Andaz Liverpool Street, London

Posted by Krista on August 20, 2013

IMG_6141

I was in London in July for many reasons. Three hotels during my stay, also for many reasons. The Andaz Liverpool Street was my first hotel. Let me start by saying that this is a very high quality hotel, so in a way I feel bad about what I’m about to say. BUT there were just so many quirks. Particularly, they were quirks that were totally in the control of the hotel.

So firstly…lovely arrival. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about their more or less deskless arrival area, but it was fine and neat and different and I am all about trends in the hotel industry, so it was fine. They were very sweet and wanted to take my luggage to my room but I was jetlagged and just wanted to shower and change immediately so I said no. And I hate feeling like I have to tip someone else to do something I could have done myself.

I am a Hyatt Platinum member so I was upgraded to a king room. It was nice. But I could feel the people who had slept in the bed before me. I hate a mattress that dips.

Then, I felt like an idiot because #1 I couldn’t figure out where to put the room key to turn the lights on (hint: the thermostat) and #2 I couldn’t find the hair dryer, which they say is in the desk — and it is — but I still couldn’t find it. I had to call the front desk both times.

So then the wifi. MEH. At a hotel of this caliber, the wifi should be all connected, all the time. If they can do this in hotels in the middle east, they can do this in LONDON. For the love of God. My iPhone 5 kept dropping the connection and it is not my phone’s fault.

OK, the bath tub. It is seriously two feet high, if not taller. There is no step. So you really have to throw yourself into the tub and hope you don’t slip and fall and break something. I was frightened. I am a normal person. And I was frightened. Do NOT grab the towel rack to swing yourself out of the bath tub because it is HOT. HOT. Don’t. (Really, I am curious about their insurance claims.)

There is like NO sound proofing in this hotel. And hotel staff have NEVER been trained to use their INSIDE VOICE when they are outside guest rooms. From around 8:30 to 10 am the two mornings I was there, there was shouting, yelling, and MUCH SLAMMING of doors, particularly on Sunday. (Also, when I checked in on Friday around 1 pm.) I don’t even know where these doors were that they were slamming, but they were slamming them. Many times. Like every two minutes because at one point, I counted. (Although maybe it was the plumbing system? I don’t know. It sounded like doors slamming.) I was really trying to sleep in on Sunday morning and it was totally impossible. I mentioned this to Daniel the manager when I checked out and he was very nice and polite about it. But I don’t know. I am your guest. I shouldn’t have to tell you these things.

Almost lastly, the plumbing system. It is loud. They use some sort of vacuum to pull the water out of the sink and the toilets. Old building.

lastly, my reservation was complicated. I am acknowledging that. I booked one night through BA for free with Avios and then I booked the 2nd night directly and combined the reservations. I emailed the hotel in advance to combine the reservations. I still got a bill for the first night. Daniel was very helpful in having it removed.

OH WAIT…the nasi goreng from room service. IT WAS DELICIOUS. You should get it. and the free non-alcoholic minibar was awesome. Meantime beers for 5 quid which I actually think is an okay value for a hotel.

Location…The Central Line is RIGHT there. You can get anywhere in London in about 20 minutes. Really, the best. OK, it’s not surrounded by the British Museum or anything, but it is easy to get to/from.

The Verdict: Probably wouldn’t stay here again. Deathly afraid of that bath tub and too much SLAMMING.

Note: A version of this review appears on TripAdvisor. I would like to note that I feel that a lot of the reviews of this hotel are fake given the lack of detail in many reviews. 

Posted in EC2, Hotels, London | Comments Off

L’Anima, Shoreditch

Posted by Krista on April 21, 2010

Lanima menu

L’Anima
1 Snowden Street
EC2A 2DQ

Date of Last Visit: Friday, March 26, 2010

The Victim: Fellow London food and restaurant blogger, the delightful Mathilde of Mathilde’s Cuisine

The Damage: None. This was VERY unexpected. The restaurant decided to comp us (Mathilde, really). We were ready to pay. Expected to pay. But all such offers were declined. You know how I feel about this. So we left a nice tip. The tip was the only damage.

