Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte

I refer to Urbanspoon rather often when visiting an area of London I am not too familiar with but I am usually loathe to rely solely on recommendations I find there unless there are blog posts attached to said restaurant’s page.

I decided to be bold and head for the Urbanspoon number 1 rated restaurant in Marylebone (resisting the urge to instead dine at the much lauded by bloggers Providores which, on the day happened to be Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte

Thomas was keen, steak frites (with proper fries, none of the oh so English fat chips) was more than enough to tempt him. The idea though that they serve only that is so very French and almost off-putting. I doubt most food bloggers would take kindly to such restrictive dining, possibly hence the lack of posts.

There is the argument that here, of course, they do this one thing very well, and I would agree that you can’t get enough of a good thing.

There’s one starter, dressed salad with walnuts. 4 pieces of white baguette also arrived, this was poor but the salad’s tangy dressing was lovely. The casual sprinkling of walnuts adds a depth of flavour and texture. Nice as it is, it’s just a salad.

Next up, the main attraction, steak, with sauce and fries. The sauce is divine, a secretly guarded recipe (the place is verging on pretentious, but it is supposed to feel like France), Thomas declared it one of the best sauces he’s ever tasted. We detected butter, a lot of butter, mustard, there’s a definite herby element (it’s green after all) and perhaps anchovy, it’s really quite salty. It was excellent.

The steak, entrecôte obviously, is served either rare, medium or well, ooh a choice at last. I had mine medium, Thomas rare. It was fine steak, buttery in texture and quite delicious. The fries are exactly the kind that lovers of fries appreciate. I like them but am not blown away preferring thicker chips myself.

Once finished, thinking that the plates are fairly small and I am not actually full, I was delighted when we were offered a second round. There’s nothing better than seconds! Yet after this go I still felt there was room for dessert. Not a bad thing. The crème brulee (above) was a fine example of the French classic, my profiteroles, however, were a let down. The chocolate sauce was dark and satisfying but the pastry was dull and felt rather like cardboard, each ball filled with ice cream. I’m more used to a cream or crème pattisiere filling. The sliced almonds were a good addition. Anyhow, it’s not really about the dessert here.

There’s a veggie option of cheese and a dessert instead of steak with your walnut salad for the £19 but frankly why one would come here and not have the steak is quite beyond me. The house red was a flavoursome full bodied Bordeaux, a perfect accompaniment to the meat. Verging on gimmicky with the pretty waitresses dressed as French maids, authentic french decor and white paper table cloths; this does whisk one back to those quaint little jam-packed bistros in Paris. Makes for slightly awkward manoeuvring should one need the toilet though. I’ll be back probably, I think the girls (Francophiles) would love it. A little pricey for what you get but if it’s steak frites you want in London, Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte is the place.

Le Relais de Venise L’Entrecôte
120 Marylebone Lane

Le Relais de Venise L'EntrecôTe on Urbanspoon

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Covent Garden Real Food Market

Whilst I usually curse working in Covent Garden (because it’s not Soho) come the summer months there are a few reasons to be happier about it. Last year there was the Covent Garden Night Market and this year sees the piazza playing host to the Real Food Market every Thursday until September. Yay!

I took a wander yesterday afternoon, it was particularly quiet at work but the market starts at 12 so it’s perfectly doable in your lunch break and there are many suitable stall offering up delectable lunch time treats.

I partook only in a sweet nibble from Crumbs and Dollies. They had a beautiful selection of cupcakes on display, vanilla, lemon, chocolate or flavour of the month cherry and almond. I plumped for a mini version of the latter and it was delicious. Some of the best (purple) icing I’ve had, with little pink hearts to decorate.

Check out the blog on their website here, where they post pictures of special occasion cakes they’ve made. I love the ladybird ones!

I love love love food markets, I’d go to Borough Market every weekend if I could resist the urge to spend a small fortune on each visit.

Among the other vendors at The Real Food Market are Neal's Yard Dairy whose cheeses usually reside just around the corner and always look so appealing.

Whilst I was there the stall attracting the largest crowd by far was the Arabica Food and Spice Company who had many yum looking middle eastern type dips and salads with loads of flatbread and generously filled pots to sample. They looked really pretty, the most visually striking being the beetroot hummus, the vibrant purpley pink one in the pic below.

