Bull and Hide

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We wanted a change for a casual lunch around Liverpool Street  and decided to go this The Bull and Hide, a gastropub located a five minute walk from the station. The pub aims to provide patrons with high quality British food, worldly wines and a range of craft beers, ales and ciders.

There is a bar on the ground floor and the restaurant area on the first floor, where we were taken to dine. It was 12.30 but we were the only group upstairs which made a for an odd atmosphere until a few more diners turned up. The menu is simple showcasing seasonal British classics. We ordered the fish and chips, the cheese burger and the ham hock and champ. Please note menus change on occasion based on seasonality and chefs discretion.

Service was shakey as we seemed to have a newish waiter who was a little nervous but our orders all came out correct and in good time. The fish and chips were enormous and clearly cooked to order, the burger was cooked medium and was juicy and the ham hock and champ was the star of the show. The ham was tender and slightly salty which worked with the creamy mash. Delicious.

The décor was modern yet sticking to a  gastropub theme with duck egg blue walls, wide open windows and stylish golden lamps.

Food was great, simple, classic and seasonal. Service was a little inexperienced but fine over all and atmosphere was dampened as it was so quite.

              Food                               Service                 Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars2 Stars

bull

Jamie’s Italian

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We are a huge fan of Jamie Oliver’s cooking – who wouldn’t be, he makes cooking sexy again and campaigned for kids to eat healthier –  so we thought we would give Jamie’s Italian a try. We went to the branch in Seven Dials on a lovely summer evening. We had a reservation but the majority of people just walk in and wait for a table, while having a drink at the funky little bar. I quite like that about the place, relaxed, simple and fun – just like Jamie’s cooking you could argue.

We were seated by the window and served by an Italian waiter – or at least he did a convincing accent – which made the dining experience even more authentic. We ordered a bottle of red and checked out the extensive menu. The menu sticks to the traditional Italian cuisine courses, antipasto, primo, secondo and dessert and offers hearty Italian dishes with a Jamie Oliver flair – simple yet tasty!

We ordered the cured meat plank to start which included mozzarella, prosciutto, pickles and chili jam and was served on top of two tomato tins – a really nice touch! The platter was great, not too filling but very moreish.

For main course we ordered the rib eye steak and the sausage ragu. My steak was cooked medium rare – just how I like it – and was thick and juicy. I ordered vegetables as a side instead of the chips, which were a little lighter. The pasta dish was hearty, served in a rich tomato sauce with a generous amount of herbed meat in it.

The place is always busy and gives a lively atmosphere to the lace. The waiters are always keen to talk you through the menu, the food simple yet creative and it actually sticks to authentic Italian dishes. A great place for a casual dinner with friends or even a date spot! As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

              Food                            Service                            Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

jamies

Brew House Kitchen‏

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We came across The Brewhouse and Kitchen by chance on a cold an rainy day when we met for lunch ahead of a Matthew Bourne production at Saddlers Wells and were looking a quick and tasty bite – out of the cold – near the theatre. Our usual’s were packed , so we thought we would try this pub and hope for the best. We were impressed immediately, as we were warmly welcomed in and seated. We were given an extensive menu of homemade British dishes – anything from burgers, fish and chips to quinoa salads.

I was on protein only diet and the waiters did their best to accommodate my dietary requirements. In the end I went for a simple salad with a lovely piece of salmon on top. Rather than overwhelming it with dressing and ruining my diet they seasoned with an array of spices. Nice touch. We also ordered  ‘beer can chicken’, their specialty  beer marinated chicken that melts in the mouth and is served with chips and coleslaw. The waiters were cheerful and helpful in suggesting foods to suit our tastes. We went at lunch time and there was a nice relaxed atmosphere. I have been later in the evening and it has more of a pub feel but they still have an area reserved for diners.

This is the place to come  if you are after a great selection of beers and ciders. Unfortunately I don’t drink beer but their wine section was not half bad either. The bar is in the centre of the pub and restaurant and so is a focal point and also helps to split the drinking area from the dining space, which is needed when it gets busier in the evenings. With brick walls, lots of seating areas and even board games this place is the perfect place to go for a relaxing lunch one weekend. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

                 Food              Service                  Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars3 Stars

salmon

 

Shrub and Shutter

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shrub and shutter

We were invited to this trendy little restaurant in Brixton. Shrub and Shutter is close enough to the indoor market to be still be seen as central but off the main drag of the hoi poli. As hinted at in the first sentence this place is trendy a.k.a bare bricks, an abundance of knick knacks everywhere and mismatched furniture but this place prides itself on fresh, seasonal ingredients to create modern British dishes. The menu changes daily and they provide set menus which give you more limited options but the dishes are so well thought through that this is hardly a problem.