The Background: This is one of the nicest meals I can remember having as of late. Up there with The Loft which was almost exactly a year ago. And remember, as I’m eating all this and thinking that this is the nicest meal ever, I had no idea that I wasn’t going to be paying.

Because I continue to run out of words after all these years, I’m going to try to do this in pictures. Hopefully these photos will convey the beauty of the meal and Francesco Mazzei’s skill and style.

Lanima bread
L’Anima bread. I could have had more of this. Was hard not to fill up on it before the dishes started arriving. (Things got off to a pretty slow start, but quickly picked up pace.)

Lanima scallop
Scallops and ‘stocca fisso’ with peppers & anchovy. I love anchovy more and more with each passing meal. This was a fantastic combination of flavors. Salty.

Lanima tortelli
Borage tortelli with “Famiglia Gottardi’ balsamic vinegar. I’ve been thinking about these plump little pockets for days. The gentleman at the table next to us had a whole plate of them. JEALOUSY.

Lanima seabass
Wild sea bass with smoked aubergine and jar tomatoes. I loved the smoked aubergine. And the crispy skin on the sea bass. I mean, I loved the whole dish, but the aubergine and the skin were the best parts. And look at those little leaves, scattered around the plate.

Lanima veal
Veal tuna. This was particularly lovely and tender. Summer. I like capers. A lot.

Lanima rabbit
Sicilian rabbit, served in an almost Asian-style. (Putting aside the tomatoes, of course.) At this point, I was so full, I couldn’t do justice to this very rich dish. Francesco came out of the kitchen after he saw our returned plates to see if anything was wrong. (Talk about embarrassing.) I did not have the nerve to ask for a doggie bag. But had I know it was possible, I would have.

Lanima sorbet

Lovely sorbets. I thought this was the end. I mean, I know about palate cleansers and all that, but this seemed like a sunny-weather type of end to everything. I was wrong.
Lanima hazelnut souffle

Because then the most deliciously light but tremendously rich hazelnut soufflé arrived. Maybe a little too eggy for me, but still absurdly delicious. Ah, L’Anima, I think I’ve lost my heart.

The Verdict: Sadly, Francesco is married. I checked. I’ll still go back though.

L'Anima on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, Italian, London, United Kingdom | 14 Comments

The Book Club, Shoreditch

Posted by Krista on October 23, 2009

Tbc inside

The Book Club
100 – 106 Leonard Street
EC2A 4RH

Date of Last Visit: Friday, October 16th, 2009

The Victims: Feathers, Jen, Mariette

The Damage: £15 each?

The Background: Home is no longer. I liked Home in the early days. The food was good. The service was good. But this was like 2005? 2006? Then something happened and it became tremendously average. Speaking of tremendously average, it was during my walk to Cataloupe for lunch earlier in the week for a terribly average lunch that I noticed The Book Club. And immediately made plans to dine there later in the week.

Tbc cocktails

 The Entrance: I like the look of The Book Club. A lot. It's all Ercol chairs and simple furniture. The sun comes in through the windows just right. Everyone looks the tiniest bit more beautiful and we all feel very on trend.

Tbc questionable risotto 

The Food: We order a bunch of different things. For me, it's the risotto. But it's not really risotto. It's like orzo or something. There's no creaminess. It's just rice and veg. Hmmm. Not what I expected. And it's not very delicious either. A generous portion, sure. But there are lots of twigs in stems in there and I didn't come out for lunch to eat weeds.

Tbc burrito with chips 

Most egregious is the burrito. With CHIPS. With F*CKING CHIPS. I am reminded of the time I went to a Chinese restaurant in Stockholm and was presented with a bread basket. WTF?

Tbc worlds largest bowl of tomato soup 

OK, I lied. Even more egregious was the tomato soup. I should have brought a ruler or placed something else in the photo to give you a sense of scale. This was like a gallon of tomato soup. For £4.95…a disturbingly good value. Note I asked waitress, "How big is the tomato soup? Do you think the tomato soup and the risotto would be too much?" No, no, she said. You'll be find. It's a very shallow bowl.

Shallow my ass. With all due respect, of course.

