By admin

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Grillmarket

Seriously cool, with amazing fittings and furnishing and rated #5 on TripAdvisor for Reykjavik restaurants. Grillmarket is decked out with tree branches for table dividers, chunks of concrete for light shades and a wicked light installation over a spiral staircase leading on the the basement dining room; definitely worth a peek if you are visiting the capital of Iceland.

We had two starters, one main and a side, a glass of wine and a bottle of coke. The bill came to… well we don’t know, because we didn’t have to pay!


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I was immediately impressed with the decor and ambience of the restaurant, there was a fantastic spiral staircase which lead to the seating downstairs. I was only in the mood for a light bite so ordered monkfish skewers followed by sauté new potatoes.

The monkfish looked fantastic, three skewers laid out with a rich dipping sauce placed underneath. The potatoes were a little disappointing, slightly undercooked and not seasoned well enough.

Our experience of the restaurant was ruined by having to sit next to two loud obnoxious businessmen who seemed compelled to out do each other with tales of who had made the most money that month.

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Grillmarket was on my hit list for Reykjavik, not so much for me but more for Meat. Seemed right up his street, but as it happened I ended up ordering more than him!

I started with the deep fried vegetables in a crispy dough. They more than surpassed expectation considering we weren’t in the most vegetarian friendly restaurant!

The assortment of vegetables included broccoli, mushroom, cauliflower, carrot, sweet potato and onion. The batter was light and crisp and they were served with a delicious homemade basil pesto. The serving was huge for a starter, easily enough for two people to share.

For my main I only really had one option, the peanut steak made from nuts, beans and seasonal vegetables, accompanied by organic Greek yoghurt. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but when it came out it was beautifully presented on a wooden board and garnished with pomegranate.

It’s quite a difficult one to describe, but it was a nutroast-esqe steak served with stir fried vegetables on the side. Unfortunately it wasn’t to my taste, it was very sweet, more like a slice of cake than a steak. I had a taste and so did Meat, but we left it there.

The waiter came to make sure everything was ok and noticed that I hadn’t eaten my main. I explained that I wasn’t really keen on it and apologised. When we had finished our drinks we asked for the bill – he replied “it’s on the house”. What amazing service, we definitely weren’t expecting not to pay! In my opinion it’s service like that which defines great restaurants.

If you are in Reykjavik and are a carnivore I would definitely recommend you check it out.

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Skólabrú

Meatand1veg.com‘s first review from outside of London! We thought we would check out Reykjavik and most definitely had to check out what Iceland had on offer when it comes to food.

Skólabrú has amazing reviews and caters well for vegetarians. The restaurant is set back from the main drag in an converted old house. The chic but cozy furnishings work really well to create an upmarket, yet homely feel.

We had two starters, two mains and a bottle of wine. The bill came to £106.


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Situated in the heart of Reykjavik this traditional Icelandic restaurant had a lot of of potential. I decided to choose a selection of traditional appetizers to start followed by pan fried duck breast with potato fondant.

The starter was very nicely presented and included; langoustine, a local fish, smoked salmon and cured goose gazpacho. All the flavours were delicious and together complemented each other nicely – my only complaint was there wasn’t enough of each!
For main course, the dish was nicely presented and the duck was cooked well, I initially thought it was over cooked but actually the meat was very tender. The potato fondant looked more like a stack but tasted well seasoned, the green vegetables cooked al dente, just how I like them.
Overall I was very impressed with the food and the atmosphere was especially great at this charming authentic Icelandic restaurant – if you’re in Reykjavik I highly recommend visiting if you get the chance.

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There was a 3 course vegetarian menu on offer, but I opted to order off the menu as I really wanted to try the butter dough tart filled with cherry tomatoes, fresh spinach, herbs, goats cheese and lingonberry compote. I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect but when it came out it looks amazing. A puff pastry case filled with homemade pesto, goats cheese, tomatoes and spinach. It was to die for, the best starter I have had since writing these reviews. I wish I had have had it again for my main!

