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Iestyn Morgan's Profile

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South Indian / Keralan food - North or Central London?

Ah well, live and learn. I think, having not been there, I basically associate southern Indian with vegetarian, which on thinking about it is clearly supid. Still great food though.

Nov 11, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

South Indian / Keralan food - North or Central London?

I like The Kerala, so another vote for that. I also really enjoyed Rasa in Stoke Newington, but that was a few years back, so I guess a cautious vote for that.

I wasn't such a big fan of Quilon when I went for lunch, thought it was a bit toned down and the atmosphere was poor. I like the Sagar mini-chain, and there's one just off the Tottenham Court Rd, though I slightly prefer the Hammersmith branch. Full write up at http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20... .

There are also the cheap and cheerful bel puri places on the Euston Rd which I still think do a job.

For the best South Indian food in London that I've had, I'd still reccomend Kastoori, but that is South, not North or Central - its in Tooting.

I thought dadima in Wembley was S Indian, but just checked my fairly old write up on my blog and it is Gujurati. Excellent vegetarian Indian though, and if you don't mind going that far out, there are a wealth of options in Wembley that look worth trying.

Nov 04, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

[London] Korean restaurants and markets

I second (or third/fourth) the suggestion to get down to New Malden. I recently went to Jee Ceh Neh, full write up here, http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20... . But in summary a real notch up on Korean restaurants I've been to in the centre of town, tried a range of types of dishes and were impressede across the board. Will definitely be going back to New Malden to give other places a try.

Nov 03, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

London - Lebanese Restaurant Recommendation

Based on all the recommendations on various threads here (generally either by Howler, or by those who have followed his recommendation and been impressed!), I fancied Lebanese and knew I wanted to go to either Ishbillia or Beiteddine. The former was full, so went to the latter. In summary, had some excellent mezze, classics such as moutabel and houmus done very well, some more unusual stuff such as Kibbeh Nayeh- raw lamb with bulgur wheat- added interest and again was a very good dish. The food was mostly very impressive, and there was only one bad dish, the cheese sambousak which was very greasy and stodgy, and also a pity about the overpriced and uninspiring wine list. Still a very good meal, and good value for the location.

Thank you Howler for the recommendation- will be trying Ishbillia soon!

Full write up at http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20...

Oct 06, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Good Restaurants in Cardiff?

Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, its near(ish) to Ludlow. Shaun Hill is now the head chef. And its very good, great value, strong flavours.

Aug 28, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Good Restaurants in Cardiff?

Armless Dragon better than average, but not particularly special, Gilby's average. No experience of the other recommendations.

PhilD, there was a good japanese in the bay a few years back, but its now closed. I'm not aware of a new one, let me know if you get more details on the recommendation.

Aug 27, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Good Restaurants in Cardiff?

OK, Cardiff is not great for eating out. But, firstly Le Gallois is a gem, its starters have a bit of innovation but don't push it too far, basically brasserie with a twist, main courses down the line brasserie. Prices are very reasonable, as is the wine list. I really like the place, its to my lasting regret that when I lived back in S Wales I was a) at school, and b) not blunted by London prices, so I viewed it as expensive, and didn't go until I was about to leave! Since then have been back a few times, and think its a bargain. Atmosphere is bustly and tables are close together, but its the best food in Cardiff.

My next suggestion no one is going to second, but I speak as I find. There's a dim sum place in the bay. If you don't know, the bay is a souless place, like St Katherine's Dock crossed with Lakeside Thurrock, or Dubai on a budget. The name of the dim sum place is Ba Orient, and it looks like it wanted to be a chain roll out but never got funding. So far, so unpromising. However, I have now eaten at pretty much all the recommended dim sum joints in London, and based on two visits, Ba Orient is up there with any of them. Really very good, and good cocktails to boot. (Sorry, just saw your no ethnic pint, but I'll leave the rec in for others).

Brazz has closed, been replaced by Gilberts a locally well regarded restaurant. Its overrated in its culverhouse cross home, I haven't tried, but doubt its miraculously better in the bay.

Le Monde/Champers/Le Brasserie, are three broadly identical restaurants in a row. They basically have fridges with meat and fish, which you choose, and then they grill. its not a bad concept, I'd probably like one in London, I've just grown to resent them as I can't see that Cardiff needs three and no alternatives. They also all wrongly imagine they have great wine lists. Still a good option for a steak and bottle of red, which is sometimes whats needed.

