The Delaunay‏

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Having heard the buzz around The Delaunay, we thought it was about time we gave it a try. This restaurant classes itself as a ‘Grand European Restaurant’ and it certainly lives up to this. The food menu hosts a series of Belgium, German, Hungarian, Austrian and English dishes which are set in the grand brasserie restaurant. The decor is more British with dark oak tables, golden trimmings and some amazing oil paintings. You do need to book in advance as it is quite popular, with a constant buzz of breakfast, lunch, afternoon teas and dining customers. As an aside the afternoon tea did look delicious.

We were seated at one of the booth tables with the crisp white table clothes and napkins and were given the all day menu and extensive wine list. We ordered a bottle of Hungarian Shraz – it tasted better the more we drank, put it that way. For starter we ordered the beetroot and goats cheese salad and the roast squash salad. The beetroot salad was served with a vinegar dressing and hazel nuts which added to the overall texture. The squash dish was served with nicely cooked quail eggs which were still liquid in the centre and ran over the artichokes and pecorino which was also part of the dish. Our waitress was clearly from the DACH region based on her accent which was  brisk and efficient in nature.

Our main course we ordered the wiener schnitzel and roast scallops and prawns. The schnitzel was not served with sides so we ordered chips and spinach. The schnitzel was a little dry – a common issue with schnitzels I find, but was well seasoned and not overly rich. The scallops and prawns were served with a cauliflower puree, artichokes and paprika oil giving a spicy kick. The seafood was well cooked although a little oily for my liking.

 Overall we were satisfied with the menu but we are not a huge fan of the dishes from that area of Europe. The service was very German in its straightforwardness which was a refreshing change and the decor is grand and inviting – I would say this is more British than European in style. Final thing, we loved the postcards of the restaurant in black and white that you can purchase which has an honesty box.

                  Food                           Service                     Atmosphere

3 Stars3 Stars4 Stars

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Momo

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 Momo is a lovely Moroccan restaurant situated on Heddon Street, just of Regents Street. It serves North African cuisines and is frequented by locals and natives alike. This place is great for a drink and shisha outside –which is covered by bushes from the main side street – or for dinner, which is exactly the reason we visited that night.

 We had arrived a little early so we ordered a cocktail with waitress outside in the terrace area. The waiting staff seemed a little confused and it took a while to order but oh the cocktails are very good. The drinks menu is huge and they have the cocktail of the week which is at a reduced price.

 Once our table was ready, we went were seated in the corner of the beautifully ornate restaurant. There is a huge amount of attention to detail on the furnishings and settings. The walls are white washed and lets the furnishing speak for itself. Even the cutlery and glasses were ornate. We ordered the tasting menu which included a Momo special (a vodka, mint and lemon cocktail) with a meze starter of cheese & mint, chicken & seafood pastries and baked aubergines, scallops with aubergine chutney and finally yellow beetroot and wood pigeon pastille. They were delicious, spicy, meaty and so satisfying.  The scallops and pigeon were my favourite dishes (I managed to get those plates closer to me).

 As we had downed our cocktail we thought we ought to order a bottle of red – yes I know my liver – with some water. The water took about 45minutes to arrive – thankfully the wine was much quicker. It was clear that there was a confused service which was not helped by the number of waiters that were serving us. It is so much cleaner when you have one waiter serving a section – though I am no restaurant owner.

For main course we both ordered the lamb tagine with globe artichoke and green vegetables. There were four other options; fish, Moroccan chicken, chicken tagine and a couscous dish. We had asked ahead if this came with couscous and were told yes however when the dishes were served there was none. We asked if we could add this for an additional payment and were served this after a slight delay. The tagine I have to say was delicious – although really should be served with couscous to soak up the juice. The meat fell off the bone and the sauce was rich.

