Monthly Archives: January 2010

Archipelago

110 Whitfield Street
London W1T 5ED
020 7383 3346
http://www.archipelago-restaurant.co.uk/

Opening Hours
Lunch:
Monday to Friday 12-2.30pm
Dinner:
Monday to Saturday 6 – 10.30pm

 

We were surprised how near this restaurant was to where we stayed. It was literally a 2 minute walk away, and it was just as well, since it was a cold, snowy day.

K was most excited about trying the food at this restaurant. He loves trying all sorts of weird and exotic foods, and this restaurant fits that description perfectly. Archipelago serves crocodile, ostrich, zebra, gnu, kangaroo and frog meat!! Their desserts are equally intriguing, with bee served in a brulee dessert!

The interior design of Archipelago is, to say the least, over the top. We don’t mean it too negatively, as it was definitely a visual feast, but it cluttered the already small restaurant and made us very conscious of our movements, lest we topple some delicately balanced crocodile over, or nudge an exquisite tribal mask off its stand. We later learnt that the owner lived in Singapore for a while, though we didn’t ask if she had stayed in Indonesia or Thailand as well, because the décor was definitely inspired by the culture and folklore of those countries. The place was extremely dark, and it was impossible to take any photos due to the lack of lighting. This was despite it being noon on a rather sunny day, which was a shame.

Anyway, we went for their tasting menu. This was considerably modest, in comparison to their other offerings. This was served all at once in a platter.  Included in the tasting menu:

Crocodile: This was surprisingly (or maybe, on hindsight it shouldn’t be) fishy. K liked it though.

Kangaroo: This was not bad. Kangaroo is a very healthy meat, with only 2% fat, and is extremely high in protein, so go figure.

Chicken curry: Not bad at all, but we think we can cook better curry than that. (Note though, we think our curry is amazing.)

Savoury Baclawa (sic): The filo pastry was very good, but only K liked the cheese in it. It was rather messy to eat, and the honey will get all over your hand.

Soba Noodles: This was very tasty, and the mango was a refreshing balance to the other dishes.

Coconut Rice: Disappointing. We were expecting rice cooked in coconut, but this was rice with coconut flakes. It went rather well with the curry though, but then again, so would plain white rice.

Thai Salad: Average.

We also had some orange juice, which was definitely not freshly squeezed and rather watered down. In fact, it was one of the strangest orange juices we’ve ever had as it didn’t taste much of orange at all.

Our overall verdict was that this was a disappointing meal. K is very interested to go back and sample their other exotic offerings though, but that pretty much sums up this restaurant – relying on a very novel dining experience, but delivering pretty much only novelty. 

Service: 8/10
Food: 6/10

My Old Dutch

131-132 High Holborn
Holborn
London WC1V 6PS
020 7242 5200
http://www.myolddutch.com/

Opening Hours
Monday to Saturday 11am-11pm
Sunday 11-10pm

Go to My Old Dutch expecting to leave with a very full stomach and you will definitely not be disappointed. Their crepes are absolutely enormous!!

My Old Dutch is located very near Holborn, and as such it enjoys a massive clientele, especially from LSE students. They have other branches in London as well. Monday madness is indeed, absolute madness, and their crepes go for 5pounds each!

We’ve been there a couple of times, and when A’s sisters and cousin came to London to visit, we brought them there. Among the 5 of us we shared 3 savoury crepes, 1 sweet crepe, the nachos with sour cream, guacamole and salsa, and their potato wedges. This was more food than we could ever imagine! Luckily, we had with us a 14 year old with an enormous appetite or a lot of food would have had to be wasted.

 

We had the Hot Dutch (pepperoni, chorizo, cheese, red chilies & tomato sauce), the My Old Dutch (smoked bacon, chicken, ham, sweet peppers, mushrooms, sweet corn and cheese) and the Seafood (king prawns, tuna, olives, cheese, anchovies and capers). All these came in huge heavy plates with very generous amounts of toppings on them. Taste-wise there was nothing special about them – it was just the size that was very impressive. The best would probably be the Hot Dutch.

For the sweet crepe we had banana nuts and chocolate sauce. This came with a scoop of ice cream. For me, as much as I like salty food, I think that crepes should be sweet – I remember an amazing nutella crepe I had in Berlin..but that’s another story for another time. Hence I felt that this sweet crepe was the best of the 4 crepes we had.

The potato wedges were also very popular, and they were thickly cut and seasoned well. The nachos were also pretty good, but the dips didn’t come separately but each put on one section of the nachos. We felt that having the dips separately would be more sensible, as we would be able to have the choice of which dip we would like to have more of, or less of, instead of having that decided for us.

Overall, My Old Dutch is a fantastic place to hang out with a group of friends over some crepes. It definitely makes sense to go in a big group, as the crepes are perfect for sharing. The whole atmosphere is very casual and definitely worth a visit!

Additional Comments: Monday Madness: all crepes for 5 pounds

Service: 6.5/10
Food: 6.5/10