We were seated at the back of the restaurant – meaning you have to squeeze through the narrow hall by passing the admin area where the reservation system is – into a quieter area of the restaurant. We were given a drinks menu with some fabulous little cocktails that were original – and very tasty we found out later.

We ordered the beef carpaccio with pickled beetroots which were served like a light salad. The dressing was tart which worked well with the rare meat. Delicious.

For main course we went for the spiced duck breast with sautéed plums and the halibut on a risotto bed. The duck breast was just to my liking, pink in the middle with a crispy skin. The richness of the meat went well with the fruity plums. The halibut was well cooked and risotto was served al dente. Maybe a little more seasoning was needed but that’s my only critism.

Service was friendly, although as we were at the back of the restaurant we were not as attentively waited on as we would have liked, meaning we had to wait a while for the orders to be taken and dishes taken away. This was no issue however as we were in no rush and the service as I said was friendly.

                Food                           Service                      Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

shrub

Restaurant Story

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The name Restaurant Story, is apt for this place as you do feel like you are walking through a beautiful piece of literature that has been creatively drafted to make you never want to finish yet desperate to turn the next page to find out what is coming next.

The restaurant is located in an unassuming space on the main road to Bermondsey from London Bridge. It is very subtle yet modern from the outside, with its wooden circular structure. We were welcomed in  by a waitress and seated at one of the handful of tables in the restaurant. The place is fairly small but each table has the capacity to hold large groups. The kitchen is the main focal point as it is open and close to all of the diners but the decor should not go amiss with its subtle nod to literature, reading and days gone by.

The menu is designed to be a type of story. Starting off with three of four amuse buoche, which are not your general mouth sized bites these were masterpieces.

We went for the ten course menu which sounds huge – and was – but as each dish takes on the ‘story’ element you are left begging for more.

My favourite starters included the seafood dish that was served in a large bowl to share with a selection of crustaceans lying on a  a bed of dry ice. Another was a whole candle made from beef dripping which slowly melted allowing you to dip your bread into the salty liquid at the bottom.

Main courses included prawns that were smoked at your table, scallops with an earthy dill ash and my ultimate favourite ‘the tale of the quail’ which was quail served four ways (including a quail egg) and came with a teapot of stock and a little story to go with it. Deserts were equally spectacular.

The waiters were professional but not too attentive and happy to run through the dishes with all of the enthusiasm as they must have done the first time they explained the dish. It is exciting.

You don’t really need to see the star rating to know that I can wholehearted say I adore this place.

Food                             Service                    Atmosphere

5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

tail of quail

Androulet

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androuet

We love this little French place in Spitalfields Market. Androulet is half cheese shop and half restaurant. Androulet serves a whole host of French cheeses and great meat plates. The place is very small so there is not a big selection of hot food. We sat outside as although a cold day there is heaters and blankets which allows you to see the comings and goings in the market.

 We were welcomed by the friendly French staff and we ordered a meat platter with salad, a raclette plate and a & dauphinoise sort of pie. My meat platter hosted a range of cold meat selections including pate, chorizo and ham and was served with a light side salad. The raclette grill game out for us to place the delicious French cheese on and was served with potatoes and gherkins. The cheese pie was oozing with bubbling cheese and was very rich as there was cream included. Not one for those watching their weight!

 We love this little place, the menu is simple and the food and wine menu only has the best quality dishes and bottles. A must try if in the area.

                   Food                         Service                          Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Pescatori‏

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We love a good fish restaurant so we decided to try Pescatori on Charlotte Street.  Situated amongst the many restaurants, Pescatori has a laid back Mediterranean look to it. The entrance is long and narrow and we were lead to the back of the restaurant. The back restaurant is split by a large pillar and there is a dining area at the front of the restaurant too which allows the place to feel cozier than one large restaurant.

Of course the menu is full of a delicious selection of Mediterranean seafood, so we ordered a selection for starter that we could try a range of dishes. These included crab and avocado on toasted bread, scallops and cauliflower truffle, squid with gremolata & sausage and vegetable tempura. The crab was tasty and went well with the creamy avocado, the scallops were a favourite of mine with a thick coral and deliciously tender. The squid and red meat complemented each other and the tempura was a light relief from the seafood. All were very tasty and well presented, my only slight criticism is that there were no unusual dishes/combinations on the menu that excited or shocked. Our waiter seemed busy (although the restaurant wasn’t packed) as we had to wait a long while for our plates to be taken away and this was to be a running theme throughout our meal.

