Eating out

#1
I just saw a thread entitled 'Restaurant Write Up' in the NAAFI Bar and thought, by golly that's what we need. Frankly I know of few decent places to eat in London or elsewhere for that matter. London is meant to be a happening culinary centre, but there is still a lot of overpriced places serving poor food in worse surroundings. We have a thread devoted to threads, a.k.a. 'Dapper Clothing' (apologies for the pun). It would be good to get recommendations for where's good to eat in London, be it curry houses for a night out with old friends, or somewhere a bit swankier for a date (I live in hope).

If you have dined out somewhere that has impressed you, I would like to know. Cheers.
 
#2
Hmm. This thread is a lot less rude than the title had led me to believe. Still...

Rules in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden never fails to live up to expectations. Mostly game on the menu, they've got their own hunting lodge in Scotland. And the weirdest decor of any restaurant I've seen.

Bistrot Galvin is first class if you've got a bit of extra cash to spend.

Finally, Bank in Aldwych is always a good one for dates. V modern decor, the front of the restaurant has a good bar, and the restaurant serves interesting and excellent grub.

Best food I've had in London is in clubs though - the Travellers is fantastic, and the best meal I've ever eaten was in the Foreign & Overseas.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#3
If in Orkney, don't believe all you read about the Creel. Over priced, poor selection and small portions.

You're much better off at the Foveran on the Mainland, The Sands in Burray or the Smithy on Shapinsay.

The Smithy has the added attraction of the boat trip either way to get there!
 
#4
I haven't been for a few years but Wodka, 12 St Albans Grove near High Street Kensington tube station was an enjoyable night out. The food is good - Polish cuisine so simple and rustic but they make it with choice cuts of meat not peasant scag-end! They have a reasonable vodka list (not the most comprehensive) but interestingly some are served hot. I can recommend the hot plum. It has a basement area which is good for parties and is well priced.

Take a look at www.wodka.co.uk (but you need a flash player - so no cheeky peek from Dii)
 
#5
I am crazy about decent Asian cusine and Pu's in Gate Street, Holborn is fantastic. Was taken by some English colleagues once and took family there about 6 months later. The best Thai food in London. Digressing very slightly the very best curry house that I have ever been to is the Indian Cavalry Club in Edinburgh. The food was superb and the waiters all wear authentic soldiers uniforms. The whole decor and style is that of an Indian Officers Mess. Google it for reviews and pictures. I am half tempted to get a sleazy jet flight to Edinburgh this weekend just to sample it again. Actually my mouth is watering just thinking about it. Sod it I'm off to Sainsbury's to get some pakora.
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#6
If in Edinburgh, try the Gurkha, in Bruntsfield for real Nepali curry.

Huge portions, cheap and quality.
 
#8
If in Nottingham try World Service. I finally got a table (with 3 weeks notice!) after a couple of years of trying. Food was excellent and imaginative, offering some Asian/Eurpoean fusion type stuff and interesting takes on European/American (not hamburgers!)standards.
The cocktails excellent (I'm told - I was driving).

Ambience excellent and in the summer you can lounge in the courtyard garden while waiting to dine. Pre dinner we sat in the bar, decorated on an Asian theme, and while looking at the menu served dim sum-type canapes. The staff were friendly and attentive, although a bit prone to come over and refill wine glasses every time one takes a sip.

If going try and get a table in the bar area (the corner tables on the banquettes are good for romantic meals) rather than the main restaurant and take out a small mortgage as something this good quality doesn't come cheap!
 
#9
Bleeding Heart, Hatton Garden - weeknights only. Pub, brasserie and restaurant - prices escalate. Think they have their onw vineyard or somehing daft (in France, not out the back) so wine list pretty serious.
Andrew Edmunds, Lexington St, Soho - book fairly well in advance. Good British food, prices not too high. Impressive wine list again if you really want to add some pain to the bill.
 
#10
I can give you some rather unorthodox advice.

1. The best kebab house in London is the Kebab Kid on the New King's Road, SW6. I think the army have found it though, because it is often full of pished-up subbies who've been boozing in the "Sloaney Pony" around the corner. Others will try to tell you that Green Lanes has the best kebab houses, but I'm not convinced. The Turkish Pide (very thin pizza-type effort) at Manzi's on Notting Hill Gate is very good too.

2. For Middle Eastern food, the Efes chain, around Shepherd's Market and Marylebone is very good and extremely good value for money in central London. I usually have some cold beer and a meze, you can sit outside and people watch.

3. Joe Allen's in Covent Garden is timeless, classic American-influenced scoff and a personal favourite of mine. Hint: Hamburgers aren't on the menu, you have to ask for one and they are terrific.

4. The best Italian restaurant in London (this is obviously a very bold statement, but I'm a fat barsteward who loves his food and have many Italian bezzers who agree with me) is Passione, which is on Charlotte Street in Bloomsbury (expensive-ish). They'll serve you mainly Northern Italian food there, the wild boar ragu is excellent as is the rabbit. Another Italian favourite for me is the Osteria Basilica in Clapham, on the Northcote Road. Again, mainly Tuscan-influenced food but very good (try the goat).

5. Indian food. Hmmm. Well this is very controversial. My current favourite is a new-wave Bangladeshi place just off Richmond Bridge in St. Margaret's the name of which utterly escapes me right now. Brick Lane is overrated in my curry-loving opinion, it's Southall all the way for me. Where? Just take your pick, honestly. Cafe Spice Namaste down by Tower Bridge is very good if you are near The City for classy Indian food.

6. I know it's dreadfully bourgeois but the Gourmet Burger Kitchen chain is doing it for me at the moment (Fulham Broadway). Whilst we are in SW6 again, the greasy spoon opposite the nick is fantastic, utterly brilliant. You really have to try their bubble and squeak.

