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Aug 19, 2010 09:03 AM

Best neighborhood eats near Selfridges (Paddington/Mayfair/Marylebone)

Just moved to a flat right near Selfridges. Technically it's in Marylebone, but really we're sort of on the border of Paddington, Mayfair, and Marylebone. Looking for the best restaurants in the neighborhood that we can walk to from our flat (for breakfast/lunch/tea/dinner). We like all sorts of cuisine, and are looking for recommendations in any budget.

Sorry, I know the parameters are quite wide. But if you were living in my neighborhood, which would be the restaurants you frequently visit?

For reference, restaurants we currently frequent are: Koya, Bincho, Pearl Liang, Koba, Cafe Anglais, Halepi, Hardy's, Atariya in Swiss Cottage.

Thanks. Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!

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  1. Tried Golden Hind tonight. Great fried cod and chips. Good mushy peas and pickled onions. BYOB w/ no corkage fee was great - so rare to see BYOB London restaurants. A steal at £35 for party of 3!

    Super long queue outside Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote across the street from Golden Hind. Will try it another night. Green salad with mustard vinaigrette topped with walnuts + steak frites for £20 seems to a be a great deal. Can anyone comment on how their steak compares to Goodman's?

    1. Here's more stuff for you to try:

      Thanks for the reports; love to hear more.

      8 Replies
      1. re: limster

        Thanks so much for the link limster! Didn't think to search the keyword Marble Arch. Question about Red Sun, what are the star dishes there? Is their xiao long bao any good (how do they rank against Min Jiang or Pearl Liang's xiao long bao)? Looks like we'll definitely try Red Sun for takeaway since they're so close.

        1. re: Noodle fanatic

          Their xlb is ok but nothing exceptional. I have an old post from last year that a search should pull up. From what I've heard, best to arrange a dinner ahead with price points and number of people -- they'll come up with a menu. Haven't tried that yet but might do so when an opportunity comes up.

          1. re: limster

            Tried the xlb at Leong's Legends in Bayswater today (the regular kind with pork), and really enjoyed it. My mom still thinks Pearl Liang's xlb is the best in London. I can't say I'm a xlb connoisseur, but I trust her taste. Will have to revisit Pearl Liang's to compare myself.

            1. re: Noodle fanatic

              How were the skins of the xlb? When I was there a few days ago, I found them quite thick-- not that I minded terribly since I am likely to make a scalding mess of myself when the wrapper goes in the other direction. But I enjoyed the broth and filling. I wish I could be down in the civilised smoke more often...

              1. re: Lizard

                Agree that the broth and filling were very enjoyable. I'd say the skin thickness is not terrible - thinner than average, but not thin enough for xlb connoisseurs. Lizard - try Pearl Liang for sure for the best xlb in London (according to my mother, a major Chinese food snob). Trick to eating xlb = set the xlb on a large Chinese style soup spoon, poke a hole in the bun, let the juice drain a little onto the spoon, part sip and part bite to enjoy. Most of the time I make a mess myself since I'm too impatient ;)

                Here's my review of Legends from my visit yesterday:

                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                  Try Min Jiang's xlb for comparison. (Better yet, go for their Shanghainese shumai.)

          2. re: Noodle fanatic

            And thanks for the feedback onGolden Hind and Le Relais de Venise L'Entrecote since they're now on my list to try when we're in London in 2 weeks.

            1. re: KeithVa

              To clarify, I've never eaten at L'Entrecote, just asked people in the queue about their previous experiences. Looking forward to trying them myself soon.

        2. BTW, have a look at Bateel on New Bond Street. It's the Arabic version of chocolate places like Leonidas. They have a fairly wide variety of dates, some of them quite pricey, along with chocolates (not bad, but have had better, although their rose flavour is outstanding) and various date and nut-based biscuits. Of course now that I've mentioned it, some chowhound would probably find a place on edgware road that sells something just as good for a fraction of their price. :)

          1. To clarify my original post on neighborhood eats near Marble Arch - please note that this thread might not be entirely about go-out-of-your-way-to-eat-at restaurants that are Chowhound worthy, but rather, restaurants that are within walking distance in the neighborhood for nights you don't feel like cooking. If anyone has Chowhound worthy suggestions within the neighborhood, of course I'd love to hear them as well, but just wanted to put that caveat out there in case anyone finds themselves disappointed after travelling out of their way to one of our neighborhood joints that might not have made the cut had it not been for the location.