For main course I went for the grilled salmon, super salad of spinach, pomegranate, avocado and boiled egg which was a great choice as I was trying to watch weight and fancied something healthy. The salmon was well cooked. The salad was delicious with the red jewels from the pomegranate but I felt the avocado and boiled egg were unnecessary. The others ordered the monkfish with mussels, clams & new potatoes which was served with a seafood sauce and the huge dish of seafood spaghetti which was enormous. The spaghetti was served with artichokes and walnuts which gave more depth to the dish.

 The food was delicious and had a huge variety of ingredients – I would go as far as to say maybe too much in some dishes. The décor was Mediterranean which made it a perfect place for a relaxing meal however this was ruined slightly by the service. The waiter was hardly at our table which meant we had to wait a long time for our dishes to be taken away, menus to be given and finally an appallingly long time for the bill. He just never seemed to be around! As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

                   Food                          Service                       Atmosphere

4 Stars2 Stars3 Stars

pescatorisalad

 

Sadaf

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We had never been to a Persian restaurant before so we decided to try Sadaf which is located in West London. This cozy place is located about a five minute walk from Bayswater station which is just long enough to build up the appetite after a long day at work.

We were warmly welcomed at the entrance by the manager – there is no reception but as the tables are well spread out waiters have the opportunity to welcome you at the door. This is refreshing from a lot of the Middle Eastern restaurants in London where they squeeze as many tables into the room as possible.

The restaurant is warm and welcoming with Persian paintings and art work on the wall (could be slightly tacky but it does emphasis the Persian menu I suppose).  We ordered a bottle of merlot and decided to go for the mixed starter which included a mix of traditional cold dips and pitta bread. The dips were authentic and clearly homemade but it would have been nice to have a change from the regular dips that you find in most Middle Eastern restaurants.

For main course we ordered the mixed grill for two which included; chicken kebabs, lamb chops, minced lamb and a baby chicken. This was served with a spicy rice. The meat was well cooked and had a nice heat to it and the rice was al dente but I would have liked it to have more of a kick to it. We got through the first bottle and ordered a second as eating lots of protein and carbs is thirsty work! Seriously though I think the dishes could have been improved with a yoghurt or equivalent dip – yes I know that may not be traditional in Persian cuisine but still.

We really liked this place; the manager came to check on us at the end of the meal and even had time for a quick chat. Our waiter was efficient and friendly, the atmosphere is warm – although trying a little hard in its décor and the food was well cooked and seasoned.

           Food                                Service                      Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

sadafmeat

Thai Silk

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 thai silk

 We fancied Thai food and did not fancy traveling far so Thai Silk in Southwark seemed the obvious option. We had not been before but had heard of the place through friends. The restaurant is located in a back street in the area under the station arches – which adds a great atmosphere to the large restaurant. The restaurant is split into two, which is accessed by a side corridor. The second area is a bar and casual eating area.

We wanted a drink beforehand but the bar was closed for a private do, so instead we had a couple of cocktails at our table before eating. As we walked in the waitress welcomed us in the traditional Thai manner of bowing and were at constant hand. They seemed to like running whenever they were given a request.

We chose the  set menu which was priced at a wallet pleasing £20.95. This includes; starter, soup, two main course dishes, vegetables, rice/noodles and dessert. For starter we were served a butterfly wantons, chicken satay, chicken wings, corn cakes, fish cakes and crispy noodles. This was served with a couple of dips. The food was piping hot and clearly cooked fresh although the fried dishes were a little too greasy for me.

 The soup served next was delicious; a hot and sour chicken coconut soup. My only wish was that it was bigger – but then I would have not got through the next courses! We ordered a bottle of red once we had downed the last dregs of our strong cocktails.

 There was a selection of main course dishes that we could choose from and we went for the chicken Thai green curry and the stir fried beef with cashew nuts and chili’s. The curry was rich and the chicken melted in the mouth. The beef dish came in a thick sweet sauce which worked well with the nuts and spicy chilis. The dishes were served with vegetables and rice. We really enjoyed this.

 We were well and truly stuffed but the dessert was yet to come, fortunately this was a light fruit salad platter which cleansed the palette and didn’t make our expanding waistline burst.

 We really liked the friendly staff, the freshness of the food and the fact that we dined under the arches. Although the décor is Thai in style it is not tacky and brash. There is a gentle buzz with diners coming in and out as well as a steady takeaway trade. We would recommend trying this place.

                 Food                             Service                      Atmosphere

4 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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