Oh, and I haven't even talked about the taste. It's like all marinara. Would you eat a bowl of marinara for lunch? I didn't think so.

The Verdict: Go for the vibe. Not the food. 

Posted in EC2, London, United Kingdom | 8 Comments

Saf

Posted by Krista on February 17, 2009
Saf bar

Saf
152-154 Curtain Road
EC2A 3AT

Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009

The Victim: Jess my fellow London restaurant blogger, with a little romance thrown in for good measure.

The Damage: £40something

The Background: I have a confession to make. I was once a pescatarian. This would have been around 1994 – 1995. One whole year. No red meat or chicken. Just vegetables. And some fish on occasion. The good part was that I probably weighed a lot less that year than other points in my life. The bad part was that I was a frequent guest at the infirmary. (And yes, I did eat lots of protein. Fish! And beans. And eggs. I did eat eggs. Maybe that makes me a ovo-pescatarian?)

I was glad to return to the land of pepperoni pizza. I like pepperoni. And I really like bacon. But I've missed all those vegetables I used to eat.

I know…I probably could have both bacon and vegetables. But I don't. I'm just stupid.

So Saf has intrigued me from the start. Because it's very much about the veg. And the nice reviews were compelling. Add to this Jess' 21 Day Detox, and Saf was my suggested dinner destination.

The Entrance: Saf is a lot more modern than I expected. I was thinking it would be more hippie-tree-hugging. Sure, it smells like wheatgrass. But it's really quite a nice space.

The Service: Is weird! I stand in the entrance for ages before someone acknowledges me. I totally messed up and wore my invisible cape, so it wasn't surprising that the hostess looked right past me and asked the people in line BEHIND ME if they had a booking. And then once Jess and I were seated, I sometimes felt like I was one of those guys at O'Hare airport that wears the headphones and has the little orange sticks to guide planes in with. You! Over here! Yes! Over here!

Saf cheese

The Food: "Cheese" to start. That's actually nut cream. But it tasted vaguely like cheese. And you know, it was pretty darn good. Particularly served with the partially sun-dried tomatoes. And hey, I like flax.

Saf buddah bowl

For my main, I chose the Buddah Bowl–teriyaki glazed smoked tofu, organic jasmine rice, wok fried greens, kimchee, kimpura & sambal. Seemed like a lot of seaweed to me. I don't mind eating seaweed. It just wasn't what I was expecting. I liked the tofu though. And the rice. But it seemed more like a lunch dish than a dinner dish.

Jess ordered the Root Vegetable Tart with buckwheat and herb crust, purple sprouting (broccoli???), and creamed spinach. By the end of the meal, she'd maybe eaten half of it. Too heavy, she said.

The Dessert: "Chocolate" tart for her (which I think was actual chocolate, just with no dairy products added) and a "winter tart" for me. The winter tart was like eating a mixed berry muffin from Pret. Too much like breakfast. Too bad.

The Conversation: I am intrigued by Jess' 21 Day Detox. She's trying to convince me to do the same. Hmmm. (As I sit here eating delicious-packed-full-of dairy-Comte from Borough.)

The Loos: Co-ed!

The Verdict: I liked the vibe of Saf. I liked that I felt like I was doing something good for my body. I liked the "cheese" plate. Wasn't so crazy about the rest, however.

Saf on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, London, United Kingdom | 5 Comments

Lena

Posted by Krista on December 3, 2008

Lena 

Lena
66 Great Eastern Street
EC2A 3JT

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

The Victim: Charles

The Damage: £35 for two

The Background: My hot water has been acting up for AGES. It's very inconsistent. Some days, I have hot water. Some days, I don't. At all. And some days, I have something in between.

Luckily for me, I have two things going in my favo(u)r:
1. I used to go camping a lot as a child. Particularly here. Where my parents convinced me I had my own horse. We visited my horse every summer. This ruse worked well, until the summer all the horses disappeared. Yes, insurance reasons. (Brownie, wherever you are, I still love you.)   
2. My fair share of time on U.S. Navy Bases. Military showers.

So this is my usual long way of saying I was stuck at home, waiting for the electrician to come fix my boiler.

Now see, I know that an electrician is not going to fix my boiler. He (or she) will fix my timer, some fuses, some electrical things.

