Posted by Krista on June 30, 2012
Back to London. And the giant glowing orb in the sky actually cooperated for a moment. Everything was beautiful. (Look closely at Tower Bridge and you can see the Olympic Rings, getting ready for their descent.) I worked well, I ate well, I WALKED well. London is an incredible city to walk in, and I stayed entirely above ground during this part of my visit.
I moved into the compact but efficient Zetter in Clerkenwell for five nights. This made me more than a little teary-eyed because I was staying just a few blocks away from my old flat, a flat I lived in for over five years. Amazing how quickly London has changed in the short period I’ve been away.
I liked The Zetter. But the rooms are VERY small. (If you need to stay in this general area, The Hoxton is a bit more spacious.) The Zetter staff were lovely though and the bath products (Ren) were much much better than The Hoxton’s. (The Hoxton is generally cheaper than The Zetter though.) In short, if I could swing it, I might stay here again. But I think The Hoxton might still win out.
Here’s where I ate and drank…
Salvation Jane, 55 City Road, Shoreditch/City. I was glad to see something useful had finally gone into this strip of City Road. Let’s hope Salvation Jane lasts because the Indian street food place didn’t last long (and there were a lot of bailiffs involved) and then there was that Thai place that was all quite dark and scary and they were always rehabbing the toilets. We had some good coffees at Salvation Jane though, and the service was nice and overall, I like the vibe. The Verdict: Recommended for coffee talk.
The Old Fountain, 3 Baldwin Street, Shoreditch: I returned to one of my favorite pubs in London, The Old Fountain, with my friends Gerry & Ben. It was ridiculously different. There were no old men, the carpet had been replaced, and it had been entirely repainted and refurbished. I appreciate gentrification, but I was still a bit sad. That being said, the beer selection was ace and the rooftop was lovely. The Verdict: Recommended if you’re in the area and want to have some beers in a quiet place.
St. John, 145-57 St. John Street, Clerkenwell. I couldn’t not stop into the bar at St. John for some drinks and snacks. Eccles cake and Lancashire cheese for the win! The Verdict: GO.
Hoxton Beach: Whitecross Street Market, Barbican. You can’t see what’s in there, but it’s the most delicious falafel wrap EVER. I love these guys. I dream about them. And their pickled vegetables. Get a falafel wrap (this is the small) from Hoxton Beach and then head on over to the Two Brewers down by Waitrose for a cheeky pint. The Two Brewers lets you bring in food from the market. Genius idea. The Verdict: Yes to Hoxton Beach!
Grab Thai, 5 Leonard Street, Shoreditch: I think I’ve written about these guys before. Incredibly inexpensive, incredibly delicious. I normally stick to the green chicken curry for lunch. Good times: The Verdict: Cheap and filling and very good lunch. GO.
Tramshed, 32 Rivington Street, Shoreditch. (If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m an East London girl.) I really enjoyed my steak and chips. Couldn’t really complain. I also liked the design of the place and all the tilework. (It’s a Mark Hix place, btw.) Not sure how I felt about Damien Hirst’s preserved cow, but luckily, it’s high enough above the dining room that you don’t have to look at it while you’re eating. The Verdict: Very good.
10 Greek Street, 10 Greek Street, Soho. I’m somewhere in between on 10 Greek Street. I like the idea of the place and I like that it’s small and I thought all our servers were lovely but try sitting on a bar stool where a creepy man is pressing his sweaty back up against yours repeatedly for 45 minutes and, well, you might just end up feeling a bit UNWELL about everything. The food was very nice, but I drank a lot of white wine to get over my feelings of violation, so I am no good judge. The Verdict: I need to go back. (Talk about the beauty of natural light for photos, huh?)
Pitt Cue Co., 1 Newburgh Street. Somehow, during all my wanderings around Soho, I’ve never managed to make it down Newburgh Street. But here I was, hanging out on a street corner, 15 minutes before Pitt Cue opened. I think I might have fallen in love with one of the proprietors while I was waiting. Sigh. I meant to order the pulled pork bun but got the pulled pork meal instead (with a side of baked beans), but it really didn’t matter because it was all pretty excellent. And only 11 quid. The Verdict: GO. But don’t show up with 12 people. They are super super tiny.
