I'm tikichris from London. I've been Qyping since 21-12-2007
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Chalder Farm, Sidlesham, Chichester, West Sussex PO20 7RN
Oh man. Ice cream. I mean reaaaaally good ice cream. I had this "hand made, luxury" version from West Sussex over the weekend at a party and must admit that I craved for more after even a very generous helping. The vanilla was just about right for my tastes and the hokey pokey (caramel with honeycomb) was definitely moreish (as in I wished I'd had some more!).
Caroline's won a Sussex Food and Drink Award for 2010/11, which I reckon is a big deal. I actually met Caroline herself at the party (she scooped my ice cream) and she certainly seemed chuffed for the recognition. Ice cream in England is a hit or miss affair for my taste buds. It's nice to now know of another quality producer (of only a very few that I'm aware of).
The Lido on the Serpentine, Hyde Park, London W2 2UH
I had a very lovely late brekkie here this sunny summery morning. Eggs Benedict: nicely poached eggs, decent English muffins, delicious ham. Sadly the hollandaise sauce was a bit too lemony and sweet but I left a clean plate anyway. An Americano was good too - just wished they'd had iced coffee options (but no biggie). The bill came to just under £10 ... which given the location and the quality of the meal, I reckon was good value. I'd go back again for a quick repast during another morning of playing in the park ... and that's the appeal: good enough food in a pretty place.
My only real complaint was that there just wasn't enough shade. I was happy to sit outside with the ducks and swans swimming back in the Serpentine - an ideal setting just not ideal for dining. Of course, I could have gone inside but that would have been very beside the al fresco point.
57 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4EA
Perfectly 'just okay' but priced right, and if you're on the dash this place can really come in handy. That was my Pepe experience anyway a couple of Saturday's ago when I was geared up for taking in as much leisure time as possible.
The state of pizza in London's come a long way even in the eight or so years I've lived here - and having moved here from New York, aside from a few gems here and there, I've had difficulty dining on London style pizza without being completely underwhelmed or worse.
I don't reckon Pepe to be one of these few gems, but I wasn't underwhelmed. Most pieces of pizza at this newly opened pizzeria cost around £4.50 … and they are massive. A bit on the greasy side with not enough salsa for my tastes, a slice of sausage and mushroom pizza pleased me well enough and my friend's slice of the Florentine (with an egg on top, baked to perfection) was pretty good too. I wouldn't recommend a special visit just to indulge (there are definitely yummier options nearby) but if on-the-go and need a quick and filling bite, Pepe's definitely worth a go.
30 Gerrard Street, London W1D 6JS
KUNG PO FROGS' LEGS is the sort of menu item that excites the heck out of me ... but I've learned from all the aghast (although usually politely so) looks of disgust that the vast majority of people don't like eating frogs.
If you do happen to frogs' legs then age old Chinatown standby, Royal Dragon, has the goods. And if you don't, well the menu's full of much more mundane dishes. It's a bit hit or miss deep fried soft shell crab with salt and chilli is gorgeous. Sesame prawn toast, not so much. Even if you're just popping in for a simple stir fry (the mixed seafood stir fry is tasty) or fried rice, the menu makes a fun peruse: duck’s tongue, steak, mango pudding?
They've got bubble teas too!
Service is fine and really speedy. Prices are okay: around £4-5 for starters and under or around £10 for most mains.
Lots of restaurants in Chinatown. Some of them suck. Royal Dragon isn't one of those; it's good.
143 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F 8WA
Yep. LIke Judith mentioned in her lovely review I was also a lucky duck invitee to the press launch as well. Paul and co create and sell some of the best chocolate in London (and maybe the world) and opening up Soho flagship seems like a no brainer to me (from both the business and consumer's perspective).
Gorgeous sea salted caramels, love/hate Marmite truffles, a new seasonal range of truffles including tomato, basil and olive oil, orange and tarragon, wild strawberry, balsamic and black pepper and lots more chocolaty innovations await. But don’t worry, it’s not all about the weird and wonderful. You can still get a killer classic brownie (best in London I reckon) or simple bar of chocolate.
And even more drool-worthy:
Everything in shop is hand made with the vast majority of treats created in the shop’s downstairs kitchen, with Paul et al eschewing preservatives and additives in preference of fresh herbs and spices, organic pure distilled essential oils and fresh fruits.