But this no hot water thing? I don't think Pete the Electrician can fix it.

And I'm right. He can't. So I've spent the morning at home for nothing.

Well, there is lunch with Charles

The Entrance: Lena is empty when I enter. Very empty. Except for some workman, still putting the finishing touches on the light and white dining area. They offer me my choice of seats, and in comes Charles, with his VERY fabulous hat. It's like he's Russian. But he's not. (But maybe he is. I didn't ask.)

The Food: Chickpea soup for me. Smoked mozzerella for him. My chickpea soup is…a bunch of chickpeas, in some broth. I honestly feel like someone just opened a can. It's a bit lame.

Then, I got some sort of ragu for my main. That's it in the photo. Maybe it was oxtail. A very creamy oxtail ragu. I don't know. It's all lost. All lost In the memory of the next 24 hours. Because you see, something that day made me ill. Very ill. Me, the stomach of steel. I won't go into details. But suffice it to say, I sat home on Wednesday morning thinking, "Crap, what do I do? I just worked from home yesterday morning so I could wait for the electirican, and now I have to wait for the boilerman this afternoon, but I'm going to call in sick??? Even I wouldn't believe me."

I debated calling the restaurant and talking to them. But having experienced my own fair share of U.K. customer "service," I could imagine their reaction. There was nothing to guarantee the exact cause of my illness. It could be my weak stomach (but really, it is of steel), my breakfast, my dinner (I didn't eat any, just for the record), my something.  And besides, I was too ill to call anyone. Plus, I'm a wimp.

So I didn't call anyone. But I did Google what I had for ages and ages. And I learned all sorts of things that you really don't want to know. Really. And then I went to Superdrug.

But I will tell you, although the service at Lena was a little uninformed, it was sweet and responsive.

The Verdict: Umm. I just can't say.  

Lena on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, Italian, London, United Kingdom | 6 Comments

Vietnamese: Little Hanoi

Posted by Krista on December 14, 2007

Little Hanoi
147 Curtain Road
EC2A  3QE
Tel: 020 7729 6868

Img_2581Date of Last Visit: Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Victim: Ying

The Damage: Unknown! Ying paid!

The Background: I stood Ying up for lunch twice this week because of my own scheduling issues. Triple booked myself–I hate it when I do that. So Thursday was THE DAY–the time for me to make it up to her. I cleared my calendar for the afternoon so we could get together.

I've always walked right by Little Hanoi and their tempting buffet offer. (Cheaper still as a takeaway!) So it was about time to give it a shot. Stupidly, I got us a little lost on the way there. This is unbelievably stupid of me because it's not like I don't walk around the area all the time. I think I managed to eat up about 20 minutes of our valuable lunch time, trudging through the backstreets of Shoreditch.

The Starters: But finally, we made it to Little Hanoi. And Ying speaks Cantonese and so do the staff so all was right in the world. We ordered some summer rolls (as opposed to spring rolls?) on the advice of our server, along with some chili squid. I loved the squid–lightly fried (if there is such a thing) and dusted with thin chilli slices. I thought the summer rolls were okay…fresh and summery but a bit bland…I had to practically drown them in the brown sauce they were served with for them to taste like anything. (In all fairness, Ying rolled them in the brown sauce for me because she's much better with chopsticks than me. Although I'm certainly no slacker.)

All the while, I'm watching the buffet. It's a small little buffet. I tried to take a picture of the sign above it but felt too conspicuous. It basically said eat all you want, but if you waste anything, there will be a "wastage" fee of £1. If I had a £1 for every time my mother forced me to clean my plate as a child…

The Mains: On the advice of our server who I thought did a particularly thorough job of describing all the dishes in both English and Cantonese, I went for the dried chicken with chilli. It was served on a bed of white rice, with just the right amount of bean sprouts. Ying had the rice noodle soup with beef and she really liked it. We were both very satisfied.

Odd Observations: There was a very fully stocked bar. Intriguing. Also, Ying laughed at the chopstick wrappers that explained how to use the chopsticks inside. Apparently, you don't get this so much in China.