We had quite a wait for our dishes to be cleared and desert to come but we were not disappointed. The dessert is a selection of Moroccan pastries that are incredibly sweet, sticky and authentic. Although full, we managed to find room. This place oozes sophistication while being authentic and simple. The food is incredibly tasty and generous however the service does let it down. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

                 Food                           Atmosphere                                Service

4 Stars5 Stars2 Stars

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Chez Elles‏

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Chez Elles is a French bistroquet located in the heart of Brick Lane and subtly located between a news agents and an Indian sweet shop. Entering the restaurant, the decor is an odd combination of shabby chic designed by Toulouse La lautrec and Alice in Wonderland combined. It is kind of sweet in a strange kind of way.

We were seated by a nervous French waiter (all of the staff are French which we loved) and we ordered drinks – he got these wrong as he really did struggle with English but his passion to please and accent made us forgive him in an instance.

There is a set lunch menu and we ordered the pate, the artichoke and celeriac soup and the goat’s cheese salad. The soup was thick and creamy and full of flavour and the goat’s cheese salad was surprisingly satisfying. One of the pates did not come out and now I do not blame the service, unfortunately one of the other people at our table (I will not mention names) ordered a dessert instead of a starter but had a mind blank  when the waiter came to ask if she ordered my dish and said yes, so I had to ask for another pate.

For main course, we ordered duck confit with dauphinois potatoes, the mushroom tart and the tartare – a favourite of mine – however the texture was too course for my liking and included too many pickles and capers to be enjoyable. The waiter did ask if we enjoyed the meal as the two people who ordered the tartare had not eaten much of the dish. I appreciated that.

I have to say I would not make a special visit to go again the food was fresh and traditional, the décor cute although slightly random and the service a little confused at times but always friendly.

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

            Food                             Service                           Atmosphere

3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars

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The Swan Inn – Amersham

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This New Year we fancied something low key so our old friends invited us to a meal at The Swan Inn in Amersham. We had never been and the menu looked inviting and well priced so thought we would give it a go. The Swan is a traditional pub that serves modern British food and located in the pre-Saxon town of Amersham.

Two of us were to be an hour or so early so we decided to call to see if we could get nibbles before (our booking was at 9.30pm, which was too late for our English bellies to cope with, without food ahead) and it was a good job we did. Okay we admit we had read the reviews that said that often food was not avalaible on the menu and that bookings were often lost, so we called the restaurant asking them if nibbles were an option. Sure enough they had not got a booking under the name  – despite booking this, weeks in advance and it was New Years Eve! So as a result they had not got our pre-ordered food. We were quite shocked and it did initially grey our thoughts of the place.

When we did get there we ordered drinks from a wide wine, beer and cocktail selection until our friends arrived. When they did we were seated upstairs which is away from the rowdy bar downstairs and is lovely with its old beams and old fashioned ceilings. From then on the service really did pick up – maybe because we created such a fuss when booking four times over!

As we had pre-ordered, our food came out when we were ready. First of all we ordered a Moet – I am not one to order expensive champagne in a pub as I always have the voice in my head that we can get it half price in our local Tesco but maybe that’s the commoner in me – which was lovely way to kick of NYE. We ordered the scallops with pea puree, the smoked salmon with capers and the pork belly with ginger beer glaze. My scallops were clearly not fresh and were served without the coral. I get that it is New Year and fresh fish is hard to come by but in that case do not offer it on the menu. The smoked salmon was fresh and not too smokey, just how I like it. The pork had a good layer of fat and nice crispy crackling that went with the sticky dressing. Overall we enjoyed the starter.

We moved on to a bottle of red to go with our main course, two of us ordered the Beef fillet Wellington served with mushrooms and a marsala sauce and myself and one other diner ordered the duo of lamb that came with fondant potaoes and roasted tomatoes. Now the wellington dish was double the size of our lamb dish. One dish looked hearty and satisfying – perfect for soaking up all of the alcohol we were drinking and then the other dish looked as if it came from the Nouvelle cuisine school of cooking. I honestly think dishes need to be the same in terms of size in the same restaurant. The lamb to be fair was well cooked and looked very beautiful however I would have liked to have been asked how I wanted my meat cooked as I prefer pink not well done. The beef wellington, as I mentioned, was huge with a thick pastry around a huge chunk of beef. The beef again was over cooked to our liking but then again I suppose they had a large number of ordered on NYE (that’s not quite true as it was not that busy at 9.30pm but still.)

