Tag Archives: restaurant

Duck and Waffle

In a city that never sleeps, its almost imperative that there be a restaurant that never sleeps. Staying open 24 hours, and sitting 40 floors high in the middle of London’s financial district, Duck and Waffle has assumed this role in some style.

The vibe of the place instantly makes you want to just have a fantastic time. The restaurant being absolutely packed, with the constant sound of trendy tunes mixed with intense laughter and conversation, makes the ambience unbelievably lively. The big glass windows allow it’s exclusive clientele to look over the city they rule, with panoramic views of London stretching from Canary Wharf to Westminster Abbey.

I went with 3 of their small plates, the roasted octopus, wild cornish pollock meatballs, and the foie gras creme brûlée. Also, the mood seemed to scream out for a cocktail, so I went with a concoction of Jack Daniels, amaro, and smoked maple leaf and autumn flavours called Autumn. The flavour of the whiskey drowned in the aromas of the smoked leaf and autumn flavours made this cocktail hit the senses in multiple ways, leaving a beautiful feeling of wholesome satisfaction after every sip.

The octopus was nicely grilled, with the squeezed lemon juice over the pieces giving it a nice tangy flavour in addition to the fishy taste of the octopus. The meatballs were also very tasty, with the lobster cream giving it a classy dressing and the breaded crumbs on top giving it a nice crunch. The winner though, by a clear margin, was the foie gras creme brûlée. I was initially skeptical about ordering a creme brûlée made out of foie gras, but thank heavens I did. With a crispy top, and a hint of caramel custard, it initially disguises itself as just another creme brûlée, but soon after the wonderful foie gras carrying its baby pieces of butter roasted lobster marches in to remind you that this is a dish of another universe. I’m honestly surprised it wasn’t featured in “Interstellar.” Every bite of this was like the first bite, as the foie gras blends so well with the caramel and lobster that I constantly questioned what it is I was tasting.

I would recommend Duck and Waffle for the creme brûlée itself, however with its spectacular views, drinks, and atmosphere, I would rate it as one of the best spots for a great night out in London I’ve been to so far. On a side note though, our group paid around £80 a person, so a trip here wouldn’t be the best time to forget your wallet!

£160 (2 people)

Heron Tower, 110 Bishopsgate, London, EC2N 4AY

Duck and Waffle 4 Duck and Waffle 3 Duck and Waffle 2 Duck and Waffle 1

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The Monocle Café

Only by looking at the entrance of the small café at Baker Street it feels like this place is somewhat unreal: seems like it was drawn in the city landscape canvas or carefully cut out from an old-fashioned sepia photography and glued to the NAME street. When you turn out to be inside the place, the magic continues: as Lewis Caroll’s Alice, who went after the White Rabbit into the hole, you are invited to follow the stairs to the downstairs level. There, the cosy interior with vintage lamps, beautiful photographs on walls, and a cosy fireplace create the atmosphere of a warm countryside house.

The menu, which is happily affordable, represents a trendy combination of organic salads, hot dishes, and desserts, including soft and moist cardamon-buns. Having its sister restaurant in Japan, Monocle also offers a variety of fusion Asian cuisine: try grilled-sandwich with deep-fried shrimps and chips on the side and a delicate green-tea cheesecake with white chocolate flakes, – and you will be left craving for more.

£15 (2 people)

18 Chiltern Street London W1U 7QA

0207 725 4388

The Monocle Café: Website / MenuTwitter

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Workshop Coffee Co

On a glorious sunny Saturday afternoon, no city shines brighter than London, and not many parts of London are more of a testament to that fact than James Street off Oxford Street. With its cobblestone pavements and courtyards filled with al fresco diners feasting on crepes and pizza, James Street combines London vibrance with the joyousness of Rome.

Thus, it’s not very surprising that amongst these by-lanes brews one of London’s best coffees. So subtle is Workshop Coffee Co’s presence that I walked past it 3 times before realising it was in front of me. Let this not fool you though, as their coffee certainly makes its presence felt. The Machiatto I ordered left my taste buds happily knocked and jolted around and the high levels of acidity gave this coffee an awesome kick. The texture of the coffee was thick with the right amount of foam to make it feel smooth on the tongue. Also, the beans they used in making the coffee (their own brand) created a fantastic aroma, leaving an aftertaste so memorable my sushi dinner tonight tasted like Machiatto.

Considering there are 2 and a quarter seats available, it can be quite the challenge to get a place to sit at Workshop Coffee Co. People generally seemed to squeeze their stools into available pockets of air, however I found that one such pocket was sacred and must never be touched by a mere mortal. Despite there being an empty stool near the napkins, for some reason any time someone would try sit there, the baristas would drop whatever they were doing and sprint across the 1 metre long kitchen to tell them (politely of course) to move elsewhere. Aside from this mysterious ritual, the baristas couldn’t be more friendly and inviting. I actually felt like ordering more just to make them happy.

While the by-lanes of James Street really do spoil you for choice, I would strongly recommend that you let yourself get spoilt instead by what truly is a special coffee at Workshop Coffee Co.

75 Wigmore St, London W1U 1QD

020 7487 4902

Workshop Coffee Co: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Busaba Eathai

Nothing screams “Authentic Thai Restaurant” more than placing on every table, an eating utensil that majority of Thai people have probably never seen. Having heard about Busaba as being a traditional Thai restaurant, you can imagine the shocking, earth-shattering, and devastating horror of seeing CHOPSTICKS on each table.

I can say with confidence to the people of Busaba Eathai: my dear but confused friends, you would have to travel no less than 3000 miles from Bangkok to find a local cuisine that uses chopsticks. To those of you wondering, yes, I still ended up ordering food, albeit with not the highest expectations. I opted for a green papaya salad and a red beef curry – the litmus test for any Thai eatery. While ordering, the Italian waiter suggested I get the curry with sticky rice as “that’s the way they do it in Thailand.” No, Salvatore, that’s the way they do it in China, but I’ll give you points for getting the right continent…

The papaya salad was surprisingly good. It was as spicy as I would want it to be, they put in dried shrimp which I felt was a very nice touch, and the peanuts provided a nice crunch in between the soft papaya and noodles of the salad. However, as I would soon find out, this was merely a cruel ploy by the Devils of Inauthenticity to place me in a false sense of comfort. The beef was thick and chewy, not thin and soft as it ought to be. They used regular lime leaves instead of kaffir lime, but that’s okay, kaffir lime is only the most important ingredient in all of Thai food. As I took my first spoonful, it starting pouring down outside. Clearly the Thai gods had flown over to London to shed their tears. My friend ordered a green curry, and upon seeing corn present in it I too wanted to shed tears. Additionally, instead of tangy and spicy, the curry was sweet and almost sugary. By now there was thunder outside. How they manage to get away with charging £10.50 for what evidently is curry powder in water is beyond my understanding.

Overall, when considering Busaba as an option for a Thai meal, it’s best to think of it as Indian/Chinese food served by Southern Europeans.

£20 (2 people)

22 Store St, London WC1E 7DF

0207 299 7900

Busaba Eathai: Website / Menu / Facebook / TwitterBusaba Eathai 2Busaba Eathai 3

Creme de la Crepe

Hidden amongst the violins, somersaulting performers, and designer brands of Covent Garden Market lies an absolute gem of an eatery that serves a classic dish that couldn’t be more complementary to the surrounding European atmosphere – the crepe.

Creme De La Crepe, with its low ceilings and white brick walls, takes you straight into a Creperie in an Alpine French town. Seriously, this tavern is literally so cute and cosy that I can imagine Frodo eating his second breakfast everyday here.

The menu has a wide selection of both savoury and sweet crepes. I ordered a “Dirty Harry” savoury crepe, a hearty fellow that packs chorizo, red onion, mature cheddar cheese, greens, and ranch dressing all for £6.40. It was large, hot, and brilliant. It had just the right amount of cheese, the crepe was crisp but had the right amount of thickness to prevent it feeling like a biscuit, and the perfectly sized Chorizo pieces were soft but firm. Most importantly though, it just looked so darn beautiful. Taking my first bite felt similar to that wide-eyed joy a 4 year old experiences when playing with a new Lego set. It was layered so that the warm taste of the cheese would hit first and then the onion, with the chorizo charging in at the end to drive it all home. The only downside to this crepe I felt was the ranch dressing. Not only does it horrify 50 million folks across the English Channel that an American sauce would be used in a French food, the dressing on top of the molten cheese makes the crepe wetter than I’d like it to be.

There is enough variety on the menu for any mood and for any time of the day, so there is no excuse not to give Creme De La Crepe many a visit. Bon Appetit!

£12 (2 people)

The Piazza, Covent Garden Market, London WC2E 8RE

Menu

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Burger & Shake

On a cold, rainy afternoon I found myself on a long (and a premature calorie- burning) hunt for a hamburger in Bloomsbury, and after multiple refusals to give up and resign myself to the unholy fate of yet another lunch at Pret, I stumbled across Burger & Shake.

With 90s pop music, pictures of pretty women on the wall, and a lonely bald man sitting on the next table, Burger & Shake has all the makings for a typical American burger joint. The restaurant is quite small, resulting in the beautiful fragrance of freshly grilled beef patties engulfing the entire space, making it quite the appetising atmosphere.

I ordered a cheeseburger, opting for it to be cooked medium. In addition, although not helping in my goal to get a six-pack, I decided to give in to temptation and ordered a large french fries. I guess its good my girlfriend lives in Los Angeles. The quality of the patty wasn’t the best. However, the restaurant covers this up to a fair extent by drowning the patty in a sauce that can be best described as a tangier thousand island. While there was nothing wrong with the taste of the sauce, it does make the meal a sloppy and greasy affair (guys, a first date here wouldn’t be the smartest of ideas). The buns were toasted to perfection, with a soft inside and slightly crispy edges. The fries were a bit too oily, resulting in hardly any of the potato flavour coming through.

Overall, I think Burger & Shake is a great option, but only if you, like me at the time, don’t know that there is a Gourmet Burger Kitchen right around the corner.

£23 (2 people)

47 Marchmont St, London WC1N 1AP

Menu

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Caravan

Caravan is placed in Exmouth Square: my favorite location for a quirky, but decadent dining experience. Like it’s neighboring restaurants; Caravan’s menu is experimental with major influences from Eastern European cooking. The interiors were warmly dark and lit with candles on small tables surrounded by big windows that looked onto the street. It was packed with a range of quite sophisticated mid twenties to forties clients. A very charming and attractive waitress seated us. First we ordered the wine, which was delicious, sweet, but not overpoweringly. Then we ordered some corn bread and this had more of a cake constancy. The bread complimented the very earthy and beautifully cooked red peppers with yoghurt. It is far more interesting to order the small plates because this meant you could try an array of food and six was perfect between the two of us. Along with the peppers, we had green salted peppers and some garnished beetroots. Our preferred dish was probably the roasted sweet potatoes! The pudding was unfortunately a let down compared to the rest of the dishes, but all in all, definitely worth the pennies.

£32 (2 people)

11-13 Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QDCaravan 2Caravan 3