From not just your every day

1

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!


meat

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.

veg

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.

5

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.


meat

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.

veg

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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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).

meat

2_sausages

veg

2.5_carrots

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.