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Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Le P’tit Normand

185 Merton Road
Southfields, London
SW18 5EF
T: 0208 871 0233
Map

Le P’tit Normand is one of our two favourite local family run French restaurants (L’Auberge being the other). The restaurant is small and cosy, the menu of adequate length and the all-French wine list relatively short. Our starters (Fagot d’Asperges et Lardons, Tartare de Boeuf, Escargots and Gaufre au Basilic) were yummy and the main courses (Entrecôte Steak, Magret de Canard, and Escalope de Veau) did not disappoint. To finish off, we had the Creme Brulee and a Plateau de Fromage (we are avid cheese fans!). The cheese was suitably ripe and there was a large selection to choose from. Apart from a few pieces of bread that were very hard, we were very happy with the food. The service, however, was unpolished. Although it was obvious the woman waiting on us was inexperienced, she didn’t get much help from the others and was even chastised in front of us for not clearing the table entirely before bringing us the dessert menu. Not good.. We’ll probably go back again, but the poor service has moved it down a notch in our local rankings.

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The Wellington Arms

Baughurst Road
Baughurst
RG26 5LP
T: 0118 982 0110
Map

Last night we spent a wonderful evening at this exquisite pub, which we found in Sawday’s Special Places. We were looking to spend the night somewhere after our painting workshop with Deana Kim and struck it lucky with The Wellington Arms. On arrival we were shown to the “Old Room”, which is one of their two rooms in an old barn. It was beautifully decorated, and as with everything here, there was great attention to detail and everything was perfect! The rain shower with wonderfully smelling Aesop toiletries was the perfect for cleaning up after the painting course. The luxurious fluffy towels, warm tile floor and  sheepskin rug were better than at home!

The food in the restaurant was also exceptional. To start, we had the Isle of Man queenie scallops and the vegetable terrine with fresh radishes that tasted like they were straight from the garden (bear in mind, it is February!). A lovely bottle of Barbera D’Alba accompanied our main courses, the roast brill and the butterflied leg of lamb, which were both fantastic.  Because we can’t help ourselves, we shared a sticky toffee pudding and the cheese board with a glass of Sauternes – a great finish to a wonderful evening! The Full English breakfast this morning was equally good.

Everything about The Wellington Arms exudes quality and pride. We were honoured to experience Simon and Jason’s labour of love. Keep up the good work!

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L’Auberge Restaurante

22 Upper Richmond Road
London
SW15 2RX
T: 020 8874 3593
Map

We spotted this small French Restaurant on the South Circular in August, but didn’t get around to trying it until last Saturday night. It’s run by a husband and wife team who made us feel like part of their family from the moment we walked in the door.  We started the evening with an aperatif – I had an amazing but subtle Fig Kir Royale from the extensive list of Kir Royaux. To start we had the Aumonière surprise, a Filo pastry parcel wih a Camembert, pine nut & apple filling and the Assiette Sud-Ouest, a home-made duck terrine with potted duck foie gras & orange smoked duck breast – both of which we would definitely have again! The main course was Entrecôte à la moelle – a Scottish ribeye steak, classic shallot & marrowbone sauce, and Poisson du Jour – squid in a tomato sauce with fresh vegetables. Although we’re on a diet, we couldn’t resist dessert and tried both the Chocolate and Chilli Bombe and the French Cheese Platter, both of which were delicious.  In fact, the whole meal was so amazing that we returned this Friday night and had many of the same things!  Oh, and they do take-away too.. c’est dangereux!

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York and Albany

127-129 Parkway
London
NW1 7PS
T: 020 7388 3344
Map

We discovered this fantastic restaurant last night after visiting the zoo for Zoo Lates, a late night opening of the zoo where we saw beautiful lions and tigers and many other animals. There was some takeaway food available at the Zoo, but we decided we wanted a proper meal and pulled up Google Maps to search for a restaurant. Lucky for us, we found York and Albany right around the corner and decided to give it a try.

It didn’t look that busy as we approached it and we even briefly considered not going in because it looked too quiet, but when we got inside it became obvious that the restaurant was around the back and was quite busy. On arrival, the host made us feel a bit silly for not having a reservation and said he would see what he could do about a table. After what seemed like 5 minutes, he came back and said he had a table for two. When we sat down, there were a few free tables around us (some of which remained empty throughout our meal) and the host asked for our name so he could put it down for the reservation.. which seemed strange, given that we were already sitting down.