Instead I ordered the vegetarian special; mushroom risotto. It was served with slices of toasted baguette with grilled cheese. They had made the risotto from what looked like basmati rice, which is a first for me, but it was really nice. The consistency was just right, and flavoured really well. The only little criticism I had was, should it have been served with toast? It was a bit of carb overload. I think just on its own would have been better.

If you are going to Reykjavik anytime soon I would thoroughly recommend checking this place out. The food was great and the service was fabulous too! We hadn’t booked a table but the host was more than accommodating, asking us where we had come from and were we enjoying our trip so far. He even gave us a discount card for if we ever came back.

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Marco’s

A pop up restaurant in the Waterloo vaults; graffiti laden walls and an ivy laced bar, Marcos is dressed as a traditional Italian family run restaurant. Opened by Forzawin, all thats on the menu is… Marcos meatballs, and a vegetarian option. The mezzanine restaurant only holds 36, so you have to book!

Tickets are £18 (inc booking fees) and for that you get a plate of meatballs, a glass of wine and a bit of family feud entertainment.


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Besides eating meatballs, I literally had no idea what the evening had in store for us when I agreed to join Veg for a night of ‘meatballs and murder’. The location was very cool, in the vault under Waterloo Station, I’d never been before so I was impressed by how lively it was and the array of activities going on.

Upon entering Marcos I was greeted by the waitress who squeezed my arm and said “ooh lovely man” which I found quite funny (as I had heard her say it to the 3 guys in front of me too). They initially didn’t have enough space for us so they pulled 2 tables together and fetched a mix match of chairs for everyone. It took a while for our wine to arrive but it was quite pleasant and after about 15 minutes the meatballs began to emerge.

Bearing in mind it cost £18 I was a bit disappointing to see only 4 meatballs on top of the pasta. They did taste good but needed a bit more seasoning to be noteworthy, we asked for Parmesan cheese (which arrived after 5 minutes) which made everything taste much more flavorsome.

Overall the food was ok, nothing special but it was a fun night out and more of an experience over anything else.

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There was a group of 10 of us and as mentioned above the restaurant only holds 36, so the only way the could accommodate all of us was to put a round table at the end of a bench table. The seating was a bit awkward.

We were served our wine in an Aperol jug, which was amusing and before long everyone was being served their meatballs. I assumed as they only served one dish, the vegetarian option would have been meatballs too, but instead we were presented with a plate of pasta with tomato sauce and a side of melanzane-esqe aubergine in tomato sauce with cheese on top.

The pasta was cooked to perfection, could not fault it. Aldente. The sauce however was pretty ordinary. Perhaps it is meant to compliment the meatballs, but on its own it lacked any wow factor. The aubergine bake again lacked in flavour, it tasted like they had layered it with the same sauce and a bit of onion, then whacked it in the oven.

I am in two minds about this review. In one, if you only serve one dish, it needs to be bang on, the best. In the other, the entertainment and antics of ‘Marco’ and his family more than made up for the average food. Not the sort of dining experience you have on any old night out for something to eat!

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The Rookery

The Rookery is a small, independently run pub on the Southside of Clapham Common. Boasting a decent size beer garden out the front and a warm, cozy, inviting interior, The Rookery looked like the perfect venue for a rainy Sunday afternoon roast dinner.

We had olives to start, two mains and with a bottle of wine to share, the bill with service came to £61.


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I decided to ordered something hearty and warming as it was a dark and stormy afternoon, which took the form of belly pork with a selection of winter vegetables, gravy and apple sauce.

It didn’t take long to arrive which was good and I was immediately excited when I saw the size of the portion of meat. It was a large chunk of pork by anyone’s standards with clear visible layers of rendered fat running throughout.

My excitement soon turned to disappointment as there was no apple sauce on the plate (we asked for some afterwards) and the crackling was not crispy at all, in fact it was just about inedible, far too thick and chewy.

The gravy and roast potatoes were very good and actually the highlight of the dish but overall too little to make it a success.

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So I am just going to come and say it. This review gets a 2. I was left really unimpressed, which is a shame, because I thought it was going to be epic.

To start with, the service sucked. We had a table of four and it was pretty obvious we were waiting for another person, but somehow we got asked 4 times if we wanted to order before she arrived.

