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Luce e Limoni, Holborn, London

Went on Wednesday evening without a booking - it appeared quite empty which is a shame. We didn't try that much because we weren't that hungry, but between the two of us we had the bread, tortellini, and saffron risotto.

The bread basket contained focaccia studded with cherry tomatoes, breadsticks, and some thin slices of dense bread with a little plate of olives. I really enjoyed the focaccia and the olive oil they had.

I had the saffron risotto and it was as good as you made it sound! I love grouper and hardly see it on the menu unless in Chinese restaurants. However it might have sat too long under a heat lamp or I was just slow in eating because it became quite stodgy and lumpy in the end. Generous portions, though.

We shared the cannoli for dessert and they were great - light, sweet bites to end the meal.

The only waitress working at the time seemed quite stressed, as by the time we left (around 9:30pm) it was about 70% full and she was the only person working the floor. She had to call her sister to come and help, so service was taking a bit longer.

Having said that, this is a place I'd love to return to and try more of the menu! Thanks for posting this. :)

Jan 09, 2014
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Tenner a head in London

I'm a PhD student who loves to eat out, so I'm constantly looking for more affordable places to eat! My recommendations:

Franco Manca, Brixton for pizza
Honest Burger, Soho (or Brixton)
Malaysia Kopitiam, Leicester Square
Noodle Bar on Cranbourne Street for their hand-pulled noodles - also try Maotai Kitchen in Chinatown
Koya, Soho (udon only though, not the specials)
Cafe East, Surrey Quays for massive bowls of pho
Asakusa, Mornington Crescent - I used to be able to order several small plates (+set meal) to share with a couple of friends and it would come to about 10 per head
Ittenbari, Soho - I prefer their ramen over the other newer, hipper places (not a fan of the super-rich tonkotsu)

You might be able to feed 2 for 20 pounds at any of the Korean restaurants around Centrepoint, or Koba near Goodge Street, or Asadal next to Holborn Station if you don't order the barbeque meat.

If you can go for lunch, I think the express lunch at Hereford Road (9.50 for main course, a glass of wine, and coffee) is exceedingly good value. Or come to Camberwell and eat at FM Mangal for delicious grilled meat.

Weekend brunch:
Caravan, King's Cross
The Table, Southwark

I should also mention I almost always drink tap water!

Nov 25, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Late Oct London Itinerary-Inspection please!

I would not go to Ottolenghi and instead go for Nopi. I find Ottolenghi's salads sort of blah after a few bites. Nopi's small plates are so much better and you can sit at the counter.

I really loved Bull & Last and probably would recommend it over Harwood Arms, but it seems like B&L would be quite a trek for you!

Sep 19, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

solo bar dining in London

Koya for brilliant small plates (on their specials board), or Koya Bar next door for udon on Frith Street.

Sep 15, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Gua bao (‘hirata buns’)

Have you tried the buns from Bao? They're a street food stall/bar at Netil Market. I recently tried these for the first time at Street Feast and I thought the buns themselves and the topping were really good. I didn't really think much of the filling though - they're filled with braised pork belly, shredded and in a soy-based sauce that was overly salty. They are topped with peanuts and their own preserved vegetables.

I'd like to try making my own some time, actually!

Sep 15, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

List of Best Ice Cream in LONDON

I walked past Dri Dri on Portobello Road a few months ago and it looked like it had closed down, sadly. I think Honest Burgers is taking over the site!

Do you know if anyone does a pine nut gelato? I tried it while in Naples and I insisted on going back every day for it!

Aug 13, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

London Food News

Hot Dinners - their news and features section, in addition to the new & upcoming food events are great! The reviews section is a little lacklustre, but combined with London Eating I think you'd be set.

http://www.hot-dinners.com

Jun 22, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Central London reccs, on a budget - also for Oxford, Newbury

There's a great restaurant called Market in Camden on Parkway, just 5 minutes from the tube station. It has an excellent value lunch menu between Mon-Sat, £10 for two courses. I would stay away from the food stalls in Camden Market itself - nothing particularly stands out, except for the Chin Chin Laboratorists ice cream place (they have interesting flavours on rotation).

Apr 02, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

London Bistro/Nose to tail/ brasserie/pubs/tapas

Try Hereford Road for similar cooking to St John, but at a slightly lower price point. I had fried calf's brain there once and it was just slightly too disturbing for me to finish it (I'm a neuroscientist...), but everything there is cooked really well. I haven't been to St John restaurant, but been to St John Bread & Wine and Hereford Road just seemed much more comfortable/low key in terms of ambience and surroundings.

Mar 07, 2013
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Last question before my trip (foie gras & Charcuterie)

Charcuterie: Brawn, or Bull & Last

Nov 29, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Reasonable restaurants near London, Aldwych?

