I'm orpheus25 from London. I've been Qyping since 09-11-2008
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19 Regent Street, London SW1Y 4LR
Seeing a film in the west end can be a slightly risky business. It’s expensive and can get very busy. Some cinemas go by quantity over quality.
The Apollo opened as a sort of 'luxury’ cinema. The idea was that you could book your reclining seat, and have a drink beforehand and even bring it into the theatre with you. Obviously they charge a slight premium.
Even quite a few years later, that business model has quite obviously worked. Having had a few cinema experiences involving long queues to get a good seat (one where I had optimal view rather than a comfortable time), I am more than happy to pay a couple more quid to reserve my seat. The screens are a good size, the seats do recline, there is loads of legroom. You can bring booze into the film with you. There is a proper bar. The toilets are LOVELY. There is a nice seating area if you want to wait before going into the film.
Sometimes it really is a case of 'you get what you pay for’. If I really have to see a film in the west end, this is one of the two cinemas I’d prefer to go to.
189 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9ES
Just come back from a rather pleasant dinner here at Biagios.
I usually avoid eating too close to Piccadilly as it’s a bit of a tourist hotspot but I was watching a movie at the Appollo and wanted to have some food fairly nearby. And something non asian for a bit of a change :)
This place seems to have several floors - the ground floor is some sort of bar/cafe, with a restaurant on the first floor. The decor is fairly modern, with comfortable chairs and a cosy feel. The staff and very friendly, and very italian, which is always quite good for an italian restaurant I guess!
I ate a starter of asparagus and parma ham from the specials menu which was well cooked and very nice. Portion size was just right. My main was the linguine with langoustines - perfectly seasoned, the sauce was very very good indeed.
So the food was good, we had a very reasonably priced bottle of Valpolicella, and complimentary bread and olives. We weren’t rushed at all through our meal, and the food came with perfect timing. Oh yes, and there were quite a few italian customers having their dinner too.
All in all, we had a lovely meal and I would definitely go back there again.
559-561 Cranbrook Road, London IG2 6JZ
I wouldn’t trek all the way to Gants Hill to have dinner here, but if you’re nearby, there is worse you can do than to stop here for some decent Chinese food.
This place is kind of my local dim sum joint - on the days that my family can’t be bothered to go into town, we stop here. It caters for both chinese and western tastes - you can have the usual crispy aromatic duck, sweet and sour etc etc or you can even enjoy some pretty decent dim sum. My family have even had a traditional chinese wedding banquet here.
It’s not especially expensive (at least, not dim sum anyway) and the decor is fairly traditional and tasteful. Service is polite and friendly.
Ariel Way, Shepherds Bush, London W12 7GF
I was pretty sceptical about the idea of yet another big shopping centre - and to be honest, the hype on the news and the frankly rubbish adverts did nothing to help.
Still, on this miserable day in London I wanted to go out and didn’t really know where so it was off to Shepherds Bush to check out the new kid on the block.
It’s certainly convenient, even if I have to go all the way across London on the tube (I live in east london) - the shopping centre is parked right next to the tube.
It’s also huge, outside and in. We ambled along the outside, wondering at the massive restaurants with interesting names. Some new, some not so new. Looks quite trendy, I was thinking although the huge queues weren’t so appealing.
I was hungry as it was lunchtime, but not hungry enough to queue for that long.
Inside, it’s a vast open space pleasantly decked out with lights and more lights and shiny baubles. There are fancy seats where you can rest and watch the people go by. There are fancy touchscreen terminals to work out where you are and where you want to go. There is a pleasant mix of boutique type shops as well as the high street ones we all know and love. It’s almost like Oxford St, Carnaby St and Covent Garden rolled into one.
I especially liked the eateries. Nary a McDonalds, KFC or Spud U Like in sight. Well, there is a Nandos I guess. Still, there are lots of attractive options available - Square Pie, Pho (vietnamese), Ooze (risotto), TiffinBites, and even Dim Sum! (guaranteed to get my attention then).
