Harry’s Pizzeria Bar

Harry’s Pizzeria Bar in Blackfriars is a lovely little Pizzeria in the heart of the city. Open in the weekdays for hungry commuters. Its a great spot where locals will head if they fancy a carb heavy lunch or dinner. Very traditional and the staff are lovely too.

The pizzas are all delicious, with plenty of topping and rich cheese. We love.

Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

4 Stars

Ethos

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I have never been, nor do I ever want to be, a vegetarian or vegan. But saying that I love my veggies and am not adverse to a non-meat meal every so often. My vegan friend came over and so we decided to go to Ethos, based at the back of Oxford Circus. Serving vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free dishes this was the perfect place for her (vegan) and me (trying to eat healthy).

The place is quiet at a weekend which is a lovely little escape from the crowds just two streets parallel. The restaurant is fresh and open. With white walls and trees seemingly growing through the roofs. Even walking through the doors you feel detoxified (which was great as I had a boozy one the night before). There was three tables jam packed of healthy hot and cold dishes including Mediterranean couscous, broccoli and artichoke salad, hummus and baked cauliflower. You help yourself and pay based on weight – rather a risky thing to do as I usually load up on the heavier stuff like sweet potato and vegetables.

The food was so satisfying you wouldn’t notice the lack of meat unless it was pointed out to you. This place is perfect, for a quick lunch to take out or healthy dinner option when you want to treat your body as a temple or just get away from the crowds.

                 Food                                            Service                                     Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

Hubbard and Bell – Hoxton Hotel Holborn

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Hubbard and Bell is the sister restaurant of The Hoxton Grill in the Hoxton Hotel…well Hoxton. It is small restaurant area just off the bar and café/working space – in typical Hoxton Hotel style. This place is full of media types and is stylish but laid back. We came here for Sunday lunch one day as we heard it did a killer roast.

We were seated on a rather awkward table half way between the working area and restaurant – presumably because they had ran out of table space although we had booked a few days ahead.  We were seated but then the waiter seemed to disappear so we couldn’t order drinks or weren’t full aware of the concept. Finally after a good long wait we managed to waive down waiter who explained each table held dishes for a different course and it was help yourself.

On one counter there are a vast number of dishes that are for starter, including salads, smoked salmon and roast meats. I love this healthy help yourself options.  The next counter/bar area had a number of roast meats with a chef who carved your choice and you could help yourself to vegetables and sauces. I also added a few salads from the starter counter as I wanted to keep it as healthy as possible. The final counter, on the other side of the room, had the desserts which included mini cheesecakes, sponges, mixed fruit, mousses and biscuits. I nibbled on fruit but was too full. There was three of us and one of the group preferred al a carte options which was provided as an alternative to the Sunday roast version. He had a burger with fried and remarked that it was tasty – I think he had food envy to be honest.

We had another wait for more drinks and the bill, which was rather frustrating. I like the food, the relaxed vibe and the price was decent. The only low point was the lack service, this really could be more efficient and attentive.

Food                                          Service                               Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars

Crab Tavern

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We had  seen an unlimited brunch offer here and love crab so thought ‘why not’. Crab Tavern is located in Broadgate Circle at the back of Liverpool Street station. This place is packed after work with city types but weekends it is like a ghost town. We arrived around 2pm on a Saturday and the restaurant and bar was empty bar father and daughter couple the other side of the expansive restaurant.

This place has a Hawaiian / beach theme with bamboo style tables and bar and some cheesy crab cartoon son the wall. But it is not too OTT. We had the choice of the restaurant so choose to sit near the windows as it is quite dark with windows only on one side. We were welcomed by a friendly East European waiter who told us that we had a seafood platter, choice of main course and dessert as well of course unlimited cocktails including in the deal.

We ordered a bellini to start with and waited for the platter, this came out quickly and was pretty impressive. Included was a mix of shrimp, calamari, soft shell crab, pork ribs and lots of dips. This was clearly fresh and to be honest this filled me up even before we started on the main course. The waiter was pretty perceptive and asked if we wanted a break before we had the main course, we willingly agreed and ordered another cocktail, I think it was a mojito.

Main course arrived after said break. My main was a surf and turf salad, which included rare steak and king prawns. It was delicious, they didn’t skimp on protein and was cooked to perfection. My fellow dinner had a burger (her usual) and she said this was delicious too – well we managed to finish it all despite already being full! Another bellini down and we were on pina coladas (which I’d normally avoid like the plague but the Hawaiian décor must have rubbed off).

