Siany's Qype reviews
82 Leather Lane, Clerkenwell, London EC1N 7TR
Siany wrote on 29 June 2011
More often than not, I am a beer drinker. For all the writing I do about cocktails and gin, this surprises people. But cocktails are expensive and beers tastes nice.
And so, in a bid to drink all of the beer in London, I wangled an invite to the Craft Beer opening. I 'm staggered by how many beers you can get behind one bar. I think I tried about 20 different beers last night. That does not make for a clear head the next morning.
If I recall, Craft have 16 kegs and 20 casks, as well as 300 bottled beers. That's a staggering amount. Tom, the manager, has assured me that all 37 taps will be running all the time. If you've ever been to a pub with an impressive selection of beers, only to find half of them off, you'll be quite excited by this point. The beers range from £3.40 to £65. These guys take their ale seriously. And their spirits too - I spied a couple of bottles of Sipsmith gin.
The pub itself is quite standard (but do look up at the fancy mirrored ceiling). I don't remember what was here before. But that's an issue with this place being on Leather Lane. Clerkenwell is known for its decent pubs, but I wonder if this one is just a little too tucked away. Staff are friendly and helpful, but they've got a lot to remember (it is in fact written on the back of the taps to help them out). They could not have been more lovely, actually. Props especially to Ray for being the friendliest barman in all of London.
They don't have a kitchen here, so no gastro type food. But they're doing an excellent line in Scotch eggs and pork pies. Fancy things, they are. And much better than crisps.
I don't think the bar will be without its issues - if you don't like ale, even with the rest of the drinks on offer, I don't think you'd come here. The staff are going have a helluva job with so many drinks on offer, and I'm curious to see if that many beers on tap can be kept up. And I do think they'll have trouble being in such a quiet street, a few minutes from any other decent pub.
But with that, is a cute venue with a lot of great beer, decent food and friendly staff. I love it here and really want them to do well. They open tonight, go and pay them a visit.
27 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RN
Siany wrote on 20 June 2011
I don't get it. I really really don't get it. Maybe it's because I didn't have coffee (it was a million degrees outside), but after reading the Qype reviews I was expecting to fall in love on the spot, and actually, I was happy to leave. It's just not particularly welcoming.
And the strange thing is, the staff try so hard to be welcoming. It's a bit fake to be honest. It was a strange afternoon - they were almost closing, there was some filming going on. There was about eight members of staff and three customers. I don't like that you can't see what soft drinks there are, I don't like that they don't tell you that you need to spend over £5 on your card. The person I was meeting had to pay for my drink. I don't like that they charged me £2.40 for a CAN of lemonade.
And as cool as the place looks (all industrial and stripped back), I think it's just a bit too cool for school. The staff are trying so hard, but they're not perma-happy and it grated with me a bit. Don't ask me how I am and then walk away. That's just rude.
Maybe I came at the wrong time, maybe I should have come for coffee and breakfast. But there's a lot of cafes in the area, so I probably won't be rushing to come back. But I might get a takeaway coffee just to see what the fuss is about.
49-50 St John's Square, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 4JJ
Siany wrote on 11 April 2011
It's almost worth my moving out of London so I have an excuse to stay here more often. The Zetter Townhouse is a beautiful boutique hotel and frankly, I'm smitten. With everything about the place. Even the striped carpet has me getting excited, and now I want stripes everywhere. And the furniture from the rooms is all beautiful. The headboards are made from parts of an old carousel. Colourful, charming and so much fun.
Other room highlights? Well our room has a bath in it (there's still a shower in the swanky bathroom). Next to the bed, all surrounded by black marble. So chic. Wooden beams from an old four-poster finished the look (although bubble bath would have been nice). There's also a great mini bar, with little bottles of the Zetter's own range of bitters. They've had them created especially, and they'll send up a cocktail kit if you ring down to the bar. But you don't have to! Because they've also got four ready made cocktails in little bottles for you. How cute. I nicked one to try tonight. There's also an antique wireless radio, that's been modified. You'll still get radio and it still works, but it'll also play and charge your iPod too. Clever, no? Rubbish hairdryer though. Seriously, my tangled curls today are proof of that.
The service is friendly, and there's no actual reception area, which is really nice actually. It feels friendly and intimate. The bar serves up some great cocktails (although the emphasis is on the sweet, which isn't my preferred cocktail taste) and they're all £8.50. I tried a nettle gimlet, which was surprisingly tasty - nettle cordial is yummy, who knew? Clerkenwell is full of modern bars (even the Zetter over the road is all shiny), the Townhouse Bar is still chic, but it's old school. And sexy with it. You'd come here for sneaky romantic chats. It's open already (the official opening is the 18th), although you'll have to be searching for it. But all the best bars are like that.
