The Bell Inn, Outwood, Redhill, Surrey RH1 5PN
As explained previously I have moved from London to the countryside of Surrey and this is a place not short of pubs serving wonderful food. Sunday is of course the day of the roast and so we headed to the Bell Inn for some roast lamb.
The staff were very welcoming here. It’s a lovely old country pub with low ceilings and dark wood. We sat outside on dining tables under a corrugated type roof as the weather was nice. Dining inside could possibly feel a little claustrophobic but hard to tell. We were under attack a little from flies but to be expected when you are dining outisde I suppose. There’s ample parking but it’s not so much fun to drive on the all stone floor.
The lamb was definitely the star of the show with our dinner. The meat just fell off the bone and tasted divine. The rest of it was a little disappointing though really. The roast potatoes were under cooked and there wasn’t enough gravy which was quite watery and lacking in that yummy gravy flavour.
I would be willing to give this place another chance as the meat was so fantastic so they obviously care about quality. Fingers crossed they see the value in all the trimmings too.
Song Que Cafe, Kingsland road, London E2 8DY
I was lucky enough to live close to this road full of Vietnamese places and am ashamed to say I didn’t take advantage of this while I lived there! I got a recommendation from someone for this one so we went for a quick lunch.
Unfortunately no photos for this post. It was weekday lunch and the food was thrown together but as long as it tastes good I’m happy.
Similar to a great Chinese restaurant the service was straight forward and efficient. The guy came to our table asked us what we wanted and then spent the whole time looking at the other side of the restaurant. Our pause made him think we weren’t ready to order but actually we weren’t sure he was ready to take our order. Was a funny moment.
So let’s talk Pho. It was my first time trying it to be honest. It was wonderful! Sweet then a hit of heat. Great flavours. I love it. I can’t believe I realised this after moving out. Mistake. The restaurant also offers a quick lunch menu with rice or noodles, a choice of meat or tofu and a cup of Jasmine tea. I’m pretty sure I don’t like Jasmine tea so ordered a lemonade and was pleasantly surprised that not only was it homemade but utterly delicious. The rice is more basmati style than sticky fried long grain which also surprised me.
This place was far greater than my expectations and I would happily pass on those recommendations to eat here.
Mildred’s, Camden, London NW1 7BW
So I’ve been meaning to try a veggie restaurant for a while and happened to find myself in Camden with a friend who is a vegetarian so we decided to munch down in Mildred’s. The first thing that caught my eye was that there is a restaurant called ‘Fat Burger’ right opposite. I wonder which came first and how happy Mildred’s are about this? I must admit that place would normally be more appealing to myself.
With the exception of one bright happy lady the staff seemed to be in a somewhat zombie-like state. Could this be a reaction to not enough protein or as my partner suggested it is Camden so perhaps they’re all stoned. Well whatever it is it doesn’t give for a great atmosphere. The fact that the waiter also couldn’t work our exactly half of our bill was a little concerning.
The tables are very close together and it felt like a competition with the two couples next us as to who can hold the louder conversation. It was busy so I understand the need for extra tables but it obviously affects your dining experience.
Anyway to the food! I ordered a Sri Lankan sweet potato curry and my friend had the mushroom pie. The curry wasn’t bad but it felt like it was missing something. The only real flavour came from the little bowl of fresh spicy salsa type thing on the side. The rice wasn’t cooked enough. Nobody wants their rice to crunch! I am told the pie was nice enough but I didn’t try it, the chips that came with it looked incredibly greasy. I didn’t want any of the dishes that came with chips and I’m glad of that. The portions are quite large though so you shouldn’t leave hungry.
The desserts had much more flavour. I had a lemon cheesecake which was sharp and sweet. The chocolate brownie was lovely and served warm but quite rich.
Every time we were given a menu we were informed of something that wasn’t available that day and it tended to be one of the more appealing options, which was a shame. There was one rose wine option on the menu but it was a lovely wine and we happily shared the bottle.
