Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Restaurant

Shepherd’s
Marsham Court
Marsham Street
London
SW1P 4LA

Phone:- 0207 834 9552

Website www.langansrestaurants.co.uk

Overview

Shepherd’s serves traditional English food and is owned by Richard Shepherd who, recognising that some of his clientele are MP’s, has installed a division bell so that they can enjoy a good meal and can then rush back to the House of Commons to vote.

Eva and I, together with our good friends David and Gabi, went there on Tuesday evening.

Ambience

The restaurant is pleasantly set out with good sized tables, laid with white linen cloths, and discrete comfortable booths. The walls are decorated with wood panelling and oil paintings. The genteel ambience is enhanced by faux gas lighting. The background music was provided by a CD of “old blue eyes”.

I would venture one criticism, relating to the air conditioning which was turned on full blast towards the end of the evening; presumably to hasten the departure of the guests. I find this trick, employed by some restaurants, to be quite annoying.

Menu

The menu offers a good selection of traditional British dishes including; carrot and coriander soup, crab salad, veal chop, steak and kidney pie, liver and Eton Mess.

Service

The service was exceptionally efficient, and the staff were polite but not intrusive.

Food

I started with half a dozen plump Irish oysters. These were served with the traditional accompaniments of brown bread and Tabasco sauce, and were delicious. I opted for the roast beef as my main course. The menu claimed that it was carved from the trolley. However, this was not done at the table so I cannot confirm the existence of said trolley. That being said, the meat was tender, of good quality and had a good layer of fat; it had been cooked medium rare. It was accompanied by roast and boiled potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, mashed Swede and string beans.

I eschewed the dessert in favour of a Welsh rarebit savoury. This was a well balanced combination of cheese, Worcestershire sauce and mustard served on toasted bread.

Eva and Gabi started with scallops and bacon, which they both professed to be tasty and tender. David kicked off with a stilton and onion tart, which was a rich caramel brown colour; this showed that the onions had been well cooked to maximise their flavour and sweetness.

Eva had venison in a red wine sauce for her main course, whilst she enjoyed the flavour she felt that it could have been a little more tender. Gabi had pork in a rich, dark chestnut sauce which she was delighted with. David opted for the rib eye steak and chunky chips. He was satisfied with the portion, but felt the steak was a little dry.

Eva had the Eton Mess, a combination of raspberries, cream and meringue, for dessert; whilst David and Gabi had sticky toffee pudding. All received top marks.

The overall meal, which included two bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon Club cocktails and liqueurs, came to £219 including tip.

Overall Opinion

An enjoyable evening was had by all, I would go there again.
Restaurant

Momma Cherri’s Soul Food Shack
11 Little East Street
Brighton
BN1 1HT

Phone:- 01273 774545

Website www.mommacherri.co.uk

Overview

Momma Cherri’s is Brighton’s only Soul Food restaurant. The restaurant is situated in a quiet corner of The Laines, and is open all day offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The restaurant has two floors, and offers theme nights and live acts.

Eva and I spent Wednesday in Brighton, and decided to have dinner at Momma’s before taking the train back home.

Ambience

The restaurant is cosy, bright, cheerful and unpretentious. The simply laid tables are complemented by the wooden floor. The walls are covered with photos of Motown stars, interspersed with brightly coloured fairy lights. This being the week before Easter, there were cut out Easter bunnies and fluffy chickens adorning the windows and windowsills. The background music was a selection of Motown classics.

Menu

The menu offered an excellent selection of Soul Food including; fried chicken, meat and chicken combos, stuffed skins, sweet potato pie and Jambalaya. On Saturdays they offer pig’s trotters; now that is something I am very fond of, but rarely have the opportunity to eat.

In addition to an eclectic wine list, the cocktail list offers you the choice of cocktails by the glass or by the jug (I liked that!).

Service

The service was very cheerful, attentive and prompt. Additionally, during our main course, the owner/chef (Charita) popped out of the kitchen to ask her customers if they wanted more food on their plates. Other restaurants would do themselves no harm by adopting this policy.

