Quo Vadis is small place with about 8 tables in the dining room along with 5 stools at the bar. Upstairs they have some party rooms as well as a private club space. A couple tables are outside, if the weather cooperates. One artist has provided graphics for their menu as well as doing large drawings for the dining room walls. The tables are close and covered with white clothes and set with matching white napkins. A lower ceiling, no background music, lowered lighting and a large stained glass window that looks out to the street set a comfortable ambiance. The place opened in 1926 as an Italian restaurant and in the 2000s became the cozy little place it is now. The menu changes fairly regularly and it is only a la carte. The portions are suitable for sharing and lots of sides are offered. The staff are super friendly and enthusiastic. Continue reading
LYLE’S, London, 4/28/18
LYLE’S is a medium sized one star Michelin restaurant that served only a la carte when we were there for lunch. At night they do a tasting menu. They opened in April 2014 and the restaurant was named after the chef’s mother’s maiden name. It has a large open kitchen on one side of the space and windows to the street on the opposite side. Pop/rock music plays in the background and the bare wood tables are set with un-cushioned chairs. It’s a casual atmosphere with white brick and tile walls, concrete floor, exposed ductwork and some seating at the bar. The menu changes daily. The kitchen was happy to split dishes or have you do so at the table and portion sizes lended itself to sharing. Service was friendly and helpful. Continue reading
Pollen Street Social, London, 4/27/18
Pollen Street Social is a large one star Michelin restaurant that spans several rooms. You enter in the bar area where there is a long counter and a few tables and the main dining rooms are just behind there. The lighting is fairly dim, jazz music plays in the background, there’s lots of art on the walls, the main kitchen is seen through a glass and the dessert kitchen is open to the dining rooms. It has some stools at the counter where one can come just for dessert. Lots of windows look out to the street and the small tables are fairly well spaced, with some utilizing bench seating along the wall. There is a hum of conversation in the room with noise making conversation sometimes difficult. They have been open 7 years but service is still plenty attentive, helpful and friendly. Pacing of the meal was nicely done. They have a large a la carte menu as well as a tasting one. We chose to order a la carte and split some of the dishes. Continue reading
Core, London, 4/27/18
CORE by Clare Smyth is a medium sized restaurant that has been open since last August (about 9 months). The casual but elegant feel of the place is enhanced by well spaced tables, some of which sit on carpet rounds that help absorb sound. In addition the ceiling is in different heights with more sound absorbing material and thus conversation is easy. The bare wood tables were set with lovely cloth napkins decorated with a tiny bouquet of flowers. There were two larger round booth seats on one wall but most of the tables have their own comfortable chairs. Another wall had some windows to the street, so in the daytime there was lots of natural light. You enter into the well stocked bar area where there is more seating and walk by the glass walled kitchen on the way to the dining room. No music was in the background but some art was on the walls as well as some bookcases with interesting objects and books. Continue reading
Roganic, London, 4/26/18
Roganic is a medium sized place with a modern style decor that opened last January. Their test kitchen restaurant, Allus, opened in the last of 2017. The dining room is set with white table cloths and napkins and chairs are fairly comfortable. Modern wood features supply the low level of lighting and no music is in the background. The noise level is a bit high making conversation and hearing soft spoken servers difficult at times. Service staff are friendly and nice. They offer two tasting menus only, with good pacing and portion control. We chose the longer menu, started with a cocktail and then ordered our own wine. The surprise menu is available in written form at the end of the meal (or you can cheat and look early). Continue reading
The Ledbury (update), London, 4/26/18
This was our third visit to Ledbury, a 2 star Michelin that opened around 2005, but the first visit for lunch. At lunch they offer a full tasting menu of 6 courses as well as a set lunch of 4 items or a 4 course menu with choices for each course. There are just 18 nicely spaced tables set with lovely white clothes and napkins along with a different object of art. The wood floor and columns add to the serene room that has lots of windows and mirrors. Fancy chandeliers add lighting but in the day the windows bring in plenty of natural light. The noise level is non-existent but conversations still feel private. There are a huge number of service people that are helpful, friendly and often smiling. We chose the four course tasting where we picked our options and of course they added more to it. Brett Graham is the The Chef but on our visit Greg Austin, Head Chef who has been the there for 9 1/2 years, was running the kitchen. Regardless of which is there, this place is worth putting on your list. Continue reading
The Clove Club (update), London, 4/25/18
Clove Club is a large for a one star Michelin restaurant. It has a main dining room that serves only the longer of two tasting menu options. We sat in the bar area that requires you to prepay for the shorter tasting menu but offers the option to upgrade to the longer menu when you arrive. Both menus are available in printed form. Bare wood tables and no clothes add to the noise level issues however when we last ate here we were in the main dining room and it was also noisy. Service is friendly and helpful and pacing and portions of the menu are nicely done. Wine pairings are available. We chose the longer tasting menu and ordered our own bottles of wine. Continue reading
Claude Bosi at Bibendum Restaurant, London, 4/25/18
Bibendum has been open for about a year and Chef Claude Bosi, previously with Hibiscus, already has two Michelin stars. Fitting, in that the restaurant is on the second level of the Michelin building and heavily decorated with Michelin paraphernalia. Even the exterior of the building has tires and the Michelin man incorporated into its design. The first level is a casual seafood bar and has a tiled car mural around the ceiling. The elevator lets you off into a far more formal dining area with 2 huge stained glass Michelin man windows. The club chairs are comfy and set at tables draped with long gray clothes and huge matching gray napkins. American music plays softly in the background and dies out as the room becomes filled. Natural light from lots of windows fills the room but some of the light coming through the stained glass can cast some different colors on your food. The room has a nice feel and service is friendly and helpful. The kitchen offers a set lunch option as well as a la carte service. Most of the food was in a lovely French style. We ordered a la carte. Continue reading
Kitty Fisher’s, London, 11/19/15
A small two level restaurant where you definitely want to ask to eat in the cozy downstairs. They are fairly busy yet the friendly staff makes you feel relaxed even though they don’t mess around in getting your order filled.
