Odds and Ends, London
• Chowki, Soho
An Indian restaurant that rotates through different regions of the subcontinent, the menu reflecting 3 regions each month. Basic food, nothing exceptional, but nothing bad. A chicken pav bhaji had reasonably satisfying spicing, but the best part about it might have been the puffy bread. Three items in the main course, a clovey cauliflower (probably my favourite of the lot), daal/lentils that were more on the cumin/coriander side of spicing, and a deep mutton curry. Dessert was a fried dough ball stuffed with coconut, sweet but a little oily and heavy. Jal jeera, a cumin flavoured drink didn't particularly resonate with me, but it might be a matter of personal taste.
• Bincho Yakitori, Southbank
Don't know if they use binchotan, a special kind of white coal, but the skewers of grilled items were pretty good. Too many to list, and it was nice that they also had other items like hatsu/chicken hearts available upon request. Not nearly as good as some of the other places where I've had yakitori, e.g. the skewers at Tosa were much more flavoursome, and the tsukune/chicken meatballs were more refined and texturally complex at Kikuchi (the ones at bincho seemed very finely ground and slightly mushy, whereas kikuchi's version had microlengths of meaty fibres), but not bad by any means. Lovely dessert, a layered banana cake that is labour intensive to make, a good reminder of kueh lapis from SE Asia.
• Seven Stars, Holborn
Beautiful atmospheric place, with not bad food, but again, nothing special. A hefty portion of lasagne, spiced up a bit with blue cheese. Handmade ginger ice cream is served in a jar, also sizeable. Cheeses might be a better way to go. Warm friendly people.