The downsides. It is still a big machine of commercialism. It is also CROWDED. Even on a Friday when most people should be at work.
The thing is though, that if you need to go shopping, you want to be able to do it in pleasant surroundings, with everything conveniently accessible that doesn’t involve trekking around the west end, that doesn’t involve getting wet if it’s raining, where you don’t have to contend with cars, taxis and buses and other commuters. As other people have said, it means you don’t have to go to Oxford Street - which can only ever be a good thing in my opinion.. Pity there isn’t a Selfridges :)
111A Great Russell Street, Bloomsbury, London SW1P 3JX
Kobe Jones is now called Hakuba. I think it was renamed to Kobe before this but the decor and food have not changed even though the name has.
Hakuba sits on a slightly unglamourous street (which is probably why the windows are mostly blacked out) but the decor is sleek and modern, with low ambient lighting and lovely dark wooden tables which I love. They also have cosy booths which you have to book.
The food is most definitely the highlight - it is good quality, and the menu has some familiar japanese dishes as well as some more interesting ones such as baked papaya with scallops and prawns. The sushi is very good - we tried the niji and tempura maki rolls which were delicious. For mains we had an interesting combination of aged beef fillet with wasabi mash and ribs in a rich, creamy sauce that reminded me of egg mayonnaise with a hint of mustard? Tasty nonetheless.
Unfortunately, Hakuba also had some lowlights. Firstly, the service. I can only describe it as extremely slow and perhaps a bit disorganised. Our waitress was polite enough, if not exactly attentive. Our drinks took forever to arrive, though the bar wasn’t all that busy.
Secondly, the price. It’s not cheap for sure. For 2 starters, 2 mains and a bowl of edamame peas the food came to around £50. Add a couple of cocktails and a 12.5% service charge, we left just under £100 poorer.
If you fancy japanese in a trendy setting, or you want something more interesting than chicken katsu curry, then visit Hakuba - but make sure you look around to see if you can get a deal first..
114-118 Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, London WC1B 5AA
I wouldn’t normally review chain restaurants but I suppose that it’s always good to know which ones stand out particularly in a good or bad way.
I had a spot of lunch here yesterday after a class nearby.
This branch is very pleasantly decorated, and it’s quite large. Lots of warm colours and wood.
The waiters were pleasant, and smiled often. The service was quick but not rushed. I ordered one of the new Theo Randall pizzas - it was delicious!! I am sometimes a bit hesitant about Pizza Express on Sundays where it’s not a busy area - the food/vegetables aren’t always that fresh I find but the rocket on my pizza could have been freshly picked! I was so pleased I even ordered Tiramisu for dessert, which was very nice indeed.
I would definitely recommend this branch of Pizza Express if you are in the area.
39 Gerrard Street, London W1D 5QD
I went to Ikkyusan the other day after a great standup night near Piccadilly - it was freezing cold and we wanted something to warm our stomachs. Chinatown is quite often a good option if it’s late and you want a quick bite to eat, it was 10pm on a Saturday night as you know the service will usually be quite fast.
Ikkyusan is a 3 storey restaurant in the middle of Gerrard Street. On the ground floor, they serve up traditional chinese food (possibly dim sum and maybe a bit of thai?). The first floor is done out in a japanese style with tatami (not sure if it’s the real deal). You can eat japanese there, obviously. Finally, the third floor is where you go to for hotpot.
Hotpot - also known in japanese as shabu-shabu involves sitting around a pan of boiling soup stock and cooking your own dinner from a selection of raw meats, fish and vegetables. You throw everything into the soup and fish it out before chowing it down with a number of sauces they give you, including a home made chilli sauce. The meat is sliced very thinly, so it cooks very quickly. The soup can usually also be drunk, although it was somewhat flavourless this time for me.