There’s also a celebration of all things garlic from The Garlic Farm, delicious looking pies galore from Pie Minister, or if you’d prefer there’s a wealth of freshly made sandwiches on offer, mushroom, sausage, bacon, and really very much to appeal come lunchtime, or dinner for that matter as the later the month the longer the market is open in the evenings. It’s also a handy stop off on route home for cooking inspiration with seasonal fresh produce available at every turn. Stop off at Shellseeker for some fish or meat from the neighbouring stand. I was particularly taken with the globe artichokes on the fruit and veg stall.

I’ll definitely be back, I plan to have lunch at the Real Food Market every Thursday until summer’s out. Also, interestingly, there's a UK Bloggers Association stall, I didn't see that but will be sure to seek them out in the coming months.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Flask

On a hazy spring evening Thomas and I took a stroll up Highgate Hill. Well, that was the idea, it ended up being more like a vertical climb for which I was completely unprepared. In any case, it was a lovely day so we ventured to an area fairly local to us that we had not previously explored.

At the summit of the hill we were glad to see a pub where we could rest up and get some dinner. The Flask sits prettily on a fork in the road and offers fairly standard traditional pub food in a relaxed and lively atmosphere.

We ordered our food at about 8:30 and were sadly too late for our first choices. The kitchen had run out of the burger (which Thomas wanted to have), the sausage and mash (which I’d hoped to order) and the steak. Disappointing.

We were served bread, 2 slightly paltry looking slices with some olive oil and balsamic. It was okay, but somehow seemed at odds with the place, something you’d expect in a restaurant or at least a more formal section of such an establishment, not in a pub garden. We were sitting outside, they have a large covered seating area decorated quaintly with fairy lights and foliage.

I had the fishcakes of which there were 2 and they were decidedly on the warm side rather than hot. It was listed on the menu as accompanied by a side salad and saffron mayo. The side salad was a rather limp and wilted bed of rocket which was very wet. See it glistening?? Without a discernable dressing, it was a bit soggy for my liking, lacking even the subtle bite that should come with rocket.

The mayo was a bit sickly, there was an awful lot of it but I was pleased to see it had slithers of saffron in it. This did provide a good contrast in consistency to the fishcake itself, which I’d assumed would be salmon but tasted like tuna. If it was tuna, it was anaemic, either that or it was cod.

Thomas surprised me by ordering the roasted squash with beetroot and goatscheese. So disappointed was he that there were no more burgers I thought he’d sworn off meat for life! The squash was hit and miss, some pieces too hard and some too pulpy. I rather liked the goatscheese, it’s a brilliant partner for the sometimes boring beetroot. It was served as a salad and was okay.

The place was full, no mean feat on a Monday evening and considering they had sold out of several dishes it seems to be a popular venue for locals. They must be doing something right, were I to come back it would probably be for drinks or to try those sausages.

The Flask
77 Hightgate West Hill, N6

Flask on Urbanspoon

Monday, 20 April 2009

Rock and Sole Plaice

On a sunny Sunday Thomas and I decided to head into town to clothes shop. Wandering down Endell Street we were unable to resist the temptation of fish and chips, it’s one of those meals I seldom indulge in but frequently crave.

The Rock and Sole Plaice claims to be the oldest fish and chips restaurant in London and I think it offers an authentic experience in terms of taste but it seems strangely at odds with the surroundings. Despite this, it’s very popular, most of the outside tables were taken even late on a Sunday but we snagged one and both ordered the classic cod and chips.

It’s fairly hard work getting the attention of the waiters and we had to wait for a relatively long time for our food considering that there is also a takeaway option and people were coming and going regularly with their takeaway orders.

It’s nice that each table has both the necessary salt and vinegar as well as pots of ketchup and tartare sauce. The fish itself was delightfully crisp, the batter being neither too fatty or soggy as it so often can be. The cod was meaty and cooked well.

The chips are thick and pleasing and there are plenty of them. This is certainly very tasty but a tad on the expensive side, one large and one regular cod and chips and 1 can of coke coming in at £23 but I think it’s definitely worth the expense. It’s a good example of this oh so British dish but for a more authentic experience I’d suggest a trip to the Brighton or Hastings perhaps, much better to be by the seaside than the dustcarts and cabbies of Covent Garden.

47 Endell St
Covent Garden, WC2H

Rock & Sole Plaice on Urbanspoon


Saturday afternoon, cue girly lunch. This week at Princi. I’ve been eager to visit since it opened last year and have wandered in on a couple of occasions wishing that I hadn’t already eaten.

We all opted for the salad bar, a mix of 2 from the 6 on display for about £6, Noy and I had the chicken and avocado and the mozzarella and tomato. Nibs went for the lighter options including the artichoke and rocket salad.