The Verdict: You know, I'd go back sometime. It was cheap and nice and I liked our server. And I need to get you a photo of that "wastage" sign. I can make a whole post out of that, for sure.

Little Hanoi on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, London, United Kingdom, Vietnamese | 1 Comment

Modern British: Rivington Grill

Posted by Krista on October 5, 2007

Rivington Grill
28-30 Rivington Street
EC2A 3DZ
020 7729 7053

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, October 2nd

The Victim: Isabelle

The Damage: £15 each

The Background: I have always wanted to go to the Rivington. I don’t know why I haven’t before. It’s been ages since I’ve caught up with Isabelle, so I invited her out to lunch. Isabelle, you should know, is "HR." Yes, I had lunch with "HR." (When I’m trying to be funny, I refer to Isabelle and her teammate together as "HR"–in an ironic sense, of course. "Hey, HR, can I borrow your stapler?" I don’t think the others get that.)

Anyhow–I called and made the booking by 10 a.m. that morning. We arrive at the Rivington, and they have no record of it, whatsoever. That sucked. But they got us a table anyhow.

The Bread: Is pretty darn good. It’s just white bread but it’s warm and nice. And it’s a LOAF…or well, a half a loaf. Which is so much better than just a few slices in a basket. I’m a fan.

The Entrees: I go for the suckling pig and it’s pretty good, but I am not salivating thinking about. (On their Web site, they say it’s with broad beans and pea shoots, but I think that’s last season’s menu as mine was with a mash of some sort.) Isabelle goes for the fish fingers and mushy peas but she gets a nice little pail of chips. And then preceeds to ignore them. I am saddened by this. She lets me have one though. That was nice of her.

Other Thoughts: I needed a sharper knife for my pig. And I’m not sure how I felt about the f word backwards in neon on the wall. Sorry. I am my mother’s daughter.

And Some Other Thoughts: I liked that they had a bar that you could eat at. I think I might come in here on my own some day and just have some rarebit on toast.

What Isabelle Thought: I loved the fish fingers and the tartar sauce (which I assume had been made from scratch – it looked and tasted like it had been) the minted pea puree was very tasty as well, the chips were a bit large for my liking, but presented nicely.  I liked the ambience of the restaurant, it felt French to me (but maybe that was just me?) and was surprised how full it was for a Wednesday lunch.  I also remember being surprised when I looked down and saw the table cloth was disposable rather than linen; surprised because the whole place gave the effect of having linen tablecloths (maybe because the napkins were). 

The Verdict: Well, if you read my other thoughts, you know that I’m going to go back to The Rivington for some rarebit and toast.

Totally Unrelated: Are you a new mum in London? If you’re looking for great tips on what London mums can do with their kids around town, please visit my friend’s site at http://mini-et-moi.com/. It’s like Daily Candy or Urban Junkies for moms, and it’s all about events and locales that mothers in London would enjoy with tot in tow.

Rivington Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, London, United Kingdom, Very British | 1 Comment

Modern British: Rivington Grill

Posted by Krista on October 5, 2007

Rivington Grill
28-30 Rivington Street
EC2A 3DZ
020 7729 7053

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, October 2nd

The Victim: Isabelle

The Damage: £15 each

The Background: I have always wanted to go to the Rivington. I don’t know why I haven’t before. It’s been ages since I’ve caught up with Isabelle, so I invited her out to lunch. Isabelle, you should know, is "HR." Yes, I had lunch with "HR." (When I’m trying to be funny, I refer to Isabelle and her teammate together as "HR"–in an ironic sense, of course. "Hey, HR, can I borrow your stapler?" I don’t think the others get that.)

Anyhow–I called and made the booking by 10 a.m. that morning. We arrive at the Rivington, and they have no record of it, whatsoever. That sucked. But they got us a table anyhow.

The Bread: Is pretty darn good. It’s just white bread but it’s warm and nice. And it’s a LOAF…or well, a half a loaf. Which is so much better than just a few slices in a basket. I’m a fan.