It’s pretty standard for there to be only one vegetarian option when you head out for a Sunday lunch, but I was more than happy with The Rookery’s offering of truffle mac and cheese with Jerusalem artichokes, spinach and mushrooms.

The mac and cheese looked the part when it came out, served in a rustic, cast iron dish with a salad garnish. Artichokes are one of my favourites, so as soon as I was served I started mining. There wasn’t one artichoke in the whole dish. The macaroni didn’t have very much sauce, so it was quite dry. It also needed salt because it lacked flavour.

All in all, really disappointing, especially considering how excited I was before it came out.

Oh, I almost forgot… We had some nocerella olives to start, they were good.

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Olive n’ Meze

 

Olive n’ Meze is a local Mediterranean restaurant that has recently opened up on Clapham High Street. We have walked past a few times and thought we must try it out, so on Sunday night we did just that. During the day it can be quite quiet, but don’t let that put you off, it’s well worth checking out!

Two starters and two mains with a large bottle of sparkling water set us back £32.


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For starters I had stuffed vine leaves with minced lamb, tomatoes and rice. Four of them arrived on our table and looked great,they were soft inside and very well seasoned, it was a shame there wasn’t more of them.

For mains I had falafel, rice and hummus; sounded simple but the presentation was very attractive and the falafel was actually the best I’ve ever tasted. Admittedly I’ve not had much in the way of variety of falafel in the past but these tasted delicious and was complemented by some fine tasting humus and rice. Overall a very nice meal and I would definitely return to try some of their more adventurous meat dishes.

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I was having trouble deciding what to order, as there is a decent amount of vegetarian to choose from!

I ended up having the garlic mushrooms to start. Button mushrooms in a creamy, garlic and white wine sauce, served with toasted Turkish bread, cooked to perfection.

I then had the ​helloumi skewers served with courgettes, peppers and cherry tomato​ for my main. Served with a salad and really tatsy cous cous, the skewers complimented the starter nicely. The haloumi (or helloumi as they have spelled it on the menu) was cooked well and the vegetables were gently charred. Both mains came with a hot chilli and cool creamy Tatziki style sauce which I really enjoyed.

Definitely worth checking out if you are out and about in Clapham. Easily in the top 10 restaurants of the Clapham Common area in my opinion and really reasonably priced. Also, make sure you order starters so you get to try some of the delicious Turkish bread!

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HK Diner

 
Smack bang in the middle of Chinatown, HK Diner is a cheap and (un)cheerful Chinese canteen. With a huge menu to choose from as well as bubbleteas, it was perfect for a quick meal before we hot-footed it off the theatre.

We had one starter, two mains and two sides. With a couple of bottles of beer and service the bill came to £46.

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On the way to show in Leicester Square, Veg and I were looking for place that could serve a quick bite at a reasonable price. Upon walking in we were greeted by our host and shown to our table and were presented with a large menu with lots of tasty sounding options. I decided to go for the classic chicken and sweetcorn soup followed by braised duck with a side of boiled rice.

The soup was very nice, well seasoned and the chicken succulent. For the main course I really didn’t know what to expect as there was very little in the way of a description on the menu. On an oval plate there were chunks of fatty duck accompanied with vegetables and a thick sauce over the top – visually this wasn’t a great looking dish but the flavours were again very good.

Overall the food was good but no different from my local Chinese takeaways, the service was, how would you say..unusual? Put it this way, I felt like I was in a school lunch hall and being circled by the mean headmaster.

So this review is exactly what you would expect from one of the ever hospitable Chinatown canteen restaurants. We got there and before we could even look at the menu they wanted to know what we wanted to order. Meat went to order with the solemn waiter and they didn’t have that dish, everything we ordered was met with confusion and disapproval. You have to laugh…

I stuck with my two Chinese favourites, salt and pepper tofu and stir fried mixed vegetables. Instead I got a plate of pak choi in garlic, which when I questioned it turned out to be seasonal vegetables. There was no offer to change to what I had actually ordered.

