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Japanese restaurant Akasiro in Chinatown, London
Apr 13th, 2009 by Olivier

Japanese restaurant Akasiro
8 Little Newport Street, London WC2H 7JJ

Akasiro

Reviewed on Monday 13 April 2009 evening

The dining experience at the Marquess of Anglesey was so bad that we needed to finish the evening on a better mood so we went to the regular Akasiro :-) This time we went in the basement as all tables were full on the ground level. The restaurant was quite busy, refusing people as it became full even downstairs. The design downstairs changed a lot compared to what it was when the restaurant was called Zipangu. It is much better now.

As it was our second dinner we ate “light” by just ordering two tempura udon and a green tea. The tea was really good and the tempura udon great as usual, and very spicy as we abused of the chilli powder. For more details about the Akasiro, please go to the list of restaurants by alphabetical order since it has been reviewed many times.

Green tea

Green tea

The hot tempura udon

The hot tempura udon

Tempura udon

Tempura udon

Cost and conclusion: for £18.50 the value for money is good, and more important, the food is great!

Akasiro (was Zipangu) on Urbanspoon

Marquess of Anglesey restaurant, 39 Bow Street, Covent Garden, London
Apr 13th, 2009 by Olivier

Marquess of Anglesey restaurant
39 Bow Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 7AU

Marquess of Anglesey

Reviewed on Monday 13 April 2009 evening

Covent Garden

Covent Garden

Marquess of Anglesey

Marquess of Anglesey

View from the restaurant

View from the restaurant

The Marquess of Anglesey is well located in Covent Garden next to the Royal Opera House and also next to Market Quarter store where you can get wonderful French food like foie gras… The restaurant is located just above the pub. It is nicely designed, and there is some welcome space between tables.
We ordered a roast loin of pork served with roast potatoes, vegetables, and apple sauce (£11.95) and a 8oz exmoor beef burger served in a soft bun with homemade red onion relish and chips with cheese/bacon (£10.25). There are other interesting meals like a free range Devonshire chicken breast roasted with slow cooked red pepper, onions and tomatoes (£11.50), a 28 days aged 8oz exmoor rump steak with portobello mushroom, grilled tomato and chips and pepper corn or béarnaise sauce (£14.95), a goat’s cheese and tomato tart with green salad and pesto dressing (£8.25), a Scottish salmon pan seared on warm potato and chive salad with basil and pine nut dressing (£10.95) or the more regular Fresh fish in Young’s beer batter with chips and mushy peas (£10.50) and Specialty british sausage and mash served with red onion gravy (£9.25).
The roast loin of pork was crap. The slices of pork were wafer thin and tasteless. The vegetables were pre-cooked and quite likely out of a can. The burger was bad… You would think for over £10 you would get a decent burger but no, it was overcooked (see the close up photo below) and for some reason extremely salty! Just as well we had ordered a bottle of an Argentinian red wine which was good (£19). The cheese on the burger was absolutely tasteless and the so-called soft bun was hard and dry. A cheeseburger at McDonalds is better. I was very disappointed by this place to the point we decided to eat again that evening at Akasiro for ending the day on a better mood before my trip to France.
Alta Vista Premium Malbec 2007

Alta Vista Premium Malbec 2007

 

Roast loin of pork

Roast loin of pork

8oz exmoor beef burger

8oz exmoor beef burger

Absolutely nasty!

Absolutely nasty!

Cost and conclusion: too bad the food isn’t great, unlike its location. The bill was a little over £46 (without the service) which is pretty expensive for what we had. The Ship Tavern in Holborn is a lot better pub to eat in. Actually there is no comparaison. The service was fine at least.

Marquess of Anglesey on Urbanspoon

The Ship Tavern in Holborn, London
Apr 12th, 2009 by Olivier

The Ship Tavern
12 Gate St, London, WC2A 3HP

The Ship Tavern

Reviewed Sunday 12 April 2009

The Ship Tavern in Holborn

The Ship Tavern in Holborn

This Sunday we decided to try a traditional pub after yesterday’s not so great experience. We went to the Ship Tavern pub in Holborn. It is close to Sir John Soane’s Museum and not far from Covent Garden. Like many pubs you can get fish & chips (haddock dipped in our homemade beer batter & served with chips, minted pea puree & homemade tartare sauce – £9.95), a Tavern burger (home-made 8oz beef burger with mature English cheddar, smoked bacon, chips & Bloody Mary ketchup – £9.55), a whole baked camembert (baked in its box & served with a chunk of crusty bread & a fig & chilli marmalade – £6.95) but also some less usual meal like the Doorstep sandwiches Fish finger (breaded cod goujons with homemade tartare & rocket leaves – £5.55) I promise to try next time I come here. We ordered roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, roasted vegetables with horseradish sauce (£12.95) and a Crisp Pork belly served with buttered mash potato, green beans, port gravy & spiced apple sauce (£9.95) and two beers (Budvar).

The roast beef was all right but it wasn’t hot enough and it was badly cut so it was quite tough. It was not overcooked. The Yorkshire pudding was very good, the roasted potatoes were well done too. The crisp pork belly was excellent! It has been a long time since have eaten a nice pork (it was at Botin restaurant in Madrid – considered to be the oldest restaurant in the world – where their beef was wonderful too. It just lacked some better sauce). The meat was tender and the skin nicely crispy. It was so good that I worry I might not have it done the same way next time I come back!