Overall I would say it’s a great place for a veggie who doesn’t have a lot of options in probably most restaurants in the area but as a carnivore I’m not sure I would choose to return.
The Wiremill Lakeside Pub, North Lingfield, Surrey RH7 6HJ
So I’ve moved to the middle of nowhere in Surrey and this was our first dining out experience here. It was a lovely sunny day so we chose an outside table that are all set up to give a view of the lake as you eat and drink. The tables are a little narrow and there is a bit of a pond smell going on but it disappears quite quickly. It’s a relaxed atmosphere and a view you can’t really complain about.
The pub offers weekly craft beers and I decided to try one and really enjoyed it. It was quite a light beer, perfect for the hot weather called Single Hop. The menu offers a big selection of tapas or main meals. I got to try their famous scotch egg which came with a lovely piccalilli. Also the pulled pork croquettes which I didn’t really enjoy. I guess you take a bite expecting potato and you get a mushy meat experience. Not to my taste. I was super hungry and so my stomach decided on a large surf and turf type dish that included steak, prawns and squid. The steak was fantastic. The prawns came in a mix in a jar on the side which was a bit awkward to eat but nice flavour. There was plenty of battered squid but it was dry and needed some kind of sauce. I much prefer my food to come on a plate and I was cutting through the pretty paper with my knife so was checking I wasn’t eating that also.
When we ordered our food we were informed of a bit of a wait because there were quite a few tickets in the kitchen. Honestly the place wasn’t packed but the wait wasn’t as long as anticipated so it wasn’t an issue. It’s not a place you want to rush off from anyway. I’d happily return here. It’s a shame you have to drive to it as it would be a great place to have a few beers on a sunny weekend afternoon. I will be interested to see what it is like on a wintery day.
The Breakfast Club, Rufus St, London N1 6PE
This is probably the most popular breakfast joint in London. Every time we headed there, even on a Sunday morning when the city is like a graveyard, we always found a queue waiting for us. With so many other great places to eat around I never saw the point in queuing to eat there so we always went somewhere else. We finally managed to get a table straight away before 9am on Sunday morning so already we felt like champions.
We were welcomed by a smiley friendly lady which was a great start! The tables and set up are very much American diner style although the decor is a little more trendy. It took me forever to decide what to eat as so many of the options sounded very appealing. I wanted to order multiple dishes but one was most definitely enough. The coffee tasted weak but felt strong.
As super hungry customers we opted for the two biggest meals on the menu. The Full Monty and the All American. The ingredients are clearly great quality which is for me a big part of a good meal. It’s nice to see real mushrooms in a breakfast. The bacon was a little dry but a little sauce fixed that. The toast was thick and fresh. There was probably 4 eggs worth of scrambled on my plate which was too much. If you are a big eater you will not be disappointed. I tasted the pancakes also which are perfect.
Quality food, great service and leaving a satisfied customer I can see why it is so popular. I would be interested to see if this is the same experience when it is crazy busy. I would definitely head back to try some other dishes on the menu, if I can get there without the queue 😉
Wan Chai Corner, Chinatown, London, W1D 5PD
If you are heading into Chinatown you are most likely going to pick a restaurant at random and receive some incredibly good food. We know of a great place here called the Four Seasons but we decided to try somewhere new and were not disappointed.
Service was a little friendlier than you would normally get from a Chinatown restaurant but to be honest it doesn’t bother me either way when the food is great!
We were seated in a huge bay window at the front which gave us a great view of the world going by but honestly once the food came I quickly forgot the window even existed.
The first thing I noticed was the size of the giant round table we were sat at. It felt a little like we were quite a way from each other but it is the perfect table for people who like to get multiple dishes to share and still have room for your glass and cutlery.