Its not that there are no good restaurants in S Wales, its just they are all inconveniently situated in pubs in the middle of nowhere, Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon, Felinfach and other places all have superb restaurants, but these are not short drives.

There is a pub in my home town, Pontypridd, called the Bunch of Grapes, which I used to love, and was pleased to see it get into the Good Food Guide this year (I'd recommended it last year, but not this year, so plenty of others must have recommended it). Its only on a 1 but I think its a very good option in the area, localy sourced and well cooked food. But its not going to blow you away.

Aug 13, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

GO -- Leong's Legend, Chinatown, London

Well another voice to this thread, I went here purely based on the CH rec (thanks Limster), about a month ago, have only jst written it up fully at http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20... .
Short summary, I was very impressed, especially with the crab long bao which I thought had thin wrappers, scalding and clean tasting stock and good crab flavour. Also the deep fried turnip had a light and flaky pastry with a great mix of sweet and savoury. Also had chicken king pao, I liked the mix of dried chillis with some fresh, and thought the fresh added a peppery sweetness. The one disapointment was sea bass cheong fun with very thick wrappers and stoo much fish skin and no fish.

Still, loved the place, thanks for the rec again!

Aug 12, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Aperitivo/Cichetti in Milan?

Have heard about the aperitivo buffets, but can't get a handle on whether they're reputed to be good or not? Any general views and/or recommendations for specific restaurants/specific streets?

Thanks.

Jul 28, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in Italy

Gourmet-San (Szechuan-Bethnal Green Road)

Yes there was a thread on here about it a while back, brilliant food, pity about the hygiene standards was the distilled essence.

Jul 28, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Satay House, Paddington, London

Have you been to Kiasu recently? When I went I was fairly unimpressed, and saw Giles Coren note in a review for somewhere else that there had been a change in the kitchens.

Jul 15, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Mohsen, Kensington/Chelsea, London

Is it still correct that Mohsen is BYO? I am looking for a BYO place for next weekend and fanc a change from Indian. Are there any other recommended BYO middle eastern places?

Jun 30, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

London: seeking best sri lankan chow

I'm noe expert on Sri Lankan food, in fact have only eaten at Sekara near Victoria and Jaffna House in Tooting. Both are well reviewed in various places. Jaffna House is much more of a hole in the wall place, the food is pretty simple, very cheap and searingly hot. I liked it but not all dishes are good, and there are noticeably cheap ingredients. Still enjoyable and good for the price. Better though was Sekara near Victoria, my full write up is here, http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20...
in essence I am not sure if its more authentic than Jaffna House, probably less so. But there is much more subtlety to the spicing, better ingredients and you can still get searingly hot devilled dishes (though these were good at Jaffna House). I liked both but thought the food was objectively (as far as thats possible) better in Sekara. Hope thats of some help.

Jun 28, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Brazilian food on Hanway Street, London

I think that Brazil by Kilo is now feijao-de-luis-brazilian-buffet, but am not entirely sure if thats right, as I was never quite sure where the former was. Anyway, I went there, its an all you can eat, its mostly terrible, except, when I went there, two really delicious dishes, one of which I assume was a type of feijao, at least it was a very rich black bean stew. More details here, http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20... , in a nutshell, not a huge amount of choice, what was there was terrible apart from the black beans which were really rich and moreish, and some slow cooked beef that was melt in the mouth tender. Altogether a very odd place, but worth an explore. Thanks for the Cafe Rio tip, will try it.

Jun 22, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Indian close to St Pancras

I wouldn't agree that everything on Drummond Street is rubbish, the Bel Puri house is still really very good for the eponymous snack as a starter, and decent (not the best, but the best in central London, and in no way 'awful') Dosa's. Its right by Euston so an easy walk to St. Pancras, and its very casual, though seating is a tad uncomfortable. I'd recommend it. That said, Great Nepalese is a good recommendation and is also right by Euston. I also like Salaam namaste, but thats probably slightly less convenient and is a bit pricey.

