Assado

Cuisine: Portugese/Goan/Brazillian

Location: Waterloo

Swank Levels: 3/5

Trying one of popular TV chef Cyrus Todiwala’s restaurant has always been on my ‘must-do’ list. When I discovered he’s new venture at the recent Taste Festival I couldn't wait to head down.

Tommi's Burger Joint

Location: Marylebone

Cuisine: Burger

Swank Levels: 1/5 – more hip than swanky

Tommi’s has now relocated from its original pop-up site to a permanent location is Marylebone.
Originating from Iceland, Tommi’s goes back to basics with its menu and the decor, with its wood and brick walls combined with hand written notices and signs.



The open kitchen gives a complete view of the handiwork going on in the kitchen space, as well as allowing the juicy smells to waft through the restaurant.

Boyds Brasserie Bar & Lounge - Afternoon Tea

Where: Northumberland Avenue

Cuisine: Afternoon Tea

Swank Levels: 5/5


Boyd’s Brasserie Bar and Lounge reaches the heights of swank as soon as you enter the building. A stunningly opulent Central Hall greets diners as they make their way past walls clad entirely in marble, a mirrored sideboards and bar, and five spectacular floating crystal chandeliers.

MEATLiquor

Where: Marylebone

Cuisine: Burgers

Swank Levels: Unrated - This place has no desire to be swanky


Having heard all the about the epic queues that greet those wanting to get into this cult destination, I decided on a much quicker way to try the majorly hyped burgers on the menu by visiting at lunch time.

In the evenings Meat Liquor is ridiculously dark and ridiculously loud, more rock nightclub than restaurant. But at 2pm on a nice sunny day there was no queue to speak off and enough diners in the restaurant to give it a sense of atmosphere.

Mele E Pere

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Italian

Swank Levels: 2/5

Soho is one of my favourite places to dine out as there are literally streets full of amazing restaurants to choose from. Mele e Pele however is not located on one of these popular dining streets. In addition to this there is something not quite right with Mele E Pele and it’s got a lot to do with the space.

Salt Yard Charcuterie Bar & Restaurant

Where: Fitzrovia

Cuisine: Tapas

Swank Levels: 4/5



Salt Yard has an low key appearance from the outside, but the constant crowds and babble drifting from it makes its obvious that it’s a good place to be. Despite the array of tapas restaurants in London this one is seen as one on the pioneers and one of the best.

Roti Chai

Where: Marylebone

Cuisine: Indian Street Food

Swank Level: 4/5




Although situated in a rather strange location on Portman Mews South, a street which I had never noticed before despite its proximity to Oxford Street, Roti Chai is an inviting restaurant with an enticing front window, as well as an exciting interior.

Carom

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Pan-Indian

Swank Level: 4/5

Carom really surprised me with how good it actually was. I turned up expecting only to stay for a drink in their very swanky bar but ended up staying for an indulgent meal as well.
Carom, named after the Indian spice also known as ajwain and not the Indian board game, is both a successful bar and restaurant, something which is very hard to achieve.

The decadent and lively bar offers an extensive range of cocktails many of which are infused with Indian spices, herbs and Indian inspired ingredients.

Gymkhana

Where: Mayfair

Cuisine: Colonial Indian

Swank Levels: 5/5


Freshly launched in the heart of Mayfair, Gymkhana created quite a stir with its opening. Gymkhana is Trishna owner Karam Sethi’s bigger and bolder venture. Evoking gymkhana clubs from the India’s colonial past the atmosphere in the dimly lit dining space is powered by authentic nostalgic additions from the era.


Entering through what looks like a large wooden household front door diners will be transported in to an Anglo Indian sports club from the days of the British Raj. This is achieved through dark oak wooden panelling across the restaurant’s walls, sephia photos of maharajas, hunting trophies and wall lamps cut from glass straight from Jaipur.


inSpiral Lounge

Where: Camden

Cuisine: Vegetarian and Vegan Friendly

Swank Level: It’s hard to measure...



inSpiral is impossible to define in one word, or even a sentence. It’s not strictly a restaurant, nor is it just a bar or a café. Instead this seriously vegan establishment serves up unique vegetarian meals in a space which also hosts music, art and poetry performances. The venue also has a built in DJ booth which comes in handy when it hosts live music and open mic nights.