As the waiter waved the salt pepper ribs in front of my face as he lay them on the table the smell made me go mmmmm. That wasn’t even for me, I had ordered steamed pork and chilli dumplings to start. So good. They were topped with a spicy pork and chilli sauce that made them very slippery and almost impossible to pick up with the plastic chopsticks. Luckily our whiteness meant that the waiters had already added some forks to our table. Usually I would be disappointed by this as I am pretty good with the chopsticks but was thankful this time around as it saved me having to pick up those amazing dumplings with my fingers!
Crispy chilli beef, duck in ginger and spring onion and some egg fried rice was our following course. The duck was cooked so well and the veg clearly fresh. I’m not really a fan of crispy beef but I happily picked out the peppers and onions from the dish. I honestly do not know how they managed to make a simple egg fried rice taste so darn good. Despite being well satisfied I had to finish this rice as to waste it would have been blasphemous.
You get what you pay for in this restaurant. Chinatown offers so much choice though that it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Wherever you choose to consume this wonderful cuisine I do hope you enjoy it.
Honest Burger, London E1 7HP 9/10
It’s no secret I think these guys make quite possibly the best burgers in London. After a Saturday spent drinking we had a craving for some juicy meat so ended up here.
Much better service here than in the Old Street branch. The place is quite small but being fairly late on a Saturday we managed to grab a table. If the service was slower we definitely would not have been so lucky as there was a constant flow of people the whole time we were here.
This time the special was ‘The Mother Flipper’ which included some crispy chip type things. I’ll be honest I can’t wholly remember what was in it. I didn’t order it myself but my fellow diners did. I kept it simple and ordered a cheddar cheese burger. The burgers were cooked perfectly to how we ordered them. Toppings fresh and delicious as expected.
The cocktails are great but I will repeat myself in saying that I really don’t like drinking out of those silly white prison cups. I was impressed by being asked about allergies by our super friendly and attentive server.
Despite being a little bit of a blur this trip was as always fast and delicious.
I left out the silly photos of my friends doing the ‘duck face’ on my phone whilst I popped to the loos ha
Byron Burger, Canary wharf. 7/10
Most likely you know this chain of decent burgers.
The first time I have tried the chicken here and it’s got a nice flavour. The onion rings batter was well seasoned but a little greasy. The ingredients seem fresh which is always preferable.
No issues with anything really. We had a 10 minute wait to be seated but were continuously updated on how close we were to getting a table.
Overall a satisfying quick weekday dinner
Hook Restaurant, Camden, London NW1 7PP
Fish & chips, the ultimate British food. This is pretty much a fancy version of your typical fish and chip shop. Upon walking in the place you get that familiar smell of grease and batter which is kinda what you want when opting to eat fish and chips.
The waitress told us about the fresh, sustainable fish before we ordered our food and I really love this. The fish used for each tantalising option is different depending on the catch of the day. Among the options available on this visit were codling, hake and sea bream. The menu offers different batters and dips for your fish, which is accompanied by seaweed salted chips. There is also chicken, veg, tacos and salad on the menu but the choices are limited.
When our plates came, the table had on it sea bream in lemon and basil tempura batter with garlic truffle sauce, codling with classic panko breadcrumbs and homemade tartar sauce and a side of cucumber and samphire citron salad. Quite a mouthful of dishes for the tongue but not so heavy on the tummy fortunately! The fish was well cooked and the batter was out of this world. I love truffles and so the sauce for me was a perfect match for my dish. The chips actually consisted of potato which usually means a quality chip, though I didn’t really notice the difference of the seaweed salt or much salt at all if I’m being honest. The potato slices tasted great despite the lack of salt though. Unless you are a die hard samphire fan I wouldn’t bother with the side, it didn’t have a great deal of flavour and you don’t really get much for your £4.
We shared a bottle of wine which was pretty good and not a bad price at £20. Perfect portions and great flavours made this a great value meal and I would definitely return. If you are tired of soggy white fish and pale chips this is a great alternative and shows the world that us Brits can make food just as well as anywhere else.