May 21, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant recs in Camberwell, South London?

just noticed, you live 'up the road' all you needed was one recomendation for Friday, presumably going to jazz in the crypt. I got carried away- my fault. You've decided on safa- it'll be fine, nothing more, my number one option not available as takeaway only. I'd say Fri night, the good chef will be in, pay full wack at dark horse, it should be a decent gastropub style meal.

May 15, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Restaurant recs in Camberwell, South London?

My neck of the woods so here goes:

Dark Horse: Can be excellent, can be poor, on the low priced menu tends to be the latter, but can be a truly good gastropub. Its hard to say what I think of it, I've been there and had a properly top notch meal(usually with belly pork), and I've been there and they've been happy to serve curdled bearnaise (I'm sure we can all screw a sauce, but I wouldn't send it out to a friend, let alone a paying customer, it is worrying) so can't recommend it. If you live here you'll go there, I'd say resist the fixed price menu and pay more for best chance of good value.

The Bear: new place by the bus garage, haven't tried but looks good (not much of a guide I know, but in Camberwell, take what you can- you may not have noticed it so just letting you know!) I will be trying soon and will report back.

HoaViet: I really don't like it, think its very ropey, flavours high when they shouldn't be, others disagree with me but I just don't go there now and am not exactly spoiled for choice. I know those high/offaly flavours can be viewed as authentic, but it doesn't do it for me, I'm not talking good clean offal, I'm talking both offal and high at the same time if you see what I mean. I don't like them, I've never been to SE Asia so accept I am no expert, but I don't like them, and I don't get those unpleasant flavours at the places on Kingsland Rd that others more experienced than I recommend (and I like).

Safa: OK, nothing more, its a decent local Indian, its not actually freshly cooked most of the time, but curry microwaves ok, I say its a decent local option which it is, its better than a lot of local Indians, but personally I don't bother. (When I first moved to London, I was amazed that people will eat mediocre locally when there is potential excellence 30 minutes away on public transport for the same or even less, I vowed I would not fall into that, inevitably I have, but safa doesn't stack it against the great suncontinentals of our city, so I'd rather takeaway from...see below...)

OK, so now my real personal recommendation:

Silver lake: Its a takeaway not a restaurant, but it has some of the best malay/singapore dishes I've ever had (but see above note on my non-travel to the area). If it was a restaurant I'd be singing its praises on my blog, its better than Kiasu and several others that have had a lot of critical attention. Great owners, you can see the incredibly clean kitchen, full of suprisingly high end kit, the owners chat whilst all food is cooked fresh, I can't really recommend a takeaway to people outside the area, but since your in the area, Silver Lake is great. It looks pricey for a takeaway, but consider this- its been in business for years, looking quite pricey for a takeaway and yet doing well in camberwell. There's a reason why! haven't had a bum dish, Beef Rendang is top notch, but there's a lot of interest on the menu, and the owners will guide you through it.

And another two that are not in the same league and are completely only for a local:

tadim cafe also on church st: could not recommend anyone travel for this, but the owner is nice, its authentic, and the (albeit reheated in a microwave) lahmacun for £1.60 is my go-to meal- why cook when you can get good flatbread with well spiced lamb and a mountain of salad for that price? Also decent baklava, a bit expensive and a bit heavy on rosewater but a world better than the stuff you can get in the shops.

taste london (or something like that, on Church St)- lebanese place, the owner is a star, really very friendly, the food is not truly top notch but I often go ther for a container of hoummous and one of moutabel, both are better than pre-packed, the latter especially is actually really good. I stress that its a local recommendation though-but they are worth your custom or they'll close.

Sorry i am off on one now but the greek bakery opposite, great greek bread for 79p a loaf...

I'm having to move from London soon, and this reminds me why I'll miss it, Camberwell, a gastronomic dead-end in London terms, would put the large town I'm moving to to shame.

I'm not finished (sorrry to bore non-camberwellians):

Mozzarella e pomadora: a better than average local trat, really quite decent.

Nice n Spice Bakery- Corner of coldharbour lane and denmark hill. Never heard of it, read of it etc. before moving here, but noticed it has a huge queue every weekend. when i went there I saw this was mainly people going to buy their families entire sunday lunch then take it home to serve. There's a reason why. Its simple stuff, but of its type this odd little place is up there with any other jamaican place in the capital. Its all a bit disorientating and you can never be sure whats available but its always very good. Takeaway again so only good for brixton/camberwell/denmark hill dwellers.

