All Reviews by gin_and_tonic
58 Mosley St, Manchester, England
Good food, nice atmosphere
02 Jun 2012
I went here with my wife for a nice romantic evening. The restaurant is located on the edge of China town, near Manchester Gallery and the gay village. It's easy to get to by bus or tram, but I expect parking could be a bit tricky at times as the area is quite busy.
The decor is modern and sophisticated, without being in your face. We were there at 9:30 on a Friday, it was busy but there were available tables.
With 6 starters and 6 mains there is a good choice. I had the salt and pepper tofu, with wasabi, satay and soy sauce. Mrs g'n't had the halumi lolly pops with salsa. Both were excellent.
For the mains I had the broad bean and leak pie. This was a decent size portion, with summer veg and a red wine reduction. My wife had savory scones with mushroom ragu. Again this was a decent size portion, with some interesting mushrooms, (not your standard button mushrooms) and asparagus.
The desert menu looked good, but we had no room. Perhaps next time?
The staff were attentive without being intrusive. Overall a good, higher end, veggie and vegan friendly restaurant.
124 Drummond Street, Kings Cross, North West London, England
06 Feb 2013
I went here with some colleagues for lunch. They were a bit skeptical at first, heading towards Euston rather than down town. That soon changed when we entered.
Its quite a small place, and can feel busy, but we were able to get a table straight away. There were about 20 main dishes to choose from, some hot some cold. It's a buffet, so you can pick and choose what you want. The staff offered us drinks but we had tap water, which wasn't a problem. (Some places like to sell you drinks or bottled water.)
We all went up several times to refill and try new things. The consensus was that the food was very good.
There are a few things I haven't seen in other places. There are also a few things that can catch you out. The fresh mango salsa, was in fact fresh lemons with a sauce. Very nice, but not what I was expecting!
There are several deserts. Gulab jaman, a keer (rice pudding), fresh fruit and a gram flour based dish.
The staff were friendly and not intrusive. The atmosphere is relaxed, with a diverse lunchtime crowd. All of this for £6.95 is a bargain.
92 Berwick Street, Soho, London, London, England
Bustling Soho, calm
17 Jul 2013
A cool, small caffe in the heart of Soho. Its another pick and mix place, with about a dozen or so different things to choose from. You choose the size of the box and they fill it up with whatever you want.
The food was good, with several raw and light dishes, which were perfect as it was a hot sticky day. There are hot dishes as well, but those are for another day.
The staff are friendly and the place is clean. They make a point about using sustainable electricity and they seem to be pretty keen on being eco friendly. A good place to watch the world go by.
adjacent to Mersey Valley Visitor Centre, Sale Water Park, Manchester, England
06 Feb 2013
The Mersey Valley, south Manchester's very own slice of countryside. One thing it lacks is a destination. Being a linear route down one side or the other of the river, there is no destination to aim for. People either go to the riverside pub for good beer and mediocre food, or they go home.
If one were to walk an extra 5 minutes down the road from the pub, into Sale Water park, you'll be rewarded with Ark Cafe. A non nondescript building, just off the car park, is easy to miss.
They cater for walkers and wanderers, with teas, cakes and light lunches. They have a large selection of teas and several home made cakes.
We opted for halloumi pannini and various sandwiches. All of which were good. The kids liked the chocolate drink and cake. They were well catered for, as us grownups sat an chatted, with a number of kids books the cafe has.
One thing that blights the area is the M60 motorway, which runs near by. The noise from this can be intrusive at first, but you soon tune it out. This is not a criticism of the cafe, rather a 'feature' the entire Mersey Valley area.
If you have read this far, then I'll let you into a little secret, just for you foragers. Opposite Jacksons Boat is a disused and over grown orchard. In the autumn, when you are collecting blackberries you can get some nice sweet apples to go with them. But that's just our little secret, ok.
