All posts tagged: review

The Fir Room at Piquet

It’s unusual to journey to a bar for the food. Drinks always take priority so accompanying food menus are often severely limited. However, with the Fir Room – the bar at Piquet – you get standout drinks (seriously fine wine and small-batch champagne) with equally formidable food fare. There’s a casserole of tender cod cheeks with fried squid and chorizo that is joyful to launch into after braving the outdoors, the type of meal you want to hunker down with all night long. Duck rillettes on crunchy sourdough toast offers smooth but meaty bites that feel endlessly addictive, whilst the piggy burger with a large smoked patty, pulled pork and bacon (with chips on the side) is pure gluttony, and completely irresistible. Piquet, 92-94 Newman Street, Fitzrovia, London W1T 3EZ. piquet-restaurant.co.uk

Reform Social & Grill

Sure, home-cooked dishes are great but sometimes you just have to hand it to the experts. The winter menu here is a good place to start, with well-prepared, hearty British classics that will be worth your while to emulate. There’s a tender, glazed beef shortrib with walnut-coated beetroot to provide a satisfying, crunchy point of difference. If you’re lucky enough to land plaice as the Catch of the Day, savour it neatly rolled up with capers and zingy bursts of lemon. On that note, you might as well finish with the lemon and raspberry posset which has just enough sharpness to reenergise the palate. Reform Social & Grill, Mandeville Hotel, Mandeville Place, Mayfair, London W1U 2BE. reformsocialgrill.co.uk

Spice Market launches Barley & Buns bao pop-up

For a limited time only, diners at Spice Market can tuck into Taiwanese-style bao buns with the new Barley & Buns pop-up menu. Capitalising on the success of Taiwanese gua bao (steamed, fluffy white buns traditionally filled with pork belly) on the London street food scene, Spice Market has launched its own menu of savoury bao buns with a pop-up, Barley & Buns, on the ground floor of its restaurant. There are six buns (£4 – £7) to choose from and one additional ‘bun of the week’ – on the evening we visited, barbecue chicken was in order. The fillings, all of which have south-east Asian influences, are comforting and well portioned, and the buns are pillowy soft with a trace of sweetness. There are lots of textures at play on the menu, from the more tender choices like classic pork belly with pickled shallots, basil and mint, and Thai shrimp cake with mango and a sweet nuoc cham fish sauce dressing, to one of our firm favourites – the soy-glazed short rib with apple …

PizzaBuzz brings tailor-made gourmet pizza to the City

New restaurant PizzaBuzz livens up Shoreditch and the City by inviting diners to create their own pizzas. Whether you’re the experimental type, or just a fussy eater, there’s fun to be had in PizzaBuzz, a cool new foodie hangout where you can whip up a tasty, custom-made 12-inch pizza in less than 10 minutes from counter to table. Set in the newly opened Alphabeta Building, located between Tech City and the City, the restaurant has everything that would appeal to the hipster diner, from colourful, mismatched chairs and curious animal-themed murals to gluten-free pizza bases and curly kale toppings. Just start at the counter and work your way along the extensive assembly line as you watch your pizza being created. First, pick from one of five pizza bases including margherita (£4.95), verde (£5.95) and tomato-free bianca (£5.95). All the bases are made using the restaurant’s own blend of white and spelt flour, with the addition of spelt helping to aid digestion. Second, add some protein – there’s pancetta, merguez sausage and fennel salami (£1.50 each) …

Yauatcha City launches Supreme Saturdays

The new Supreme Saturdays lunch menu at Yauatcha City may be the most indulgent way to kick off the weekend yet. While the City workers are away, there’s no better day to come out to play. Yauatcha City has brought in a new lunch menu that stretches late into the afternoon, adding a special touch to an otherwise ordinary Saturday. Warm up with a choice of one of three cocktails. Go for the sweet and fragrant lychee martini or the ginger-laced Thea martini which has a healthy kick of chilli. Those who can start off the day with something a bit stronger can jump straight in with a negroni. The meal begins with a selection of steamed dim sum including har gau, pork and prawn shui mai, a Wagyu beef dumpling, a vegetable and truffle wrap, pumpkin and pine nut, and a wild mushroom dumpling. There’s no skimping on filling and each one is as delicate and perfectly succulent as the other. Next up is a medley of fried dim sum that includes a super-crunchy …

