Reinvention is important and all people do it. Celebrities, Football player, Football clubs and restaurants need to do it too.
I have been working in Covent Garden for three years and I have seen many restaurant openings, closing and also now re-opening.
Previously, Diana was more like a cafe and in this guise I had a full English breakfast for lunch. This was a while ago and at that time in did not seem like a place to be, but more like somewhere just convenient. Now, after six months of renovations and maybe new management, Diana's' reopened.
The new opening was more of a casual bar style with quick food but in an American style. Hence, buttermilk fried chicken, beef brisket and quesadillas. Where does that leave Diana. Well after my visit it leaves it almost in the same place as before. The great central west end location gives it a good hub and fast food and okay prices means people can come here for a quick bite. However, the quality is lacking and the increasing competition and new openings and food market with Startisans means it will not be my 'Go To' destination.
The chicken pops were nice and the hot sauce with it, made me not want to share this starter. The main of my beef brisket which in itself promises to deliver so much failed to do so. The beef was quite tender but not so much and although after a stiff tug it did pull apart it just didn't work for me. The szcehuan pepper and chilli jam just seemed to confuse the whole sandwich. The rye bread was too much and biting down on too much bread and beef that seemed to be cooked in a hurry just does not make me want to rush back. Cost, service and quality are three important issues. Whilst all three were okay, there was nothing that makes me want to rush back.
When i think of Diana's Diner, i just think of Michael Jackson and his song with this lady's' name in it. There is nothing dirty about it, but also nothing too nice and clean for me to come back.Food for foods sake is how i would describe this. Thank you.
The kitchen is a place of fun, not chores. Get a radio in there, a TV is a bit much and just spend time as a family, couple or friends and you can do so many creative things. Also, if someone is stuck cooking by themselves it can get lonely, likewise with the cleaning after. Spending over 9 hours of your life at work a day, the kitchen is a good time to do things together and chat and chill with your loved ones.
Now, if you have any foodie tricks and hacks that work at restaurants, do email me directly.
How cheeky can we be?
At Friends with Friends. Located in North West London, Friends is a local restaurant which serves local food prepared by Savoy trained, Chef Patron, Terry Farr.
The building which is 500 years old welcomes you in like a friendly pub and on cue the staff are on hand to greet you and welcome you in. We got a bit of an awkward welcome as we hadn't actually booked the venue and were umming and ahhing about what was going on. With the cosy and closely knit restaurant, i guess there just was not any space for any uninvited guests.
We were seated quickly enough and being in an old building, the restaurant had a feeling of Alice and Wonderland, with the slightly slanted ceilings and the old decor. However, in spite of this, the ambiance and style felt elegant and classy.
The menu is simple, yet intriguing and mouth watering. There is a bit of everything you would want and reading the menu makes you want to sample it all.
In my mind, I had already chosen before I got to the restaurant and this was the grilled squid (above left) and the roast lamb (below).The rest of the menu looked appetizing too with scallops and black pudding, duck confit (above right) and rabbit terrine. All the food that arrived was presented neatly with good service. The squid that I had was lovely and tender, cooked well on top on the bed of rissoto. All the different elements worked well and the rissoto helped to flesh out the squid. It was an decadent take on the usual take of squids and calamari. It was a goo start to a nice night.
Prior to this too, we were given our amuse-bouche of a coffee mushroom soup. This came in a coffee mug with mushroom soup and truffle. Once you had taken the froth off the top you were allowed to sip the soup from the mug. The rich truffle flavours were too much for Laura, but I really liked it. The amuse-bouche however, was an early warning of a pricey night. That extra touch is something that you woud pay for.
The mains came in good time after the starters. Good work Friends. The staff were on point and looked after us all night. After my recent incident of poor service, I do appreciate the simple things.
The lamb was simple yet delightful. Roast lamb cooked medium rare, with Dauphinoise potatoes and vegetables. The lamb was succulent and covered in a lovely sauce. Interestingly enough, the restaurant helped continue with its element of class with no salt or pepper on the table. With the chef, Terry Farr, I can imagine him saying "they do not need any extra seasoning, my food is superb". The lamb was cooked, but I would have welcomed the option and felt that the lamb needed a dash extra salt. The rest of the food was seasoned well and did not need much extra. It wasn't a super filling dish and I was thankful for this, I did not want to be super stuffed and feel fat either. Instead my hunger was gone and I was given good food, with some micro veg which provided different flavours and textures.
The duck I tried was also very nice and the orange bitter sauce worked well. We were all pleased with our food and although it was a bit dense and rich for some, I was a fan. At £45 each with not too much drink, it was a bit more than I expected, but food does add up with a starter, main and desert. About the desert, this was quite disappointing, the chocolate fondant (which came with a time warning of 20 minutes) arrived slightly before time but was not that special. With the good work the chef had put in previously with the rest of the food, this was a bit of a disappointment, almost akin to a Tesco desert. Sorry.
I've been trying to get out to more restaurants in different areas and I was glad I did. Going to Pinner to catch up with good friends, was a win win all round. A bit pricey, but Friends with friends is a must if you are okay with a slightly pricier evening. Go on treat yourself.
Thankfully you will not have to guess where to find this new burger restaurant. Oh well, maybe a little. The location is on its name and it is down an alley that the local people know well (for good things) and the burgers are here at Burgers@N8.