Roast beef

Roast beef

Crisp pork belly

Crisp pork belly

The two courses

The two courses

Cost and conclusion:  The lunch was excellent and all for £29.70. This was a very nice discovery and we plan to go there again!

The Ship Tavern on Urbanspoon

Buona Sera restaurant, Northcote Road, Clapham Junction, London
Apr 11th, 2009 by Olivier

Buona Sera (Italian restaurant)
22 Northcote Road,Clapham Junction, London, SW11 1NX

Buona Sera

Reviewed on Saturday 11 April

 

Buona Sera

Buona Sera

Buona Sera is located between Wandsworth common and Clapham Junction. The Northcote Road is full of restaurants we have to try! We have already been here once and were happy with the pizzas. This time we decided to try the full 3 courses. As starters we ordered Costino Piccante (pork spare ribs in spicy barbeque sauce – £6.80) and Funghi Ricotta (spinach and ricotta stuffed mushrooms, baked in tomato – £6.80). The Funghi Ricotta was good, tasty and plenty of ricotta cheese. The pork spare ribs were good and pretty hot. The sauce was spicy but way too sweet. The sauce looked familiar, like if it was coming from some already made cans.

Main Courses:  we had a Caciucco (fish and seafood, tomato, garlic and chilli casserole – £13.80) and an Anatra al Balsimico (pan fried duck breast with honey and balsimic vinegar, served with sauteed swedes – £12.80). The Caciucco was very average, nothing to remember about it. The duck breast was too strong for me, like it happens with some venison. I do like eating magrets etc so when I write strong, I really meant it! The sauce was too sweet but considering how strong the meat was, it was ok. I think it would have been better to have pan fried potatoes than swedes. We had a bottle of Chianti which was fine.

Dessert: we ordered a chocolate soufflé with vanilla icecream (£3.90) and a cheesecake with vanilla icecream with red fruit jam (£3.90). The chocolate soufflé was good, with a strong enough chocolate and the ice cream was a nice addition. The cheesecake was at least a real baked cheesecake and not the overprocessed sugar-laden muck but not great either.

 

Spicy BBQ ribs

Costino Piccante

Tomato

Funghi Ricotta

Duck with parsnips

Anatra al Balsimico

Seafood

Caciucco

Cake

Cheesecake

Ice cream

Chocolate soufflé

Cost and conclusion: for £70 (tips included) we expected better. It is better to stick to their pizzas. It is a pity because the restaurant design is quite nice and the staff are all right. Another downside is the restaurant can get pretty busy so noisy. You almost have to yell for just discussing.

Buona Sera on Urbanspoon

The County Arms Pub in Wandsworth Common, London
Apr 9th, 2009 by Olivier

The County Arms
345 Trinity Road
London
SW18 3SH
http://www.countyarms.co.uk

The County Arms

Reviewed on Thursday 9 April lunch time

The County Arms in Wandsworth

The County Arms in Wandsworth

The County Arms pub is located on the busy Trinity Road at the corner of Alma Terrace. It is facing the sports area of Wandsworth Common. It is a pretty large building and the setting inside is quite spacious and nicely furnished with large tables. We chose a table in the conservatory, to the rear of the building. It was not busy at all, but it was a Thursday lunchtime and I can imagine the place well crowded on Friday evening or during the weekend with all the families going to the park next door.

As starters we ordered potted chicken liver pate with toasted bread (£5.50) and toasted goat’s cheese on a beetroot and potato salad (£5.25). The goat cheese was quite good, generously sized. It was on top of a potato salad which had a good amount of onions which complemented the goat cheese nicely. The potato salad was chilled, it would have been better at room temperature. The goat cheese was hot of course. The beetroot salad has a spicy mustard sauce. The chicken liver was great, smooth and not overpowering. I just wished to have a little more bread, which was excellent too by the way.

 

The toasted goat's cheese

The toasted goat's cheese

Potted chicken liver pate

Potted chicken liver pate

For main courses we had a lamb shank with roasted potatoes and green beans (£9.95) which was their BBQ special for the day and a cumberland sausage with creamy mash and caramelised onion gravy (£8.50). The red wine was a good Le Sanglier Carignan 2007 (£15.45) which went well with the meals we had. The lamb shank was good, it could have been seasoned a little more but that’s not a major complaint. The gravy was not obviously from a packet unlike in many pubs… The potatoes were not fantastic, they were probably pre-roasted and then nuked. They were hot but not crispy. The sausages were fine and the creamy mash good too. It is not a top meal naturally but it was exactly what I expected and wanted in a pub. I was very hungry as you can tell.

 

Lamb shank

Lamb shank

Sausages and mash

Sausages and mash

Overview

Overview

For desserts we took the fruit crumble with custard (£4.95) and a bread and butter pudding (£4.95). The fruit crumble was based on plums and was good, not too sweet and a little sour. It was very hot. The bread and butter pudding could have been better. It was fine but was the same as you could get in a hundred other places. Maybe too much eggs and not enough bread and butter.

Bread and butter

Bread and butter

Fruit crumble with custard

Fruit crumble with custard

Cost and conclusion: with two 3 courses meals and a bottle of wine for £60 (including the service charge) the County Arms is reasonably well priced. The surrounding is nice and the service was efficient. We will be back!

County Arms on Urbanspoon


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