I found Great Queen Street to be extremely noisy and dark, so pretty hard to hold a conversation. The food was good enough to be worth it, though. It's a much more comfortable place at lunchtime when there's still daylight and it's not as loud.

Canteen is average. I'm not a fan of the atmosphere but I haven't tried the Wellington Street branch - I've been to the one at Canary Wharf, Spitalfields, and South Bank and I have to say the CW branch is the best. It's more relaxed and feels more like an actual restaurant than a refectory. The food isn't anything special; I remember having afternoon tea there and that was quite good value - the rest of the menu wasn't bad, but it also wasn't good enough to merit a return visit. Unless it's one of those where you have to opt for the best of the surrounding areas.

Nov 27, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

FM Mangal [London]

I LOVE FM Mangal. I'm lucky enough to work just around the corner and they do an amazing lunch deal on the weekdays - 7 GBP for a massive main course of grilled meats/veg with rice and salad, plus soft drink or a glass of house wine. And they give you a basket of their flatbreads and finish it off with pineapple slices and turkish delight at the end. I could eat an ENTIRE meal of their flatbread. I don't know what the hell they spice it with but it's so addictive!

Nov 27, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Michelin Starred (or just great food), and Vegetarian Friendly, in London?

I've never been but I think Gauthier could fit the bill.

Nov 22, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Roka in Hong Kong?

I tried Roka back in 2006 or so in Pacific Place. It doesn't compare at all with Roka in London (Canary Wharf branch, at least). Having said that I didn't try Roka London until 2009 so things could have improved since then.

Nov 17, 2012
astereilla in China & Southeast Asia

Shoryu, new ramen "brasserie" in Piccadilly [London]

I went last Saturday and had the Hakata Tonkotsu. I thought the broth was too salty and it didn't have the lip-sticking quality which is indicative of the gelatin content from the pork bone. It did have a good flavour, though perhaps a bit too chicken-y and not quite porky enough. There was a massive portion of noodles which hadn't been quite separated enough as they were still clumped together near the bottom of the bowl. They also appeared to be the wrong type of noodles, too thick and curly.

The topping of cha siu was quite lean and tough. I added a soft-boiled egg for £1.50 - the yolk wasn't runny, but it was soft enough and was seasoned quite well.

I sound quite critical about the noodles, don't I? For the soft launch prices, ~£6 was a pretty good price to pay for a decent bowl of noodles. I'm not sure I'd return, though. I think the broth at Tonkotsu is much richer, but isn't seasoned enough (I know, I'm picky), but the noodles and toppings there are executed in a much better way.

I can't quite compare Ittenbari to either of these places as I've only had the shio (salt) ramen. As a bowl of noodles, I much prefer Ittenbari to either Tonkotsu or Shoryu but I think I'm biased towards clear broths. I'd be interested in hearing about Bone Daddies if you get a chance to go!

Nov 16, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Birthday dinner on a budget [London]

My friends and I (there are 6 of us) want to celebrate a joint birthday mid December on a weekend, but at the moment are having trouble settling on a place.

I wanted to try Upstairs at the Ten Bells - turns out they're only serving their Christmas set menu for £39 a head (ugh, I get so annoyed when restaurants do this! the joys of having a birthday in December), and that's over our budget. I'd ideally like to spend less than £25-30/head; we're not big drinkers so will probably stick to a glass each or just water. I tried to reserve a table for Burger & Lobster at Soho, but it was fully booked (over a month in advance?!).

Are there any other places which would be suitable for a group of 6 on a budget? I'd like it to be comfortable and not ridiculously noisy - none of that uncomfortable wooden stool seating where you're crammed in like sardines in a tin. I'm also not looking for Asian food as I'm going back to Hong Kong over Christmas. Is the queue for Burger & Lobster awful for a group this size at say, 6pm on a Saturday evening? Has anyone been to the Green Park/St John Street branches on a weekend evening - how are the queues like there?

As you can tell I was quite set on B&L! Places I've been to before that I like, if that makes recommendations easier:

- North Road (for pre-theatre)
- Zucca
- Pizarro
- Hereford Road
- St John B&W
- Great Queen Street
- Launceston Place (went for set lunch 3 years ago)
- NOPI (but sharing plates for a group of 6 is too awkward, I feel)

Help please? Thanks!

Nov 13, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

UK London Fresh Lobster sources / seasons?

Can't quite remember, but if you get up early, Billingsgate Market near Canary Wharf should probably have live lobsters.

Nov 07, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Set Lunch options for great value (London)

I read that Maltings Cafe was closed from the SE1 forum. Can anyone confirm? I was planning to take my friends who are visiting from out of the country, but now I guess the choice is between Zucca or Jose!