For dessert I just asked for ice cream and strawberries (off menu) as I was so full whereas my friend was much more courageous and went for a chocolate sundae. We were impressed with the generosity, food quality and service – especially for the deal we went for. We recommend. N.B we didn’t eat (or drink) for days after…

            Food                                   Service                         Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Babaji

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We noticed this new Turkish restaurant in the summer and made a mental note to try it in the near future. I am a big fan of Turkish grills but this place focused more on the small meze plates and is famous for pide (fa flatbread filled with vegetables and/or meat) – obviously they do served grill meat but it is more as an accompaniment. Babaji is located on the corner of Wardour street and although is small they usually find you a spot – the later in the day it is the harder it is to get a seat.

We were seated on a comfy bench with royal blue upholstery. The blue and gold décor is simple and understated which suits this small little place. We ordered a lots of small sides including: baked eggs, kiymali pide  (lamb, tomatoes and peppers), humus, oven baked halloumi, the obligatory olives and a tomato & walnut salad. The food came out a different intervals but in a sensible order – so we could mop the runny eggs with the bread and nibble on the olives while we waited for the warm food.  The pide is cooked up front next to the bar which is nice. We washed it down with Turkish wine and ouzo.

This place is perfect for a quick, tasty lunch that doesn’t hurt the wallet – its particularly located in the heart of the theatre district if you fancy a nibble before or after a show.

          Food                          Service                   Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

The Botanist

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Located on the corner of Sloane Square, The Botanist is a place to be seen. This place is very Chelsea. I’ve heard – and seen – this place does a great afternoon tea but we came here for a relaxed lunch one Sunday afternoon. This place is at its best in warm climes with open windows and terrace seating on the street. The décor is 1920’s elegance with extravagant chandeliers and a pale green and creamy gold colour scheme. The tiled floor is black and white leading from the contemporary bar to a large open dining room which screams the Scott Fitzgerald.

The menu is modern British / European, serving the likes of waldorf salads, contemporary burgers and lemon sole. We ordered the dressed crab with melba toast and sirloin steak. The waiters first language wasn’t English and we had to repeat our order a couple of times hoping that we had made the point by pointing at the menu– it did! We were served quickly with our crab starter, which was fresh and simply presented. Perfect. The steak came out on a wooden platter board and the peppercorn sauce came out in a little copper pan – which I have to admit I am terribly fond of – with thick chips and a side of roasted vegetables.

There was a long wait for our dishes to be taken away and the bill to arrive but we weren’t necessarily in a rush. The food is lovely yet not remarkable and is quite pricey (it is Chelsea to be fair), and the service could do with being a little more efficient. I wouldn’t come back in a rush although I do think this place would be prefect for afternoon tea in Spring/Summer time so I might be back sooner rather than later!

                   Food                      Service                           Atmosphere

3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

Dirty Bones – Kingly Court

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This visit was my first to Dirty Bones, and hopefully not my last. We had decided to go for a boozy lunch and choose Dirty Bones, located in Kingly Court, Soho. They offer a two hour unlimited brunch on the weekends which includes – not surprisingly – unlimited prosecco or bloody Mary and a brunch dish of your choice. The place is small and ram-packed – definitely worth booking a table, although they do allow for walk-ins.

The place has a very hipster vibe, with bare wood walls, industrial lamps and tattooed waiters/waitresses. We were cheerfully seated and poured a glass of the bubbly stuff before we had even took out coats off – a great start – they were incredibly generous with the alcohol throughout our meal and ensured that we were topped up to the last 30 seconds of our allotted seating time – literally.  I like a place that is not stingy with their drink if they are advertising an unlimited offering.

For main course we both ordered the baked skillet, which was basically two baked eggs in tomato sauce with avocado; cheese; and bread. The eggs were running and the tomato sauce divine – spicy and really rustic. The food took a while to come out which was ideal as we had a two hour sitting and we intended to make the most of it. The service was incredibly friendly, generous and food was just what we wanted to soak up a boozy lunch.

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

The Phene

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Being an East end girl, I rarely go to West London for lunch or dinner, and realising I am missing a trick we decided to take a Boris bike over to fashionable Chelsea. As winter was drawing in we felt like going to a cosy gastro pub and The Phene sounded like the perfect place.

Located in SW3, the building dates back to 1853. With a cosy yet modern décor this place is perfect for a Sunday lunch or casual catch up with friends after work. The Phene is separated into three; a bar area for drinks and nibbles, the restaurant area for dining only and an outside terrace area with heaters – we went for the warmer climes of the restaurant itself.

