Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews and Food Musings


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 musings on food with you.

Sunday, March 21, 2004


Darios Ristorante
248 Brighton Road
South Croydon

Phone:- 0208 686 2680


Eva had some root canal work done on her teeth last week. When we were coming back from her dentist in South Croydon we spotted Darios, an inviting looking Italian restaurant, and decided to book a table there for Friday night.


Darios is a cosy, inviting Italian restaurant (run by Dario and Susan); conveniently situated opposite the Red Deer pub.

Although it was Friday night the restaurant was completely empty when we arrived, only one other couple turned up during the evening. This, I think, is not a reflection on the quality of the food or restaurant; but rather a result of the competition and variety of choice offered to people dining out in Croydon. Our waiter was keen to assure us that Saturday night was fully booked.

The walls of the restaurant are part wood and part chalk effect. There are also bright murals depicting Venice painted on one side of the room. The bright blue ceiling is decorated with fishing nets, and the tables laid with linen cloths and napkins.


The menu offers a good selection of Italian dishes; the usual varieties of pasta, fish, chicken and meat are available.


Our waiter was very friendly and attentive. Even though we stayed late, beyond closing time, he did not attempt to rush us out the door.


I started with the lasagne. This was rich and creamy, the taste mellow and not overpowering.

I chose the sirloin steak in red wine for my main course. This was cooked, as I had ordered, rare; it was succulent and tender. The sauce, a dark red cream and wine sauce with mushrooms and shallots, complemented the meat without dominating it. The dish came with sauté potatoes broccoli and green beans. I was not disappointed with my choice.

Eva started with tiger prawns in a lemon and orange sauce. These were excellent, the prawns were split down the middle to create a butterfly effect. The sauce, piquant and refreshing, was delicious and enhanced the flavour of the prawns.

Eva chose veal with ham and cheese in a wine, mushroom and sage sauce for her main course. This came with sauté potatoes, broccoli and green beans. The sauce was excellent and the veal tender. She was delighted with her choice of main course.

Our meal, which included a good bottle of Barolo, pre dinner cocktails and post dinner liqueurs, came to £80 before service.

Overall Opinion

We had an excellent evening and meal, and would be happy to return on another evening.

Monday, March 15, 2004


La Bersagliera
372 King’s Road

Phone:- 0207 352 5993


Eva and I were wandering around Sloane Square on Friday; and so we decided to pop into La Bersagliera, an Italian restaurant on the King’s Road.


La Bersagliera was very lively and busy. However, the staff managed to find us a table without any delay.

La Bersagliera is compact, but the tables are not too close together; privacy is enhanced by the large potted shrubs that are placed between the tables. The cool white marble floor is offset by the warm red walls, which in turn are complemented by the bright ceiling with large fans. The tables, instead of having flowers, were decorated with sprigs of fresh rosemary in small vases of water.

The background music was quite loud, but not intrusive.


The menu offers a good selection of Italian dishes such as; pasta, pizza, calves kidneys and lamb. Specials are written on blackboards.


The service was courteous, prompt and efficient. I was pleased to see that the waiters were offering freshly grated Parmesan.


I started with lasagne. This was a little disappointing as it came swimming in a tomato sauce, which to some extent overpowered the dish. There was little taste of meat or béchamel sauce, and the cheese that had been used in the dish had a rubber like quality. Although the dish was filling, it was bland; and not of the quality or taste that I would expect in a good Italian restaurant.

I chose the poussin for my main course. This was better; the poussin had been spatchcocked, flattened, and cooked with herbs. It was succulent and quite tasty. The sauté potatoes that accompanied it were tasty, although a little greasy.

Eva started with mango and crab. This was very fresh and tasted good; the crab was served in a pleasant tasting mayonnaise based sauce, and was accompanied with fresh mango slices.

Eva chose the calzone, a folded pizza, for her main course. This was absurdly large, some three feet long I would venture. The calzone itself was stuffed with cheese, chorizo and salami. Again the same industrial rubber cheese had been used, I tried a mouthful and must confess found it was hard work to chew. Notwithstanding the texture, the flavour was reasonable.

The meal, which included a good bottle of Chianti, and post dinner liqueurs came to £55 before service.

Overall Opinion

Food wise it is a bit of a hit or miss affair. However, I cannot fault it for atmosphere. If you want cheap and cheerful, and avoid any dish with cheese, then it is not too bad a place to go.

Monday, March 01, 2004


The Royal Garden
Shirley Hills Road
Shirley Hills

Phone:- 0208 654 6491


Eva and I went to The Royal Garden Chinese restaurant, set in the beautiful wooded area of Shirley Hills, last Friday.


This is a welcoming restaurant; tucked away in a secluded drive on the edge of the wooded area of Shirley Hills. The restaurant was very busy and pleasantly lively.

The restaurant consists of a bar, with a good sized seating area, and a main dining area that can accommodate a large number of people. I would recommend that you make a reservation, as the place was packed.

The décor, in some respects, is reminiscent of the less garish aspects of the eighties TV series Miami Vice. The bar area, is functional and bright; and is a good place to peruse the variety of dishes offered on the menu.

The restaurant is light, bright and warm; the floor is white marble and there are a few gigantic Chinese vases placed at various corners of the room. The tables are laid with yellow linen cloths and napkins.

The restaurant, as it has very large windows, affords exceptional views of the surrounding woodland.


The menu offers an excellent selection of Peking, Szechuan and Cantonese cuisine; in my view there is something for everyone.


There was a large number of staff, all of whom were friendly and courteous. They were very accommodating when I asked if we could buy the teapot and cups at the end of the meal, and kindly wrapped them up for us.


Since this was a Chinese restaurant, we decided to share; and selected an array of dishes to sample and enjoy. Our feast included:

● Peking duck, which was crisp and succulent served with piping hot steamed pancakes and a rich sweet plum sauce. This came with a large carved carrot decoration, more phallic than carrot!

● Spring rolls, which were not greasy; but light, crispy and held a well proportioned balance of meat and vegetables.

● Pork dumplings, these were delicate and succulent; not at all stodgy.

● Deep fried scallops, a generous portion of scallops coated in a light crispy batter and deep fried. Salty and tasty!

● Deep fried chicken with water chestnuts, a delicate flavoursome dish.

● Chicken in a black bean sauce. This was fried chicken in black beans, with chilli and green peppers; a piquant and tender dish, that complimented the other chicken dish.

● Egg fried rice and plain boiled rice accompanied our meal.

We finished with tea and liqueurs. The toothpicks, that we used for contemplative chewing, had decorative carvings at one end; a nice touch.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis, pre dinner cocktails and post dinner liqueurs, came to £108 before service. The teapot and cups were an extra £12.

Overall Opinion

We had an excellent evening and meal, we will definitely be returning.