It's unlikely I'll get many opportunities to stay in the hotel (and I was here as a guest, I didn't pay for my overnight stay or my cocktails), but I'd jump at the chance to. And the cocktail bar? I've just found a new favourite Clerkenwell bar to play in. The list of awesome bars in this area is long, and this one is now at the top. Take me back, please?
86-88 Clerkenwell Road, London EC1M 5RJ
Siany wrote on 15 February 2011
I've not eaten here, but last night I visited this bar TWICE. That's how good it is (although not recommended on Valentine's Day - it looks like you've had two dates in one night, classy). Still, if you're meeting me in Clerkenwell for drinks, expect me to be perched at the bar.
I was celebrating new job goodness so met a Clerkenwell dwelling Qyper for celebration drinks. Excellent bellini, friendly (silly) staff and an awesome atmosphere. This is a trendy, happy restaurant. Swish, without being up it's own arse. The cocktails do creep up into pricey (as I discovered later in the evening), but I've paid more for worse. Actually, a bar this nice charging £6 for a glass of decent bubbly will always get the thumbs up from me.
After dinner with the boy, we decided to pop back for a drink and then one turned into two. I tried a sazarac (rye whiskey, brandy, absinth), which was one of the best cocktails I've had in London. All served with a smile. The boy had some weird basil concoction that kinda looked like pesto. But, he liked it so that's OK.
Sticking to the cheap drinks isn't easy here ("what's a couple more pounds, it's Tanqueray 10 gin, why not?") but that's the difference between a £40 bar tab and a £25 one. But if I've got some celebrating to do, I'll be back here. In fact, I'll probably find any excuse I can.
26-28 Ray Street, London EC1R 3DJ
Siany wrote on 10 January 2011
The problem with Farringdon (where as you can tell by my reviews, I find myself in at least twice a week), is that everything shuts at the weekend. I've very nearly ended up in the Coach and Horses so many times, but something always gets in the way. These somethings tend to be the Gunmakers around the corner, and it being shut. BUT! We discovered that the opened for lunch on a Sunday and hot-footed it there for my friend's post-birthday party roast dinner.
Well, that was the plan. Because I drank too much bourbon the night before, I changed my food order at the very last minute. No roast dinner for me! Oh no. A salad. A celeriac salad instead of Yorkshire puddings. I suck at Sunday food. Luckily, we also sampled one of the famed Scotch eggs and they were worth all the reviews below. FABULOUS. And my salad was incredibly tasty (despite it only being leaves and Stilton, which was a weird lunch choice, I'll admit). I did sample the roast potatoes from my friend's plate (nay, chopping board) and they were fantastic. Stupid hangover.
I like the pub, the staff are friendly, the bric a brac is fun. The maps of London from the mid-19th century are fantastic (Tower Bridge wasn't even built then, the map looks weird without it). I didn't feel the food was too pricey. I want more Scotch eggs.
The only thing that stops them getting five stars is them charging £3.95 for a pint of Landlord. Really rather unimpressed with that. I'll go back, but I'll go back for the food. I'm not paying £4 for a pint.
34-35 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX
Siany wrote on 4 January 2011 (updated on 10 January 2011)
Update Despite having a really lovely time here, on both occasions I've visited, their organisation skills leave a lot to be desired and I've changed my rating to three stars. Not only did they do a great job of screwing up my friend's birthday booking. Despite us going in and confirming more than once - I was with him the last time - they still had no recollection of his booking. Not impressed. Add to the fact that some of the ale were off on a Saturday evening again, and I'm not as taken as I was the first time I popped in. You'll have fun if you go, but I wouldn't choose to make it a 'destination' Shame, as it could be kinda awesome. Update
I popped in here recently for a quick pint whilst dinner was bubbling away and I like it. it's at the end of Clerkenwell where there isn't much competition (save for the Bell which is just down the road), but as you're only ever a street away from a decent pub in the area, you've got to be good, otherwise you'll wind up empty, and then you'll wind up closed down.
Luckily, the Slaughtered Lamb is good. Friendly (undoubtedly pretty) barmaid and a decent selection of beer. I've since discovered that I prefer IPA on cask not draught, but that's not exactly shocking news. And despite the name, we're definitely in bar territory here. There's nothing pubbish about it.
They do food, they've got a room downstairs you can hire too. The only bad things? There were children and I really don't like children in pubs. And the bunch of loud city boys were so loud they were deafening the entire room, and it's a pretty big room. But that's not the fault of the bar, which I really rather like. I'll be adding this place to the list of pubs I like in Clerkenwell, and hoping that next time the city boys stay in Smithfield where they're supposed to.
9 Jerusalem Passage, London EC1V 4JP
Siany wrote on 1 October 2010
This is a fabulous little bar. But I'm blaming them for my accidental hangover. It's one of the only times I've thought that alcohol percentages should be properly displayed.
