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So, I'm back from London-town...long

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sam1 May 23, 2007 08:48 AM

maybe i had high expectations, but this trip to london wasnt what i expected in regards to food. maybe i fell for a bit of the food hype here in nyc, but in my opinion, there really was no comparison. i had some delicious meals though...and figure this post may help some other people with plans in london (prices,etc...).

thursday: while waiting for my hotel room to open, i walked over to Mohsen on warwick. it was on a bit of a quiet stretch of road...across the street from some supermarket i think. the place was empty for lunch but the occasional person dropped in for food. nice, plain setting with nice enough staff. i asked for some recommendations but the waiter steered me to some rather boring kebab and a tough piece of lamb steak. i probably should have ordered something a bit more interesting but it was tasty enough and after a flight, i didn't feel like much else. my one entree plus coke and water ended up costing around 14 pounds which didnt feel rather worth it. im happy i tried the place but it was largely plain for my tastes.

that night, we went to anchor and hope right by the southwark tube. we got there around 6:15 and the wait was around 45 minutes for a table of 2. we had a seat at the bar and i had some excellent young's ale to kill the time. it was a bit crowded but relatively enjoyable and the bartenders were friendly. we ended up having an appetizer of steak tartare which was forgettable, a smoked herring and lentil appetizer which was fantastic, some snails with bacon that was very oily but good with bread, and an unbelievable sort of casserole of chicken, dauphinois potatos, and pigeon mouse. it was like chicken quiche with pate...it was excellent. we were stuffed so skipped dessert but left very impressed. with 2 glasses of wine (served in little cups), excluding the beer at the bar, our 3 apps and 1 entree were only 38 pounds.

friday...had lunch at borough market. a chorizo sandwich which was delicious as usual (and apparently available in many other markets) and i also had a pork and stilton burger as well. the latte at monmouth was actually quite excellent as well as my chocolate brownie from one of the french bakers.

we ended up...regrettably...skipping our reservation at arbutus...something im not too happy about. just didnt feel like dinner in soho at the time but it seemed like a nice enough place when we walked by later that evening.

saturday...ended up at borough in the morning again...and had another chorizo sandwich and a latte. went to the george for a pint and some snacks...their food sucks by the way. i like the place though...the outside part reminds me of the gate in park slope.

ended up going early to our dinner at st. john after watching the chelsea/man u game. the area was ultra quiet for a saturday evening. not much going on over there at the time. i was really looking forward to dinner here but it was probably our worst meal. the service was kind of snooty which i wasnt expecting for the place. i felt like he was upselling us most of the evening. we ended up having the foie gras terrine (decent but at 9 pounds, available nearly everywhere in terms of quality), and smoked mackeral with pickled beets (a small tail just smoked and thrown on a plate...very boring and mediocre). for entrees, the middlewhite pork which was expensive at 22 pounds and had very little meat. we also had this chorizo and bean concoction which was totally forgettable. my chocolate terrine was so rich i could barely eat more than a few bites. dinner with a few drinks, 2 apps, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert was 75 pounds...totally and utterly a boring meal.

sunday, ended up having dinner at galvin brothers...the bistro on baker street. very surprisingly excellent. modern room with expertly cooked french food. i had the prix fixe which was a deal...i think it was 17 pounds for a chicken terrine which was delicious and a light poached halibut which was perfect for my mood. we also had snails and a smoked salmon appetizer which werent remarkable but well done. my dinner came with dessert...a very rich praline chocolate that was fantastic. with 2-3 drinks, i think the meal was around 65 pounds. service was a bit formal but friendly. very surprised by the quality here...recommended.

monday, lunch at tayyab in white chapel. i doubt it was worth the long tube ride on the district line but it was delicious. the mixed grill appetizer with the seekh kebabs, lambchops, and chicken tikka were all excellent. the lamb entree was a bit on the gristly side. the spices were fantastic though...once again, i doubt it was worth the long ride but happy i went. mixed grill app for 2, 1 lamb entree, some naan, rice and a coke was around 20 pound. clean place, not the most friendly but definitely nice enough.

monday evening...our last night...we decided to try anchor and hope again and had an even better meal than the first. got there around 9 and was seated at 9:30...had the foie gras terrine and rillette appetizers (both absolutely and utterly killer...the rillette was a country pate with some shredded pork on the side...just delicious). for entrees, we had the old spot which was several pieces of quality smoked pork loin and i had the duck which fell of the bone with delicious hearty potatos. dessert was a pear tarte which was good but nothing amazing. 2 apps, 2 entrees, 2-3 drinks, 1 dessert...around 53 pounds...by far the best meal of the trip.

i regret not going to lidgates or arbutus but that was my trip.

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    suem May 24, 2007 05:28 AM

    Great trip report! Shame you missed Arbutus though. Good to hear more good feedback about Galvin - I really have to get there!

    1. Kake May 27, 2007 02:32 PM

      Agree with suem, great report. Handily, someone added the Anchor and Hope to our website (won't put the link here since it doesn't currently have much additional info for the A&H), so I've linked this post from there. I've been umming and ahhing about whether I'd like it, since I don't usually like crowded places, but it's quite close to where I live, so I really should try it out.

      I also think the George is somewhat overrated. Not tried the food in the evening, don't think I'll bother given your experience!

      I think maybe you had bad luck at St John (or it's gone downhill in the, um, 9 months or so since I was last there). Best snails I ever had were there, in a dish which also included chickpeas and sausage - it was "sold" to me by the waiter, but it was the right decision. I've also had extremely good Puy lentils there (a side dish with chicken).

      3 Replies
      1. re: Kake
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        sam1 May 28, 2007 07:34 AM

        i appreciate the feedback. whats the url for yr website?

        a week later, i still shudder at the thought of st. john...i usually have a keen sense of when im being cheated and this one passed right by me...

        1. re: sam1
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          Bradbury May 28, 2007 06:22 PM

          I've been to St John 8-10 times so far, and it remains a favorite, but I can understand your criticism ... I've never had a *bad* meal there but I've had a couple that were exquisitely boring. It's sort of like the culinary equivalent of going to the Luxury Lumber Store and buying the world's greatest 2x4.

          1. re: sam1
            Kake May 29, 2007 04:58 PM

            The website's http://london.randomness.org.uk/

            Reading Bradbury's reply, I wonder now if I've just been really lucky with St John. I think I've eaten there 6 or 7 times and don't remember feeling ripped off.

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