            Regarding Tomoe, tried them for the first time tonight, and found it to be quite reasonable (about £25 per person including service) for very decent authentic sushi and Japanese tapas. Think we'll definitely visit quite frequently since it's so close to our flat. Raw fish was very fresh, and the chefs, staff, and majority of the clientele were Japanese. Quality of the raw fish was same as Atariya. (We'd been going to the Atariya in Swiss Cottage prior to Tomoe). Tomoe will now replace Atariya due to much better service comparatively and proximity to our flat. Atariya is certainly cheaper, but it's a trek, and they have a lot of trouble with getting orders out correctly, plus getting the bill takes forever since no one ever seems to know what they're doing.

            Here are the Items that I'd recommend at Tomoe based on our dinner tonight:
            - Sashimi salad is a steal at under £10 with many sashimi pieces
            - Grilled razor clam. Must order if you love razor clams. So good and great value at £5.90

            Other items we had that were good: sashimi nigiri sushi, spicy yellowtail maki, small chirashi don, scallops sashimi (very fresh).

            The miso cod was also very good, but we were served a piece smaller than a deck of cards for almost £10. Not great value. Hopefully this was a one-off. Will report back if I get the same dish in the future.

            Would love to hear from anyone who has tried their homemade tofu. Is it any good?

            Looking forward to continuing to add to this thread and hearing from fellow neighbours out there.

            12 Replies
            1. re: Noodle fanatic

              Have you investigated the eateries along Marylebone High St.? It's not a long distance to walk if the weather is OK - lots of breakfast places, Providores, La Fromagerie, Le Pain Quotidien etc.

              1. re: zuriga1

                Will definitely eat up and down Marylebone High Street once I have more time.

                La Fromagerie is definitely on my list. Which are the not-to-be-missed items there?

                On the fence about Providores because some of my colleagues gave it mixed reviews, although I'd definitely like to give them a try because they seem to have lots of fans on this board. Which are their standout dishes in your opinion?

                Le Pain Quotidien is a nice reliable chain for sure. I go to the one in Tribeca or Battery Park quite a bit for breakfast when in New York City. Would be interesting to see how different their London chain is.

                1. re: Noodle fanatic

                  I have a doctor on Marylebone High St. so my eating at Le Pain and La Fromagerie are often just a snack till I get home down south. La Fromagerie has some nice breads and jams, very informal and cosy place to relax. It's about ths same for Le Pain, although their menu is larger. I had some very good soup there one day and people seem to linger, read papers etc.

                  For some reason, I never got to Le Pain Q. when I lived near NYC. You will probably get to compare them to London before I will. :-) I haven't yet been to Providores... waiting for a chance to go with Mr. Z.

                  I sometimes also go into the Patisserie Valerie. I'm a sucker for their macaroons (not macarons) and I sometimes enjoy a Croque Monsieur.

                  1. re: Noodle fanatic

                    I went to Providores last week for Sunday brunch. There was a small queue at about 1 but the queue moved quickly and was seated (for 2) within 10-15 mins. I sampled the roast Stornoway black-pudding with roast apple and slow roasted tomatoes which i quite enjoyed. My friend had the hot-smoked salmon, two poached eggs and spinach on walnut toast with yuzu hollandaise which she was very pleased with. Another mate of mine highly recommends the turkish eggs. The only slight disappointment was a rather watered down bloody mary but otherwise great service and a buzzing atmosphere.

                    Providores may not be in the same league as the top brunch restaurants in NYC but it serves a good brunch with a some creativity in the ingredients used. Worth a visit!

                2. re: Noodle fanatic

                  I live in the same neighbourhood. Here are my regulars. Some are nothing special but do the trick:

                  Dinings on Harcourt St - very good little sushi place. quite pricey
                  Zoom - Blandford St - standard local mediterranean resto
                  L'Autre Pied - Blandford St - michelin starred fayre on same st
                  Fairuz - good Lebanese food on Blandford St also
                  Il Baretto - newish Italian - little bit poncey and overpriced but food is good. not as good as
                  Locanda Locatelli (in Churchill Hotel) - amazing pasta dishes. I sometimes sit in the front, have a water and a bowl of pasta for 15 quid!
                  All the Marly High St places mentioned above - particularly Fromagerie and Providores
                  The cafe in the Wallace Collection in Manchester Sq is another really nice spot

                  for takeaway food, all the places on Edgware Rd have great stuff. Green Valley supermarket has amazing deli counter to get stuff to take home

                  pub wise, not amazingly served for good pub grub - Duke of Wellington on Crawford St has good food
                  my favourite all round boozer in the area is the Gunmakers behind Marly High

                  and obviously Golden Hind - a fine early choice

                  Woodlands next door is good veggie curry also

                  Enjoy - interested to hear your thoughts

                  1. re: thelondonknowledge

                    Thanks so much for the recs my fellow neighbour! I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on Dinings vs. Tomoe. From what I've read online, Dinings wins hands down, but I'm trying to figure out if it's really worth the much steeper price. Will report back from time to time as I venture out to explore.

