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Mar 11, 2012 10:06 PM

UK Dinner Reviews - Pizarro, The Fat Duck, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, The Square, Mishkins, Pollen Street Social

Although I did not post up my proposed itinerary, many thanks to everyone who contributes to this board for giving me ideas in planning my first trip to London in January. I hope these brief reviews can help other travellers in the future.

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  1. Pizarro – London

    194 Bemondsey Street
    London SE1 3TQ
    United Kingdom

    The Good
    Some very good dishes including the parsnip and celeriac soup and Iberico pork cheeks.

    The Okay
    The very dark lighting.

    The Bad
    12.5% automatic service charge but inattentive service.
    The price of the Jamon Iberico – I had better Jamon Iberico at less than half the price the next day at a Westfield!

    The Meal
    Prawns, Cecina, chilli, garlic (okay).
    Jamón Ibérico Manuel Maldonado (good).
    Parsnip and celeriac soup, truffle oil, crispy ham (excellent).
    Iberico Pork Cheeks (excellent).
    Riz au lait (good).

    Photos can be seen on my blog at

    1. The Fat Duck – Bray

      High Street, Bray
      Berkshire SL6 2AQ
      United Kingdom

      The Good
      What more needs to be said? While some of the dishes may be seen to lean more towards novelty than substance, such as the much written about “Sounds of the Sea”, the meal and service was fantastic and easily matched the lofty expectations I had set for it. Surprisingly, it was the snail porridge and a course of spelt risotto and umbles (sweetbreads) that was served on the side with a course of venison that blew my mind.

      The Okay
      The travel involved in getting to the restaurant and staying in a nearby hotel overnight.

      The Bad

      The Ugly
      The fact that I will not get to experience a meal there again for several years.

      The Meal
      Aerated and dried beet root made into wafers filled with horseradish cream (good).
      Nitro Poached Apertifs
Vodka and Lime Sour, Gin and Tonic, Campari Soda (excellent).
      Red Cabbage Gazpacho
Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream (good).
      Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream
Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast (good).
      Snail Porridge
Iberico Bellota Ham, Shaved Fennel (excellent).
      Roast Foie Gras
Barberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit (excellent).
      Mock Turtle Soup - Turnip, egg white and saffron mousse, rutabaga puree, black mustard seeds, minute enoki mushrooms, lardo wrapped pig’s cheek, black truffle cubes and cucumber (excellent).
      Sound of the Sea
- Kingfish, halibut and mackerel buried with bits of sea weed in tapioca “sand” (excellent).
      Salmon Poached in a Liquorice Gel
Artichokes, Vanilla Mayonnaise and Golden Trout Roe (excellent).
      Saddle of Venison, Beetroot Soubise served with a Risotto of Spelt and Umbles (excellent).
      Hot and Iced Tea (excellent).
      Taffety Tart
Caramelised Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon (good).
      The BFG
Black Forest Gateau (excellent).
      Whisk(E)y Wine Gums
- Glenlivet; Oban; Highland Park; Laphroaig; Jack Daniels (excellent).
      Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop – coconut “baccy”, a chocolate truffle, salt water toffee in an edible gelatine wrapper and a playing card made out of chocolate (excellent).

      Photos can be viewed on my blog at

      2 Replies
      1. re: fatmanthinwallet

        The "umbles" at dinner by heston were described to me as hearts rather than sweetbreads. Which branch is confused?

        1. re: lacemaker

          Our server at Dinner explained that "umbles" is the more polite name for offal. So while the umbles in the risotto at The Fat Duck definitely included sweetbreads, it may have been hearts in the umbles accompanying the pork main course at Dinner.

      2. L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon – London

        13-15 West Street
        London WC2H 9NE
        United Kingdom

        The Good
        Very good small plates served counter-style in a hip environment that is open after a night at the theatre. The complimentary pineapple lollipops covered in marshmallow and pop rocks that we received after they had told us that the langoustine fritters we had ordered were sold out.

