London Restaurant Review Roundup (July 2014): The Palomar, Ospo and More
My restaurant ‘to-do’ list currently stands at 48 places where I want to spill my wine – and that’s just in London. It’s going to take me years of waistband stretching and teetering on the edge of bankruptcy to get through all of them, which is frustrating when you’re trying to shamelessly big up your blog. So my decidedly un-novel solution is to start a monthly restaurant review roundup, highlighting the places I’ve been to but also pointing out where other bloggers have filled in the gaps in style.
There’s inevitably going to be a bit of a bias towards newcomers, though I’ll exclude anywhere I’m planning to visit soon. Of course, if you’ve written a cracking review and want me to feature it, just sling an email over or hit me up on Twitter. Pithy negative reviews actively encouraged.
Kicking things off this month is the Picky Glutton, one of my favourite blogs for the precise reason that I often disagree with its verdicts. But London has an absolute dearth of decent Greek restaurants, so I was pleased to see a positive review for Marylebone spratling Ospo. Picky was pleasantly surprised by its modern, light take on Greek food, with particular highlights including the creamy feta and smoked eel. High praise was also reserved for the puddings. Service was fallible at times, but overall impressions were good – and all credit for rebuking Fay Maschler’s grumpy take on the restaurant:
Other reviewers haven’t been impressed with Opso but, with all due respect, they are wrong. Opso’s modern Greek cooking is delightful, playful, inventive, satisfying and quite unlike anything I’ve had in London before.
Cheese and Biscuits gets plenty waxed lyrical over, but it’s for good reason – he’s unusually adept at uncovering ‘hidden gems’. This month, his discovery was Soho ramen bar Ramen Sasuke. As with lots of Chris’ favourite joints, it was cheap, cheerful and tasty – I can’t wait to check it out:
…given that what I know about the infinite complexities of Japanese cuisine could be written on the back of a Wasabi loyalty card, all I can do is tell you that whether Sasuke offer London’s most, or least authentic ramen, or most or least innovative, it is absolutely lovely, not to mention very good value.
I’ll spare you all the Chiltern Firehouse reviews because a) you’ve probably already read at least a dozen and b) you won’t be able to get a table until 2016. But the other exciting new arrival shaking things up in the capital is The Palomar. I’m just itching to go here, but think I missed an early window when tables were more readily available. Not usually content eating out at 5pm on a Monday, I’ll leave you with the thoughts of Hollow Legs:
I came away thinking that was one of the best restaurant experiences I’ve had recently. It was everything you could want in hospitality; a warm welcome, a fun crowd, just the right level of interaction to be amusing but unobtrusive. They’ve got it bang on.
I’ve had a relatively quiet month, but I did manage to throw together a guide to Wimbledon’s 10 best restaurants, which was topped by ‘how can it possibly be this cheap?’ pizza mini-chain Franco Manca. I also found out that the Sports Bar & Grill serves authentic dive bar Buffalo wings (you can decide if that’s a good thing), and if you’re really feeling like losing faith in all things edible, I can try and tell you where to eat in Hannover.
That’s it for July – hopefully August will be slightly more productive from my side. The idea is to take that long list down to 47. Then again, I hear there’s somewhere new opening up in…
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