Food

I started with the stuffed potatoes skins. These were three baked potato shells stuffed with refried beans, chillies, cheese and kidney beans. They were very piquant and absolutely delicious, definitely an excellent way to start the meal.

I opted for fried chicken for my main course. This dish consisted of three pieces of well seasoned, floured chicken fried to perfection; served with chunky English chips, corn sticks and a small portion of potato salad. I was impressed, the chicken was clearly home-made and bore no resemblance to the greasy fat laden fast food variety. The potato salad, albeit it a small portion, was exceptionally smooth and creamy. The chips and corn sticks provided a perfect accompaniment.

Eva opted for Jambalaya as a main course. This was served on a hot metal griddle, and was a flavoursome mixture of rice, Chorizo, chicken, prawns and peppers. The ingredients complimented one another, and the dish had a wonderful smoked flavour. It proved to be an ample main course. Eva then chose pecan pie for dessert, which was served with cream and ice cream. The pie, which was home-made, was excellent and was generously topped with pecan nuts to add texture and flavour.

We finished off with a couple of Irish coffees.

The overall meal, which included a bottle of Voigner, came to £57 including service.

Overall Opinion

In my opinion an excellent restaurant for a relaxed evening and a wholesome meal. We will definitely go there again, and I am happy to recommend it to people; if you don’t live in Brighton then why not just jump on a train?

Monday, April 14, 2003


Restaurant

The East India Club
16 St James’s Square
London
SW1Y 4LH

Phone:- 0207 930 1000

Overview

I have to declare an interest with respect to this review. I have, since leaving school, been a member of The East India Club; one of the few remaining London clubs. The club, set up in the nineteenth century, is housed in an ornate regency style building in St James. It offers members a home away from home by providing them with; accommodation, meeting rooms, a library, dining rooms (both public and private), a billiard room, a smoking room and two bars.

Eva and I visited it last Sunday for the lunchtime jazz brunch; which is held every Sunday between 12:30 pm and 2:30 pm (the jazz continues until 4:00 pm).

Ambience

The high ceilinged dining room is spacious, comfortable and offers a very special traditional dining experience; far removed from many of today’s homogenous themed restaurants. We dined at a table that was laid with a starched linen cloth, napkins and silver cutlery embossed with the club crest; in the spacious high ceilinged room surrounded by portraits of luminairies from British history, such as Churchill and Montgomery.

The fixed price three course (plus cheeses and coffee) Sunday brunch was presented on a long table in the form of an assisted buffet. Light, non intrusive, live piano jazz was played and sung by a professional musician wearing a dinner suit.

Menu

The set buffet offered an excellent selection of cold cuts of ham, beef, chicken, smoked salmon, salmon terrine and potato salad as appetisers. The main courses on offer were a choice of roast rib of beef carved from a trolley, poached salmon and a curry. Desserts were a mouth-watering array of cheese cakes, gateaux and fruits. The cheese trolley, for those with hearty appetites, was overflowing with British and continental cheeses.

Service

Although it was a buffet, there were a good number of staff who poured our wine, offered us bread, arranged the cutlery between each course and removed the debris from the table after each course. I have always found the Club’s staff to be friendly and efficient, and am pleased to say Sunday brunch proved to be no exception to this rule.

Food

We tried a little of everything from the cold cuts for our appetisers, these were excellent; fresh, tasty and succulent. I was pleased to note that the dishes were replenished every so often, to ensure that the food did not stay in the open for too long. No dried, withered aged specimens here.

Naturally we both had the roast beef, with all the trimmings, for our main course. Eva had the well done part and I opted for the rare. I am pleased to say that the portions were professionally carved and were exceptionally generous. The meat was superb, tender and juicy; just as it should be. The beef was complimented by good quality roast potatoes, vegetables and piquant home-made horseradish sauce. I had a little fruit salad for dessert, Eva tried the cheesecake; which she professed to be excellent.

The overall meal, which included a bottle of Club champagne, came to £63. We even managed to take a doggy bag back home with us.

Overall Opinion

Absolutely splendid, we will definitely go there again for another brunch.