Posted by Krista on July 26, 2005
4 Bow Lane
Tel: 020 7329 6364
Date of Last Visit: Friday, July 15 (Sorry, I’ve been in Alaska and am a bit behind.)
The Victims: Jen, Bina, Anne, Isabelle, Vid, Niculie
The Damage: 11 GBP each
We hadn’t meant for it to be a ladies’ lunch, but that’s what it became. Us girls headed out for lunch on Bow Lane, one of my favorite little streets in the City. We had never been to Zuccato before, but had heard good things, and I for one was optimistic.
Ah, such dashed hopes! We waited forever and ever for a waitress to take our order, and then when she did, we waited forever and ever for our food to arrive. And then when it (the food) arrived, well, the reviews are mixed. The highlight was the garlic bread starter, which reminded me of a white pizza in Italy…very thin crust, just the right amount of olive oil and garlic and oregno. Scrummy! My risotto–a veggie risotto–was so super salty that I was downing water for the rest of the day. Vid’s pasta looked reheated. Jen and Anne made wise choices with their green salads with stuffed chicken (goat cheese!), and I was regrettful.
We tried asking for the bill, but I must have been speaking in toungues (I wish I’d stop doing that) because that didn’t seem to translate. Forever and ever later, the bill arrived. Duly paid, and off we went.
The Verdict: Not sure we’d go back. I asked on the way out, "Silks & Spice or Zuccato next time?" and Silks & Spice was the definitive winner. Even though we’ve been there like 2 million times already.
Posted in EC4, Italian, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on January 25, 2005
13 Well Court
Tel: 020 7329 5111
The Victims: Bina, Man
Date of Last Visit: Week of January 17
I love tapas. Many little surprises. I was pleased to find Barcelona Tapas in general. It’s very hidden away off of Bow Lane, tucked at the very end of an alleyway. There’s a small bar upstairs, and unless you’re in the know, you might not realize there’s a full restaurant downstairs.
We started off with the Sangria–a very generous pitcher. Then we moved on to olives and bread with tomatoes–also very generous portions. We also sampled the chorizo, some patatas bravas, a Spanish omelette, some lamb, and goodness gracious I’m forgetting everything. There was more!
Service was friendly and nice–and Spanish! Authenticity is nice. They kept taking my napkin away, which bothered me though. Hold on to your napkins!
The decor is fun and the music is very lively and fun. It’s a good place to go for a nice lunch. It’s also very fast! We were in and out in less than 45 minutes in one visit.
The verdict: Go for an office lunch or party. It’s fun.
Posted in EC4, London, Spanish, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on December 31, 2004
76-77 Watling St
Tel: 020 7236 0236
Date of Last Visit: Early December
The Victim: Paulo
Paulo is my friend Michael's friend. They went to high school with Vince Vaughn. Paulo is Italian but American in a non-Italian-American-kind-of-way. He's Italian-Italian. Which is funny because he made friends with Michael, who's German-German, but who also grew up in the US. Anyhow, I digress. Every so often, Paulo and I hang out. This time, we met up for sushi at my favorite little sushi place, which Craig from Australia found one night as he was wandering through the streets of London.
Kurumaya is very non-descript. It's in the basement of a building off bow lane. The space if very simple. Be prepared to be under-whelmed. But–there are real Japanese people who eat there, which I take as a good sign. The chef is not Japanese, for sure, but he's very good at what he does. I find this fascinating.
Regardless–his tuna in kimchee sauce is amazing. As is the softshell crab and the sauce that comes along side it. These are probably my two favorite things. The regular sushi combo is pretty non-descript, if you ask me. So I would stick with items that aren't combo-packages.
I've eaten here five or six times now, and it never fails to delight me. In particular, I enjoy the generous serving of edamame with the sea salt AND pepper on it as a starter. I'd see if you could have the chef cook for you–I've done that a couple of times now–it's pretty reasonable in price–30 GBP each or so.
The Verdict: I'l go again and again, but I could see how this place might not surprise and delight others. It's mellow. It's low key. It's perfect.
Posted in EC4, Japanese, London, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on July 28, 2004
39 Queen Victoria Street
Tel 020 7248 3062
The Victim: Our Australian Finance Director, Craig
I love seafood. I have a problem with people who don’t like seafood. Seafood is good. It is not "fishy." People who say seafood is "fishy" have never eaten fresh fish.
So every so often, I go for a little walk at work and eventually, I make my way towards Queen Victoria Street where it about runs into Cannon Street and there’s Sweeting’s. And I look at all the seafood in the window and I sigh. Yummy.
So finally, I convinced our Australian Finance Director to come with me. I loved the seating arrangements–very different. You sit at a bar with about 8 to 10 stools. Your waiter stands behind the bar. I love the way she had the specials written on a notepad and just handed them to us. That was real.
I also liked how the wine was already out and about in chilled buckets. That was cool.
I ordered the scampi with bacon and a side of creamed spinach (Atkins, man). Craig got the Hake. We both gobbled our food up. It was yummy. I had some unfortunate spillage and the next person who took my seat was probably totally grossed out by the creamed spinach stain on the tablecloth, but oh well.
I will go back here again and again. But I will always go at 12 because #1, that’s when normal people eat lunch and #2, the closer you come to 1, the slimmer your chances of getting a seat.
The Verdict: GO!