The chicken salad interestingly contained slices of apple, unexpected but pleasing. It was topped with poppy seeds which gave an additional if subtle dimension. I loved this, the texture was comforting and the apple provided a slight sweetness.

The mozzarella was tasty, as Noy pointed out, not the best we’ve ever had but, certainly tastier than most. A liberal sprinkling of basil leaves and both cherry and plum tomatoes made up the salad and a nice slice of sourdough bread is served as an accompaniment. There were also black olives and raw red onion which I like but the girls picked out. There was an abundance on Nibs' plate.

I also felt like something sweet so had the passion fruit cheesecake for dessert. I’ve heard much of this elsewhere in blogger reports and it lived up to my expectations, providing a contrasting crunch (far better than any cheesecake base I’ve ever managed to achieve) topped with oozing soft cheese and a slightly sharp, very fruity, jellied passion fruit top.

I found the place to be a little hectic and daunting. One needs to adopt a gung-ho approach to nabbing a table, thankfully Noy was on the ball as usual and got us 3 of the high seats along the back wall after having loitered around for a good 20 minutes, coming close to fisticuffs with one gentleman.

On the way out I picked up 2 loaves of bread, a sourdough and an olive bread, these were amazing if a little pricy at £10 for the 2. Here's the 1/2 eaten sourdough which is some of the best I've ever had.

I guess it’s a good sign that the staff and most of the diners here are Italian, if it’s good enough for them..! I’d recommend Princi but be prepared to take no prisoners or don’t go at 2:30 on a Saturday! I hear the pizzas are amazing and there is a selection of hot food available that I didn't even get to because the cold displays are so very impressive. The place is filled with enticing aromas. I shall be returning, probably very soon.

135 Wardour St, Soho W1

Princi on Urbanspoon

Benito’s Hat

Following a job interview I had a much needed latte at Lantana, Shelagh commented that I’d not been in for a while and the first sip of the latte immediately made realise how much I’ve missed it! If I get the job I’ll be in the vicinity and a much more regular visitor, fingers crossed!

Anyway, it was quite late in the day and we were peckish and lunch was over at Lantana so we popped over to Benito’s Hat.

I went for the tacos (warmed soft tortillas - one above wrapped in foil) with chicken, salad and medium chilli sauce and Thomas went for the burrito with chicken and the hot sauce. I found mine very pleasing, a good size and value for money, £4 with a drink. There was no cutlery so it was a bit messy but thankfully there were napkins! The tacos (choose either 2 or 3 depending how hungry you are) are good but I find counters with meat laid out in steel trays to be a little unappealing. It all feels a bit canteen esque for my liking.

The burrito was a little on the large side if anything, filled with rice, salad, beans and chicken, it did look a bit beast like and every option comes with a serving of tortilla chips. The hot sauce proved a little overwhelming even for chilli fiend Thomas.

This is a nice lunch or snack destination and were I in that neck of the woods I might return but, in truth, I’d probably go to Lantana. In the evening the neighbouring Salt Yard (see my review here) or Ooze would likely be more of a draw.

Benito's Hat
56 Goodge St
Fitzrovia, W1T 4NB

Benito's Hat on Urbanspoon

Friday, 17 April 2009

Lamb Tagine

In honour of Noy, earlier this week I made a lamb tagine. Actually, Noy doesn’t like lamb but I think this dish would work well with other meats too. I do not have an actual tagine, so this was less traditional that one might like but worked very well in a regular pot.

It being Spring (kind of, when it feels like it) there’s much made of lamb coming into season and I very rarely cook it so took the plunge.

The resulting meal was a success, I’ll make a few changes when I cook it again, like adding the chickpeas and squash later on so that they have more bite and I’d add more harissa, to provide more heat. Better still to use dried chickpeas instead of canned and soak them first. There was plenty left over and it freezes well so I’ll do that when we have the rest.

I resisted the urge to put peas in it, I want peas with everything at the moment but they wouldn’t have worked. I would also add more seeds, possibly also pine nuts to the cous cous for more of a crunch.