Rules Restaurant, London, 11/18/15
This large place is all about the atmosphere which is very club like and cozy. It is the oldest restaurant in London opening in 1798 and has since been owned by just 3 families. Serving traditional English food and lots of game, it is decorated heavily and particularly for the Christmas season – when we were there. The food is nice but not spectacular but it’s worth a visit just for the history and to look around the place. Continue reading
The Fat Duck, Bray, 11/18/15
Located in Bray (a quaint village), about a 45 minute train ride out of London, the Fat Duck is now re-opened after a nine month hiatus in Australia. It consists of about 12 tables in a house. Heston Blumenthal is the chef behind the concept but is rarely on the premises. While on hiatus the restaurant underwent some updates, especially to their kitchen and wine cellar. They also re-designed the menu to follow a day in a child’s fantasy journey as Blumenthal would have it. It is a tasting menu, with accommodation to allergies and preferences, and no supplemental options. All reservations are by prepaid “tickets” on their website. It is about a 4 hour meal, but ours lasted almost 5 as we had a trip to the wine cellar and kitchen tour.
Kitchen Table at Bubbledogs, London, 11/17/15
Bubbledogs is the front restaurant, serving hot dogs and champagne, that allows James Knappett and his wife to also offer the Kitchen Table, which is behind the main restaurant. They offer 2 seatings for a total of 20 people, with the earlier grouping starting desserts as we started savories. The menu is a tasting menu only but offers an optional 3 extra courses for 45 Pounds. They are well worth it and if anything were among my favorites for the night. They offer wine pairings which looked like nice pours with top-offs if needed but we selected our own wines. Continue reading
St. JOHN, London, 11/17/15
This is a good sized place but even with hard acoustics the noise level is good. The main dining room is a reservation seating but there area seats downstairs that seemed to be available to walk-ins. Just a couple servers worked the whole room with the assistance of a couple kitchen people bringing out food, and they really moved but managed to provide the diners with a relaxed feeling. Continue reading
Hedone, London, 11/8/14
A relatively new restaurant for London, the chef/owner Michael Jonsson has already received a Michelin star. It is well given considering the flavor content of this meal! The chef background as an ingredients expert drives him to obtain the finest and freshest ingredients possible.
Fera, London, 11/8/14
Fera is in the gorgeous Claridge’s hotel in the Mayfair section of London and just opened in May of this year. Simon Rogan is the chef and co-owner but splits his time between here and 3 other restaurants he runs. We visited his first London restaurant, Roganic, on our last trip and loved the place, so we went with great expectations.
Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, London, 11/9/14
This restaurant is located in the lovely Mandarin Oriental Hotel and thus I’ve included a number of photos of the hotel reception and pass through to get to the restaurant. They set up a feeling of elegance for the diner and the restaurant did not disappoint.
The Ledbury, London, 11/9/14
The Ledbury was another repeat visit and I believe it’s gotten even better! It’s a fairly small place and offers a tasting menu as well as a la carte. You quickly start with several amuse bouche which were all quite tasty and nice bites of intense taste. The meal had a few blander spots but nothing bad, just not overwhelming.
Gymkhana, London, 11/10/14
This is a highly regarded Indian spot with some interesting twists on standard dishes. Not a large place it is almost impossible to secure an evening reservation, but they offer the full menu plus a lunch value menu midday. We did a combo with one lunch menu and several a la carte options with guidance from our server and reviews we’d read.
The Clove Club, London, 11/10/14
Sometimes the exterior just doesn’t tell the story, cause the outside window only hinted at the action going on in The Clove Club. It is a place that likes to serve often overlooked British ingredients, like cobnuts. They usually serve a 5 course menu and offer small plates at the bar but we asked for the extended tasting when we made the reservation to be able to taste a larger number of their products. We didn’t make the wrong choice here!