The salt and pepper tofu however, was awesome. It’s always hit and miss with what you will be served up when it comes to this dish. Sometimes you end up with what resembles overcooked squares of sponge, other times it’s so loaded with batter you may as well have sipped on a bottle of oil. This tofu was lightly battered, cooked to perfection and seasoned with the perfect amount of fried garlic, chilli, salt and pepper.

Not an establishment you go to make friends, but definitely worth checking out if you are a salt and pepper tofu fan!

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Pizza Pilgrims


 
Simple. Traditional. Napoli Street Food. Pizza Pilgrims have been classed with the elite in London when it comes to pizza. So we had to check it out!

We ate in their pop up at Swingers Crazy Golf in Shoreditch – Two pizzas came to £18.

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I ordered one of their simple pizza’s which included cheese, tomato sauce and spicy sausage as toppings. It took around 5 minutes to be cooked, we were instructed to collect our pizza’s from the cooking station.

They were served on a piece of paper which did give it a definite street food vibe and they looked and smelt delicious.

The pizza was very hot and we both had to wait a few minutes to let them cool down, the base was thin and crispy around the edges which is just how I like it. The spicy sausage was VERY spicy, almost too spicy but in fact it just had the right balance to make the pizza very flavorsome.

The set up at Swingers involves your pizza being cooked in a wood fire oven the back of a van which is quite cool. Super speedy service meant we had our pizzas, served on brown paper bags, in under 5 mins.

Piping hot and smothered in cheese, just the way I like a margarita! The sauce was tasty, I just wish I has a bit more of it. The sour dough base was just the right combination of chewy and crisp and the pizza was finished off with a few basil leaves.

Perfect combination with a couple of beers before we played a round of the world’s most competitive crazy golf!

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Ethos

So here’s the deal. Grab a plate, load it up, get it weighed and hold your breath to see how much it’s going to cost. Ethos is a vegan & vegetarian canteen-esque restaurant just off Oxford Street. With stunning décor, the eating area is lined with trees whilst the serving area is a bright white backdrop for all the colourful salads and hot dishes.

We went as a group of five and the average plate cost around £14. This is the first post with a guest blogstar! My colleague Demi will be handling the sausages on this one!

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A carnivore walks into a 100% vegetarian and vegan restaurant, presented with plinths of pulses, grains and vegetable filled sauces. No meat! The interior organic as well, with trees protruding from the floor, filling the room with leafless braches. A pleasant environment.

After waiting a while we were seated, advised of the process and were free to select. An all you can eat buffet, but not like the ones people are used to, this is a health filled all you can eat buffet. Maybe more places like this should be around.

As a meat eater who appreciates and would often choose a vegetarian option in a restaurant over a meaty dish, this place offered a lot. As I walked around the areas, reading the informative signs and choosing from the large selection of different dishes, the fact that none of the dishes didn’t have meat in was not an issue, there was plenty to choose from. Being tempted by the delicious selection on offer it was hard not to want to pile the plate full of wonderful looking foods, but instead being hesitant as your final plate full of food would be weighed and charged accordingly.

I chose a beetroot based juice to accompany lunch; it was a wise choice as this was also enjoyable and was a good match to the food that filled my plate. A particular favourite was the Japanese spiced aubergine. I wish I’d picked up two.

Overall the whole experience was pleasant, the food was fantastic and I’d definitely recommend it to both vegetarian and non-vegetarian friends. I also grabbed a take away coffee, which came in lovely packaging and helped fuel the remainder of the afternoon after a satisfying lunch.

We were welcomed by friendly staff and they were more than accommodating of the 5 of us walk ins. As I mentioned above its self-service, so naturally I attempted to get close to every dish on my plate!

I had read that one of the signature vegan dishes was the ribs with homemade bbq sauce so I made sure those and the vegan mushroom stroganoff made the plate, as well as the chilli sin carne and fajita rice from the hot selection.

Unfortunately the ribs were the most disappointing of all the dishes with all five of us ending up in a discussion about how they tasted like old leather boots. I wonder if we had had some fresh ones would they have tasted better? They were also drowned in the bbq sauce and look nothing like the ones on the website… The mushroom stroganoff was really tasty, right up my alley, but again it wasn’t overly warm, and I like my hot food… hot. The chilli was hot and worked well with the fajita rice.