31 Neal Street, Covent Garden, London, England
Compact and busy
27 Apr 2012
This seems to be a popular lunchtime haunt for people in Covent Garden. The queue was out of the door when I first passed. There is a take away and an eat in section downstairs.
I had a polenta and mozzarella bean stew, with black olives, which was pretty good. I would have had more, (they do some awesome looking salads and cakes), but they only take cash.
Seating is limited; sharing a table adds to the atmosphere.
There are menus, and black boards, but if you've not got your glasses on they can be a bit hard to read.
9-10 Soho Street, London, UK, London, England
Good food nice atmosphere
27 Apr 2012
This place has been here for years. Its run by the Hari Krishnas, but don't let that put you off. They don't preach or try to convert you. The food is prepared as an act of worship, so it is fit for a god!
They do a good value thali, where you can have several small curries. I always go for the paneer tikka, which is awesome. They do several other non curried foods, salads, drinks,juices and cakes. They are vegan friendly as well.
Another veggie restaurant that only takes cash. A meal will cost about £6-£7.50 ish.
43, Old Compton St, London, England
Good for a quick lunch
28 Apr 2014
Falafel in a box with a help yourself salad bar. Cant complain, really. Good number of falafels, interesting mix of salads. The lemonade with mint is very good.
11 Sicilian Avenue, London, England
22 May 2014
I went here the other evening. Just 5 mins away from the British Museum, situated in a nice little pedestrianized street. Stylish décor, as well as outside seating. A good place to spend a sunny day.
I ordered the asparagus, peas and poached duck egg, with the kohlrabi and apple salad. But instead of the kohlrabi, they bought bok choy with pink peppercorns. I didn’t say anything, as 1) I’m British and 2) I was considering the bok-choy anyway. The place wasn’t busy, there were only a few people in there, so not certain why that happened.
The asparagus and peas, were cool and not cold, which is good. The peas with a slight lemon zing to them. The poached duck eggs, were warm, not hot. To be honest I was expecting this to be a warm dish, but it worked as a salad. The peas being especially plump, with pea shoots to garnish.
The bok choy, on the other hand, was a bit bland, just with oil and the pink pepper corns. I was expecting an interesting dressing or some other twist. Having been to Vanilla Black a few times, I know what they can do, but that magic was lacking.
There was no bread or condiments, chilli, lemon, herbs etc. Nothing 'above and beyond'. They could try a a bit harder and it wouldn't bump up the cost, but it would add to the experience.
Overall it’s a good place, in a good location. I’ll probably go back and try some of their other offerings. It was just a pity that it was let down, by poor service and a bland dish. (If they had brought me something tasty and exciting by mistake, rather than something less so, I would be much happier. But such is life.)
40 Great Windmill Street, London, England
03 Jul 2013
I went here today, along with 4 carnivore colleagues. It's compact, though it was not busy when we went at around 1 ish. Less than 100m from Piccadilly Circus, we were expecting it to be busy with a touristy crowd, but they seem to have missed out on this gem.
The take out is good value, but we opted for a sit down meal. With a surprisingly large number of dishes to choose from, all of them with Chinese / South East Asian in influence, there's lots to go at.
There are cold salad type dishes as well as hot, along with noodles and rice. The hot included 5 or 6 soya 'mock beef' or 'mock chicken' style dishes which impressed and confused my meat eating colleagues. All the dishes have a good range of flavours, some having a welcome chilli kick. With the addition of various regional sauces and condiments, most tastes are catered for.
Pure veggie and with lots of vegan dishes, (I'm always concerned that south east Asian food may contain fish products), a good alternative to some of the Chinatown places. The orange juice was fresh squeezed, rather than from a carton, which is always a good sign. Desert was a fresh fruit salad, which is a great way to end the meal.
The staff were polite and friendly, but not intrusive. The only negative I can think of, is that they only take cash and not cards. (There are cash machines on Piccadilly Circus so it not a big deal.)
