Tag Archives: British

Gigs

12 Tottenham Court Road
London W1T 4RE
0207 636 1424

‘Fitzrovia’s Famous Fish and Chip Shop’, screamed the sign above the door. We’ve passed by this restaurant a couple of times on our way home, and we’ve always made a note to come by and try it one day. Fish and Chips isn’t high on our wish-list of foods, so we’ve always put off going to Gigs.

Coming from Singapore, you could say that we know our seafood really well. We have lots of fresh seafood back home, and we are of the opinion that seafood is best eaten with as few distractions as possible. Frying it will completely kill the freshness of the fish, so you can imagine why we aren’t massive fans of Fish and Chips, and why we don’t think very highly of the cuisine of this great nation, which prides itself on its deep fried battered fish.

Nevertheless, we are definitely very open to new experiences. With the claim of being Fitzrovia’s famous fish and chip (sic) shop, which better place to go to for our culinary revelation of the year than Gigs?

First impression: wow the restaurant is huge!!! Next thing we said: oh, it’s a mirror. The restaurant is actually pretty small, and it’s just adjacent to their take-away counter, which shares the same kitchen as the restaurant, so in a way the only difference between your meal and a take away is the take away box. The restaurant was about a third full while the take away counter seemed to have more customers – not a good sign.

We ordered a cod with chips, and a calamari with salad. When our dishes arrived the calamari came served with chips instead of salad. When we highlighted this to our server, who was the owner himself, for the next couple of minutes we heard him literally shouting at the cook in the kitchen, scolding him for messing up our order. It was almost like a scene from Hell’s Kitchen. The only difference is the food wasn’t very good.

The calamari was tough and rubbery, and we didn’t like them at all. The cod had a really thick batter and we could hardly taste the fish. The chips were thickly and sloppily cut, and weren’t even fried very well. The best things about the meal were the salad, which was nicely dressed and really fresh, and the curry sauce which was awesome.

We found the owner a very intimidating character. He was nice to us and his customers, but we got the impression that he had a really bad temper, not only by the way he shouted at the cook who mixed our order up, but also by the way he was talking to his entire staff. It was an incredibly uncomfortable experience sitting in the restaurant and listening to him verbally abusing his staff the entire time we were there.

We were very puzzled by the way the diners around us thanked the owner and told him the food was good when they left. We saw no less than 3 tables do exactly that, which left us wondering what we had missed out on. We kind of concluded that they were all afraid of being scolded by the owner if they had criticized his food, so they basically told him what he wanted to hear instead. That definitely sucks – someone needed to give him a reality check. Unfortunately we couldn’t pluck up enough courage to do that, so we paid and left quietly, never to return again.

Service: 6.5/10
Food: 5.5 /10

The Anchor and Hope Gastro Pub

36 The Cut
London SE1 8LP
020 7928 9898

We went to The Anchor and Hope with a friend of K’s and her fiancé. This is a gastropub located near Southwark Tube Station, and they do not take any reservations. (Apparently they get really busy. We were there very early, so the place was virtually empty when we arrived.) There were a few items on the menu which caught K’s attention (for better or for worse), for example the deep fried pigs head, and rabbit offal on toast. It was quite an easy decision to go for the Seven Hour Swaledale lamb shoulder, with peas, mint and aioli. According to the menu, it is good for 5 to share, so we didn’t order any sides to go with it. We were told that it would take about 25 minutes before it would be served.

 

When it arrived it looked gorgeous. It smelt heavenly as well. It was big on flavor, and the huge chunks of meat were a dream come true. The meat was tender and juicy, (from all that 7 hours cooking) and just slid off the bone. It was easily one of the best lamb dishes we’ve ever had (though the Iceland one still remains our absolute favourite ever). The vegetables and broth were definitely on the salty side, and after we got over the initial wow factor we noticed the amount of oil in the broth, but K clearly didn’t mind, and he finished every last bit of food left on the plate, peas and all.