The Gate, 370 St. John Street, Clerkenwell. So here’s my first question…when you KNOW you are going to open a restaurant on St. John Street, WHY do you give it the same name as a BAR further down on St. John Street? Confusing. Then, when I enter your restaurant, why do you ignore me? And then when you finally take my drink order, why do you walk away in the middle of my conversation? And then when you come to take my order, why do you tell me not to order anything on the menu because it is all going to take a really long time? And then when you come to ask “How is everything?,” why do you walk away before I can even answer??? My dining experience at The Gate is worth a short story of its own. I think you get the gist. They are CRAZY. The weird thing? My asparagus rotolo was weirdly EXCELLENT. The Verdict: I’m afraid to send you here. But the food is really good. (Note entirely vegetarian.)
While I was in town, I also saw the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate Modern, which was quite affecting. I’d recommend it. I’m still thinking about it, a week or two later, and I think that’s what art is all about. I also saw the Christian Louboutin exhibit at the Design Museum, and while it’s nice to look at shoes, the exhibit didn’t give you much context about the artist, which was disappointing. There were also a lot of screaming 10 year olds. Who takes 10 year olds to a French shoe exhibit? Odd.
I’ve been thinking lately about trying to get back to London more often. Let me know if anyone is interested in an intermittent flatmate.
P.S. I’m realizing after posting this that I didn’t include Sedap on Old Street or The Modern Pantry on Clerkenwell Road. I revisited both. I still highly recommend Sedap, but I wasn’t too impressed with my watery omelet at The Modern Pantry, unfortunately.
Posted in EC1, Hotels, London, N1, United Kingdom, W1 | 6 Comments
Posted by Krista on June 5, 2011
The Dean Street Townhouse
Date of Last Visit: Late April, 2011
Americans who go abroad often have a problem with European hotel rooms. They are too small, they say, Read TripAdvisor or anything similar and you will find gazillions of my countrymen (sorry — countrypeople) lambasting the size of European hotel rooms.
So let’s just get it out of the way now. My room at The Dean Street Townhouse was small. Pretty small.
But it was also absolutely gorgeous. GORGEOUS.
I want to hire the person who makes the bed to come to my house and iron all my sheets and make my bed every day, so tight and snugly was it done up and so soundly did I sleep here.
When I lived in London, everyone that was up on London and restaurants and drinking establishments knew about The Dean Street Townhouse. Part of Soho House (and Shoreditch House), it was quite hard to ignore. But what people knew about was the restaurant. Not the hotel. Sascha over at LibertyLondonGirl posted a video review of the hotel quite some time ago, and I remember being charmed by all this small boutique property had to offer. So when it came time to book my birthday stay in London over Royal Wedding Weekend, it was the first place I looked…after I figured out that every other hotel I’d want to stay in was going for more than $600 USD per night. (The Dean Street Townhouse was still not cheap in American terms…£250 or $410 a night. Ouch. Hurts me to think about it in dollars. But in pounds, £250 sounds so much better.)
For a small hotel, Dean Street was jam-packed with amenities. I’ve yet to stay in any other hotel that offers Sky+ to their guests. (That’s Tivo, to my American readers.) There was free-wifi throughout the hotel — even next door in the neighboring restaurant — and even better, there was this…
See all those bottles there? Those are Cowshed products. Four different types of body wash to choose from, along with a lovely shampoo and conditioner. FULL SIZE. The conditioner was so good that I bought a bottle before I left. Really…amazing. (I have ridiculously thick hair with a wave that only responds to professionals. — I’m on the 4th week of a very intense Keratin treatment at the moment. — Cowshed’s conditioner tamed it more than any other conditioner I’ve ever tried. Truly.)
Ah and see this…these are all the goodies that maybe you forgot to bring along with you. Like I had forgotten facial cleanser. So I used Cowshed’s. I don’t normally use toner, but as long as I was using the cleanser, I also used the toner and let me tell you…I am now a believer. My skin has never — honestly — felt younger. I don’t understand why the best of hotels don’t provide this sort of amenity basket. The upside from someone like me buying the £18 bottle of conditioner certainly pays for all the products in here. Including the prophylactics. Yes. There were even prophylactics in the basket.