121-123 Drummond Street, Kings Cross, North West London, England
Diwana Bhel Poori House
08 Mar 2013
Another week, another lunchtime buffet on Drummond St. This time at the Diwana Bhel Poori House. Having tried Chutneys and Ravi Shankars, this was the next one along the road.
We arrived at about one and the place was bustling. We waited a little while to be seated, even though there were empty tables. It seems the staff were rushed, but then again we did arrive at their busiest time. The place is popular, but it's quite large so there were seats available.
As with other buffet lunch places you take a plate and dig in. There were 9 or so salads to get started with, about half a dozen cold dishes and another half a dozen warm ones. There were more salads than at some of the other places, but fewer warm dishes. The quality of food was reasonable, there was no one outstanding dish, but then again nothing negative to complain about. My two colleagues, who are both Indian, thought it was good value.
To drink, we got masala tea. Spiced with cardamon, clove and cinnamon, it was different and very nice. Some of the fruit drinks going to the other tables looked good, though we did not try them.
For dessert there were three types of barfi sweets: mango, coconut and another rose flavoured one in two layers. There is also the ubiquitous fruit salad.
One negative point was when I was paying the bill. There were three of us and we asked for the bill to be split into three, so we all had receipts. They couldn't do that, insisting that the bill was £25.50, rather than 3 lots of £8.50. This is a bit of a problem, if you intend to claim the meal as expenses. I asked for a receipt for my part, and they gave me a till receipt for £0.00, but with the figure written on it in pen. Not the best way to attract the lunchtime business crowd.
Overall reasonable food, on a par with some of the others on Drummond street and at a similar price. Let down a little by staff.
75-83, Oldham Rd, Ashton Under Lyne, England
Awesome Indian in North Manchester
17 Jul 2015
If you been to Rusholme looking for a good veggie place, your choices are limited. But, take a tram out to the sticks, and walking distance from Ikea, is Lilly's.
Small, cafe style, restaurant. Probably best to book a table, if you are going at a busy time. We couldn't get in at Sunday lunch, but Sunday tea time was ok.
The food is Indian veggie. So a different style from your usual curry house. I went there with my mrs and kids and we all enjoyed it. (They offered to make the dishes less spicy for the kids.)
We had a couple of starters, the paneer pakora being a new found favourite. The channa paneer, as a main, was my favourite.
Afterwards we bought a bunch of indian sweets. Even some of these were new to me. It looks like the do a bunch of cool things, like stuffed chillies, to take away.
There are Chinese options on the menu, but we didn't try them. Perhaps next time. There is an Indian supermarket next door, but it was closed when we came out.
One final bonus, is that he dishes are not expensive. Five or six pounds for a main, four pounds for a side. And the bill, is itemised, not some hand scrawled, indecipherable note.
133-135 Drummond St, North West London, England
Lunch Time Buffet
13 Feb 2013
Having read some of the other reviews, I thought 'how bad can it be?' The answer, is 'it's actually quite good'
I tried Chutneys previously, which is on the same road, and this is a similar style. Twenty or so dishes for the lunchtime crowd, some hot and some cold, desserts and fruit.
I was on my own, but got seated quickly. I ordered a fresh orange juice, which was very good. The thing I find with all you can eat places, is that I want to try everything, and so end up eating too much. I avoided most of the cold food and stuck to the hot food, as it was a bitterly cold day.
The saag aloo was very good, rich and full of flavor. There was a baby aubergine and potato curry in a tomato sauce. That was chunky, with the baby aubergines simply cut in half. A veg pilau went well with a dal. There were dosas, mini pancakes filled with a dry curry. There were a couple of other curries, but these were the stand out ones for me.
The desserts are some sweet gulab jamin type things and a keer, rice pudding. The best was the carrot halwa, which was good an not too rich. There is fresh fruit, if you don't fancy the sugary overload of Indian sweets.
The only negative aspect, and it is a minor thing, is they they didn't seem to want payment by card. They had a machine, and charged me 50p extra for a card payment, which is common in some places, but they did ask if I had the cash.