The Entrees: I go for the suckling pig and it’s pretty good, but I am not salivating thinking about. (On their Web site, they say it’s with broad beans and pea shoots, but I think that’s last season’s menu as mine was with a mash of some sort.) Isabelle goes for the fish fingers and mushy peas but she gets a nice little pail of chips. And then preceeds to ignore them. I am saddened by this. She lets me have one though. That was nice of her.

Other Thoughts: I needed a sharper knife for my pig. And I’m not sure how I felt about the f word backwards in neon on the wall. Sorry. I am my mother’s daughter.

And Some Other Thoughts: I liked that they had a bar that you could eat at. I think I might come in here on my own some day and just have some rarebit on toast.

What Isabelle Thought: I loved the fish fingers and the tartar sauce (which I assume had been made from scratch – it looked and tasted like it had been) the minted pea puree was very tasty as well, the chips were a bit large for my liking, but presented nicely.  I liked the ambience of the restaurant, it felt French to me (but maybe that was just me?) and was surprised how full it was for a Wednesday lunch.  I also remember being surprised when I looked down and saw the table cloth was disposable rather than linen; surprised because the whole place gave the effect of having linen tablecloths (maybe because the napkins were). 

The Verdict: Well, if you read my other thoughts, you know that I’m going to go back to The Rivington for some rarebit and toast.

Totally Unrelated: Are you a new mum in London? If you’re looking for great tips on what London mums can do with their kids around town, please visit my friend’s site at http://mini-et-moi.com/. It’s like Daily Candy or Urban Junkies for moms, and it’s all about events and locales that mothers in London would enjoy with tot in tow.

Rivington Grill on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, London, United Kingdom, Very British | Comments Off

Pizza: The Yard

Posted by Krista on April 8, 2007

140 Tabernacle Street
EC2A 4SD
Tel: 020 7336 7758

Date of Last Visit: Multiple. Most recently, Friday, March 23, 2007

The Damage: Not much! Decently priced.

The Background: I don’t know why I keep forgetting to write about The Yard. Because you know, they make a good pizza.

The Gimmick: Pizza for four, served by the yard, with up to four toppings. So yes, one humongously large pizza that takes up pretty much the entire table. Personally, I think it could easily serve five. They also have pastas, but I’ve only ever had the pizza. I’ve also tried one of the starters, which is a fun assortment of little things to try like prociutto, different cheeses, hummous, etc.

The Service: Too busy for their own good. Looking everywhere but you. They do a brisk trade at lunchtime, so make sure you get your entire order in–you might even want to order two diet cokes at the same time like me–so that if you are hungry or thirsty later in your meal, you don’t need to worry about trying to get someone’s attention.

The Verdict: A very dependable place with good food, but spacey service.

Yard on Urbanspoon

Posted in EC2, Italian, London, United Kingdom | 5 Comments

Latin, Sorta: Favela Chic

Posted by Krista on March 15, 2007

91-93 Great Eastern St
EC2A 3HZ
Tel: 020 7613 5228

Date of Last Visit: Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Victims: Yusuf and Company. 12 of us in total.

The Damage: £40. I left early, so I gave Yusuf the money before taking off. I hope it was enough.

The Background: Yusuf has invited me out to dinner. I have said "Yes" of course, because he is one of the most interesting guys I know. He is Swedish. But Turkish. And oh but just a little American. I forget sometimes.

I arrive for dinner at Favela Chic and I am one of 12. There are Turks and Greeks and Italians. And the few token Americans. The place is empty and I am glad because I live in the general neighborhood and I know that there is usually a queue. We are some of the only people there at 7 p.m.

The Starters: We get a combo plate, and it arrives in all its deep-fried goodness. I would tell you what was on the plate, but I can’t because it was all deep-fried. This made it delicious, so it was fine. Sorta.

The Mains: I remember that in 2005, I flew from London to Anchorage, Alaska. I had saved up my air miles so I flew business class. On my flight from Chicago to Anchorage, they served Chicken with white rice in Business Class. Maybe some people think that’s a nice meal, but to me, it was a high margin dish. You can buy 45 kg bags of rice for super cheap. I couldn’t believe they had the nerve to slap that crapity-crap down in front of me. OMG I am a snob.

So the same thing happened at Favela Chic. Chicken in a nice sauce. With white rice. Now that’s pretty lazy.