Lamb Tagine (serves 4 maybe more but we’re greedy)

900g Lamb, leg or shoulder meat
2 tbs olive oil
1 onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 good pinches of saffron strands
1 small tin of tomato puree
3 tsp harissa paste
400g plum tomatoes
3/4 pint of lamb stock
1 small butternut squash, chopped into 1inch cubes
1 tin of chickpeas
200g cous cous
1 packet of fresh coriander
1/2 packet of fresh mint
25g sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tub 0% fat total greek yoghurt

- Brown the lamb in the oil in batches and put aside.
- Fry the onion until soft with the remaining oil.
- Add the garlic, and spices and fry them off until the aromas are released
- Pour in the tomatoes, tomato puree, harissa and stock and simmer for 1 hour
- When 30 minutes have passed, add the chickpeas, the squash and 1/3 of the herbs.
- Add 200g of hot stock (I used lamb) to the cous cous and allow to soak for around 10 mins. Fluff with a fork, add 1/3 of the herbs, the lemon juice and the seeds.
- Serve the meat and sauce on a bed of the cous cous with some greek yoghurt or similar on top. Also, a wedge of lemon to garnish and squeeze over.

Thanks to Lizzie for suggesting cooking the cous cous with stock, obvious really but I’m not generally a fan and so have only made it once or twice before following packet instruction. Using stock really helped. It’s a good alternative for those days when you find you’re a little bored of pasta and rice. Neither would really work with this dish. Many recipes suggest the addition of honey or dried fruit but I don’t really think it’s needed.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Rivington Grill

For Nibs' birthday brunch, us girls head to Rivington Street to sample the delights on offer at Rivington Grill, a restaurant and bar that is part of the Caprice Holdings collective, also encompassing The Ivy and J Sheekey amongst others (read my thoughts on J Sheekey here). Such credentials and a fine review from Krista meant I was certainly looking forward to this.

We arrived promptly at 1pm to find a virtually deserted restaurant but it very soon filled up and was bustling by the time we left. Service was relaxed and polite and we had a pleasurable and leisurely brunch sampling a diverse selection of their food.

We each selected a tipple, I had a brunch-tastic bloody mary which, to my surprise, had fresh horseradish pieces in it, and was very good indeed. The bread was served next whilst we deliberated over the menu. It was warm and served with just the right amount of butter, I find that happens all too rarely, and we were given 2 between the 4 of us whilst a later arriving foursome, Noy noticed, were given only 1.

I was most chuffed with my choice of Cornish crab with toast and mayonnaise. This was a real crowd pleaser, when it arrived there were envious glances from the neighbouring table, one chap proudly declaring “that must be the crab,” didn’t exactly take a genius to reach that conclusion…

The toast was thick cut and white, which I welcomed but because it was warm by the time I got down to the 3rd and 4th pieces they had gone slightly chewy due to the heat and had lost most of their crispness. The accompanying mayonnaise was velvety and tasted homemade and the chopped egg (white and yolk separated and beautifully served in a small ramekin) was an unadvertised delight. The lemon provided a welcome tang and the crab itself, presented back in the shell was perfect, a generous portion of both brown and white meat sitting atop a bed of seaweed. I thought the dish was faultless.

As a starter the crab was relatively filling and so, instead of a main, I opted for a side of bubble and squeak which was interesting. To quote Nibs it was "heavily herbed" and very very green. The flavour was a bit all over the place with so many herbs that it was difficult to detect each flavour, rather an overall sort of fragrance. I liked that it had peas in it (I'm a bit obsessed with peas at the moment) and it was nicely crisp on the outside. Nibs fared somewhat better with her side of fries which were pretty great, crispy and thick and served in a little tin pot.

As well as this Nibs had the Evesham beetroot and goatscheese salad. Again, a major element to the dish was not stated on the menu, this time it was pears. The additions were entirely welcome but it's curious that a beetroot, goatscheese and pear salad would be under sold by the omission of one of the trio from the description. In any case, Nibs was happy, as she's a fan of pears but the chips beat her, lucky for us we were all able to have a few.

Kid, by far the fussiest eater among us and the least interested in food in general, went for the sausage and mash. For a small eater, she did very well, quietly scraping off the onions and declaring the actual bangers to be a bit too meaty. Again we all got a tatse and I thought they were good, rather solid and flavoursome, with a rich gravy and fluffy mash.

Noy felt like breakfast rather than lunch and here are her thoughts:

First up was Macroom porridge. This arrived to me in a pleasing, yet slightly sloppy state - not really sure what else I was expecting though! From the first taste I knew that, for me, it was far too sweet but I carried on. It had a comforting charm that made it really moreish. The oats in it were a perfect consistency and nice and big, too! Next up was my much anticipated drop scones with lavender honey and bacon.

Pleasing to the eye and to the taste, too. The three pancakes were perfectly drizzled with honey - normally I wouldn't opt for this as not much of a honey fan, but adding mustard to the dish really took the edge of the sweetness. The bacon was slightly fatty and could have been crispier but the ratio of pancake to bacon was spot on.