The most appealing factor about inSpiral is the location; situated right beside Camden Lock and boasting canal views means securing a table by the window results in a very special view.
Despite the swirling neon lights and dance music pumping out as you eat, inSpiral also takes its food very seriously.


Cinnamon Kitchen

Where: Liverpool Street

Cuisine: Indian/Fusion

Swank Levels: 5/5


I don’t think I’ve been to a swankier looking restaurant than Cinnamon Kitchen in Liverpool Street. It’s location is jaw dropping; aptly hidden away in a corner of a former warehouse of the East India Company which covers Devonshire Square, this covered outside space is stunning, especially at night. Shops, restaurants, bars, water features, Art Deco style benches and even a foosball table can be found lining this beautifully lit up square.
This all means that about people can linger here late into the night because it is covered and always drier and warmer than the outside.


Moving to the stylish interior of the restaurant, the walls in this dining space are lined with soft pewter hues with shimmering mother-of-pearl patterns across them, exuding a classy yet quirky atmosphere. A tandoori-grill bar fills the far end of the restaurant and is visible by all diners who can see the chefs prepare their choices to order.

Imli Street

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Indian Street Food

Swank Levels: 4/5


After a recent successful makeover Imli Street has been transformed into a lively and fashionable Indian Street Food restaurant.

There are now edgy exposed brickwork walls and the furniture made up of trendy school style wooden tables and stools and atmospheric hanging lights. The lighting and layout give this restaurant a quirky industrial chic but also comfortable feel.

There is also a bar at the front of the restaurant which always has a group of people around it, instantly giving the restaurant an energy and lively feel as diners enter.

Bi Bim Bap

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Swank Levels: 3/5

Bi Bim Bap is a very popular little restaurant tucked away on Soho’s Greek Street. Specialising in healthy, fresh and affordable dishes Bi Bim Bap doesn’t aim to be swanky, instead the décor is bright yet simple, with tons Polaroid snaps of happy diners covering the majority of the wall space.

Royal Dragon

Where: China Town

Cuisine: Chinese

Swank Levels: 3/5


Although this is a restaurant and a Karaoke Bar there is no reason to worry as the Karaoke section is well hidden. As a result the long established Royal Dragon presents itself as a perfectly civilised restaurant in China Town. This is actually the only restaurant I’ve visited in China Town and I did so upon a trusty friend’s recommendation, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Ostuni

Where: Queen's Park

Cuisine: Puglian (Italian)

Swank Levels: 4/5

Our cocktails and menu

I do love the buzz of a newly opened restaurant! I was lucky enough to get a booking to dine at Ostuni just a few days after it had opened in Queen’s Park and loved the entire experience.

La du du

Where: West Hampstead

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Swank Levels: 4/5


View at the bar

Despite the strange sounding name, La du du has a lovely little corner location in the midst of West Hampstead, fitted out with a combination of single and shared wooden tables, comfy couch seating around the edges and black and silver painted walls. This is contrasted with potted green herbs set on every table bringing a beautiful smell into the square space.

Chor Bizarre


Where: Mayfair

Cuisine: Indian

Swank Levels: 3/5

Chor Bizarre is one of the strangest restaurants I've been to in London, and the reason for this is the decor.



The name ‘Chor Bizarre’ means ‘Thieves Market’ and the restaurant’s interior has definitely been inspired by this. No two tables are the same, chairs and even sofas don’t match each other and the room itself is filled with strangest collection of trinkets and treasures.

10 Greek Street

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Modern British

Swank Levels: 4/5

10 Greek Street approaches swank from a different direction. Diners can be forgiven for walking straight past it as from the outside the restaurant consists of a black panel, a semi-tinted black window and ‘ten’ written above the front door. There is no flashy name, entrance or décor and this is the beauty of the place.



Kimchee

Where: Holborn

Cuisine: Korean

Swank Levels: 4/5

Kimchee is an extremely large restaurant standing tall in High Holborn. This expansive space is filled with dark wooden screens making the interior look extremely slick and stylish yet the restaurant balances this by using traditional Korean tableware to maintain a sense of authenticity.


Cinnamon Soho

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Indian – Fusion

Swank Levels: 3/5



Having dined at the beyond prestigious Cinnamon Club in Westminster, I had high hopes for Cinnamon Soho, the sister restaurant found in a slightly dodgy looking street just off Carnaby Street. But this is the problem of being the younger sister of a fabulous sibling, especially if you don’t live up to the standards of grace and splendor that have already been set.