For dessert we ordered the Eton Mess and cheese and biscuits. I am not a dessert person but the others finished it off quickly so I assume it was good.

The service really did make up for the fact that they lost our reservation as the staff were friendly and regularly topping up our glasses and seeing if we were okay. The atmosphere was cozy, quaint and just what we were after for New Year however the food was a little hit and miss. Maybe this was because of the pressure at New Year. Final comment is that a pub doing a New Year’s Eve menu should not close the bar at 11.55 – if we had known that we could have made plans for when the clock stroke midnight.

           Food                            Service                            Atmosphere

3 Stars3 Stars4 Stars

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Chino – Park Plaza Riverbank London

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We had a work event in the hotel so arranged for lunch and tea in the restaurant and bar area. We had booked around three weeks in advance but when we arrived the flustered waiter clearly did not have our name down but after an awkward five minutes sat us down at a table for two- we had booked and said two minutes before that this was for three. The dizzy waiter then succeeded in putting the menus in front of our face – like a wall – which ensured that we could see nothing other than the font of the menu. It was rather funny. We ordered water and were asked if we wanted to order. As we were waiting for another we declined – which did not stop the hapless waiter asking us another time. Bless him he did try to please but failed so badly.

Our other diner arrived and we gave her the menu to avoid the awkward ‘menu fortress’. The waiter clearly decided not to come over to us to ask our order- even though we were now a team. Finally we got the attention of a more capable waitress who took our order; miso soup and  crispy duck, cucumber, chilli, spring onion & hoisin sauce for starter. For main course we ordered three dishes; fillet steak on sizzling black  rocks, monkfish tail, yuzu kusho dressing, yuzu jelly and the Thai Panang curry served with crinkled vegetables.

The food was delicious, well cooked, seasoned and presented. The steak came out sizzling for a good five minutes and cooked as it sat on the scolding rocks. The curry was thick and came out with fragrant rice. The crisp vegetables were fried and added extra depth to the dish. The monkfish was meaty and well cooked with the slightly sweet yet salty dressing. We did all agree however the dishes came out in a sporadic order which was not ideal. The attention to detail was great. Our drinks were topped up on an ad hoc basis – basically when the waitress noticed us, not when the energetic male waiter did.

Its’ a shame as this place tries hard; atmosphere is very feng shu, food is top notch but when the service is almost comic like (I would compare to Faulty Towers) it’s not worth it. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

           Food                            Service                        Atmosphere 4 Stars Star3 Stars chinobeef

Rextail

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We have heard of this fashionable little venue in the heart of Mayfair so we wanted to know what all the fuss was about. It’s pretty quiet at lunch but we made the most – asking if we could dine in the bar area so that at least there was a bit more life. Our bar man was a bit nervous but did want to please. We asked him about the unusual name of Rextail but we are still unsure where this came from. If you now please feel free to comment below.

The restaurant is on the basement floor and is long and narrow, decorated with buffalo heads, cluttered objects and bright red seats offsetting the grey walls. It kind of worked but not completely. We ordered a couple of G&T’s to start and then a bottle of good red for our meal. We ordered from the set menu. Starter was agreed to be the German sliced ham (sorry I forgot the exact name on the menu) which was served on a wooden board with rocket. It was lovely and there was a generous selection although I did not think the ham. For main course, we ordered the salmon with roasted brussels and the pasta. The pasta was clearly homemade and cooked to perfection. My salmon was delicious but a little small to my liking. On the whole we were satisfied.

As we ordered a dessert wine the delightful waitress offered us a huge log of a dessert which was light pastry layered with cream. This was on the house – probably as we had drunken as much as we had eaten. But the staff were really lovely and although not keen on the décor and atmosphere the service and good food made up for this. As a result Sex Drugs and Bacon Rolls gives this place:

           Food                              Service                  Atmosphere

4 Stars4 Stars3 Stars

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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

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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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The 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

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Rivington 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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