We were slightly early for the next sitting but the waiters were great and managed to find us a seat in the dining area as the bar was rather crowded. While waiting for the kitchen to open we immersed ourselves into the wine and cocktail menu which was extensive. We started with a cocktail – raspberry, coconut and basil smash – and ordered a few nibbles to keep us going. This is just the place that you can while away a whole afternoon lazily eating and drinking with good friends.

For food we decided on the beef carpaccio and crab salad as starter, followed by a burger and roast chicken with croquette and tabbouleh. The menu changes regularly, with the seasons, the availability, and whim of the chef. The food portions were generous and perfectly cooked. With the wine and the food we were stuffed – happy but stuffed.

This is the perfect place to go to for a casual lunch or celebratory get together with friends. It was certainly worth the trip West and has made me more determined to make more of an effort in the future.

               Food                          Service                       Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

Ronnie Scott’s

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Ronnie Scott’s is an institute in its own right opening in 1959 and being pilgrimage for jazz lovers globally as well as those who want to be seen. If you have never been, you must. Even if you’re not a  jazz fan the atmosphere is superb. You are taken back a to a time when music was the core of the Soho scene and it’s pretty cool. Standing and seated tickets are on offer and prices depend on the time you go, the band, and the day.

We went to see Soil and Pimp sessions who had come all the way from Tokyo to gig at the legendary den. The stage is in the centre of the room and those just coming for drinks sit and stand at the front of the stag. The diners are seated to the side which is tiered so everyone can see. The seats are really more like sofas upholstered and sits up to four people. The wall is red and full of famous faces from time gone by. The diners are seated to the side with those just coming for drinks at the front. As the night goes on the atmosphere gets more and more lively and there is a buzz to the whole place.

Now on to what you really want to know – and reason you are reading this post I assume – the food. Now I wouldn’t say you would come here just for the food. It is good, don’t get me wrong, but food is not the purpose of coming here and the chefs know that. As long as the food fills the belly of those drinking heavily or staying out for a long evening, that is all that counts. We ordered a burger and steak with chips. It took a while to give our orders and the food to come out but the waiters have to take food and drink orders from a lively crowd and serve as they go through the night. It is also quite dark so must be hard to see! The burger was tasty and came with chips that were hot and not too greasy. My steak came with vegetables and a peppercorn sauce. The steak a little overcooked for my liking and a little too fatty but was nice on the whole. The wine an cocktail menu outshines the food menu to be fair and as long as you know this you will have a blinder of a night.

Bo Drake

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We’ve heard of this trendy Soho restaurant that is located conveniently on Dean Street. When walking in, you feel more like you are in a Hoxton hipster hangout than a Soho Street surrounded by old institutions such as L’Escargot, Gay Hussar and Ronnie Scotts. Bo Drake’s is an East Asian restaurant with combines US style smoking. The people behind this restaurant are ex-Roka – well I couldn’t resist for one.

The décor is super modern with Scandic wood tables and trendy warehouse style chairs. There is also a nice bar areas for food too. We arrived early and so were seated in prime location next to the window. There is nothing I like more than watching people in Soho on a winter night when you are cosy in the warm. The eclectic bunch of people coming and going is incredible.

To start I ordered crispy squid and my fellow diner order the beef sliders, they both came out fairly quickly and looked an Instagram dream (sorry all I forgot to take photos…). The beef sliders looked more like mini beef burgers. There were three, really cute and most importantly melted in the mouth. The squid was slightly smaller than I liked but were fried in a spicy seasoning and served with a spicy mayonnaise type dressing that was incredibly moreish.

For main course I Ordered ‘Bossam’ which is smoked pulled pork with kimchi and lettuce.  This came out on a large plate with a huge mound of pulled pork, the idea was that you placed the meat into a butter lettuce leaf with sauce and kimchi and rolled up into a roll. It was delicious. I am salivating while writing this. My friend ordered the roasted cod with porcini salad. When this came out it looked a lot smaller than expected and had fried noodles over the top. However when it came to digging in we realise it was a much heftier meal than expected. We both didn’t like the fried noodles on top – I realise they can add something to the look of the plate and some even like eating it but not us unfortunately – but the cod was cooked to perfection and the mushrooms were full of delicious earthy flavour.

The  service was fast and very friendly, the atmosphere was a mix of hipster/Soho and Asian vibe and the food was pretty much faultless. It is safe to say we’ll be going again.

                Food                              Service                      Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars