Sunday, 22 December 2013

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.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

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.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

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.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

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.

Friday, 22 November 2013

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.

Monday, 11 November 2013

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.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

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.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

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.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

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.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

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.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

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.



Tuesday, 21 May 2013

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.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Cinnamon Club

Where: Westminster

Cuisine: Indian

Swank Levels: 5/5


Cinnamon Club has a reputation for being the best Indian Restaurant in London and it certainly lived up to this on my long awaited visit. As the pinnacle of Indian cuisine in London I have been craving to go to Cinnamon Club for years and was beyond excited when the perfect opportunity came up.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bintang

Where: Camden

Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Swank Levels: 1/5
 

What a strange little place. And I don’t mean that in a wholly complimentary way either. My evening meal at Bingtang was fundamentally a rather odd experience, including the food and décor.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Bill's


Where: Covent Garden

Cuisine: British/Med

Swank Levels: 4/5

This little gem tucked away in a corner of St. Martins courtyard impresses at first sight. The glassed walls look into a two floored dining area which is decked out with beautiful chandeliers, ornate candelabras and twinkling candles placed on cleverly aged wooden tables. On these tables are topped off with more candles in in old jam jars and aged oatmeal cans holding the cutlery.

Nam

Where: Soho, Dean Street

Cuisine: Vietnamese Street Food
 
Swank Levels: 2/5

 
Nam is not swanky, it’s cool. Located in an inconspicuous corner of Dear Street, Nam’s lack of gimmicks is strangely alluring. At first glance Nam looks more like a warehouse than a restaurant, with its grey walls and a stainless steel counter. However the clever combination of solid grey and multi cultured paper lanterns bring an edgy chic to the restaurant.
 

Monday, 31 December 2012

Kilis Kitchen

Where: Angel

Cuisine: Turkish

Swank Levels: 5/5

Kilis is the kind of place where love stories start.

From the moment you step into the low ceilinged warmly colored restaurant there is an instant aura of comfort. This restaurant seems to emanate a welcoming glow, and the waiters all emphasis this as they graciously greet diners.

 

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Satsuma

Where: Soho

Cuisine: Japanese
Swank Levels: 3/5

This restaurant must have had the most number of refurbishments out of all the restaurants in Soho.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Gilgamesh

Where: Camden Market

Cuisine: Pan-Asian

Swank Levels:

3/5 (for effort rather than outcome)

The only restaurant in the UK in which I’ve had to take an escalator up to, Gilgamesh is known for its swank. Yet it hardly resembles a restaurant.
 
Costing a staggering £60 million to build, this 520 seat space is representative of a high topped steel buffet tent at an army camp than a cosy restaurant you’d want to have a relaxing evening meal in. I have never encountered so large a space where no attempt has been made to break it up into smaller sections.