I had two or three drinks there earlier this week. Only little tiny beers. By the time we reached our next destination I was trollied. I can actually hold my beer better than most girly girls, so this was a bit of a shock. Until I discovered I was drinking an 8.5% beer and had no idea. Hehe! Fun though. And it's done nothing to quash my like of the place.
It was busy, but cosy rather than rammed. The food was good (well, the chips were, we found ourselves looking longingly at the plates of mussels at the next table). A round is cheap, at £14 for four drinks. I like like like all of these things. Staff aren't hugely helpful because there's so many beers and so much choice. Asking for a beer is complicated, but they do have menus. Unfortunately beer menus aren't ever as comprehensive as wine menus and I could be ordering anything. Like an 8.5% beer.
But I like it. It's a great little bar and I'm pleased I've tried a new venue in Clerkenwell. I'll be back here. I'll eat all of their food and get accidentally drunk and be accidentally hungover the next day. And I'll probably enjoy every single minute of it. Again. Yay.
171 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3AL
Siany wrote on 4 December 2009
When Chris says "Would I go back? Sure, but I wouldn’t be the one suggesting it.", I think he sums up this place perfectly.
I feel a bit bad for Little Bay - two doors up from London's 'first' gastro pub The Eagle, directly over the road from fabulous eaterie The Chop House, but just a tad too far down the road to miss out on any passing trade from Exmouth Market.
But that doesn't mean my meal wasn't good. Far from it. The pigs cheek starter was yummy. I've never had pigs cheek before, and it's something that I've always been wary about. Honestly, had I been in a more expensive restaurant I probably wouldn't have ordered it. But it was tasty, tender and yummy. With a few more bits on the plate it could easily have been a main. My friend's deep fried gouda was good too - but it's deep fried cheese, that's always going to taste good.
Rib eye main was yum, but no waiting about - speedy service is one thing, but I like the little wait inbetween courses! My companion's lamb was very tender and he was happy.
Nothing caught our eye on the dessert menu, so we paid up and left. The bill was a tad more expensive than I'd expected - about £25 a head I think which seemed a bit steep considering we'd barely drunk anything. There's just something about it that stops it being a top notch restaurant. There's nothing wrong with it, but I'm not itching to go back. There are places in Farringdon that I'm itching to go back to, and they'll always win.
But they did write a handwritten "thank you" on the bill and that made me smile when I found it the next day.
84 Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4QY
Siany wrote on 2 November 2009
Surprisingly impressed with this restaurant. After realising that it was gone 2pm on a Sunday and my friend and I hadn't eaten yet, we went for a stroll. There are very few restaurants we haven't tried in Farringdon and we walked up Exmouth Market to see if we'd missed any newcomers. When we got to the end, we landed outside La Porchetta.
And the pizzas were fantastic. The menu is enourmous, so expect to spend a good ten minutes deciding what you want (and then spotting something else tasty just after you've ordered). My friend had an anchovy and caper pizza with some of the most owesome capers I've tried on top. I have a parma ham and mushroom thing, but with salami and olives. That salami was fantastic. Strong, interesting flavour. The perfect pizza topping.
The pizza base was fab, thin crust, but still stodgy (perfect hangover food) and the crust wasn't charred within an inch of its life. I can't fault fab pizzas that won't even fit on the plate and cost less than a tenner.
But it's not a very comfortable building. It's huge and airy, but that makes it more like a school canteen than anything. It's not exactly warm and inviting.
Despite that, I was all ready to give them five stars - I couldn't fault them. But then when it came to getting the bill, they took a good ten--fifteen minutes to actually take our payment. It wasn't busy, we'd put our cards on the little tray, they faffed about doing not very much. I hate that - it's not like they don't know we want to pay when we've just asked for the bill. It didn't ruin the meal, but it annoyed me out of giving them five stars.
13 Eyre Street Hill, London EC1R 5ET
Siany wrote on 21 October 2009
This pub is actually set to knock the Fox and Achor of my "top pubs in Farringdon" list. I didn't think anything would do that. It's so fab that I've shifted my birthday plans so they kick off her next month.
What's so great about it? Well it's like a little secret for a start which is fun. But it's so warm and friendly when you go in. It's nice to see a landlord who is so happy to be at work. And i have it good authority that he occasionally has to be carried upstairs. Hehehe.
The ale I had was really good (can't remember the name, it was pale though) and they let me try a very generous measure beforehand. Lovely. We only stayed for one drink while our spag bol was bubbling away, but it really is the kind of place you could spend all night. And probably be very squiffy when you leave.
The punters are friendly, and the staff were charming when they asked if we'd move to a smaller table. They serve food (which we're going to try on my birthday) and it looks like fancy pub grub. There's not enough pretention for this place to be a gastro pub, but something tells me that the food will be just as good as one.
If you haven't been, and you like your ale, I urge you to come here. It's the perfect pub, and even better now the weather is getting a bit chillier.
Go! Go now!