38 Curzon Street, Mayfair, London W1J 7TY
You go and do even the most mundane of things in Mayfair and realize, “Wow. It's really nice here”. Or at least that's what happens when I find myself just going about ordinary life in this slice of upscale London.
Catching a movie at the Curzon's a good example of what I'm trying to convey. I've been to this cinema a couple of times. They feature a good line up of films and the seats are super comfy and spacious. The bar's a bit better stocked than most, and it (along with the lobby) is actually a gorgeous example of mid century interiors (I love the sculpted muraled, wall lining the way to the marbled toilets. Yeah, at the end of the day it's just a cinema – simply a cut above what I've come to expect from the vast majority of cinemas in this town. And fortunately, unlike much on offer in Mayfair, the prices are the same as pretty much any other London screening room.
44 Dean Street, London W1D 4QD
Here's what I said back in 09 about Cay Tre's original location on Old Street: "Best Vietnamese in London? Maybe." I reckon the same could now apply to the restaurant's new Dean Street location.
A starter course of grilled calamari with okra rocked, especially the “grilled bit” as there was just enough char to the bacon-y chunks of squid to have me daydreaming of exotic barbeques in balmier climes. And my main course, of Lang Son spinning roast Tamworth pork belly (stuffed with sweet curry leaves from northern Vietnam’s Lang Son province, roasted with lemon and honey then served with dried shrimp chilli oil) was one of the more delicious and intriguing pork dishes I’ve devoured in a very long time. Both starter and main were fiery yet held delicate flavours. Since my visit, I've heard from a few friends they're not that impressed. I must admit though I really enjoyed dining here and only regret was that I wasn't with a big group of foodies keen to order and share a variety of dishes (but I will be back!).
If you like the Old Street Cay Tre, I can only imagine you'll approved of the new Soho version as well. And if you love Vietnamese food but for whatever reason found Old Street’s ambience or menu lacking, it might be worth your while to check out this new and more centrally located Cay Tre. The design and feel of the place is a little slicker and a lot airier than the original while the menu presents a fresher, spruced up take on Vietnamese cuisine.
72 Chalk Farm Road, Chalk Farm, London NW1 8AN
I attended a Bloggers Lobster Quiz night at Belgo last night at Belgo Noord. I ate plenty of delicious lobster (and frites and waffles too!), drank a few different Belgian beers and generally had a very good time.
I've been to Belgo Centraal (Belgo's mammoth Covent Garden location) on a number of occasions, but this was my first visit to their Chalk Farm restaurant. Opened in 1992, Belgo Noord was the first in the Belgo chain. I was pleased to see (and taste!) it's on par with the Covent Garden Belgo.
The quiz itself was a blast. I learned all sorts of useful info about lobsters. Did you know the lobster's preferred sexual position is missionary? Well, ya do now. It was a smart way to introduce Lobsterfest (all through June) as well. I reckon if you're looking for an affordable opportunity to make a mess cracking into a yummy creature - Belgo's the best value for money option in town.
My general experience has been that the Belgo restaurants do a bang up job ensuring a decent meal, an impressive range of great beer and an overall pleasant - if kinda hokey - casual dining experience. It's worth noting that with its large tables, high ceilings and somewhat open planned seating area, the venue was conducive for last night's event (there were about 20 of us). Keep it in mind.
St. Katharine's Way, Tower Hamlets, London E1W 1LA
Looking for a sunny day spot to meander or simply chill out? It would be hard to beat St Katharine Docks: on the river with excellent views of Tower Bridge with moored boats bobbling and sunlight twinkling on the ripples.
There's a wealth of pubs and restos nearby (mostly of the meh variety but some good ones can be found) as well as the Tower of London and the continuation of the Thames Path.
Photo opportunities abound in this very London-y and fairly central place that seems nevertheless to be removed from the fray of London life.
49 Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 5BG
Great little pub with a French vibe. Go for the crisp Breton cider and the weird amalgamation of old photos adorning the just this side of decrepit walls.
Be warned about the bar staff though! There at least one surly bartender there. It'd be great to think it was part of the boozer's Gallic vibe, but unfortunately this lass is British. Oh well.
Anyway, the Dean Street addy ensure elbow rubbing. So expect this place to be packed most open hours. This makes for mild annoyances but also fantastic eavesdropping opportunities as you sit and sip your cider.
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