This is a perfect brunch venue. It's nice how the restaurant and bar areas are seperated. I shall be returning.

Rivington Grill
28-30 Rivington St,
Shoreditch, EC2A

Rivington Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, 6 April 2009


I had very high hopes about this place, having read reviews of Boundary here and here. Terence Conran's new project comprising a hotel, numerous bars and three restaurants. Ambitious indeed and, thus far, apparently well received.

When the girls and I stumbled upon the place on a Saturday afternoon wander I almost convulsed with excitement and hurried inside to have a peek in the Albion shop. The displays are incredible, beautiful cupcakes, freshly baked breads and exquisitely presented products from many 'established English brands.' We decided to nab a table and a much needed bottle of wine, and a cake of two!

Sarah and I had a cupcake, with the lightest and butteriest icing these are just delicious. It wasn't the best sponge I've ever had but the sprinkling of rainbow strands made up for it. It was so pretty. The house white too was good though Noy wasn't a fan.

To add insult to injury Noy's fruit scone was stale. Served with raspberry jam and butter (cream if you prefer), it had obviously been part of the inside spectacle for most of the morning and was past it's best. Shame.

The main note I'd like to make is that we were served by possibly the rudest waiter I have ever had the misfortune to meet. He was rushing around, completely unnecessarily whilst about 5 others wandered around aimlessly, waiting for instruction. He actually shouted "quick" to Nibs from about 5 meters away having scarpered while she was still deciding what to have. It may be annoying when customers um and ah over their order but when there are barely a handful of other diners this rudeness is entirely uncalled for. In his defence the other girls didn't hear his "quick" comment, I may have been hearing things but his other shortcomings as a waiter did not go unnoticed.

£30 for 2 cakes, a stale scone, a kir royale for Sair and the bottle of white. Plus 12.5% (disgraceful) service charge.

We got the giggles midway through our stay, owing to the wine I daresay but I imagine others might not take this quite so well. The fact that a group of young women should be subjected to such substandard service is not okay in my mind. Terence, take note, sort your staff out.

Albion @ The Boundary Project
4 Boundary St,
Shoreditch, E2

Albion at The Boundary Project on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Del Parc

On Friday night a group of friends and I dined at Del Parc, a small Spanish restaurant in Tufnell Park. Having eaten here a number of times I've been keen to post about it because I believe owners Alan and Steve are providing some of the finest food available in London.

Ingredients come from Brindisa and each dish is intelligently and lovingly prepared in the open kitchen amid the diners in the centre of the rustically charming room. There is an incredibly homely feeling about the eating experience here, Alan serving everybody single handed and one immediately gets a sense of an ingrained passion and knowledge of the food they prepare.

We were a large group and for ease we agreed with Alan when booking to have the chef selection. I did however make a special request for the marinated olives to be included, the best olives I have ever come across, marinated in smoked paprika, olive oil and many herbs. They burst with flavour and are almost meaty in consistency leaving a welcome pool of marinade to be mopped up with the delightfully crusty bread.

There were a number of changes to the reservation, times and numbers were altered and each change was politely accepted and that's one of the main charms of Del Parc, the owners are amazingly hospitable and are perfect hosts, genuinely polite and eager to provide an excellent evening of food and ambiance.

We selected a red wine, each bottle on the menu has been tried and tested to provide the perfect accompaniment to the dishes, Alan is more than happy to recommend something and again, demonstrates that he clearly knows what he's talking about.

The chef selection comprised of so many dishes that I believe I may be guilty of omitting some here but you'll get the general gist. Following the olives we were presented with an aubergine dip and warm pitta breads, toasted and light these were very moreish and were quickly devoured. Next up was this selection of various tasty offerings

From the top: white asparagus spears which were a tad soft, caper berries, roasted peppers, marinated cannelini beans, mushrooms (these were the crowning glory of the selection, deeply flavoursome with smoked paprika and a hint of sherry) and some artichoke hearts. The only problem we had with this was having to share between three, whilst all wanting to dig in with no reserve!

Then came the blue cheese mushrooms which I adored. They prompted even Thomas, who is allergic to blue cheese, to have a taste. They looked too appealing to miss out on. The cheese was amazingly pungent and salty, perfectly offset buy the chunky earthiness of the portobello mushrooms.

Served next were the serrano ham, goatscheese and fig rolls. Everything comes presented in beautiful earthenware dishes, adding to the homely experience with an abundant variety of flavours in smallish portions allowing everyone to try many different things.

