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3 Nights In London

dfishman Jun 15, 2009 09:00 AM

Looking for the following:

Upscale, best restaurant in the city - Ex. The Square, Tom Aikens?

Best Thai in the city - Seems to be Addies Thai....Does anything top AT?

Best Chinese - No. 10? Leaning more towards Hunan....

I am an American traveling to London for the second time. My first trip to London was highlighted by the clubs and pubs...I'd like to have some great meals to remember London by when I head home.

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  1. f
    fergal76 Jun 16, 2009 01:21 AM


    the best upscale restaurant in my opinion is The Square. It's classic fine dining with a British twist. So it's not trying to do French haute cuisine which can be bettered in France. I'm boycotting Tom Aikens since he declared himself bankrupt recently to avoid paying food suppliers....

    As for Thai food, I'm not too knowledgeable, but Nahm is always mentioned, though it's very expensive.

    While in London you should try and go to a modern british restaurant. Pared down seasonal food is all the rage. Check out St. John, Hereford Road or 32 Great Queen Street.

    Enjoy your trip

    4 Replies
    1. re: fergal76
      pj26 Jun 16, 2009 01:36 AM

      Best Chinese I would go for Hakkasan.
      As the poster above said, Tom Aikens is persona non grata in the foodie community so you may not get too many recommendations for his restaurant. The Square is great and Maze never fails to please and is less formal than the Square.
      I'd also second the suggestion for St John or Hereford Road - serving fantastic, British, seasonal produce.

      1. re: fergal76
        dfishman Jun 17, 2009 09:51 AM

        Thanks for the tip on Aikens...I had no idea he was such a fraud.

        A few questions:
        I think the menu at The Square looks better than Maze, but is The Square atmosphere stuffy? I am 22 and enjoy eating at a very upscale restaurant, but for this vacation I'd rather not eat a restaurant that is too pompous and quiet.

        As for the British restaurants, the menu freaks me out and I am adventurous however this seems out of my league. I definitely need to discuss it with the others on the trip and see how they feel about the menu.

        Looking at the menu for Hakkasan, I think this is a very good option for Chinese. I would like to compare some other options so are there any other suggestions for Chinese food at this level? This is definitely the category I am having most trouble with.

        Also, are there any lunch spots that are well worth trying? I'd rather it not be a lunch that takes up hours of my day, since I have so many sites to visit in the city. Wouldn't mind a tourist trap if the quality of the food brings volume.

        Thanks for all the help.

        1. re: dfishman
          PhilD Jun 17, 2009 11:32 AM

          Maze is quite young and funky, at times almost too many people up in the big city for a celebration.

          The one major criticism of Hakkasan is it is too young and funky, it is very glamorous and the music can be loud, a great place for people watching and surprisingly the food is very, very good.

          Do go with the "freaky" English menu, they are not as bad as them read, lots of great tastes, and something you will not get in many other places. Nothing ventured, noting gained. If it is great you will remember it, if it is scary you will also remember it. Be brave.

          1. re: dfishman
            pj26 Jun 18, 2009 02:07 AM

            There isnt really anything similar or at the same level as Hakkasan, but you could try Yauatcha - it's not quite as glam as Hakkasan but still very good food and atmosphere (it's also a lot cheaper).
            For lunch maybe try Moro up in Exmouth Market or Anchor and Hope in Waterloo - not too far from the South Bank if you are heading down that way to take in the sites.

        2. limster Jun 17, 2009 09:55 AM

          Haven't been to Addies, but enjoyed 101 Thai in Hammersmith.

          3 Replies
          1. re: limster
            batfink23 Jun 18, 2009 03:29 AM

            given your remit, I'd recommend as follows:

            Pied-a-Terre; Hibiscus and then maybe Square.

            you might also consider Sketch Library & lecture room.

            1. re: batfink23
              dfishman Jun 18, 2009 01:10 PM

              Love Hibiscus' a la carte menu...How is the lunch there?

              1. re: dfishman
                batfink23 Jun 19, 2009 01:52 AM

                excellent. they often have a couple of dishes from their spring menu on the lunch offer too.

                it's one of the few that offers a real taste of the kitchen on their lunch special.

          2. limster Jun 18, 2009 07:26 AM

            re: "Leaning more towards Hunan...."

            Do you mean Hunan the restaurant or Hunan cuisine?

            No. 10 serves Sichuan food, with maybe a couple of Hunan dishes. Haven't been to Hunan Restaurant, but that seems to have a stronger Hunan influence. Hakkasan is modernised Cantonese. Might depend on which cuisine you prefer.

            5 Replies
            1. re: limster
              dfishman Jun 18, 2009 01:07 PM

              I was referring to Hunan restaurant...Other reviews on Chowhound led me to believe its a top choice....

              1. re: dfishman
                limster Jun 18, 2009 01:22 PM

                I haven't been to Hunan but have heard enough good things to want to try it too. If you go, hope to hear your report!

              2. re: limster
                dfishman Jun 18, 2009 01:18 PM

                By the website pictures of the food, No. 10 looks unbelievable....Although I do enjoy a great meal with a fun atmosphere. Is Hakkasan TOO LOUD? And what kind of experience will I get with No. 10 or Hunan compared to Hakkasan? I envision Hakkasan to have a similar atmosphere to Tao.