                    1. re: Noodle fanatic

                      I quite like Tomoe but I think the sushi at Dinings is much better. always puts things much more eloquently than I can. I find the hot dishes at Dinings a little disappointing. If you sit upstairs at the counter, you can get a great view of the chef preparing the food and also quiz him about what is good that day. The one place that I prefer to both of these for sushi is Sushi of Shiori in Euston (however I don't want to digress - there is an incredible chain on Chowhound discussing London sushi). Finally on Dinings vs Tomoe, Dinings is too expensive to be a really regular local place. I am yet to find really close to home (have to venture as far as Kulu Kulu on Brewer St or the like) some very good and reasonable sushi.

                      Please do keep reporting back. Very interested to hear anything

                      I am off to Bar Boulud Friday night for my second visit so will do likewise!

                      Scruffy - meats from Ginger Pig and cheeses from Fromagerie - love it!

                    2. re: thelondonknowledge

                      We had a lovely dinner at the Duke a few weeks ago. A real plus was the meats sourced from the Ginger Pig. Service on our night was quite good (upstairs).

                      1. re: thelondonknowledge

                        thelondonknowledge - where are your favourite places to order takeaway from on Edgware Road or other areas near your flat? I'm on the lookout for delicious takeaway (any cuisine). Would appreciate your feedback.

                        We had Thai takeaway tonight from Thai Square at Hanover Square. It was passable for a quick takeaway if you live in the neighbourhood, but definitely not a Chowhound worthy Thai restaurant. If anyone has another suggestion for Thai takeaway nearby, I'd love to know. Completely understand if it's not going to be of Chowhound quality, but just want to unearth the better Thai takeaway places around.

                        Quick review of the items ordered from Thai Square tonight:
                        - chicken satay - sauce was too sweet
                        - green curry (prawn and chicken) - sauce was a bit too watery and they were skimpy on the vegetables, prawn, and chicken, i.e. lots of sauce, but not much meat/veggies. Otherwise quite tasty.
                        - pad thai - a bit below average
                        - tom yum goong soup - takeaway quality; nothing too special
                        - vermicelli salad with prawns and minced chicken - very nice

                        I'd eaten at Busaba Eathai earlier this year and thought it was pretty good. Didn't past the test with my Thai friends who care much more about authenticity than I do, but definitely notches above Thai Square. Also enjoyed Busaba Eathai's cool restaurant design.

                        1. re: Noodle fanatic

                          If you want something relaxed then definitely la Fromagerie, Relais Entrecote lots of atmosphere steaks pretty thin and their special sauce I don't recommend! Truc Vet in Mayfair is very good and relaxed, What are you looking for? High End, Good food relaxed atmosphere, Trendy??? Try Patara rather than Thai Square there is one in Maddox Street....Pattersons in Mill Street is v good, delicious food and not hideously priced....

                      2. re: Noodle fanatic

                        We live around the corner from Tomoe and used to go there frequently but find the prices rather high for the dirty restaurant (check out the floor - or rather, don't!) and the very hit-and-miss service. Things tend to get very un-Japanese when the rather sour young-ish woman is in charge. Food is okay but not particularly cheap. Dinings is indeed much, much better but also more expensive.

                        We often go to the Landau (at the Langham - it's only 6 or so minutes from Tomoe) and have their 21 pounds pre-theatre menu. Brilliant value for money, great service and reliably good food. L'autre pied is also nice but for we only go there for lunch (finding the tables too close together for a romantic meal).

                        We often do take-aways from le Comptoir - I used to live in Syria and think their food is really quite good. They've recently increased prices but for eat-in only.

                        A very nice place for a cup of tea or a reasonably priced and quite good cocktail that we've recently found is the Hunter 486.

                        1. re: sinbarambam

                          Thanks for the recommendations sinbarambam! We too find Tomoe's service to be very hit-and-miss. Just the other day, we'd asked for the prawn tempura to be separated from the broth in the tempura udon so that it won't get soggy, and they flat out refused to do so. I think it was a language barrier issue, but anyway, long story, they ultimately did fulfill our request, but it took a lot of effort, and the waitresses were none too happy about it. Pretty sure if I brushed up on my Japanese, I'd get some half decent service there.

                      3. We moved into this neighborhood in February and have enjoyed eating aroud it quite a lot (but still have more places to try!). I would also really add Galvin's to the list. For the price point, they are punching above their weight...

                        And thank you to all for the new tips, going to try Red Sun asap!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: kschnepp

                          We still haven't tried Red Sun because there's almost never anyone in it the times we've walked past, which is never a good sign. As per limster, it sounds like a place you have to call ahead to make special arrangements first. Let us know your thoughts if/when you end up trying it.