The rest of the room — what admittedly there was of it — was similarly delightfully and thoughtfully put together. Every day, they filled up my tea and biscuit tins. And in the drawers of that cupboard there was not only a Babyliss hair dryer, but also a HAIR STRAIGHTENER. I have never stayed in a hotel before that offers hair straighteners. That’s awesome.
The only downside to my three-night stay here? The floor covering was something rattan-like. I accidentally left a sweater on the floor one night and was picking hay off myself for the next 48 hours.
The Verdict: STAY. NOW. OBEY.
The Damage: Significant. But it was my birthday. So there is that.
Posted in Hotels, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 7 Comments
Posted by Krista on August 31, 2010
21 Romilly Street
Date of Last Visit: Wednesday, August 4, 2010
The Victims: Rutton, Kainaz, Richard, Mireia, Al
The Damage: 65 quid each. (Sorry, new American keyboard doesn't have GBP symbol!)
The Background: Less than 48 hours to go before I leave London. The movers and my sea container left earlier that afternoon. It's an odd feeling.
So we meet up at Gauthier Soho to celebrate my impending departure. I ring the doorbell. They let me in. I use the ladies, and then they try to seat me at the table. The table, however, is shoved up against the wall. And they don't seem to think this is a problem. So I start to move the table out myself and they come over to help and inch the table out. Literally. An inch. Not far. I'm perplexed.
I'm even more perplexed when, once we arrange the table to my liking, I sit down at the table and it rocks. Severely. They move the table around again a bit and it seems to be better but not really.
The rest of the gang arrives and it becomes abundantly clear that the table is very unsteady. The staff first tell us that it's impossible to fix because "the floor is old." Um…I think a napkin underneath one of the legs will work acceptably well. The staff prefer to move the table around a bit to find a more even spot of flooring and it's better, but Richard can't put his elbows on the table or all our dishes will go flying.
And then things get worse. After all that, the staff ignore us. For a very long time. The only staff member who doesn't ignore us is the water girl and she fills my glass so many times when I've barely had just a sip that I've had to tell her to go away and not come back until I ask her to.
But finally we place our orders for our starters. Chilled broad bean soup for me. And I'm glad the soup is cold because it takes 45 minutes for it to arrive anyway.
And then I have the fillet of angus beef, and it's nice. It's good. No complaints.
There were some bright spots to the evening. We put Richard (Italian) in charge of the wines and the wines he selects with the Italian wine steward are unbelievably inexpensive. I was expecting to spend 80 to 90 quid a head, and our meal came to 65 per person. And the summer truffle risotto was amazingly lovely. I should have gotten that instead of the chilled broad bean soup. Oh yes, and we liked the cheese plate. It was very well done. A lot choice. Ah…and they boxed up the sweets at the end of the meal and sent us all home with them. That was VERY nice.
The Verdict: Eh. Too many issues and the bright spots were too few in comparison to the odd spots.
Posted in London, Modern European, United Kingdom, W1 | 4 Comments
Posted by Krista on July 29, 2010
I like veal. A lot. My mother used to make us veal fairly often when we were kids. Mostly veal parmigiana. But also sometimes in a more German/Austrian way, with buttered noodles. Veal is something that I reflect on occasionally and thnk, "Ah, now for veal. For veal, maybe I should cook."
I'll get there….eventually.
I had veal last Tuesday at Bob Bob Ricard in Soho. Veal Holstein. And it was excellent. (In my world, you can never have too much veal. Or anchovies. Or capers. Or secret sauce!) I love BBR for its veal, and for many of its other qualities. We talked about my love at dinner and when asked, "Yes but why?" here's what I came up with.
I had a fantastic time in St. Petersburg and Moscow in 1998 and was pleasantly surprised by the food that I had there. I had had images of old babushkas cackling over black cauldrons sputtering with shanks of unidentified meat. This was absolutely not the case. Instead, we traipsed from one pelmeni place to the next, stuffing ourselves full of dumplings and vodka or dumplings and Baltica or in our soberer moments, dumplings and chai. All thanks to my friend Kim who was teaching English in Russia at the time. (Local knowledge. Important! It brings me back to The awesomely awesome Leicester Square Challenge.) I like the idea of Russia food, all very hearty and cold-weather-like. Root vegetables. Cabbage. Offal. Pancakes. People normally look at me funny and laugh when I say this, much like I look at people (mostly American tourists) funny when they tell me that British food is terrible.