12-14 Heddon Street, London, England
Stylish and well placed
04 Sep 2013
I went here at lunch time on a bright sunny day and was pleasantly surprised. It's situated on a pedestrianised road, that's occupied by several other restaurants. A nice quiet little oasis, just off busy Regent Street. I was able to get a table and sit in the sun, which was a good place to be.
The restaurant is a very stylish affair; the decor is modern and clean, the staff friendly. The food is well laid out and labeled clearly. It's a help yourself buffet and the price is based on weight.
The quality of the food is pretty good and they have some interesting dishes to choose from. There are also a number of deserts on offer, but I didn't sample them. I enjoyed the tofu and melon with ginger, the stuffed jalapeno and the carrot and ginger quiche. There are lots of salad dressings and seed sprinkles on offer as well.
There seems to be lots of drinks on offer, from alcoholic (including some real ales), to the carrot, ginger and apple juice I had.
The price is on the higher end of the scale (~£13 for lunch and a drink), but the quality, presentation and atmosphere are included in that.
17-18 Tooks Court, London, England
21 Nov 2013
I went here as pre Christmas treat for myself, I wasn’t disappointed. The interior is quiet and sophisticated and I had no trouble getting a table for one.
I ordered a beer to drink (Camdens Gentlemans Whit) which arrived in a pewter tankard. They have a range of beers, which is good to see. Not everyone wants to drink wine with a meal and this was a fitting beer, with lemon and bergamot flavourings.
I was a bit disappointed they didn’t bring any bread out straight away, as I was hungry. However, the strawberry and balsamic compote with black pepper foam ‘amuse bouche’, was an unexpected treat.
I ordered the whipped baked potato which had an almost mousse like texture, creamy and light. The bread, when it came, was home made. Once slice herby the other with sweet soaked raisins in it. Both slightly warm and very tasty.
I had the fried mushroom mousse as a main. This came with a lemon foam, pea sauce, rosemary scones and caramelised fennel. The presentation was spot on and the taste was awesome. Each item perfect on its own and in combination superb.
I was toying with the idea of desert, and due to the fact that the other two dishes had been so good, I ordered the milk chocolate and walnut oil pate, with avocado ice cream. The lime meringue was super sharp and very light, to compliment the dense and sweet pate. Again, the presentation was very good.
I shall be going here again, but at ~£50 for 3 courses, a drink and a tip, it will have to remain an occasional treat.
25-27 Oxford St, London, England
Buffet style lunch
30 Aug 2013
I went here at lunch time and found they didn't take cards. So after a trip to a cash machine, I tried again. Help yourself, but one visit is the way they do things at lunch. I had a large plate, which was paper, making it tricky to fill as it kept wanting to slide off.
The food is a mix of curries, stews, dahls. There was a good mushroom stroganoff type dish and some salads. There was rice and noodles with about a dozen or so dishes to choose from. The food was as one would expect from a buffet, good but it's not fine dining.
One complaint I have about this type of 'fill your plate' eating, is that everything becomes homogenized. Rather than having several tastes of dishes and being able to savour the flavours, it all becomes one. Perhaps I'm being too picky.
I had a citrus smoothy, which was freshly made, and was excellent. Worth a visit for this alone. There was mention of deserts on the boards, but I didn't see any.
The decor is sort of designer hippy trail. Its kinda compact and I would imagine that it gets packed out easily. Good for watching the world go by in this busy end of Soho.
77 Marylebone Lane, London, England
Good selection of Indian veggie food
27 Apr 2012
Tucked away in a side street,its easy to miss. They have a huge selection of dishes, many of which you don't see at your local curry house.
Service was fast and efficient and the decor is clean and crisp. They don't do paneer from the tandoor at lunch time, so I had paneer tikka masala, rice, chapatti and an orange juice. The food is very well done, but it came to around £18 with service, which is a bit steep.
A good place for romantic evening meals or business lunch on expenses. A bit expensive, for me, to be an everyday lunchtime venue.