These rolls are a prime example of the taste sensation offered by Steve's culinary skills. The ham, cheese and fruit working together to excite and pleasure every palate. With most of the food there is an accompanying salad of rocket and tomatoes with a simple dressing, such touches showing an above average attention to detail which really places Del Parc in a class of their own. Another of the highlights were fried goatscheese balls drizzled with honey. An unbeatable combination. We really were fighting over these!

They were every bit as good as they look. Oozing hot cheese, crispy batter and glistening sweet honey. We are always sure to have a portion of these when we dine here. To follow this was a creamy chicken dish which we had never had here before. There was tomato,flat leaf parsley, onion and a nutty hint. I was a little tipsy and full by this point but to my delight the food kept coming. Lots of bread for the sauce too.

Another dish we go for without fail is the marinated prawns. These are served shell on, with a sauce of garlic, pepper, lemon, a hint of chili or some spicy seasoning and butter. Another great sauce for mopping.

There were also lamb meatballs, topped with a yoghurty dressing, and sadly we had to decline the squid because we were all too full. There was room, albeit some time later, for some desserts, the chocolate pot topped with ginger ice cream and some raspberry ripple ice cream with coulis.

Both were great, particularly the ripple ice cream, brilliantly refreshing and tangy. All this for only 35 per head. I advise you to check out Del Parc, they have a loyal local following and are definitely ones to watch. Don't just take my word for it, there are rave customer reviews on London Eating

De Parc
167 Junction Rd, N19

Del Parc on Urbanspoon

Friday, 3 April 2009

Sushi Hiroba

Last night, accompanied by some colleagues following a few after work drinks, we went in search of Japanese, in the Holborn area.

I remembered vaguely having read of a recommended pizza place in the vicinity but this was far too vague to be of any use. Japanese it was and we found ourselves at Sushi Hiroba just a few doors along from Holborn tube station.

The signs were good, it was fairly busy, there were a fine array of dishes on show on the conveyor belt and we were seated immediately even though it was fairly late in the evening.

We selected a couple of portions of edamame to share and ordered our choice of main dishes individually. The edamame were good, I’m a big fan in general and it’s hard to get them wrong but I’ve had much better elsewhere. They were blanched and this was evident by the accompanying mouthful of water that came with each pod. Not unpleasant but unwelcome.

Thomas and I shared the Sashimi A next, a selection of 5 pieces each of salmon and tuna. This was faultless and came on a huge bed of finely sliced Daikon (Japanese radish) and cress. I adore sashimi and this was a fine example, gently dunked in soy and wasabi with pickled ginger which was presented immediately following our order, a nice touch.

For the main event a variety or dishes were presented, all looked appetizing, ranging from cucumber sushi rolls to tempura prawns and chicken teriyaki.

I went for the Seafood Yakiudon. This was very pleasing, flavorsome and hearty with thick udon noodles, glistening with soy. A liberal scattering of stir-fried green and red peppers provided a contrasting crunch and the seasonal seafood meant a good portions of prawns, squid and mussels. I liked this dish. Thick udon noodles rarely disappoint I find and despite my chopstick skills needing some honing to say the very least, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The thing that ruined the evening was the service. Young, uninterested girls took our order and seemingly forgot about us, tucked out of the way in the far corner of the dining room. Perhaps they were downstairs enjoying the karaoke which I learnt from their website is offered in the basement. Our green tea was not refilled, Thomas waited and waited for his main course, the Big Teriyaki Chicken (with rice, vegetable and pickles), reminding them on a number of occasions that it had still not arrived, requests which were met with sniggers and giggles. Most infuriating. Some Chicken Teriyaki minus the accompaniying rice etc. arrived and being not what was ordered was sent back. When, finally, Thomas was presented with the correct ordered chicken, we had all long since finished. And, 15 minutes later, when paying the bill, intriguingly, they delivered a second attempt at the dish. Good to see communication between the waiting staff and the kitchen is of the utmost importance at Sushi Hiroba!

The actual dish was satisfactory but not worth the wait. In conclusion I advise you not to go here. Not because I wouldn’t like you to try the food but because the service is atrocious. At almost £20 a head without beer or wine, the price is beaten elsewhere, or matched with far more considerate sevice. And food served in good time. The 12.5% service which was added to the bill was wishful thinking on their part.

Sushi Hiroba
50 Kingsway, WC2

Sushi Hiroba on Urbanspoon