Overall this was probably one of, if not the best experience with British food we’ve ever had. It should be quite obvious from a quick glance at the tabs column that we are not big on it. One of our French friends once told us that he’d rather die than eat British food. We don’t exactly feel quite as negatively towards the food of this great nation, but it’s no secret that we don’t find it very interesting at all. There are no exciting flavours or culinary techniques involved in the British food we’ve come across so far. Our meal at The Anchor and Hope hasn’t changed our opinion on British food, but it has at least given us a very positive experience with this cuisine, and we’re very glad that we went there and ate what we did.

Service: 8/10
Food: 7.5/10

EAT

Discovery of the day: EAT makes good Matcha Latte!

We read about this from catty life, and being huge fans of matcha, we wanted to try one immediately. EAT has so many branches around London, and we walked into one almost immediately, on Oxford Street where we were at this afternoon.

The Matcha Latte was nice and milky, not overpoweringly sweet, and towards the end you could really taste the grittiness of the Matcha, which was surprisingly satisfying. We felt it was sufficiently thick, but strangely, it wasn’t scaldingly hot, as most hot drinks are immediately after they’re served – not that we minded. It is surprising that we haven’t manage to find a matcha latte until today.

Roast-to-go

The Floral Hall
Stoney Street
London SE1 1TL
http://www.roast-restaurant.com/

Opening Hours
Monday to Wednesday 7-3pm
Thursday to Saturday 7-6pm.

Without fail, when we’re at Borough Market we head straight for Roast to go. Their roast pork with apple sauce is to-die-for. K’s love for roast pork sandwiches began in Munich, at one of the markets, and he instantly fell in love with the crackling and the tender, thickly cut, juicy pork slices.

At Roast to go, you get just that. The roast pork is juicy and tender, and they are very generous with the crackling. I’m not a fan of anything that’s unhealthy, but even I can’t resist their crackling. It’s something so sinful, yet oh-so-good.

However, the apple sauce that comes with it is usually icy cold, which doesn’t provide a good contrast to the piping hot pork. On one occasion we asked for it to be removed, and we didn’t miss it at all.

They have other items on the menu as well – the roast beef seems a popular option, and we think we’ll try that the next time we’re at Borough Market, together with our roast pork sandwich.

Additional Comments: The restaurant Roast upstairs apparently serves a damn good breakfast.

Food: 7.5/10

Afternoon tea at Palm Court

Langham House
Regent Street, London W1B 3AT
020 7965 0195
www.palm-court.co.uk

This was planned as a surprise by A, and we had a very relaxing afternoon having tea in this beautiful hotel. According to their website this is the best afternoon tea to be had in London. Naturally, the décor was impeccable, and service was excellent. I was very tickled by the idea that they had a tea sommelier – I’d always thought that a sommelier was an expert at wine, but it makes total sense to have an equivalent for tea as well, since tea is as complicated a business as wine is.

We started the tea with an amuse bouche, which A didn’t really like as it was all creamy which she hates. I thought it was a rather nice start to the meal. We had a few types of tea, as recommended by our sommelier. The best we felt was the Japanese green tea, which after some time in the pot got better and better.

Our tea set came with some sandwiches such as Angus beef Rossini, Parma ham, roquette and quail’s egg and Smoked Scottish salmon and oscietra caviar. It was all very nice, but in slightly too dainty portions. We wondered if we would be full at all after tea.

The selection of scones brought out next absolutely hit the mark. The chocolate scones were delightful, and the Devonshire clotted cream was simply divine. I would have eaten the all cream by itself had not for the consequences I would have to suffer after that.

The final component of the tea was the selection of pastries and cakes, inspired by the beauty and sparkle of the jewels and the gold encrusted walls of the hotel. Decadent it definitely was, but the overriding opinion was that it was all too sickeningly sweet. We definitely needed the green tea to neutralize the annoyingly sweet taste that it left behind.

Nevertheless, this was a nice quiet afternoon spent by ourselves, away from the worries of university work. It was nice being able to sit back and chill in such a nice place, and indulge in one of Britain’s favorite pastimes – afternoon tea.

Service: 9/10
Food: 7.5/10