite. The atmosphere is simple (cafe like) but the home made, authentic food coupled with the personal service makes us think twice.

           Food                              Service                       Atmosphere

3 Stars3 Stars Star

 

maleste1

FishWorks

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 This was our first time at FishWorks in Marylebone although we have been a number of times to the one in Regent Street. We have nearly always enjoyed coming here (only once were we disappointed with the service). FishWorks Marylebone is located on the quaint high street. We entered the long rectangular room which was slightly separated by the kitchen entrance. We were seated by the window, near the plush bar. We ordered an aperitif of sparkling and a bottle of wine to go with the food. The waiter was professional and suggested the best wine for our taste buds.

There were a couple of dishes on the specials board that we fancied but in the end we went for the squid with gremolata & chilli and the Pimms cured salmon for starter. These came out swiftly and were well presented. The squid was well cooked and had a slight kick from the chilli. The Pimms salmon was fresh and tasty (I have to say I was not 100% convinced when I saw it on the menu but it was done very well and not as sweet as you would imagine).

Our dishes were taken away swiftly; I loved the fact that the waiter was there whenever we needed him but not constantly swarming around us – nothing worse! And out came our mains. Our dishes of yellowfin tuna with rocket & mirin dressing and the monkfish with rosemary and garlic. Both dishes were cooked well and were tasty. You do really need to order a side with the tuna as the rocket is not enough of a side to be satisfying.

Our waiter ensured that our drinks were constantly topped up and that we were not waiting too long when we had finished our meals. We like the fact that the fish on the menu is extremely fresh and that the dishes were simple yet well thought out. Service was good this time and atmosphere is quite simple but lets the food speak for itself. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

              Food                             Service                         Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars3 Stars

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Brasserie Zedel

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We love the cocktail bar which is part of the restaurant and fabulous cabaret and have been there often (to often to admit), so we thought it only appropriate to visit the 1920’s inspired restaurant Brassiere Zedel which is very Parisian chic.

The restaurant is huge and grand with gold edgings on the overriding white restaurant. Service is spot on. Very professionally friendly and less brisk than some ‘try hard’ Parisian brassieres. We ordered the grilled hanger steak with shallot sauce and the pan fried chopped steak with a pepper sauce.

We were served warmed bread and lots of water (I was on a detox at the time – very dull) and served the steak in good time. Our steaks were slightly over cooked but it was busy – no excuse but still. We ordered steamed spinach which lacked seasoning but was well cooked and the shallot and pepper sauce were delicious.

We loved the décor, the service and food menu however the dishes themselves lacked some flavour. We would definitely recommend as a get away from the hustle and bustle of Piccadilly Circus.

Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls would certainly visit again but would not compare to cocktail bar which gives higher expectations. As a result we give this place:

           Food                                 Service                      Atmosphere
3 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Clock Jack‏ Rotisserie

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Regular readers will know that we love a good rotisserie restaurant. This new restaurant is based in Piccadilly and surprisingly is only frequented by locals – maybe as it is unassuming frontage. The restaurant is small and very low key with striking red and cream walls with cartoon scribbles of chickens.

We were seated on a wooden bench type table and ordered glasses of sparkling. The waiter was not confident and the orders were taken a little rushed – which led to a couple of confusions with our dishes.

We ordered baked bread and the chicken and chorizo skewers. These came out quickly and were piping hot. The chicken – although slightly over cooked – was marinated in the chorizo juice therefore was fairly tender. The chorizo was spicy with a nice heat to it.

For main course, we ordered two quarter chickens and the roasted vegetables. The chicken was juicy, well cooked and generous however half of the Mediterranean vegetables were cold and some warm. We complained about this but were told that it was normal. So why were some of the vegetables luke warm?

The chicken was served with a cup of the jus which lightens the heavy protein packed dish. As stated the service is nervous yet efficient, food is tasty and well priced and the atmosphere is casual and relaxed. As a result; Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

             Food                             Service                     Atmosphere
3 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Le Coq

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Grown-up Chicken Rotisserie is here in London officially and it is far from the idea of Nando’s. Le Coq is beautiful little place is based in Angel Islington and gives you the option of two starters, one main and two deserts. Unsurprisingly the main course is otisserie chicken but the starters, sides and desserts change bi-weekly and are all seasonal. Fabulous!

The décor is very plain with white tiles on the walls and crisp wooden furniture, which reflects the simple menu. The kitchen to the side shows off the rotisserie fire. The service has the feel of a start up  – friendly, simple and passionate about their dishes.

For starter we chose the Swiss raclette with figs and gurkens as well as the duck hearts – you have to be adventurous right? Well okay I admit the hearts looked like little human hearts, which was slightly off putting and tasted of liver – not my favourite – but were  lovingly paired with balsamic  vinegar and roasted onions. The raclette was salty, savoury and oaky – absolutely delicious. The dishes are ideal for sharing being simple and hearty.

The chicken came out with de-boned breast (win!) legs and thighs. Again this was plated to share and allowed those to choose the part of the chicken they most prefer (I am a breast girl if you want to know). This was served with a light green salad and a really tangy hollandaise sauce. Perfection.

For dessert they usually offer ice cream/sorbet or a tart- again changes bi-weekly. I ordered the lemon sorbet and my fellow dinner ordered the lemon tart. The tart was rich and creamy and the sorbet was light.

We love this place, the staff are down to earth and pleasant, the food is simple but top notch and the atmosphere is casual and trendy. Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

            Food                       Atmosphere                     Service

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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The Oyster Shed‏

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The Oyster Shed is part of the Gernoimo restaurant pub chain that has recently set up residence in London. These pubs focus on good quality, English food at a good price. The Oyster Shed is located near Cannon Street on the Thames – directly opposite the Mayor of London’s offices. They serve a wide selection of hot and cold dishes and have a good selection of beer and wine.

This place gets very busy at lunch and after work especially in the summer as the terrace area is perfect for sun lovers. The restaurant is spacious with a second floor balcony with additional seating at the top. This place lacks any real personality but is modern, clean and has a fantastic location.  We booked a table in the main restaurant and checked out the extensive list. We ordered oysters to start with (rude not to in a place named after these delicious treats) which came out on a bed of ice. The dressing was tart with a little spice working well with the creamy meat.

For main course we ordered the grilled halloumi sandwich, the flat iron steak and the salmon filled with red pepper and samphire. Once we had finally got the attention of the waitresses – who was rushing around due to the busy service – the food came out quickly. The halloumi sandwich came out first and we were all shocked at the size of it –  it was delicious. The flat iron was cooked medium – juicy and well seasoned. The chips that came with it mopped up any of the runaway juices. My salmon was light pink in the middle; just cooked, and worked well with the sweet red peppers and salty samphire. We were satisfied with our dishes but it did take a long time to get the attention of the waitress again. Unfortunately they do not seem to have waiters for dedicated sections so service is a little messy – although polite.

We would certainly recommend this place for a casual lunch or dinner on a warm summer day. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

              Food                              Service                   Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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