Posted in EC4, London, Seafood, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on June 29, 2004
20 St Swithin’s Lane
London EC4N 8AD
The Victims: Chris, Client
So I had reservations at Novelli, but I wasn’t convinced I wanted to go back there again. So I called around to try for something else and eventually made my way to The Don. Good sign: the friendly person at the other end of the phone politely informed me that although they were booked for 12:30, she would take my name and number and call me back if there were any cancellations. THIS IS GOOD SERVICE. Yey! England scores 1. That’s 1-14 now, I believe.
What do you know it, but heck, there was a cancellation! So we got in and walked down the street. I loved the entranceway–it’s a little courtyard. Very cute. All it needed were a few chickens. We were greeted in an extremely friendly manner (but not in a bad way) by the Maitre’D (sp?) and the hostess. Then we had to walk downstairs, which totally sucked because I was wearing very extravagant shoes.
We were seated at what was really a table for two with a third chair pulled up to it. That was unfortunate, and The Don earns one strike for that.
So then we ordered some starters. I had the goat cheese mouse with a green salad. It was DELICIOUS. Yummy. Chris had the risotto and Client had the foie gras. Everything looked super yummy.
So I ordered my entree and I got the steak with bernaise sauce and chips. I made the mistake of ordering my steak medium and not medium rare. My knife was not strong enough to cut the meat, which was quite unfortunate for everyone because by the time I had had enough, it looked like Lassie had had her way with it.
The chips were great. The baked tomato was unfortunate. And my choice of English mustard was a BAD one. It’s like WASABI and this is not Japan!
The Verdict: I might go here again for a business lunch, but I felt that the menu was a bit limited. Although I loved my goat cheese mouse, I was hoping for a green salad followed by a bigger green salad. Why don’t people in this country have salads as entrees? And why does all my mail say “Miss” Krista? That makes me sound like a transvestite. Mysteries I will never solve.
Posted in EC4, London, Modern European, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on June 29, 2004
1 Lombard Street
London EC3V 9AA
Date of Last Visit: Sometime in Late May, 2004
The Victims: Chris, Keith, 2 Clients Named Sam
We booked No. 1 Lombard for an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting. Although I was tempted to order a Mimosa, I was tricked into having their special apple juice. Advice to Last a Lifetime: When offered "special juice," decline. The juice was a suspension, something I haven’t seen since Mrs. Librizzi’s biology class in 1992.
Service ignored us, but this was good because we were chatting about business, making deals. Good times. The restaurant was FREEZING but it wasn’t that cold out. And there was no one in the place. They’re obviously not known for breakfast.
HOWEVER, my French Toast was SPLENDID. Almost as good as mom’s. (And she’s a fabulous chef, if I do say so myself.) Yummy. No powdered sugar, but then again, this isn’t Friendly’s. Everyone else’s food looked yummy yummy too, and all our plates were clean at the end of the meal, so that must be a good sign. Honestly, at this point, I don’t remember what everyone ordered, but I know we were all very happy and it was a very nice way to start the day.
And we did some business too! Not bad!
The Verdict: Good for a business breakfast if you want to be alone, very very alone. Not sure what lunch is like. One of these days, I’ll find out and let you know!
Posted in EC4, London, Modern European, United Kingdom | 1 Comment
Posted by Krista on June 28, 2004
Silks & Spice
11 Queen Victoria Street
020 7248 7878
Date of Last Visit: Late May, 2004
The Victims: Many over multiple visits.
Ilike Thai food. Almost as much as I like Chinese food. More than anything in the world, I miss Penny’s Noodles on Diversey & Sheffield in Chicago. For $5, I could have a great meal, and the little Thai man at the counter knew who I was.
So I like Silks & Spice, but it’s big and sprawling and the people at the counter will never know my name. But I’ve been here three times, and have always had good experiences, so maybe someday. The food is delicious and it comes FAST and the service is friendly but not overly so.
It’s not pretentious; it’s just good eating. Have I told you how much I love prawn crackers? Why don’t they have those in my country?
Be careful ordering larger beers because they are VERY LARGE. And try to sit in the front and not the back–the back has a banquet hall feel to it that I’m not all that cool with.
Try to go here on Friday nights because they have a decent happy hour special and it’s very un-crowded which I like. Reminds me of the old days at Uncle Phil’s International Bar.
The Verdict: Go for lunch. Probably not fancy enough for dinner. Decent food, decent prices, no complaints.
Posted in EC4, London, Thai, United Kingdom | Comments Off
Posted by Krista on June 27, 2004
3 Queen Victoria Street
Date of Last Visit: Early May, 2004
The Victims: David, Man, Chris
So normally, I go to a different Thai restaurant in The City. But everyone told me Sri Thai was nicer so I had to go there. And I did. And it smelled funny. Like mold or something. It was weird. And we were the only people there. (See, being American, I like to eat at 12. I’ve compromised on 12:30, but still, I seem to eat earlier than any British people I know.)
We had a good meal. But again, 14-million different people waited on us; dude, why can’t I just have one????
The food was good. I can’t say anything bad about it. It was tasty and we ate it all up. The dessert was yummy too, but very un-Thai (uh, Lemon Tart). And my green tea was fabulous.
But the place is just so big and sprawling, I’m sure if I came here every day, no one would ever know my name. And that’s my goal…to find a place where everybody knows my name. This place is not it.
The Verdict: Go if you want some Thai, but check out my other Business Thai reviews. There are other options, and they don’t smell funny!
Posted in EC4, London, Thai, United Kingdom | 1 Comment