But it's true. Get to know Russian food through an expert, and it's quite enjoyable.
I also like that BBR is different. As much as I love "local, seasonal, sustainable" at any good gastropub, at this time of year, there's only so much asparagus and strawberries a gal can eat.
Many have critiqued BBR for its quirkiness. Its pink-jacketed waiters. Its over-the-topness. (Is it, as someone recently told me, London's most expensive restaurant build-out?)
But that's what I love about it. There is the champagne button. And I will press it. I can order vodka by the glass–straight–and no one will look at me funny. I can gorge myself on quails' eggs, as they seem to come with every dish. And apparently, according to Bob, if I decide to dump all my beluga caviar down the bathroom sink, no one will care. (Just like no one blinked an eye when my friend Brian smashed his rhubarb gin and tonic all over the restaurant the other month.)
Ah, and did I mention that they've capped their mark-ups on wine? This is nearly unheard of in this country and in this business!
Running a restaurant is hard work. And financial success is an elusive game. I know this second-hand through my investment in the Rose & Crown in Great Horkesley. So I give BBR a lot of credit for doing what they do and doing it with a smile and so well. Long may then continue. Now if only I could convince Leonid (aka Bob) to open up a pelmeni joint…
I paid £39.50 + service for this meal, along with many other London bloggers. I think this is another reason why I love BBR. This was not one of those, "Come review my restaurant and I will feed you for free" types of events. But rather it was a "Let's organize a very fun dinner for many bloggers at a reasonable price and I hope you will like it and if you write about it, well, that would be kind of you" type of thing. Leonid gets it. This is good.
Posted in London, Russian, United Kingdom, W1 | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on July 28, 2010
30 Albemarle Street
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, 17 July 2010
The Victims: Muna, Lee, Jen, Tracey
The Damage: £50 each but we paid for Muna because she is having a baby!
The Background: Muna is having a baby! So we're throwing her a baby shower, as all good American women do. Dressed in our Sunday finest (even though it's Saturday and even though I was probably a bit more casual than I meant to be), we converged on Brown's for some tea and more importantly, CAKE.
The Entrance: We're shown to the tea room which reminds me of the tea room at The Berkeley. It's a slightly masculine place and could easily double as bar space. This is fine with me, but I just thought I'd mention it.
They have salt beef sandwiches. Ingenious! I love these so much, I ask for another plate of just salt beef. The salmon is also quite nice. But really, I focused on the salt beef. And skipped the egg mayo.
We all agree that the scones are amazingly good. Moist. Dense, but still fluffy at the same time if that's possible. Rich. We ask for more of these as well. I limit myself to two and go back to the salt beef.
And of course, the sweets. I limited myself to two mango and passion fruit macarons, which were lovely, and a lemon and polenta cake, which was also fantastic. The cake had a knob of lemon cream in the middle, and that raspberry couldn't have been more perfect. When I got home that day, I googled lemon polenta cake, determined to get around to making one at some point.
The Verdict: Loved tea at Brown's. I've only done high tea three times, but this surpasses The Ritz and The Berkeley in my memory.
Posted in London, United Kingdom, Very British, W1 | 13 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 31, 2010
8-10 North Audley Street
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, March 20, 2010
The Victims: QueeLim, Reiko
The Damage: £15 each
The Background: I love dim sum. But I know very little about it. I just know how to point at things that look good. Oh, and I also know that every time I point at char sui buns, I accidentally eat the rice paper on the bottom and (not surprisingly) find the buns dry and disappointing.
At Princess Garden, there are no dim sum trolleys. This makes me sad, because I do like to point at things. (And laugh. Point and laugh. Point and laugh.) So instead, I put myself in QueeLim's hands and let him do the ordering.
So let's start there. Char sui buns. Dense, somewhat flavorless bread, surrounding marinated pork. Princess Gardens' chair sui buns are much better examples than those I've tasted elsewhere. And I didn't eat the rice paper.
