Friday, 13 November 2015

The Portman

I love free food, so when The Portman invited me to have dinner (partially) on them, I was like, ummm, yes please! The Portman is a gastro pub situated on top of a real pub near Marble Arch.  I wasn’t sure I was at the right place at first because downstairs kind of feels like an old man’s pub.  However, as I had a drink downstairs and waited for my other half, their hits of 2010 playlist was on fleek! Don’t let the exterior fool you!

Upstairs is fairly newly renovated (although the ladies toilet could use a little work) and the banquette was really comfortable.  Seems like a place you would go with colleagues after work, as the hubs and I were the only couple there.  Playlist moved to 80s slow jams and it was awesome.

It was really hard to choose what to eat.  I was leaning towards the crispy squid but my love of soups got the better of me and I had the broccoli and Stilton soup of the day.  It was so good! Not too blue cheesy and the croutons were covered in garlic butter.  It was a tad too hot though, so by the time I was able to eat the croutons, they were a little soggy.  Still delicious.  My husband had the ravioli that was fresh, al dente and tasty.  I liked that they allowed you to chose if you wanted to have the sauce and how much.

For our mains I went with good old steak.  It was an OK cut of meat but cooked and seasoned very well.  I was super excited about their ‘stealth’ fries, which were apparently double cooked with the skin on.  The real thing was slightly disappointing (but I did have pretty high hopes).  The fries weren’t that crispy. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate them all, but maybe they need to be triple cooked? My steak also came with a salad but I don’t think there was any dressing, so after a few bites of dry leaves I stopped.  Plus, I already got my five a day in the soup.

We obviously had dessert and I inhaled the Ferrero Rocher cheesecake.  I had to curb my inkling to devour their entire cheese selection because I already had the cheese soup.  People who bake cheesecakes are like people who put raisins in cookies (insert rolling eyes emoticon here). Thankfully this one wasn’t! It was really good, a tad rich and, in my opinion, emphasized the worst part of a Ferrero Rocher: The nuts… which actually isn’t that bad.

Overall we had a really good time, the staff were very friendly.  They also had a great wine list.  I would probably go back if I was in the area doing some shopping.  I will say it was a bit expensive for a gastro pub.  That being said, we did drink a lot, so that was a big chunk of it.

The Portman
51 Upper Berkeley Street, W1H 7QW
0207 723 8996

The Portman Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Cinnamon Club

The Cinnamon Club was massively disappointing.  Highlights included paying £30/person for Butter Chicken, made with anorexic chicken legs and completely forgetting to bring out one of our mains. But lets start at the beginning...

My husband had chosen to go there to celebrate his birthday and I was looking forward to it.  I’m not actually a huge fan of Indian food, but he introduced me to our local Noor Jahan, which has amazing butter chicken, so when he wanted to go to The Cinnamon Club, I was excited.

I arrived, told the reception it was my husband’s birthday and sat in the bar area which was overly lit with florescent lights.  I was told I was the first in our party to arrive and after I ordered my Cosmo (there are no vodka based cocktails on their menu) I waited ages.  Turns out my mother in law had in fact arrived before me and was waiting at the table.  She eventually found me along with my husband and my drink still hadn’t arrived. 

We moved into the dining room which has better lighting and looks like a library. We brought our drinks (which by then had thankfully shown up, and were very good) to the table and I discreetly told the waitress it was my husband’s birthday and we would like some kind of cake with candles at the end.
(Sorry for the mid bite pic! I was so hungry!)

Our starters came out quickly.  I had the crisp spinach, which was like spinach tempura and potato chips.  It wasn’t the best choice.  My husband had the lamb escalope which was the best out of everything we ordered and my MIL had the lobster which was also fairly tasty.

Then came the disaster of a main course.  I was really looking forward to this expensive butter chicken.  There was gold leaf on the potato balls, and I think that’s where the cost came from, because they certainly didn’t splurge for actual chicken, just the leftover spindly legs.  There was no meat on them.  So I filled up on rice and naan. I had also ordered the roast cauliflower.  That never showed up and we were so disappointed with the chicken, we decided not to bother asking for it.

The banana tarte I had for dessert was okay.  What wasn’t okay was when my MIL went to the bathroom and the waitress came out and asked us when we would like the cake and candle for her birthday… in front of my husband. Face palm.  I told her of the faux pas and she brought it out anyway for him, quite anticlimactically.

Bit sad, isn't it? Dessert isn't supposed to be sad. 

If you want to risk it (and bring a wad of cash):
The Cinnamon Club
The Old Westminster Library
30-32 Great Smith Street

The Cinnamon Club Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wednesday, 4 November 2015


First off, I’d like to apologize once again to the woman two tables down for hitting her in the head with my chopstick.  I have no idea how said chopstick went from being in my hand to in your hair, but it happened. Thank you to the gentlemen at the table next to me for attempting to take the blame, when we all know it was me who clearly can’t behave in a fancy restaurant.  Also, thank you to physics, the real reason hilarious stuff happens.

