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.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Restaurant

Ozer
5 Langham Place
London

Phone:- 0207 323 0505

Website www.sofra.co.uk

Overview

Eva has spent time working with Turkish immigrants in Sweden, and has picked up a taste for Turkish cuisine.

We therefore decided to check out Ozer, one of London’s top Turkish restaurants, on Friday.

Ozer is a lively, bright and stimulating Turkish restaurant near Oxford Circus. It is open 7 days a week, 10:00am to midnight.

Ambience

Ozer consists of a large bar where you can sit and just have a drink, or have a bite to eat as well from an extensive menu of bar snacks (akin to having tapas).

Ozer was absolutely packed with people; the buzz and atmosphere rather resembling some of the New York restaurants we have dined in.

We were warmly greeted, and although we had not booked and it was busy, we were asked to have a drink at the bar and told that a table would be ready for us in 10 minutes. They were as good as their word!

The décor was chic and modern, there were no “Hubble bubble” pipes or rugs anywhere. The walls of Ozer on one side were white marble, whilst on the other side they were red marble. The lighting was a combination of discrete lights, and an ornate central spiral light fitting; recessed into the ceiling.

The tables were laid with linen cloths and napkins, decorated with a bowl containing a red rose floating in water. Additionally, placed on each table, was a small sign that promised starters would be served in 5 minutes; if this did not happen you were invited to phone the owner, David Ozer, who helpfully displayed his phone number on the sign. There’s a brave man!

The table also had bowls of freshly prepared humus, olives and warmed flat bread. All of which were alarmingly tempting and tasty.

Menu

The menu was extensive, offering an effusion of hot and cold meze, steaks, chicken, lamb and fish dishes.

Service

There was an army of black shirted waiting staff on duty to cater to everyone’s whim. Despite the fact that Ozer was full, the service was very efficient, prompt and friendly.

Even though they had worked a long day, there was no attempt by the staff to rush us out despite the fact that we stayed long past the midnight closing time.

Food

Everyone in the restaurant seemed to be having the mixed meze as a starter. Following the principle “when in Rome” we followed suit.

We were not disappointed. We were each served nine “tastes” of Turkey on a glass plate. These included cheese, bulgur, meatballs, squid and chicken.

With the exception of the cheese, which in consistency resembled a pencil rubber, these were delightful; and afforded us an excellent way to sample a range of the cuisine on offer.

I chose the mixed grill (known as Vincent’s Style) for my main course. This was not the usual burnt, tough offerings so readily served by other establishments. Rather this was a medley of gently cooked, flavoursome 3 inch cuts of meat including; chicken, lamb, steak and meatballs.

The meat, and I make no exaggeration, was as tender and as tasty as I have ever eaten in a restaurant; or indeed cooked myself at home. Absolutely superb.

The dish was accompanied by a bowl of rice, which pleasantly complimented it. Those preferring more traditional accompaniments could opt for French fries.

Eva chose purely kebab, stewed lamb in a tomato based sauce, for her main course. This was served on a bed of mashed potatoes, and tasted (in our view) unctuous.

I chose the baklava for my desert. This was a perfect combination of sweetness and pistachio nuts, complimented by a scoop of ice cream. Fantastic!

The meal, which included a good bottle of Chablis, cocktails and numerous liqueurs, came to £118 including service.

Overall Opinion

A splendid establishment, make sure you go there; we will definitely be back again.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Restaurant

Garbo’s
42 Crawford Street
London

Phone:- 0207 262 6582

Overview

As you know from my Self Introduction, I have spent five years in Sweden, and my partner is Swedish. Therefore I have picked up a few of the customs and habits from the Nordic area.

Friday was Walpurgis, the day when Sweden celebrates the coming of spring by lighting bonfires and drinking heavily. In the absence of any suitable bonfires, Eva and I went to the Swedish section of London for a drink and a meal.

We started off with a drink in the Harcourt Arms in Harcourt Street; this is near to the Swedish Embassy, the Swedish church, various other Swedish organisations and Garbo’s. The pub is a very cosy and jolly establishment frequented by Swedes; many of the bar staff are Swedish, and it even has “Swedish Salong” (a small room painted yellow).

However, I digress, the real object of our trip was to try out Garbo’s which is London’s only Swedish restaurant. This has been owned and run by Ake Lindholm for a number of years.

Ambience

Garbo’s is very cosy inviting Swedish restaurant close to Baker Street.

It had a “bistro like” atmosphere, but the quality and attention to detail of a quality restaurant. It was cosy, cheerful and intimate. The floors were polished wood, the walls were painted white and decorated with a large amount of memorabilia including; pictures of the Swedish royal family, copious prints of Great Garbo and a very large moose’s head (the eyes of which seemed to follow me around the room).

The tables were laid with linen cloths and napkins, with a touch of the IKEA in the condiment display. There was a fresh carnation on every table.

Crisp breads and rolls were placed on the table in a basket, with a good-sized portion of butter on a side plate.

Downstairs the restaurant had a private function room which, at the time of our visit, was hosting the Anglo-Finnish Society.

Menu

The menu offers an excellent selection of Swedish and Nordic cuisine including; pea soup, Gravad-lax (cured salmon), Jansson’s Temptation (potatoes and anchovies in a cream and onion sauce), herrings, sole, seabass, meatballs, veal, Kaldolmar (stuffed cabbage and lingonberry sauce) and Pytt I Panna (diced meat, potatoes and onions with a fried egg).

The restaurant also caters for parties, both in the function room and outside.

The menu, explains the contents of each dish; so there is no need to worry about the strange names of some of the dishes.

Service

Our Swedish waitress was very friendly and efficient. I even tried out my rusty and basic Swedish, and was told that I had good pronunciation

Food

I started with the crepe stuffed with chicken and mushrooms. This was very agreeable, it was a good size for a starter; and tasted rich and creamy, without being stodgy and “claggy”. A good way to start the evening.

I chose the Wiener schnitzel with two fried eggs for my main course. This was a good sized piece of meat, tender and succulent. It had been breaded and fried golden brown in butter. The eggs added a richness, and oomph, to the dish. I chose sauté potatoes and mushrooms to accompany it. My compliments to the chef, a good piece of meat well cooked and presented.

Eva started with Skagen Toast; this is a dish of prawns and roe served in a dill mayonnaise sauce on top of butter fried bread. I commend this dish to you, it was presented exquisitely on the plate; the prawns neatly piled on top of the toast, and the roe neatly on top of the prawns. It tasted absolutely perfect.

Eva chose Kalvrullader med Lingon for her main course, this was veal filled with onions and gherkins served in a mustard cream sauce. This dish was very rich and definitely unctuous, superb! She chose rich butter mashed potatoes and broccoli to accompany it. She was absolutely delighted with her choice.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chablis and some Irish coffees, came to £68 before service.

Overall Opinion

In my view this restaurant is better in terms of food and atmosphere than many in Stockholm. We will most definitely be returning, and commend others to dine there as well.