I could be wrong, but I believe these were the Shredded Mooli Cakes (radish cakes) and the Shredded Taro Pancakes. (Not sure which is which, however.) I discovered taro–a kinda purplish potato root type of thing–during two weeks in China in 2000 and really really like it. I was ready to order more of these.
And I enjoyed whatever this was too. (Please enlighten me.) Although I looked fairly stupid trying to use my chopsticks to grab these.
The prawn dumplings were okay, but I think we let them sit too long before eating them. They were nothing to write home about.
I really wanted some noodles, but I was not pleased with these. Too gloopy. And this was our server's recommendation. The crunchy noodles were meant to melt under the meat and the sauce, but at the end, they just tasted like raw noodles.
The Verdict: Dim sum–it's like a surprise every time! But I wasn't over the moon about Princess Garden. That being said, we started off really strong with those mooli cakes and the taro and I would gladly go back for more of those. Maybe they do take-out? Would that be weird if I just showed up and asked for the mooli cakes and taro to go?
Posted in Chinese, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 11 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 30, 2010
Bob Bob Ricard
1-3 Upper James Street
London W1F 9DF
Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, March 16, 2010
The Victim: Me
The Damage: £50
The Background: Somehow, I don’t really feel the need to write this post. Because you know, my blogging comrade Chris Pople has said it all very beautifully right over here. (Favorite line: “The pickled herring and boiled potato was as good as I barely remember…” which is actually a compliment. You must read the whole post for context.)
But just like those people who throw that 12-bullet-point-PowerPoint slide up there and say, “I’m not going to read you all 12 points on this slide”–and then proceed to do exactly that–I am going to write this post. I am going to attempt–perhaps in vain–to communicate the depth (depths?) of my new-found love for the quirky goldenness of Soho’s Russian pleasure-palace, where the vodka is cold, the gin comes with rhubarb, and there can never be too much champagne.
Ah, herring! When I think herring, I am reminded of my Irish-American father, standing in the darkened kitchen with the refrigerator door open, fork in one hand, jar of herring and mayonnaise in the other. This is not an all-together pretty memory, but it’s a memory nonetheless. MY memory.
But at Bob Bob Ricard, the herring is not served in a jar, and there’s no mayo in sight. The fillets are FAT. Really plump. Salty and savory and served cold, this is the best herring I’ve ever had. (And having met my fair share of Swedish exchange students and their herring and knäckebröd, that’s saying a lot.) There’s a perfectly soft-boiled quail’s egg there, and a salad of beetroot and apple that I think about for days afterwords. (Beetroot! Beetroot which I have hated with a passion for nearly all of my life.) I think Bob Bob Ricard had ruined me for herring (and beetroot) forever.
And then there’s the crabcake. A dense, dense, all crab crabcake, served with another quail’s egg (sunny side up, this time). No potato filler anywhere to be seen. And it seems to be, to my untrained palate, all brown meat. Lush.
And then besides for the CHAMPAGNE BUTTON, there are the other things that people don’t tell you about. The butter is stamped with the BBR logo. There are coat racks built into the booths. (Perfect for neurotic New Yorkers like me who are always convinced someone is going to steal their Oyster Card.) There are booths for one. For one! (I have stolen a booth for four, myself.) Champagne is delivered within 90 seconds of me pressing the champagne button. (Although staff later admit that some nights, all the champagne buttons light up all at once and it can be hard to keep up.)
Downstairs, the floor is a backgammon board. There’s a chair that says Bob. And another that says Ricard. Upstairs, there is wallpaper (or is that carpet?) on the ceiling. The staff are all in deliciously delicious pink jackets. I’m thrown back to the Greek diners on Long Island, where the waiters wore tuxedos in the old days and called all us girls Miss as we downed our strawberry milkshakes and fries.
I inquire about wireless access.
It’s coming soon, they promise.
This is good, because I might just be moving in.
The Verdict: They’re open 13 hours a day. Surely, you can find some time to drop by. Look for me. I might be there. But I might also try to get out of paying the 50p surcharge for bread. 50p! WTF?
Posted in London, Russian, United Kingdom, W1 | 11 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 17, 2010
Byron at The Intrepid Fox
97 Wardour Street
Date of Last Visit: Sunday, February 21, 2010
The Victims: Mireia, John
The Damage: £12 or so each?