Burgers@N8 is a new venture aimed at giving the local Crouch Enders local produce in the form of burgers. Meat from Muddy Boots, buns from Dunns bakery and groceries from Haelens Organic store are a great sale for the locals. From here, 10% of sales will be donated to charities and community initiatives in the local area. Great selling points which appeal to many different people. And don't forget people ike me, BURGER LOVERS.
You know me by now, if there is a new burger restaurant, I've got to be there. It had been over a week and I still hadn't been to a place which was literally a five minute walk. Given a chance in the pouring rain, my brother and I went. Being honest, I was not expecting too much. The hype was not there and a friend had been and did not give much positive feedback. However, I wanted a burger and nothing and no one would stop me.
One thing I have to say from the off is that the chef, Max Aynsley-Ridgen was the star here. The food was good but his service was on point. Sherwin and I were sat by the bar by the staff and were then neglected for the majority of our stay. It took us over ten minutes to wait and put our order in, this was after serving people who were seated after and also after being prompted by Max.
There seems to be a new trend where waiters will pass on serving you because it is not their role. The lady said she didn't take orders and for the next eight minutes we watched her walk around the restaurant checking on other guests and that was it. Why could she not just take our order, what was the point of letting us wait? The worst came, when after we ordered we saw her taking other customer orders on her tablet. So Frustrating. Max, saw this frustration and finally got someone to take our order. Even then, the staff just did not seem to care one bit. Rule of thumb- if you are a new restaurant and you are experiencing teething problems or the food is not that great, make sure you ACE the service. Good service is a sure way to get repeat service. If not, you just get annoyed and pissed off twins. If it wasn't for Max, I would have left a lot earlier
We ordered a bacon cheese burger each with triple cooked rosemary fries and a portion of onion rings. Because of the awful service, Max gave us an extra potion of fries as well as 20% off, Max saved the day. The fries were cooked really well and seasoned generously and had the good amount of rosemary needed when giving rosemary fries.
The onion rings were okay, work is needed on the batter, in order to making it lighter and airy. This in turn will then give the onion and batter the opportunity to indulge your taste buds. On this occasion, thin rings, were slightly burnt and had a crisp which lacked much else.
The main event was the burger and due to the bad service, we needed a lot to make sure we would become regular customers. I would have to say that they did not deliver the top billing it needed. If it wasn't for the poor service I would happily come back. The burger was fresh, meaty and packed full with toppings, bacon and cheese. The burger with cheese was slightly overcooked in the sense that the patty itself was burnt. That burn which is a bit further down the line from the charred flavour which is there to add texture. When the carcinogenic flavour is dominant then you know it has gone to far. This was the case also with the melted cheese and the bun too, so the burger was not as good as it could be.
This is a rant and I will not apologise for it. The burger has potential and Crouch Enders I know welcome the venue as it is great for the community and the fact that they are giving back, even better. Just please make sure you work on your Service. Put the customers first and show them love and get people who look like they care too. Max leads by example so I am sure they will sort themselves out and for this reason I will be back.
Recommendations are important in the life of a restaurant and the fan fare for Kennington Tandoori was growing daily around my office. There are a lot of South Londoners in the office and for some reason I have kept my distance, but to be honest, South London is not all that bad and if you look closely you can find some good places and restaurants. I was hoping that Kennington Tandoori would be this.
OBelieve the Hype or Don't Believe the Hype. I firmly believe that you should listen to the hype but fundamentally be your own judge of the food. Make sure you do not let the hype cloud your judgement.
So once seated we could tell this was not your usual curry house. Very trim and proper, Kennignton Tandoori is that bit more upmarket. No real sense of rush or hassle. However, at one stage it almost seemed a bit stand-off ish . Some people are never happy. So the food we ordered was our version of keeping things consistent and familiar with a mixed grill of sorts to start and then curries after for mains.
The dishes and what they were are below:
The Famous KT platter: Chicken Tikka, Sheek Kebab, Onion Bhajee, Lamb Samosa, and Methi Palak Pakora
Chicken Chaat: Chicken cooked with onion, garlic, and fresh herbs in a tangy tomato and tamarind dressing
Naga Murgh: A curry of marinated chicken and herbs in a chilli sauce
Keema Peas: Lean double-minced lamb cooked with spices, fresh herbs, and green peas
Tarka Dall: A blend of of lentils, with onion and garlic
All that food, served pristinely and delicately was a reminder that we were not in East London anymore. However, I wasn't even sure that we were in Kennington either. The restaurant does feel a bit out of place and the dim lighting took it away from the social occasion and made it feel quite romantic. This was a bit strange for a lads night out between three married guys and their love for a curry and mixed grill.
I would liken Kennington Tandoori to Nurjenna in Southgate and of the two I definitely preferred the latter. KT was good it just didn't wow me. The charred flavours that usually come with the food weren't there, the punch from the herbs and spices were soft and often missing. It was like a heavyweight boxing match were they just cuddle for the most part and every so often you get a jab to the chest.
Subtle flavours are good when they are rich and strong. However, otherwise it becomes a bit of a shame. KT provides good food, it just hasn't elevated itself to be a favourite of mine unfortunately. One key takeaway from this trip was that South London wasn't too bad of a journey and I am definitely happy to venture around the city, country and world to find a good food joint.
Do these blogs provide any real value to anyone? Do people want more on the food and flavours?
I trust that you all catch my drift based on these write ups and genuinely use them when looking for restaurant suggestions.