                1. re: dfishman
                  limster Jun 18, 2009 01:27 PM

                  No. 10 has pleasant setting and certainly a couple of steps step above a hole in the wall, but the atmosphere isn't the main reason to go. I haven't been recently (other have) but what I enjoyed most about the place was their excellent rendition of Sichuan food. Not necessarily super numbing spicy, but incredible aromas in the oil (Sichuan cuisine tends to be very oily). Serious wok technique.

                  Haven't been to the other places, hope others will chime in.

                  1. re: dfishman
                    pj26 Jun 19, 2009 04:42 AM

                    I wouldn't say Hakkasan is too loud - it can get quite lively, but it's all part of the atmosphere

                2. d
                  dfishman Jun 18, 2009 01:19 PM

                  Does anyone have a first-hand opinion of Addies Thai? When I looked at the menu and reviews, I thought this looked to be the best Thai in London. And I know there is fierce competition for this cuisine there.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dfishman
                    batfink23 Jun 19, 2009 01:53 AM

                    the best thai *IS* Nahm. there is no argument about this.

                    whether it justifies the price and hotel lobby dining room, well some disagree about that.

                    1. re: batfink23
                      limster Jun 19, 2009 02:17 AM

                      I remember reading on this board that there were some partisans for Nipa. Be grateful for any comparisons (dish by dish or overall) if anyone has tried both.

                  2. c
                    CEED Jun 18, 2009 02:20 PM

                    if you are in the Waterloo SE1 area ( pj26 mentioned the Anchor & Hope on The Cut in the same area) I would recommend EV, a turkish Deli/cafe/bakery in Isabella Street. Off Hatfields. SE1 8DA
                    You can have a plate of fresh salad with Pide. And sit outside if it's sunny. Then you could walk northwards to the South bank (The Thames) there are restaurants and cafés along the river.

                    1. s
                      Soyabean Jun 24, 2009 05:49 AM

                      Best Thai would be the The Mango Tree near Belgrave Sq. Very friendly staff and the food is superb. Would highly recommed the stuffed squid as a starter.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Soyabean
                        dfishman Jun 24, 2009 08:28 AM

                        Thanks for the new suggestion...

                        1. re: dfishman
                          ken.reich Jun 24, 2009 02:17 PM

                          best food currently being served in london is at the Ledbury (if we are talking michelin type meals) same owner as the Square
                          zuma, yuautcha, hakkasan, roka all good lively asian themes- not authentic but fun
                          Terrior near trafalger square is great wine bar with french type tapa also great for lunch
                          modern pantry, HIX, Eastside inn are all good spots near smithfield market as are the Gascon places
                          so many places to eat, so little time

                          1. re: ken.reich
                            batfink23 Jun 25, 2009 04:28 AM

                            sorry. I could let the Mango Tree comment go, but this is a bridge too far.

                            the Ledbury isn't the best restaurant under that ownership group, let alone the best food in London. it is a very good in its own right, but there is no need to gild the lily.

                            1. re: batfink23
                              ken.reich Jun 25, 2009 04:42 PM

                              so should i assume u think square is ?
                              i love phil howard and the square but brett graham and his team is doing some of the most creative cooking in london
                              in addition as dfishmn not here long he might as well go there before the buzz if them getting their second star, or third

                              1. re: ken.reich
                                batfink23 Jun 26, 2009 03:58 PM

                                not sure why my other post was deleted, but still.

                                for reference what are the other london restaurants you consider to be particularly creative (that you have visited of course)

                                and yes the square is patently superior on every level, Chez Bruce has it for execution and consistency too.

                                1. re: batfink23
                                  ken.reich Jun 27, 2009 11:12 AM

                                  i think phil is a fantastic chef and i love the square, and i think the chez bruce experience is great however i think brett is making the most creative food of those three
                                  other places i have been recently and liked and think are creative
                                  Bocca de Lupa
                                  Modern Pantry
                                  Harwood Arms

                                  i liked Hibiscus but didnt think very creative

                                  there is no right answer, but the Ledbury is right now, the first answer out of my mouth when someone asks for a top recommenation

                                  1. re: ken.reich
                                    batfink23 Jul 1, 2009 03:26 AM

                                    thanks for clarifying Ken.

                                    I think we have very different views on what is meant by creative.

                            2. re: ken.reich
                              hong_kong_foodie Jul 1, 2009 07:55 PM

                              Hakkasan is ridiculously pricey and definitely not authentic, but it's quite the scene.

                              1. re: hong_kong_foodie
                                pj26 Jul 2, 2009 02:14 AM

                                Yes Hakkasan is pricey, but I don't think it is necessarily over priced - the food is very good (and no, not authentic, but then what is?). I think it's a good place to go for both the trendy scene and for the food (and great cocktails)

                        2. limster Jun 25, 2009 06:53 AM

                          Ate recently at Addies, it's good (details later). More Central Thai rather than NE/Isaan; so the comparisons vs 101 Thai are somwhat apples and oranges, as the cuisines aren't the same.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: limster
                            kidtofu Jun 28, 2009 11:34 AM

                            As far as Chinese goes there is often serious debate in this house between going to No.10 and 'Sichuan' in Acton, with the latter recently winning out, both being equidistant.

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