Their ordering system always seems a bit complicated for me, as you can pick and mix the meat and soups so I usually go for the set meal at £18.80 per head. It sounds quite a lot, and it probably is, for Chinatown but you do get a LOT of food.
Service is variable. There was a huge party there on Saturday so the waiters were a bit rushed off their feet but they were polite enough.
For something slightly different - do check out the hotpot floor in Ikkyusan. I can’t speak for the food on any of the other floors but I can definitely say I always walk out full and satisfied after hotpot.
150 Bethnal Gn Road, Bethnal Green, London E2 6DG
I always think that there is no better recommendation for a restaurant than to see a truckload of locals coming out of it almost every night. Indian families, 3 generations.
That’s what drove me to try this indian restaurant not too far from Brick Lane.
I was very pleasantly surprised. Maida in fact, serves Indo-Chinese food. And very nice it is too, though I always somehow choose the options that are slightly too spicy for me. Their marinated lamb chops are glorious, but enough to blow my head off. The curries are delicious, fresh and not greasy. It is not a licensed restaurant so what they have done is to introduce a range of tasty mocktails and - wait for it - milkshakes.. Choose from a selection such as Kinder Bueno, Maltesar and so on. If it’s sweet and fits in the blender it’s probably on the menu. Who needs alcohol when you can have a fresh milkshake with a chocolate bar in it?
They also serve very nice lassis there too, for when your tongue is on fire :)
So all in all, a very pleasant family-friendly restaurant that serves good food with reasonable prices. Highly recommended.
Liverpool Street, London EC2M 7PN
I love this place! If you are tired of Pret sarnies and fed up of boring salads for lunch in the city, pop in here for a fix of chicken katsu curry or salmon teriyaki. It’s not especially cheap for lunch I guess, but the portions are large and it’s tasy and filling. I used to treat myself if I felt like I needed some comfort food. Asta also serves up sandwiches and salads too but really, the gem is their hot counter at the back. You can also buy interesting japanese snacks too, and small sushi selections. (don’t remember being that impressed with those though).
13-15 West Street, Leicester Square, London WC2H 9NQ
It has been a while since I went here, but I might as well review it as I know I will never be back.
On the surface level, this restaurant has many many things going for it. The decor is opulent and has this expensive aura oozing from it. (Though I do agree with the other review that it does resemble a giant bento box) The food, is actually very remarkable. Like tiny mouthfuls of perfection. I distinctly remember the clams, with their garlicky cheezy goodness. Only I also remember that we only got 5. That’s five clams, the size of a toffee penny. I ordered the langoustine, it was presented beautifully on a stick. One langoustine. For about £10. It was delicious, but I had to share it. £5 for the perfect mouthful of battered prawn. I remember the waiter (very polite) explaining the menu. There were different portion sizes, so we ordered 2 or 3 of each size thinking it would be enough. The food turned up, the largest actually being the equivalent of what I’d expect from a starter - only it cost more than what I would normally pay for a main. The smallest left me wondering if I was going to have to go to Mcdonalds afterwards.
I am no stranger to fine dining and have no qualms about paying for quality food but there is a line to be drawn. However famous Monsieur Robuchon is, or however many Michelin stars he has, does not warrant the eyewatering prices that is served up at the end of a meal here. I paid less for a whole lot more, and I don’t just mean the food portions, at a certain 3 michelin star restaurant on Royal Hospital Road.
Go here if you will, but make sure that whoever is going to be paying gets to see the menu first..
- London 21 reviews
- Soho, London 3 reviews
- Leicester Square, London 3 reviews
- City of London, London 3 reviews
- Bloomsbury, London 2 reviews
- Shoreditch, London 2 reviews
- Covent Garden, London 1 review
- Fitzrovia, London 1 review
- Bethnal Green, London 1 review
- Shepherds Bush, London 1 review
- Farringdon, London 1 review
- Mayfair, London 1 review
- St. James's, London 1 review