Really enjoyed breakfast at Balthazar, can’t wait to return for dinner service soon!
In a nutshell: amazing steaks for £10 in Soho
Price: £10 for steak, including salad (tiny)
Those of you who read my previous Flat Iron post would know the horrible queue system I mentioned before. After a few months, I went back to Flat Iron again and absolutely loved everything. There is a normal queue system (get there and queue), which normally starts around 6pm. I went at 5ish and got a seat no problem (I know, who eats at 5..). Steak wise, portion was small but still makes the £10 very cheap.
In a nutshell: hip underground restaurant serving very average buns and it’s the loudest room I’ve eaten at
Cuisine: Japanese / Taiwanese
There were too many things I disliked at Flesh & Buns. The noise level was intolerable, like 20 people shouting in your ear at the same time, I really had to shout a few times before I simply gave up to talk. “what, I didn’t hear you” was definitely the most talked sentence that night and from everyone! Space was tight, especially for twos who would be forced to sit
In a nutshell: the oldest restaurant in London with excellent British food
If money is not an issue, make a trip to Rules, the oldest restaurant in London. In fact it’s the perfect place to take a friend who’s visiting London. Every detail of this historic restaurant shouts British, the gentlemen service, the old fashioned decorations, the red velvety colour and the classic British food. Open since 1798, now for over 200 years it’s served the best game in the country, all sourced from their own estates.
Since my favourite Korean restaurant Ran shut down, looking for a replacement has proved more difficult than I ever imagined. Asadal (Holborn) becomes self-serviced BBQ where you have to grill all the meat yourself as soon as it gets busy, which is most of the time. Food is not the most authentic but ok to eat. Myung Ga (Carnaby St) has rubbish food that’s either too sweet or salty, plus the queue can get unimaginable. It’s a shame because I used to go as a kid and have good memories of having delicious food there. Kimchee is reasonable but too trendy to feel Korean, like Busaba with communal tables. Naru's BBQ is too sweet and done in the kitchen rather than on the table, plus the whole place felt more Japanese than Korean. Despite of some bad reviews of Arang in the recent years, it proved to be a very solid Korean restaurant compared to the above.
Ha, we wait ages for decent ramen, then two opened in the same month and both around Piccadilly Circus. Here is the round up on which has the best tonkotsu ramen.
- Camera: SONY DSC-RX100
- Apeture: f/3.2
- Exposure: 1/15th
- Focal: 11mm
Burger & Lobster - Soho
Last year, the queue for Burger & Lobster would’ve been an easy 3 hour wait. Now, 3 restaurants later, I finally walked into the Soho restaurant without any form of queue (tho I did go on Friday lunchtime). The strong selling point of only having 3 items on the menu has proved its unique market, serving whole lobster, lobster roll or beef burger. All priced at £20 each (must be easy to split the bill..).
Most people at the restaurant were eating the whole lobster while wearing cute bibs marked with the restaurant logo. Only a few (almost none) were having the beef burger, which did look the least attractive compared to the boiling red lobsters.
The lobster roll is essentially the lobster without shell, stuffed into a brioche like bread, toasted with a strong buttery taste. Weirdly, the lobster was served cold, giving a confusing contrast of cold and hot sensations with the hot roll. Combining the buttery taste with more sweetness from the mayo mixed lobster, the roll was really sweet and just on the borderline of still tasting fresh (the cool temp helped). It’s definitely a very unique flavour, not something we encounter everyday. The £20 also includes chips and salad.
If you haven’t tried Burger & Lobster yet, now is a good time to go since the queue has disappeared and you have the option to go either, Farringdon, Green Park or Soho.
36 Dean street, Soho
0207 432 4800
Naru - Korean restaurant
Ever since Ran closed down I’ve been looking for the best Korean restaurant in London. They either don’t have grill on the table (prepared in the kitchen instead) or the dishes aren’t complete enough to include decent BBQ as well as traditional dishes like pajeon (Korean pancake stuffed with seafood) and rice cakes etc.
Naru is nothing special, a small menu with BBQ done in the kitchen rather than on the table. It’s a tiny space in West End, close to New Oxford Street with a shabby front door that looks like a traditional Japanese restaurant. The pajeon was a bit oily with a lot of flour than seafood. The spiced pork was too sweet and lettuce didn’t come with spring onion. The rice cakes didn’t have enough chilli to get that kick, though the texture was pretty good. The only dish I liked was the kimchi jigae (spicy kimchi soup with tofu) with the right amount of chilli that’ll get your nose sniffing after a couple spoonfuls, not toned down for locals, just the traditional flavours.
Overall, Naru is not a particular special restaurant, perhaps the selling point is the price where two of us billed £45. Guess I’ll have to continue my quest to find the best Korean restaurant in London! Any recommendations?
Tube: Holborn / Tottenham Court Road
230 Shaftesbury Avenue London
020 7379 7962
Barrafina has been my favourite tapas restaurant since the first visit, clearly everyone in London think so too. The queue forms as soon as the bar like restaurant opens at 12 for lunch and 5 for dinner. No reservation is allowed but the sister restaurant Fino does and I’ve heard the menus are similar. Everything on the menu is good, the highest quality with the freshest ingredients, particular the daily seafood specials. I’ve had great tiger prawns here, simply cooked and drizzled with oil, even my prawn allergic friend wanted them badly. In terms of the classics, perfectly textured tortilla, not dry or too heavy, tons of flavour that pours out as soon as it’s sliced open.
I’d prefer Ittenbari if the ramen is as good as Tonkotsu. The Osaka crew decked out the space just like those we’d find in Japan, casual, crammed and full of ramen smell. The kitchen staff shouts ‘welcome’ in Japanese as soon as guests enter and the small restaurant is always packed with Japanese people hoping for a slurp of home taste. If only Ittenbari and Tonkotsu can combine their strength. Ittenbari has the bouncy, ultra yellow ramen which is rarely seen in London. But everything else is better at Tonkotsu, where the egg is gooey and properly marinated, the broth is not as salty and the Tokyo spicy is the best ramen I’ve had in London so far.