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Jun 18, 2008 04:47 PM

Some Places in Soho, London

• Maoz
Pretty good as far as fast food goes. Decent falafel, cold be a little crisper, but still warm, pleasant hummous. For a meal deal under £5, one gets a go at the salad bar as well for a number of marinated vegetables, e.g. shredded carrots, pickled cauliflower, chlli peppers, purple cabbage etc... Not great but not bad. Nice hot sauces. Also comes with decent fries, could obviously be more crisp if they want to follow to Belgian model. garlic and yogurt sauces are a pretty good substitute for ketchup here. Not like I'm dying to go back or anything, but remarkably decent.

• Taro
A passable chanpon, which is ramen topped with a stir-fried mix of seafood small shrimp, mussels, clams, all fairly fresh) and vegetables. The soup stock is simple and nothing to write home about. Noodles have a tiny touch of al dente, but not the natural springy quality of handmade ones.

• Fernandez and Wells
Ironically, I came across this place while checking out Mildred's, a vegetarian place recommended by a CH friend. Not a speck of green - stark white walls, blackboards, black and white pictures and hams. Lovely coppa with a confident rosy flavour, salty with a natural hint of sweetness. I really enjoyed the deep sourness of the chorizo, but wished for a touch more of red spiciness. Solid salami - stiff and dense, pleasant flavour. The cured meats were all from the Pyrenees, hence a slight difference in the chorizo. Good toasted bread, nice rustic crust, drizzled to a clean tasting olive oil. Drank a flinty dry white from Perigord, with a concentrated middle and a light refreshing finish, the acidity perfect for this type of grazing. Would be back if I was hanging out in the nabe.

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  1. Mildred's has been around since I was first in London over 25 years ago. It's moved locations a few times and I have not been since it was behind Foyles. Be interested to know how it stands up these days when most places have decent vegetarian options

    I liked F&W, they used to also have Jamon Iberico, Jamon de Teruel and Asturian chorizo, do they not stock those anymore? The owners used to work for The Monmouth Coffee Co and, because of the obvious links with Neal's Yard Dairy (Monmouth is owned by Randolph's wife) they use a lot of their cheeses in the sandwiches including the toasted Montgomery Cheddar sold at Borough Market.

    They have two shops, the deli with the sandwiches and around the corner on Beak St ( opposite The Sun & Thirteen Cantons pub) a coffee shop where you could take your food to eat. As you say, it is a good place to go if you are working in town and gets mobbed at lunchtime


    4 Replies
    1. re: Simon Majumdar

      I lived in Amsterdam 10 years ago and was a frequent visitor to Maoz there, and was so excited when it opened up here. Unfortunately, the standard has slipped recently so I don't go as often as I used to.

      I've been going to Mildred's for years. I used to love it but my last meal was lacking in flavour and disappointing. It's a good place to take veggies but if you're not veggie pop to F&W next door.

      F&W I adore and go to both as often as I can. I started having pre-meal starters there on the way to other restaurants, so greedy but when the food is that good, who can resist! The wine is great too, I frequently enjoy a glass of prosecco or albarino with the charcuterie plate. Highly recommended!

      1. re: niamheen

        I am really impressed by the concept of "pre-meal starters". I suppose it is analogous to the concept behind tapas in Spain.

      2. re: Simon Majumdar

        They did have Jamon Iberico as well, along with a few cheeses (noticed some Machego, not sure what the others were) and other cured meats. I just went for a basic assorted plate of cured meats.

        1. re: limster

          In guiri places I always make sure they know how to cut it. The prices for Jamon Iberico are at an all time high at the moment (due to the exchange rate I hope and not greediness) and badly cut ham is a complete waste of money. I have been hosed before at F&W so caveat emptor and stick to something simple.

      3. My husband and I were a bit underwhelmed by Mildred's. We were in the neighbourhood last year and I remembered the name being mentioned here. It was very crowded, so I guess it's a popular spot. I'd try it again - the limster code of not judging by one meal is a good one. :-)

        7 Replies
        1. re: zuriga1

          Mildred's always strikes me as a throwback to the time of Cranks and places like that when vegetarians were considered a bit, well odd.

          They still are, of course, but there are more of them now and you have to say it a bit more quietly in case you get beaten to death with a bag of bean sprouts

          1. re: Simon Majumdar

            I used to love Mildred's back in the day. Haven't been since it was opposite the Pillar of Hercules on Dean St (?) and they used to come and get you frmo the pub when your table was ready! It's always been packed in there.

            1. re: greedygirl

              God I did that a few times when I was going out with a Veggie. In the days when The Pillars was a good pub and part of a mini chain which introduced Leffe on tap to the UK. They owned another in St Martin's Court and The Roundhouse opposite Moss Bros too. Got bought out by Nicholson, I think

              They used to do the same at a few restuarants round there in those days, even Alistair Little

            2. re: Simon Majumdar

              I don't mind a veggie meal once in awhile - it's good for aging waistlines, I've always questioned just what 'vegetarian' connotates. There are vegetarians and there are vegetarians... some seem to eat everything except meat while others stick to nothing but true veggies and also rule out fish and chicken. I'm just back from the States. Need I say more? :-) I did not have one vegetarian meal.

              1. re: zuriga1

                I was in Jerez recently for the sherry fair and was sitting with a guy from Spain who said that many Spanish veggies still eat Jamon.

                "They are vegetarian, not stupid" he said

                Which strangely made perfect sense


                1. re: Simon Majumdar

                  LOL! Is that like being 'a little Catholic' or 'a little pregnant?'

                  I don't blame the Jamon eater - when it comes to certain foods, one must be sensible.

                  1. re: Simon Majumdar

                    that's the best thing I've heard in a long time!

            3. BTW guys, thanks for the input on Mildred's -- I still haven't had a chance to eat there, but do plan to get there eventually.

              3 Replies
              1. re: limster

                Re: F&W they often have an irish cheese there, I think Durrus, and they also have buffalo mozarella. I can never resist the manchego though. They have a fantastic selection of meats. I adore their basque salami and the proscuitto. They do black pudding too - divine. They are so knowledgable too, it's an absolute treat.

                Simon - that Sherry Festival sounds fantastic and I had to chuckle on the Spanish veggie comment. I have a few veggie friends who eat bacon. Always found it odd, especially as (in a past life) I was a strict vegetarian. I do wonder if Mildred's is a bit dated now. Veggie food can be great, but I was left uninspired at my last visit.

                1. re: niamheen

                  here is a link


                  And just to keep it on topic, the Spanish guy who came out with the fantastic quote was Toby Garcia, one of the co-owners of Pinchito, where they do have some excellent vegetarian options

                  I can't imagine I would go back to Mildred's, but I would be very interested in Limster's views as a first time visitor

                  1. re: Simon Majumdar

                    Limster will certainly tell it as it is.

              2. Another enjoyable trip to Fernandez and Wells again recently. Loved the (north african?) baked eggs with tomato and vegetables, savoury, hearty, homey. Also great was the black pudding, nearly creamy in texture, rich and just the right hint of metallic flavour. Nice selection of cheeses and cured meats. Makes for great grazing.