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Portland restaurant

Went for dinner last week with Limster, who had been once previously, and my wife. We agreed it was one of the best meals we'd had in quite a while.

3 starters: blood sausage with potato, tartare of mackerel and oyster, charred brassicas with smoked egg. All excellent; brassicas with smoked egg was the most surprising.

For mains, we had game pithiviers and cod with carrot. Pithiviers excellent, as previously reported. Cod was the weakest dish of the meal, the only one I could find flaws in - but still very good.

Puddings were some kind of chocolate-with-ice-cream (looked like topsoil, tasted excellent) and a sugar tart with pear.

Wines by the glass were both superb and well-priced. ('97 Rioja, appropriately aged and delicious, for £6 a glass....)

What's to complain about? The service is friendly and knowledgable but not formal, if you care about that. The room is loud. That's really about it.

Feb 16, 2015
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

fine foods shops, London

I'd second Harters' suggestion of good-quality cold-pressed rapeseed oil. I'd never seen it before I moved to the UK, but it is a really fantastic oil, fragrant and delicious. We use it now for all our chinese cooking - it's traditional in much of southern China, easier to find here than good-quality peanut oil, and really well-suited to high-temperature cooking as well as use raw.

Dec 09, 2012
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

Visiting from NYC(First time in London) looking for recs/NYC comparisions.

As always, Limster is dead-on re that prawn dish at Empress of Sichuan.

I suppose a truly dedicated hound would do a two-course involving back-to-back meals at St John Hotel and E of S but I find such a thing unimaginable.

Nov 24, 2012
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

Visiting from NYC(First time in London) looking for recs/NYC comparisions.

As for your list: I would probably skip Bincho (as is so often said, London is not a Japanese food destination). I realize Masters gets lots of love here but I have never understood why - I find it sort of third-rate - for fish & chips I like the Fish! stall in Borough Market (not the restaurant - overpriced, not very good). For offal, Magdalen is very good. For game, probably Trinity in Clapham.

Nov 24, 2012
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

London "Third Wave" Coffee

Both you and your friends are right, to my mind - I find Paris coffee burnt and bitter (and thin, and lacking complexity...) though of course there will be standouts. Underroasted espresso is sour, sour, sour. No, just give me Monmouth (or a few other London standouts, mentioned before in this thread - sadly, most London coffee is also still to be avoided). Or anywhere, more-or-less, in Italy. Or Spain. Or Portugal....

Feb 04, 2011
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

Affordable vegetarian and fish in Kensington or Central London

Actually, I think you were half-right the first time - there's plenty of tasty fish at Koya. I like the Anglo-Japanese fusion smoked mackerel dishes.

Otherwise? I've got to admit that, with regard to Western cooking, I generally prefer the vegetarian food in non-vegetarian restaurants (cooks motivated by ideology are not always the best, culinarily speaking...) One thing your sister may not get much of in Vancouver is South Indian vegetarian cooking, which is spectacularly good and just a tube-ride away, probably in East Ham (eg here: ).

Aug 01, 2010
thorazine in U.K./Ireland

Authentic Japanese in London 2010

I'm among those who have recommended Tajima Tei to limster. It's my favorite general-purpose Japanese restaurant in London. Closed weekends.

I occasionally eat takoyaki at Spitalfiends but it's sort of second-rate.

I have never eaten good soba outside of Japan and have stopped trying. Ramen seems like it should be less of a problem but I haven't had any very good ramen in London, either (I sort of like Taro, but it's not like anything I've eaten in Japan).

I've only been to Kikuchi once and my experience was not as good as the praise would suggest it should be, but I think we ordered poorly. Ditto for Edokko.

What else? I love Koya, like everybody else. Never had yakitori or wafu pasta in London. I have no taste for Katsu Curry (Japanese curry is one of those things that is _supposed_ to taste liek it comes out of a box, far as I can tell.) Agree with limster that Abeno is pretty good for what it is (I like the ika-and-natto combo).

Jul 29, 2010
thorazine in U.K./Ireland