Sep 26, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Upcoming London Restaurant Festival - Any Thoughts?

LRF stands for London Restaurant Festival :)

Sep 11, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Upcoming London Restaurant Festival - Any Thoughts?

It honestly depends on the restaurant. I went to three restaurants last year, ranging from so-so to great food to spectacular.

I can't remember which price point it was at now, but we had a 3 course dinner at Quince (£20, I think) and it was average. Great service, but the atmosphere of the restaurant just wasn't there. The food was also unmemorable.

North Road restaurant, on the other hand, was really good. It was the first time I'd eaten there and it was good enough for me to make a second reservation for my birthday (albeit on the cheaper, pre-theatre menu which was really good value for money). I believe we paid £20 for 3 courses for dinner, which, to be fair, was the same price as the pre-theatre menu so it might be a bit cheaty of them. Service was great - unfortunately when we went back for my birthday, the waiters just ignored us all night. It felt like we were treated as lower-class citizens just because we didn't order alcohol and ordered from a pre-theatre menu, so keep that in mind.

Lastly we went to One-O-One in Knightsbridge, which is an expensive seafood restaurant. I think it was £30 for 3 courses? The food was brilliant - delicate plating, seafood was cooked perfectly, service was exemplary, and the only negative thing I have to say about it is the atmosphere. It's a little bit stuffy and consequently, quite pricey.

Unfortunately, looking at the list of restaurants, it doesn't inspire. I think in general, instead of actively looking for a good deal for a meal, I'd look for specific restaurants you'd like to try and see if they offer a LRF menu. It's a bit hit-and-miss.

Sep 11, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

London (Russell Square) eats!

Bea's of Bloomsbury for breakfast! Or any of the little cafes on Lamb's Conduit Street. They're all about a 5 minute walk from Russell Square station.

Sep 11, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre supper ideas [London]

We went to the Queen's Head & Artichoke for an early dinner before we went to the open air theatre and it was very pleasant pub food at a reasonable price. Nothing memorable though, but it's a satisfying meal and a 10 minute walk to the park!

Jul 21, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

London: Fun, lively dinner and lunch spots?

I'm not sure my definition of lively and upbeat is the same as yours, but I really enjoyed a Saturday lunch at Pollen Street Social, especially at the dessert bar. Opera Tavern, a Spanish restaurant in Covent Garden would probably also fit the bill, as does Jose or Pizarro in London Bridge.

I think, for me, a lively Sunday lunch would be spent having dim sum at Princess Garden in Mayfair - it's a little bit more refined and elegant than the usual cheap as chips dim sum restaurants, but still has a lovely buzz to it. Although there are more families than beautiful, trendy hipsters ;)

Apr 12, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Camden - near Roundhouse

Asakusa for a slightly cramped but very buzzy Japanese izakaya, just behind Mornington Crescent station, about 15 min walk to Camden tube. You'll have to call to book a table for dinner, though - they always turn away walk-ins. I would recomend their cooked food rather than sushi/sashimi as they only have one chef and can be slow, plus it isn't their strong point anyway. The grilled chicken hearts are to die for!

Apr 06, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Request: London rec for tonight....

Glad she enjoyed it! One of the best dishes I've ever had in London was a whole lemon sole covered in anchovy butter from the Anchor & Hope. SO tasty. I must go back soon, thank you for reminding me :)

Apr 06, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Request: London rec for tonight....

As far as I know, the Anchor & Hope has no reservations from Mon-Sat so your wife should be fine!

Apr 02, 2012
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Best choices in/near Canary Wharf? [London]

Lotus Restaurant near Crossharbour DLR for dim sum. It's a 15 minute walk or 2 minutes via DLR.

I also think Canteen is reasonably priced, and during the daytime it's super bright with the sunlight streaming through the huge windows, and there's free wifi - plus their sofas are super comfortable.

Nov 14, 2011
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

London Brunch

Kopapa for a more inventive take on brunch, or Bill's Cafe for a more homestyle atmosphere.

Nov 02, 2011
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Any cheap dim sum places I should know about ? [London]

Oh yes, Peninsula is what it's called, I think. I also just remembered the Lotus floating restaurant at Crossharbour DLR. They do great cha siu puffs (not steamed buns) and egg custard tarts. Their cheung fun is wonderful as well. A bit out of the way and not as cheap as Chinatown, though.

Aug 25, 2011
astereilla in U.K./Ireland

Ethnic Cuisines in London

I think it's called Hiba Express and just across the street from Holborn station. It looked pretty small when I walked past but I didn't have time to check it out in detail.

Aug 24, 2011
astereilla in U.K./Ireland