The Background: So it's Day 2 of my photography class and again, I get to pick the lunch place. Fantastic. So Byron's it is. I've been craving a burger since my fantastic example at Rockit in Chicago earlier in the month–19 very well-spent dollars worth of Kobe beef. (Brief Chicago round-up coming up. Don't worry–won't bore you with multiple single posts. I'm going to do one big summary.)
The Entrance: Bryron at The Intrepid Fox is NOT fast food. We are shown to a table and given a menu and after what seems like hours later, someone finally comes to take our order.
Then, after what seems like even more hours later but was only 20 minutes (still longer than I expected), our food finally arrives. Burgers for me and John. Salad for Mireia. (She's so good.)
And the burger is GOOD. Really good. Perfect medium. Great flavor. Perhaps the only fault is that the bun just isn't toasted enough for me. By the end of my burger, I'm holding a bit of a soggy, bready mess. But you know what? I really didn't mind.
The Verdict: Cheaper than The Hawsmoor burger. Juicier. More informal. Good times, but still no American cheese. Seriously…my kingdom for some Kraft Singles!
Posted in American, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 7 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 15, 2010
50 Frith Street
W1D 4SQ (They need to capitalize on their Foursquare postcode!)
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, February 20th, 2010
The Victims: Nigel, John
The Damage: CHEAP. Like £6 or £7? (With just tap water, happily provided.)
The Background: My friend Mireia and I have been taking some photography classes at the London School of Photography. Let's hope it rubs off. During our intro course, I kept trying to get her and our other friend Larry to come out to dinner with me every night after class. Denied! Too tired, too busy. (To be fair, so was I. Dinner always sounded great at 6:30 p.m. But after three hours of class, I just wanted to go home.)
Luckily during our weekend course, I found some willing victims, and suggested to John and Nigel that we check out Mooli's during our lunch break. (Mireia had to zip off to a fashion show, where her champagne Champagne Penet Chardonnet was being served.)
Mooli's is bright and fun and cheerful. So too are the staff, who applauded my "advanced" selection of the mini goat mooli. Why goat is not more popular, I don't know. At some point last year, I declared 2009 the Year of the Goat, but it never came to fruition. Maybe that will happen this year. Friends, embrace goat. It's delicious. (I've just checked the Mooli's Web site and there's a big announcement strapped across it…The goat mooli is now available! See…all the cool kids obviously like it.)
I round out my order with a pork mooli.
The Food: I have no clue what was in the goat Mooli. Besides for the goat. But whatever it was, it was freaking delicious. The pork was good too, but simply not as delicious. (And it was a bit messier, which was no one's fault but mine.)
John and Nigel–who I don't even know–kept saying how cool the place was and how good the food is and what a great choice this was.
And I agree.
The Verdict: Love Mooli's! Love having two great meals withing 24 hours. (Kikuchi and here.) Food gods, smiling upon me.
Posted in Indian, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 3 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 12, 2010
14 Hanway Street
Date of Last Visit: Friday, February 19th
The Victim: Rutton
The Damage: Uh, £70 each. Blame the sake.
The Background: I haven't seen Rutton since the wedding. HIS wedding. So we make plans to meet up. I think maybe Roka, but something in me wants something less "all that." I just want sushi. I don't want pretty cocktails. I also want to give Rutton shit for putting me at the singles' table at his wedding. The single GIRLS' table. WTF?
The Arrival: Irasshaimase!!! Many times over. I've picked the right place. I'm shown our table and try to order a drink. There's a language barrier. I love Kikuchi already. Eventually, a beer arrives.
The Food: There was a lot of it, and I didn't take pictures of everything. I liked the tempura, even the mushrooms. (New readers: I generally don't like mushrooms. Or grapefruit. But luckily, there was no grapefruit here.) Was not the hugest fan of the chicken yakitori, but I think that's just because I don't really like working for my food. Loved the gomae. And the cod.
And then there was the sushi, and lovely it was. I went straight for the mackeral. Fresh. Generous cuts. Perfect.
Why I Came Here: Nuno told me to.