However, the evening only got better. The menu was fantastic and the service was perfect.. attentive but not overbearing. So many things on the menu looked enticing but we eventually chose the Quail breast ravioli with confit leg, spinach, truffle and shallot and the Salt and pepper squid with baby gem with anchovy and pepper relish, smoked paprika mayonnaise as our starters. Both were elegantly presented, perfectly proportioned and absolutely delicious! For the main course we had the Smoked squab pigeon with glazed cherries, cabbage,
horseradish spätzel, and toasted pecan nuts
and Roasted cannon of lamb with onion purée, rainbow chard, confit potatoes, green olives, and red peppers which were also heavenly. We chose the Atanasius (Blaufränkisch/Zweigelt) wine to go with the meal and it did not disappoint. It was light, fruity and very easy to drink. We didn’t pass on dessert either.. oh no.. there were too many temptations on offer. We chose the Roasted figs with iced lemon semifreddo and Chocolate and coffee pavé with coffee ice cream, both of which were amazing. The coffee ice cream was an espresso bean dream and the fresh figs were full of flavour and delicately spiced.

It was definitely the best meal we’d had in ages and was especially good since we happened on it accidentally. It wasn’t cheap but for a 3 course meal for two including wine and 2 gin & tonics, we felt it was really good value given the quality of the food and service. I think it’s worth a special trip to experience Angela Hartnett’s fabulous menu and if you’re in the neighbourhood, I definitely recommend popping in. I know I’ll be back!

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The Wells
The Wells - Hampstead

30 Well Walk
Hamsptead
London
NW3 1BX

Map

We discovered The Wells on our first visit to Hamsptead. It was a crisp December day and we were looking for a nice pub to have drink before dinner. We were pleasantly surprised to find The Wells on the corner of Christchurch Hill and Well Walk. I sampled a lovely white from their extensive wine list and got Rob a pint of Leffe. The atmosphere was lovely and the place had a good feel about it. After seeing their food menu and the awards for Best Gastro Pub on the wall, we decided to return someday and sample the food.

We came back for lunch on New Year’s Day. I was glad we had booked as it filled up quickly. We sat next to the fireplace and enjoyed a latte before our meal. It was another freezing cold day so we started with the soup, which was fabulous. We both had fish for our main courses and the apple and blueberry crumble for dessert. It was all very yummy! We wil definitely go back.

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The Crown

223 Grove Road
Victoria Park
London
E3 5NZ
Map

The Crown occupies an ideal location on the corner of Grove Road and Old Ford Road across from Victoria Park. Formerly the site of a Spanish Tapas restaurant and a previous pub also called the Crown, the newly reopened Crown is a fresh and welcome addition to the Victoria Park scene. Downstairs there are a variety of seating choices including comfy chairs, big tables with chairs and high tables with benches. Upstairs is a dining room with about 12 tables.

Our first visit to the Crown was during opening week in April 2008 and the place was bustling. We didn’t get a table in the dining room but instead we sat on stools at a bar-like area outside the dining room. The menu was limited but considering they had just opened we thought we should cut them some slack.  We have been back for a drink in the evening, but hadn’t returned to eat until recently.

This time we got a table in the dining room and the menu was considerably bigger, but we don’t feel the quality of the food lives up to the price. For starters we had the Beetroot Soup and Melon and Parma Ham. The soup wasn’t very hot (although it didn’t seem to be officially a cold soup) but the Melon and Ham was great. We both ordered the Rib Eye steak which came with a tin pot of chips for £17. The steak was definitely not good enough quality to be charging that much for and the chips were a bit hard. To spare our waistlines and pocketbooks, we passed on dessert.

I’m not sure I’d go back for food, but its definitely a nice place to go for a drink. The bar service is prompt and the cider is cold.

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Vildsvin

Ferran, 38
Barri Gotic
08002 Barcelona
93 317 94 07
Map

Where we should have gone for dinner….

We happened upon Vildsvin after our experience at Ateneu Gastronomic. We were looking for some dessert and a drink to recover from our unpleasant meal. Vildsvin has a clean modern style and looked to be much more our sort of place. There probably would have been a wait for a table for supper earlier, but this is the place we should have gone for dinner. We ordered the Chocolate Mousse, which was dreamy, and the Biscuit a la Creme, which was also exquisite. We enjoyed the selection of foreign beers upstairs in the less formal eating area, but there is also a quieter more formal dining room downstairs. And perhaps best of all, one of the tapas on the menu is a slice from a 120kg Bologna sausage which stands just inside the door.

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