The salad bar included vegan guacamole and hummus, two of my diet staples so I made a beeline, and was not disappointed. The salads were all knock out including the Israeli basil cous cous, potato salad, coleslaw and my favourite the avocado and mango with berries. The vine leaves are also worth mentioning, they were amazing, fresh and zingy like they should be!

All in all a good vegetarian option for a mid-week lunch out of the office!

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Sake No Hana

 

 
Brought to you by Hakkisan, Sake no Hana is ‘modern and authentic’ Japanese dining in the midst of Mayfair. With amazing wood panel installations and a glass bamboo culm chandelier, the restaurant is perfect for a celebration.

We visited Sake no Hana with London Sake to sample both their sushi and sake offerings. With a set menu for the carnivore, I had two starters, a main and rice pot. Add two bottles of wine and a carafe of hot sake to finish, the bill came to £210 for both of us.

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To get the ball rolling I had a red miso soup with wild mushrooms or asari clams, it was well flavoured and a nice start to the meal although disappointingly there were only 2 clams. Next was ‘Hassan’ which featured 5 beautiful looking bites; Uzura Kuwayaki, Aburi Salmon, Parsnip Kinpira with ebi empura, sesame spinach and sesame fried aubergine. All very nice individually and together complemented each other well – out of the five the Uzura Kuwayaki aka teriyaki chicken was my favourite. Next was a selection of sashimi, including tuna, salmon and bream. I’m usually a big fan of sashimi tuna but I found this one to be quite soft and dull in appearance so I’m not sure how fresh the fish was but I didn’t like it.

For the main courses there was both fish and meat; Chilean sea bass with champagne yuzu miso sauce followed by sirloin beef with garlic ponzu sauce. Each of the dishes were excellent in taste and appearance, the fish was delicately cooked while the sirloin was juicy and very well-seasoned. Strangely we then had a selection of sushi (maybe thats the right order to have it but I thought it a little odd); akami nigiri, ama ebi nigiri and spicy chirashi maki. The colours and contrast between each of the different pieces looked fantastic and the tuna nigiri was much better in texture and taste than the sashimi.

To finish of the menu were two different desserts, the first being mochi ice cream which looked great but was unfortunately bland in taste. The second was an apple pastry slice which tasted nice and cleaned the palette.

While the food was good I’ve had much better at a more reasonable cost, the service however, was some of the worst I had ever experienced. Where to start… We arrived separately to our friends and were told they hadn’t arrived yet when in reality they had, they just looked for the wrong name. So we were asked to wait in the bar for no reason what so ever, it was only when my friends messaged us that we realised. Upon sitting down to the table we were reminded that we only had the table for two hours and felt a bit rushed into ordering drinks and food.

There were far too many glasses on the table, I literally felt surrounded by them – I eventually asked them to take away some of the ones which weren’t being used. As we had arrived separately we wanted to order a bottle of wine ourselves but the waiter looked at us like idiots because there was already 2 bottles open from our friends, we resigned ourselves to the fact we’d drink those first (even though we wanted our own).

The various staff members looked rushed, didn’t ask us if we enjoyed the food throughout the night and generally the whole thing felt very impersonal. The nail in the coffin was when I ordered some warm sake… After waiting 15 minutes for the bottle and keeping in mind we were being rushed off the table I asked the waiter (same one as the wine issue) where the sake was to which he snapped ‘You do realise it takes 5 minutes to warm the sake sir?’ – I looked at him in disbelief and let him know it had in fact been 15 minutes, not 3 or 4 minutes to which that kind of response would have been acceptable. Veg did a good job relaying the tables feedback to the manager at the end of the night and she bought us a round of drinks on the house (in the bar). Would never return which is a shame because the food was pretty good.

This whole experience leaves me really really torn. Food? Unreal? Service. Unreal. In two completely different ways.

The options for a vegetarian at Sake no Hana are plentiful, they even offer a vegetarian set menu! The truffle and mushroom rice pot caught my eye, so on this occasion I opted to order off the menu. I started with the spicy edamame, which was coated in a really tasty sauce. Little niggle, the edamame was a little over cooked.