The Verdict: Loved, loved, loved Kikuchi. And they gave me a voucher for my next visit! You know I'm a sucker.
Posted in Japanese, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 7 Comments
Posted by Krista on March 9, 2010
35 James Street
Date of Last Visit: Thursday, February 18th, 2010
The Victim: Niamh
The Damage: Free to those who RSVPd.
The Background: Here is something you should know about me. I can never remember how to spell "occasionally." Or "sandwich." And, apparently, "guerilla." I didn't know about "guerilla" until recently, when I tried and retried starting a post about London's latest burger offering, Guerilla Burgers. Guerilla. Guerilla. Guerilla. One R. Two Ls. I will try to remember. Unless Guerilla Burgers makes me forget.
I do like a good burger. I'm American, after all. So when the very social-media savvy Guerilla Burgers popped up on Twitter and promised burgers AND fish tacos, well, I couldn't not respond to their oh-so-tempting offer. (There was no champagne involved. But there was plenty of wine.) So I did RSVP. And found myself at a soft-launch-type event, surrounded by many others who had been lured in by the promise of good (and, well, free) burgers.
Buns, not guns! Power to the patty! Gosh darnit, but I really wanted to like the place based on the decor alone. Badly. And after meeting our charming Canadian server as well as the woman behind Guerilla Burgers' Twitter account, I wanted to like them even more. The staff here are friendly, knowledgeable, and nice. (And kudos to our server for recommending that we mix the chipotle tabasco with the mayo. That was pretty fantastic.)
On this evening, we were treated to free chips–both crinkle cut and sweet potato–and free mini-burgers. And free wine. And free margaritas. There was a lot of free stuff. I think we could have even had free dessert if we wanted to.
The burgers were pretty cute. I wanted to like them. I really wanted to like them a lot. They get points for presentation and concept. (Although maybe the mini burger was the hors d'oeuvres–something else I can't spell–of 2007.)
So you can probably guess what happened. I didn't like the burgers. They were dry. They were hard. They lacked flavor.
But they were free. There was that. (Should free food taste better because it's free? Or is this just an accident waiting to happen?)
On the other hand, I liked the sweet potato fries. Being partly Floridian, I eat a lot of sweet potatoes. I don't think they get enough table time in this country. So I was glad to see the sweet potato fries on the menu at Guerilla Burgers and happily polished off the bowl. (Sorry, Niamh.)
The crinkle cut fries were another story, however. These were limp specimens. But maybe I ate too many Nathan's fries as a kid. So I had to remind myself as I downed another glass of free wine…they were free.
The Verdict: There's a lot to like about Guerilla Burgers. The location is great. The concept is cool. The staff are lovely. (Long may they stay that way!) So I will give this another shot, even when it's not free. (That was me trying to be funny, for all you out there who take me too seriously.) But my initial impression, on a night it was all free was that the mini burgers were not as enjoyable as I was hoping. But at least I can remember how to spell "guerilla" now.
Posted in American, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 7 Comments
Posted by Krista on February 5, 2010
32 Great Windmill St
Date of Last Visit: Saturday, December 12th, 2009
The Victim: Me
The Damage: About £15
The Background: Sometimes, a crazy urge grips me. The urge for dolsot bibimbap. The 12th of December was one of those days. So as I was wandering around Soho, I got out my phone and Google Maps and started searching for my nearest Korean.
Soju was the answer. But it's also known as Korean Kitchen. Don't let that fool you.
The Entrance: The ground floor of Soju is very tiny. There are a couple of tables full, some with Koreans, others with tourists. The Norwegian couple next to me have stepped into Soju specifically because they've never had Korean food before and they are up for an adventure. I admire this.
The Food: My sweet server brings me my dolsot bibimbap and before I can snap a photo of it in its loveliness–the raw egg on top is glistening–she stirs it all up for me. So forgive the photo. (To see a before photo of dolsot bibimbamp, check out my Han Kang review.)
This is good bibimbap–better than Han Kang's–but the beef is still tough and leathery. There's no juice. This doesn't stop me from eating. I'm just saying. Someone's got to be able to make me a dolsot bibimbap with some nice juicy beef.
The Verdict: Good. But really just good.
Posted in Korean, London, United Kingdom, W1 | 10 Comments