7. It's been around for ages now so it's not hip, but The Cow up in Notting Hill (the raffish end near Westbourne Grove) is great for oysters and Guinness and (as my singlie mates tell me) impressing birds. Somebody tried to sell me a stolen Hugo Boss suit in there once, but I digress.

I could go on all day. So I won't, but will add my culinary musings quite happily to any sticky that is rightly put at the top of the forum as I eat out in London at places of all budgets and types all the time!
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
#11
Take the time to read the restaurant review in the NAAFI thread - quality!

PS If you have Yanks visiting, The George and Vulture EC3. Standard chop house type food, but has the Pickwick room upstairs. Mentioned in the novel, and Dickens is believed to have stayed there. Always good to eat in a restaurant older than their country!
 
#12
CaptainPlume said:
If in Nottingham try World Service. I finally got a table (with 3 weeks notice!) after a couple of years of trying. Food was excellent and imaginative, offering some Asian/Eurpoean fusion type stuff and interesting takes on European/American (not hamburgers!)standards.
The cocktails excellent (I'm told - I was driving).

Ambience excellent and in the summer you can lounge in the courtyard garden while waiting to dine. Pre dinner we sat in the bar, decorated on an Asian theme, and while looking at the menu served dim sum-type canapes. The staff were friendly and attentive, although a bit prone to come over and refill wine glasses every time one takes a sip.

If going try and get a table in the bar area (the corner tables on the banquettes are good for romantic meals) rather than the main restaurant and take out a small mortgage as something this good quality doesn't come cheap!
Nottingham

Ever tried Loch Fyne? Fantastic fish restaraunt with incredibly friendly waiting staff (that are more than willing to translate the french menu :oops: ) and a suitably matching friendly atmosphere. Best fish restaraunt in the East Midlands, (look forward to being informed differently) Superb!

Dogma has a smoked salmon taglietelli that is divine, but only go in during lunch time hours.

Wagamamas for a different experience is always fun and vibrant, quick service but annoying sitting next to cultural know it alls every now and then and listening to them waffle on and on and on and on and on 8O .
 
#13
I know Wagammamas in London, and with the exception of some slightly burnt Gyoza on one occasion love the place. If there's one in Notts I'll be trying it out!

I used Loch Fyne in Henley-on-Thames and concur - that's fabulous too.
 
#14
Chino Latino at the Park Plaza hotel in Nottingham serves a variety of Eastern and Continental dishes for sharing so lots of messy fingers and happy faces :). Is a bit dear but worth the extra cash purely for the service and the presentation of the food. Tasty exotic wines too....mmm
 
#16
If you want an old school British roast, you really can't beat Simpson's On The Strand. Expensive but well worth it. Simpson's also have a tiny little chop house tucked away in the City were you can get a very good lunch (I recomend the steak and kidney pie).
 
#17
^ Simpsons seconded from this callsign too.

Especially breakfast.

I haven't eaten in Rules' since they laminated the menus. Presumably they sell tweed T-shirts with the logo on, too.
 
#18
Had lunch at Fish by Southwark Catherdral last week. Very good quality everything cooked fresh in front of you, bit like sitting in a greenhouse though.

The Terrace at Harrods has vastly improved over the last 6 months.
 
#19
Come on people, is there anyone eating out further north than Nottingham but south of the border.
Jakes Bar and Grill off Calls Lane in Leeds does some of the best steaks this side of my Ma's house!
There are also a few Italian eateries worth mentioning, Bibis Criterion in town (Under a brand new NCP car park but don't let that put you off)
and Salvos in Headingley both worth a look.
 
#20
Took the gf to Simpson's for Valentine's. As good as ever, but the prices have risen since it was taken over by Fairmont. A cocktail apiece (the the Knight's Bar at Simpson's do absolutely the best martini in London), and three courses with drinks = £140.

A (slightly pished) look at the menu shows that they are now charging for main courses what I paid for dinner last year.

Still worthwhile, but forewarned etc...

Another favourite is Claridge's Reading Room, where a very good dinner can be had for around £30/head. Very comfortable, impeccable, unhurried service and beautifully cooked and presented food. Smart dress is required.

Belgo in Covent Garden is a Belgian restaurant which specialises in mussels, though other dishes are available. At lunchtime they do a £5.95 special which includes a drink. The restaurant is in the cellars, with industrial decor. Very busy and noisy in the evening, so best to book. Ideal for nights out in town, not least because they have over 100 different beers.


In Leeds, Bryan's of Headingley is an institution. It's a fish and chip shop with a restaurant attached. Huge portions (and superbly fresh fish), c/w bread and butter and pot of tea. No booking, and often very long queues to get in, especially on Friday night. Michael Parkinson has been going there for years (and still has to queue).

The Blue Bicycle in York is excellent, but very popular and advance booking is needed.

Harrogate is full of restaurants, and provided one avoids the various chains and themed places (just watch for all the Chelsea tractors outside), there are some great places; I particularly like Sous La Table near the conference centre.



In Belfast, Shu on Lisburn Road is currently thought to be amongst the best. Very good food and service, and not too expensive. Vargo's a couple of doors down is said to be good, though I've yet to visit - their midweek 3-courses for £17.50 may be worth a look. Nik's Warehouse down near the cathedral has been consistently good for years, as has Beatrice Kennedy (next to Queen's Uni) - both are owned by their chefs. The Plough (excellent seafood, esp. oysters) and the Hillside in Hillsborough, and the Tidy Doffer at Ravernet remain dependable, though the latter's use of 6th form morons as waiting staff may lead to delays, especially if you want to know what the soup or vegetables of the day are, for example, as they go off to ask the chef, then return having forgotten the answer.
 

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