I was then presented with the vegetable tempura. Wow. The batter tasted as if it had been flavoured (maybe with miso) and it was delicious. The vegetables were cooked to perfection and the portion was enough for two to share.

I finished with the teriyaki tofu and the truffle mushroom rice pot. The rice pots serve two people but I did my best to scoff the majority. It was delicious and complimented the teriyaki tofu really nicely. The tofu was also quite nice, but the sauce was really rich and salty, it would have been nice to have had a few more vegetables in the dish to cut through the intensity of the sauce.

Overall, really good vegetarian food…

Now a few comments on the service…

If I go to a restaurant of the ilk of Sake no Hana I expect the service to be bang on. Sadly in this instance it wasn’t. The sommelier had serious attitude and there is no way to describe him but… rude.

The waitresses did a pretty good job of trying to take peoples plate when they hadn’t finish and at one point, everyone wanted wine so I got up to get it (as we had been waiting for some time for a waitress to notice) only to have the wine snatched out of my hand when she finally realised we needed our glasses refilling.

I will however say this. When we had paid the bill I asked to see the manager because I feel that feedback is important especially when people at the table have been upset by their staff. The manager was more than apologetic, and sincerely said how sorry she was and that she was going to address the issues we had raised.

She offered us a round of cocktails on the house and gave one of our party her business card, commenting that she really did hope we would be back – because of the way she handled the whole situation I will be returning in hope of better service next time!

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Bam-Bou

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Set in a cute converted house in Fitzrovia, Bam-bou is a South East Asian restaurant offering a range of fusion dishes from Japan, Thailand, Vietnam and China. With offerings of softshell crab, charcoaled duck right through to mushroom & tofu hot pot & rice, it has something for all appetites. There is a good range for vegetarians with ten meat free options to choose from.

We had four starters/sharing plates and two mains, with a bottle of wine and service the bill came to £70 (this was with their January 50% off all food promotion).

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I decided to order a mixture of seafood and meat as there were lots of options for both on an interesting sounding menu. From the ‘Smaller Plates’ I ordered soft shell crab which was battered and came with a tofu spiced mayonnaise. Visually it looked great but there was far too much batter surrounding the crab which made it taste quite bland, the mayonnaise was however, delicious. Along with the crab I ordered chili bay scallops with vegetables, this was a big disappointment; they were chewy and far too spicy to enjoy properly.

For the main course I ordered quail with pickled vegetables, I was recommended to order a side of rice with the dish too, which I did (just boiled rice). I was expecting the quail to be slices of the breast meat but they were actually a breast and legs, almost like chicken wings in appearance. The meat was delicate on the inside and the skin crispy and well-seasoned, the standout dish of the night for me and would recommend to anyone that visits to give it a try.

Overall I felt rushed throughout the whole meal (even though we arrived early) at one point I even had 2 separate waiters pour me wine before I’d even had the chance to take a sip. We were also told that we probably didn’t have time to order dessert, so we didn’t.

Starting with the soft fragrant rolls and the hot & sour soup with shitake & cashew wonton; the fragrant rolls were freshly prepared with tofu & avocado complimenting the sharp vinegar dipping sauce. They were definitely the highlight of my meal.

The shitake & cashew wonton was flavoursome but over cooked as they had fallen apart in the soup. The broth was delicate with shredded cabbage, mushrooms and bean sprouts to accompany the wontons, but again the cabbage was slightly overcooked and limp.

For my main I had the one vegetarian main meal option; mushroom & tofu hot pot & rice. Served in a Japanese Tetsubin bowl, the tofu was well cooked with in a sweet, ginger soy sauce and finished with sesame seeds and served with sticky rice. The portion was quite small for a main serving so I was happy I sampled two starters. All the food was well presented and brought out in a timely fashion, but disappointingly the whole experience lacked any wow factor.

We were informed only after our mains that we had 20 minutes to eat dessert should we have ordered as they needed the table back. We had only been there for an hour, and feeling pressured we decided not to have dessert. The service was adequate, but again nothing worth writing home about.