Ma’ Plucker opens Southern chicken shop in Soho

Plucky newcomer Ma’ Plucker takes roost in Soho to bring you Southern-style chicken from noon til night. Ma’ Plucker might only have one ingredient as its specialty but it sure knows how to mix things up so you keep coming back for more. Here, in this small-seater restaurant, you’ll find chicken cooked three ways and served up in any combination you wish. First, make a choice from three bases that will determine your level of indulgence – there’s a salad, a house bun or some maple waffles. Next, pick a sauce to accompany your dish, the chirpy staff can offer assistance here if you’re unsure about the most complementary flavour combinations. Then comes the most important decision of the day – choose the style in which your chicken is cooked. You can have the chipotle-rubbed rotisserie, the fried crispy-coated buttermilk or the hickory-spiced pulled chicken. Crispy-coated halloumi cheese is also available for vegetarians and if you’re feeling a bit rebellious, you can even opt for the BBQ-braised beef short rib sub. But chicken is the …

Jean-Jacques Brasserie and Wine Bar opens in Soho

From Moscow and St. Petersburg to London, Jean-Jacques brings all-day classic French dining to Soho. It’s easy enough to neglect the good old tried and tested classics amongst the excitement of the latest foodie import or craziest foodie concoction that Soho is so renowned for. But when exhaustion kicks in and all you want is just a bit of the familiar, it’s good to know there are plenty of places you can turn to within striking distance. Jean-Jacques is one such place for fuss-free, traditional French food done well. It is set across three floors with a causal bar in the basement, a café decked out in black, white and red on the ground floor and a more formal cream and golden-accented, mirrored-ceiling restaurant upstairs with an outdoor terrace for open-air dining if the weather permits. Bar a couple of Russian dishes, there aren’t any surprises on the French menu. A trio of lightly seared scallops (£10) has a lovely herbaceous hit from the salsa verde and tomato fondue. A simple but generously layered endive …

Bottomless Kate Moss Champagne coupe lunch at 34

Mayfair restaurant 34 livens up lunch with the irresistible offer of bottomless Champagne. Just find an occasion, any occasion, to head to 34 for lunch soon because for a limited time only, you’ll be able to enjoy complimentary top-ups of Champagne. Just order two courses along with a single glass of Champagne and all your subsequent top-ups will be free for the duration of your meal. Use whatever tactics you like to help stretch out the time for maximum Champagne pleasure. You could try repeatedly requesting “more time” to decide what you will order in the first instance, or when your meal arrives, whip the phone out and photograph your dish from every conceivable angle, then spend some more time reviewing the pictures before duly posting on Instagram. Then repeat the process with your companion’s meal. Or, you could just order a third course and enjoy dessert at lunchtime too – if you’re having Champagne, you might as well go all-out and take your sweet time with a double whammy of treats. Do find the …

Aqua Kyoto’s Marine Menu is a real catch

Japanese restaurant Aqua Kyoto looks to the sea for their latest summer Marine Menu. Fish, in all its variations, has always been something Aqua Kyoto has excelled at. Its dedicated sashimi and sushi bar at the front of the restaurant is a credit to that. But behind the kitchen doors, there is so much more at work as chef Paul Greening flexes his microbiology muscle to create the restaurant’s latest offering, the Marine Menu, which is awash with some pretty wonderful sea flavours. There are three courses to get through and one set cocktail thrown in the mix, although the original Sea Stone martini with vodka, elderflower and a sting of absinthe, may be replaced with a sweeter, more refreshing cucumber variant to help ease you into the meal more gently. Naturally, the chef’s selection of sashimi, which can include salmon, tuna and scallops, served on a bed of ice is a vibrant way to start, otherwise the Cornish crab rolls topped with a sliver of unagi offers just enough bite before slipping down nicely. …

JUBO brings Korean street food to Exmouth Market

The Asian invasion gets under way as Korean street food restaurant JUBO opens up its second London venue. It’s something you just have to accept if you eat here – and that is the very real prospect that you may, at the most inconsiderate of times i.e. whilst dining at another restaurant, develop the most unrelenting of cravings for some volcanic Korean fried chicken. But there’s no shame in that for JUBO’s recipe is deserving of such praise – it’s their speciality after all so is a difficult one to resist. As the name suggests, JUBO’s “volcanic” chicken is pretty darn hot so you may just want to stick with “hot” which provides enough of a kick but without unduly alarming the pain receptors. Those who can’t handle the heat or who just prefer lighter flavours will enjoy the “soy garlic” variety. Whatever the choice, the result is a sinful mash-up of sweet, rich, sticky and crunchy goodness – everything you need to start off the Korean food love affair. The best introduction to Korean …