Aah-I've been waiting to get that out of my system: local prejudice may play a part, but honestly if silverlake was a restaurant it would deserve to be packed with people from all over the capital, its a takeaway, you're local, so take advantage!

May 15, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Outdoor seating - London

i've had a few good recommendations from here, so I owe one back, its nothing exciting, profiled by all the guides, but seems to have been forgotten about. it deserves better, El Parador on Eversholt St, between Euston and Mornington Crescent. Great mix of old school and inventive tapas, well priced sherry and a garden. Lovely.

May 07, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Green Valley & Samiramis, Edgware road, London

If you like turkish style ice cream then go for it, but if you like baklava, semiramis is in my view the best in london (ok its twice the price of most places, but its still cheaper than the outfit in borough market which is the only pretender to the throne). My tip- I like the guys at the edgware rd store and they deserve as much business as possible, but..., if your having a big party and want a load of baklava its cheaper to order it direct from Iran. Best baklava in London, no doubt.

May 07, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Real Ale on Piccadily tube London?

Those sites are great recomendations. Its a pity chowhound doesn't allow beer to be discussed under UK thread but moves topics here as this would get much more answers on uk thread. Anyway, not far from holborn on the picadilly is the seven stars, a classic pub with good beer.

Apr 22, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in Beer

HIGH QUALITY & SMALL BOTTLE?

Don't know what availability is like with you, but delirium tremens is top notch and comes in irritatingly small bottles.

Apr 22, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in Beer

College student visiting London

Firstly I had a thought to be useful on actual subject of thread- Gaby's on Charring Cross Rd. Very handy for all sorts of things- Trafalgar Sq, and therefore the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery and all of the theatres. Salads are the thing, something like a fiver for a plate with several on. But salads in a middle eastern, varieties of beans and all delicious rather than in a tired lettuce way. Good and cheap for the location.

Re the beer- I looked for a way to just instant message you Moto but couldn't work it out, so I apologise to everyone else- its a cliche, but for good beer and atmosphere I like seven stars behind the RCJ, also a cliche but the lamb on lamb's conduit street, also Lamb and Flag in covent garden. All have well kept beers- would love to hear your recs in west end/city as hopefully somewhere less obvious would be less crowded. I don't get the Sir thing.

Apr 21, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

College student visiting London

No offence intended, so hope none caused, of course taste subjective but I don't think Sam Smiths would leave many visitors with a good impression of real ale. I agree to an extent about Pride there are more flavorful ales, but, it is dependable, representative, its a great session beer and crucially for this thread, pretty cheap in some historical and well located pubs.

Apr 18, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

College student visiting London

Tayyabs is an absolute must do for good food on a budget, so I second that wholeheartedly. Its not ideally located, but actually its really not far from Tower Bridge, 10 mins by bus. Affordable even in the evening.

I like an indian called Sagar for a bargain £5 lunch, there's one off Tottenham Court Rd, on Percy St, so that very central.

Ethnic really is where its at for affordable in the UK, so yet another Indian recommendation would be the Bel Puri House on Drummond St, again affordable in the evening.

Fish & Chips is cheap relative to to ther meals- My favourite is Masters nr Waterloo, convenient for the London Eye, but also good is the Golden Hinde in Marlybone, convenient for Oxford St. Again, affordable either lunch or evening.

Dim Sum is a good lunch option, especially where there is a group of 6 as I find costs creep up to try different dishes not because you need the food so you will avoid that. The Royal China chain has several branches.

Toptable is a good idea for getting something more upmarket whilst staying close to budget if you can eat at off-peak times in the eve-ie before 7 or after 10.

As for the change in circumstances, when there's a group where one person has more cash/highend ambiition than the others, you need to compromise. Virtually all the top restaurants do a lunch deal, pick one, blow out, enjoy it. But eating high end or even mid at night will be massively over budget for the rest of you.

I would love to be corrected but i can't think of a single British or French restaurant, centrally located where you can eat well, in the evening, not at a weird time for less than £25 a head. I will be following this thread and hope to be proved wrong.

