08 November 2009

Mobile Dining Adventures - October


Firstly, I want to apologise for the lack of updates.  It's been a manic few weeks and frankly, I've hardly had the energy to eat let alone write.   My busy workload has also caused me to be forgetful, and resulted in me taking my camera out without a memory card or forgetting it altogether.  I've thus had to resort to using my camera phone to document my October dining adventures.  So here is a summary of my mobile dining adventures.

Cocktails in the West End
Aqua Kyoto on UrbanspoonAqua - I'm a big of Aqua in HK for the fantastic views, and buzzy atmosphere.   Aqua London has the views - if you can get to it, but has as much atmosphere as a Weatherspoon.   I went to the Aqua Nueva, the bar for a drink the week it opened.  The only problem is it also lacked a distinct bar area.  Seating is on the sparse side (there's only a few booths at the side of the bar) and when you perch at the bar you'll find that you're in the way of the hundreds of staff who are floating about the place.   In era of austerity, I was also surprised to find cocktails priced on average an eye-watering £10.  I  wouldn't baulk at paying that amount (Sketch is one of my favourite chichi places for cocktails), but I didn't think Aqua Nueva warranted charging premium prices for its drinks.

Verdict:  If you want great views and mouthwatering cocktails, save your pounds and head to the bar at Galvin at Windows 

Cheap and good food in Soho


Andy Campbell at 23 Romilly Street - you'll need to keep your eyes peeled for this dark and atmospheric restaurant located at the top of Soho members club 23 Romilly Street, but once you've found it I guarantee you'll want to come back.  For a London restaurant, the restaurant has an oddly homely atmosphere, the same kind of hospitality you find at a B&B when you're being served cooked by the owner.  The food is pretty good too - the pork chop, clams, bacon, mash and purple mash brough a whole new meaning to surf and turf - the pork was succulent and the clams inflused with a sweet garlicly sauce - delicious.  Check-out the menu here.

Andy Campbell at 23 Romilly Street on Urbanspoon

Verdict:  A great place to enjoy good food and a bottle of vino sans the crowds on Friday.

Italian tapas in Soho
Polpo on UrbanspoonPolpo - is a shabby chic Venetian Barcaro located on the Regent Street end of Beak Street.   The restaurant serves small plates starting from a palatable £1.20 for arancini up to £11.90 for a mixed meat platter.   The food is not a patch on my favourite London tapas bar Barrafina, but I loved it nonetheless.  The food was fresh and rustic, and the service swift and friendly.  The restaurant has a NY vibe about it - you'll know what I mean when you visit there.   I ate at Polpo on a Monday night with some girls from work, and we had so much fun we forgot it was a school night. Polpo dosen't take bookings so if you don't turn up early, expect to wait up to 40 minutes for a table.

Verdict:  Good place for dinner with the girls, or a fun first date venue.

Beer and bratwurst Notting Hill


Tiroler Hut - is a basement Austrian restaurant in Bayswater that combines food with entertainment, think bell ringing and audience participation.  Its been open since 1967 and over the years its built up a cult celebrity fan base.   A look at the pictures which adorns the walls reveals that everyone from Kate Moss to Pierce Brosnan has partied at the quaint little joint.  The food is not very refined and consists of meat and veg on the plate-type combos served with sauerkraut, but then you don't come here for the food.  It's all about the glasses of steins.

Verdict:  Book a table for ten.  This is a great place for groups and to celebrate Oktoberfest.

Spanish deli and tapas on Great Portland Street
Iberica on UrbanspoonIberica - I ate at the tapas bar when it opened in May this year.  The food was good and the service friendly, but the bar lacked the character and buzz you expect to get with Spanish tapas bars.  I've returned since not to eat in but to grab one of the take away bocadillos drizzled with nothing but olive oil and either slice of jamon Iberico, manchego or tortilla,  Look out for bargain bottles of virgin olive oil on the counter for £3

Verdict:  If the weather is pleasant skip lunch in, grab a bocadillo, some slithers of jamon, a pot of olives and a bottle of wine and head to Regents Park.

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