The Dessert: I left early to head over to The Ritz to pick up Eugene. One of the best sentences to say EVER, "Taxi driver, can you take me to The Ritz? Please."

The Verdict: Well I did like the music. And the company was fantastic. But this is a blog about food (mostly). And you know it’s bad when I totally forget to write up a meal until like three weeks later.

Posted in EC2, Latin, London, United Kingdom | 1 Comment

Sushi: Miyabi

Posted by Krista on March 4, 2007

Great Eastern Hotel
Liverpool Street
EC2M 7QN
Tel: 020 7618 7100

Miyabi

Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Victims: Eugene, Kim, Brian, Jeff, Karen, Bernard

The Damage: £27 each

The Background: I am having a moment. I am teary-eyed. I love my friends. They make me laugh. It’s good to be with them.

Kim is in from NY. Eugene in from HK. Brian is never in town and we’ve caught him at a rare moment. Bernard is a new dad. Bart is on the speakerphone. Seriously. We are in a Japanese restaurant by Liverpool Street. We call Tyson, And we try to find Matt.

The Drink: It’s green tea and I love it. It is the best green tea I have ever had. It’s not from a bag. The bottom of my cup is green sediment, in a good way.

The Food: We order and we order and we order some more. Our server is very sweet and very patient. Her eyeglasses are from Prada. Bernard cuts through our indecisiveness.

The food arrives and we are flabbergasted at the sheer quantity of it. (Eugene.) It is all so lovely and fresh and everyone laughs as I try–and fail–to get the pictures just right. We make life-changing pronouncements, and I commit to a novel. And then the tea is gone and the restaurant is quiet and so, for a moment, are we. It is time to say goodbye.

We exit, back to the darkness and to the street and the black cab, they to their hotels and I to my flat. And we know but do not say that it may be years before we are all in the same place again at the same time. And we will be older and hopefully wiser but we will never lose this.

Verdict: Go.

Posted in EC2, Japanese, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Great Hotel Food: The Hoxton Grille

Posted by Krista on September 17, 2006

81 Great Eastern Street
EC2A 3HU
Tel: 0207 739 9111

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday September 12, 2006

The Vicitms: Too many to mention

The Damage: Unknown. Business dinner.

The Counterbalance: None that day. But 2.85 miles the day before.

The Background: I had read in Olive, the BBC food magazine, about the new Hoxton Hotel. This particular part of town is a bit low on hotels, aside from the Holiday Inn Express at Old Street (uggh) and the super pricey Great Eastern Hotel by Liverpool Street. So it’s a welcome addition to the hood. Anyhow, I needed to organize a last minute dinner for 13 people, never easy. No one, as usual, would take us. But the new Hoxton Grille in the Hoxton Hotel said sure, come on over. (That being said, they did that little reservation dance with me…7 p.m.? No, we can’t do 7. We could do 7:15 though. We got there and it was pretty empty. They totally could have taken us at 7.)

The Service: Our server was really friendly and nice and gave us some great recs on the menu and the wine list. But then he disappeared, never to be seen again. That being said, the woman who took his place was quite charming and helpful and friendly too. In between though, the friendly guy forgot our olives, and our wine sat on the bar forever before anyone brought it to us.

Litle Known Fact: The Hoxton is owned by the guy that owns Pret a Manger!

The Food: I had the melon and prociutto starter and it was perfect. They had drizzled something on it that made it extra special. I wish I knew what it was. For my main, I had the salmon fishcakes, which were also quite nice.

The Drinks: I thought the wine list was nicely varied and decently priced. Also, I loved how at the hotel check-in desk, they had convenience store fridge where you could buy soda, wine, beer, etc. at decent prices, not hotel-rip-off-prices.

The Verdict: I’ve spent a lot of time in hotel bars and restaurants. While they Hoxton Grille won’t win any prizes for the decor in the restaurant (I thought the lobby decor was cool), the food will keep them coming back for more. Also–I was really impressed with how cheap the breakfast menu was (must be The Pret connection), so I would definitely come back here for a business breakfast.

Posted in EC2, English Modern, French, London, United Kingdom | 2 Comments

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