NB I shouldn't comment but feel obliged to point out- Sam Smith- gorgeous pubs, unbelievable cheap prices, pity the beer is rubbish. I don't see how you can make allowances, it doesn't mater what the beer tastes like in Yorkshire if you're drinking it in London. Stick to pride, available in Nicholson's pubs, who also have nice venues and only slightly higher prices.

Apr 17, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

dim sum in london?

I haven't been to Yauatcha (one day, soon), but leaving that place to one side, Golden Palace in Harrow is the best in London. Huge range, great prices but no compromise on quality, prawns are fresh tasting and meaty, scallops are not stinged on or overcooked, rice wrappers are translucent, puff pastry is not greasy. Harrow is a lot less convenient and Royal China is nearly as good, so its a good recommendation and I second (fifth?) it. Dragon Castle is also good, but if you really want the best old school Dim Sum, Golden Palace is where its at.

I haven't been to any of the trolley places for years, so may be out of date, but I don't go for a reason. It can be fun, but the problem is, unless you are sitting in the right place/get lucky, the dim sum can have been circling for a while and be out of condition.

Apr 14, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

London Pies?

Food at Porter's is ok, despite it being a tourist trap. Most pubs advertising "famous for our pies" are lying. Square pie do nice pies, as does Canteen in Spitalfields or in the Royal Festival Hall. However, if you are looking for trad "pie and mash", then you probably are looking at Manze's or Cooke's.

RobinJoy is right, pie and mash is pretty bland, I'm not a fan but it is the authentic experience, unlike the other recommendations. F Cooke has an original art deco interior, the food costs very little. Depends whether you want good food or genuine pie and mash. Bear in mid that even in the "good food" category there is a limit to what can be acheived with a pie.

NB Noticed the request that it be nr Borough, can't personally vouch but suspect Roast does a decent pie.

Mar 13, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Wagamama what the deal?

Its cheap and pretty good, comfort food, plenty of variety and good clear flavours. People get snobby about it because its a chain, but its actually decent. Its not gourmet nor does it purpot to be, but I know several cities and towns in the provinces whose dining options would be hugely improved by a Wagamama. Nothing wrong with a decent chain. I can imagine that if a child soils themslves communal sitting isn't great, but come on you were seriously unlucky with that. I quite like the buzz of communal dining, if you don't, don't go.

Mar 06, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Esarn Kheaw - Shepherd's Bush

You can't pay any attention to the Thai Govt. awards, they give them to virtually every Thai restaurant in the UK. I read in a catering magazine that its part of a strategy to encourage tourism by increasing awareness. I can't find a link that backs that proposition up, but if you doubt me walk down The Strand past the Thai Square purporting to be the best Thai in the UK, or from your desk do a google search for- thai select award.

I haven't eaten here and its on my to do list, so please don't view this as a criticism of this particular retaurant, I'm sure the award doesn't proclude it being good!

Feb 25, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Some Indian places in Tooting, London

I think Kastoori is brilliant, see http://londonrestaurant.blog.co.uk/20...
Was pleased to see it got a bib i the new michelin guide.

Feb 25, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland

Best "Taste of London" in 3 days - Help!

Maybe I can help, saveloy tastes bloody aweful.

It belongs to that category of comfort food that we are susceptible to if we ate it at a weak moment, [I have a friend who loves pie and mash because his father is an east londoner and used to take him to a pie shop when a child. Therefore he associates the flavour with happy childhood memories, and never mind the lack of meat and the abomination that is liquor.

I have a similar problem with tinned hamburgers in gravy (yes i know), my family used to go camping a lot, no oven, my mother wanted a break as well so a lot of meals from tins. I know their wrong, but I am forever stuck loving tinned hamburgers in gravy (goblin, preferably) because of the warm asociations. Even better it if they are served with tinned new potatoes. ]

I can only assume Theresa has some sort of similar experience for saveloys. These are not filled with crap but better than the sum of their parts in the way of faggots or (rather too literally) andouielletes. These are more filled with rubbish animal parts in the way of a Wimpey Burger. Avoid unless you had the misfortune to always have a saveloy on your annual trip to Southend, in which case- proudly enjoy!

Feb 11, 2008
Iestyn Morgan in U.K./Ireland