Anyway, onto the review.  I’d been to Roka’s Charlotte Street location several years ago and remember being freezing cold the whole time.  My experience in Canary Wharf was much better than that. Our waitress Martyna was very very good.  Our cocktails took a bit longer than expected and you could tell she was angrier about it than we were.  When they did arrive, they were delicious! Rome wasn’t built in a day and my cocktail took 20 minutes. Both were worth the wait. I had the raspberry passion and it tasted like raspberry juice that gets you drunk. Like I said, worth it.

We had the premium tasting menu and the wine pairings to go with it. I couldn’t pronounce 90% of the menu, but it was all delicious.  The best dish on the menu was the first thing we had, the yellowtail sashimi because it had a truffle dressing.  The premium sashimi selection was good, but I did find the tuna to be a little fishy.

As usual, I really liked the spicy tuna roll, which is my favorite kind of sushi. I hate when restaurants cover perfectly good sushi with cayenne pepper and just call it spicy.  Roka’s spicy tuna didn’t do that and was very mild but oddly (in a good way) geometric.

By the time we got to the black cod and scallop skewers, I was pretty full.  The scallops were good, but I think Hakkasan has a better black cod.

The desert boat was huge! My favorites were the orange sorbet and the chocolate green tea fondant although, full disclosure, I just ate the outside chocolate cake part.

Overall, the meal was delicious, but obviously quite pricy.  But that’s not really a surprise in Roka.  Insider tip: getting there or home on a weeknight can be a nightmare.  I was coming from west London and it wasn’t too bad, but there were massive queues to get into Canary Wharf tube station. This time it was because of the DLR strike, but apparently it’s usually quite bad.  Things calmed down around nine.  So prepare to stay for the long haul.

Canary Wharf
+44 (0) 20 7636 5228
(Warning: their website has a loud and annoying video that plays on the landing page)

  Roka Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 2 November 2015

Jackson + Rye

Jackson + Rye is great American style diner in the heart of Soho.  Now, having been someone who actually lived in America, this is not what an American diner is like in any way shape or form.  But I do appreciate their effort and to be honest, Jackson + Rye is nicer than most diners in America.  I’ve been there a few times before for a weekday lunch (actually with Harry Style’s sister.  She looks exactly like him… or really, he looks exactly like her.)

Anyway, this time I went for a Saturday brunch and was pleasantly surprised with how friendly and efficient the staff was.  We had a film to be at and let them know at the beginning and they kept that in mind the entire time and the food came out promptly.  Unfortunately, there was major construction going on next door, so it was almost impossible to hold a conversation, but that wasn’t the fault of Jackson + Rye. 

I had the Avocados Eggs benedict and had no idea what to expect.  What came was really good and perfect for anyone on a low carb, high fat diet.  Poached eggs sat on top of the avocado along with (the requested) crispy bacon.  It also came with potatoes and bread, but it was so filling I hardly touched them.  Side note, the coffee was great as well.

They get fairly busy, so I recommend a reservation or try for one of the few walk-in seats available, which was what we did at around 10am.

56 Wardour Street, London W1
0207437 8338

  Jackson + Rye Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Goat has a special place in my heart because it’s where I met my husband.  Back then, however it was a dive-y pub called The Goat and Boots. Goat, as it stands now was refurbished a few years ago and has become a neighborhood favorite.

It was a lazy Saturday when we went ad Chelsea was playing. Goat was one of the few places not full of rowdy blue jerseys so we went to have a bite. I’ve eaten there several times before and my favorite thing on the menu for a light bite is the black quinoa salad.  The portion size is actually quite decent for the starter, which means I usually pair it with something less healthy, like the truffle mac and cheese.

The mac and cheese, however, is a fairly small portion.  We were a fairly large group drinking and eating so we shared everything and this didn’t go very far. So we added the antipasti platter and calamari. 

Antipasti was really good, particularly the fried artichokes. The calamari was very small and came with legs, which I hate, although the fried courgette was a nice touch. 

One of the great things about Goat is the secret speakeasy. I’ve been there for drinks on several occasions and because the space is fairly small, it’s perfect for intimate private parties.  However, ladies beware. They place candles in very dangerous places and my friend’s hair started on fire as she stood near a shelf that had a poorly placed candle at head height.  When we spoke to the manager about it, he didn’t seem to think having a candle there was a big deal because it had only happened twice before.  Listen, if a girl sets her hair on fire once because you have a candle burning in a bad spot, that’s one time too many.  Sort it out.

Great for: quick bite and then head upstairs.  It’s one of the only pubs in the area still open until 1.
Watch out for: Candles and drunk Chelsea supporters on the street.

333 Fulham Road, SW10 9QL
020 7352 1384

GOAT Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato