Category Archives: Restaurant

London restaurant roundup

I’ve been to some of my stalwart restaurant favourites in the last few weeks, so I thought I’d share.

Pham Sushi – my favourite sushi restaurant in London.  It’s not as convienently located as when I lived across the street, but it’s well worth the 15 minute walk from my current flat.  I heartily recommend the crunchy tuna rolls.  Book ahead, there are very few tables and I’ve often been turned away.

Brindisa – a tapas gem at the corner of Borough market.  The charcuterie plates are to die for.  They don’t take reservations, but you can grab a drink from the pub across the street whilst you wait.  And they’re open on Sundays now, hooray.

Afghan Kitchen – a neighbourhood favourite, just on Islington Green.  It has a brief menu that hasn’t changed in the years we’ve been going, including the absurdly low prices (top price, £6.50).  Chicken in yogurt, lamb and spinach, and the vegetarian dish called Sarah’s are fabulous.  Reservations are a good idea because it’s so tiny that there are only a handful of communal tables.

I also was finally introduced to Stefanie’s local Italian gem, Cinquecento.  I’m happy to say she didn’t exaggerate the goodness.

– Anna

Restaurant rave II: Cinquecento/ 500

Anna’s restaurant rave reminded me that there is another absolute gem hidden in the urban jungle of North London that I simply cannot praise enough.

500 or Cinquecento only opened in Archway last year. It’s tiny, be warned, but quite possibly the best Italian food I have eaten outside of Italy. The service is lovely, no danger of ever being rushed out the door, the prices are incredibly low considering the quality of the food. And the food, ahhh, the food. Firstly, any place that offers you freshly made bread on arrival is a good place, no question. Secondly, their main pasta dishes (coming in around £8) are surprising, different and make me realise how fresh and exciting Italian food really can be (oxtail ravioli, for example, who would have thought that would work so well).

And their tiramisu, well, that in itself deserves a rave. I’m picky with my tiramisu but theirs really is an exception. Not too sweet, the right amount of coffee and it doesn’t matter how full I am, there is ALWAYS space for that kind of tiramisu.

The only drawback is that too many people and reviewers have realised what’s hiding on Holloway Road, so you really need to book ahead. But it’s worth it, I promise!

– Stef

Restaurant rave: Tayyab’s

I know, I know.  I’m hardly divulging a state secret with this post.  But the fiesta of barbecued meat we enjoyed Sunday at Whitechapel’s famous Tayyab’s was too good to let pass without a mention.  I’ve only ever gone with a big group and just ordered tons of the grilled meat starters for the table (and maybe some samosas and naan… because a balanced diet is important, you know).

Tayyabs grilled meat. By Flickr user su-lin (Creative Commons licence)

Tayyabs grilled meat. By Flickr user su-lin (Creative Commons licence)

It’s pretty amazing – particularly the lamb chops – and all for a bargain 8 quid a head (it’s a BYO).

My top tip – wear clothes that were due for the laundry anyway, because you will reek of grilled meat after the meal.

– Anna

Silly ideas: Pizza Express edition

I saw a promotional poster for Pizza Express’s new “Leggera” pizza today, and I frankly think the world was doing fine without a donut-shaped pizza that comes with a salad plonked in the middle.  Call me old-fashioned, but what’s wrong with ordering a small pizza with a side salad?

– Anna

I say tortilla chip, you say…?

Well, if you’re British, apparently you say nacho.  A Brit taught me this whilst we were having lunch at a Mexican restaurant* last week.  Bonus – the vocabulary lesson came in handy the very next day when it appeared as an answer in the Guardian crossword.

by Flickr user pointnshoot (Creative Commons license)

by Flickr user pointnshoot (Creative Commons license)

Anyhoo, maybe the misuse of the word nacho explains why you can’t get good nachos here. Continue reading

Restaurant Rave – Akari

Akari (via TimeOut)I visited Akari, my local Japanese restaurant on Essex Road, again on Saturday, and it was another fabulous meal.  The menu does include sushi and sashimi, but it’s predominately other kinds of Japanese food…and it ranges from good to fantastic.  The teriyaki salmon was particularly outstanding this time.

Best of all, it’s incredibly reasonably priced…you can have dinner with drinks for well under £25 a head (though we tend to overdo it).