        The Okay

        The Bad
        The fact that they sold out of langoustine fritters.

        The Ugly

        The Meal
        Crab meat waffles with herbs (good).
        Pomme de Terre with black truffles (excellent).
        Pan fried scallops on fregola sarda with black truffle from Perigord (excellent).
        Beef and foie gras burger with lightly caramelised bell peppers (excellent).
        Pineapple lollipops covered in marshmallow and pop rocks (excellent).
        Manjari chocolate, white chocolate ice cream and Oreo cookie crumbs (excellent).
        Warm passion fruit soufflé with banana toffee sorbet (excellent).
        Pistachio cream, caramelised spiced pear and vanilla ice cream from Tahiti (excellent).

        Photos can be seen on the blog at

        1. The Square - London

          6-10 Bruton Street
          Mayfair, London W1J 6PU
          United Kingdom

          The Good
          An excellent tasting menu that is a strong contender for my top five meals and which featured no misses. Very attentive service that included the sommelier leaving the restaurant to hail me a taxi after the meal.

          The Okay

          The Bad

          The Ugly
          The loudest, most obnoxious woman I have ever heard with the worst laugh I have ever heard sitting next to us. Although it looked like she was going out of her way to ruin our meal for us, towards the end we appreciated her entertainment value as the alcohol evidently became too much for her and arguments ensued with her father about the running of the family business.

          The Meal
          A trio of amuse bouches (excellent).
          Winter Minestrone with Snails, Turnip Oil and Smoked Bone Marrow Crostini (good).
          A Tartare of Cornish Mackarel with Native Oysters, Sea Water Jellies and Caviar (excellent).
          Lasagne of Dorset Crab with a Cappuccino of Shellfish and Champagne Foam (excellent).
          Ballotine of Foie Gras with Rhubarb and Sauternes Jelly, Semi Dried Fruits and Golden Raisin Puree served with brioche (excellent).
          Roast Fillet of Zander with Pot Roasted Root Vegetables, Lentil Puree, Pheasant Juices and Lardo di Colonnata (excellent).
          Breast of Mallard with Pumpkin and Chestnuts and a Croustillant of the Leg with Trompettes de la Mort (excellent).
          Brie de Meaux with Perigord Truffle (excellent).
          Brillat-Savarin Cheesecake with Passionfruit and Lime (good).
          Banana Souffle with Rum and Raisin Ice Cream (excellent).
          Migardinese including various fruit-flavoured lollipops and chocolate truffles (excellent).

          Photos can be seen on the blog at

          1. Mishkins - London

            25 Catherine Street

            London WC2B 5JS
            United Kindom


            The Good
            A restaurant open after a night at the theatre.

            The Okay
            Okay to good food served at reasonable prices for its location. However, I would recommend Opera Tavern, which is next door, over Mishkins in a heartbeat.

            The Bad
            Being told that they were sold out of the menu item I was most interested in only to be told by someone else later that it was still in stock.

            The Ugly
            The completely useless service our table and the one next to us received. We were ignored the entire night and on several occasions I had to wave my arms around for a minute or two before someone noticed us. It got so irritating by the time we wanted to order dessert that we stood up and requested the bill in the middle of the dining room and asked to remove the optional 12.5% gratuity only to be initially told “you cannot do that”. Clearly, the staff here do not know the meaning of the word “optional”.

            The Meal
            All pork Big Apple Dog dragged through the garden (good).
            Lamb & Pistachio, Ground Beef & Green Peppercorn and Chickpea, Spinach and Ricotta Meatballs (okay).
            Whitefish and Spinach Knish with parsley liquor (bad, but maybe it was just not to my taste).
            Macaroni cheese (good, but it got cold very quickly).
            Cod Cheek Popcorn (good, but again it got cold very quickly).

            There are no photos on the blog as the place was too dark for photos to turn out decently. In fact, it was so dark that I could barely see our food and i had to use my iPhone as a light to read the menu.