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.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Restaurant

Abyssinia
Vanadisvagen 20
11346 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone:- 08 330840

Overview

Eva and I were in Stockholm for a mid-summer party last weekend. The night before the party, in order to “ring the changes”, we decided to try out an Abyssinian restaurant. This was located within 20 minutes walking distance of the centre of Stockholm.

Ambience

Abyssinia was a small, cheerful cosy African styled café. The walls were painted a cheery sun yellow, and were decorated with African artefacts and animal skins.

There was not that much space available for covers in the restaurant, therefore the tables were packed quite closely together to maximise yield to the owners.

That being said, it was the night before mid-summer and so was very quiet. On busy nights you may have to “hunker down” with your neighbours.

Menu

The menu (in Swedish and Abyssinian) offered a variety of Abyssinian dishes including lamb, beef, chicken and vegetables. There appeared to be no specific appetisers, I dare say the chef would accommodate you if you asked.

Service

The service was friendly and polite. Although the menu wasn’t in English, the waiter did speak English; and so communication was not an issue.

Food

Given the fact that neither of us had ever eaten Abyssinian food before, we opted for the most sensible dish to have under these circumstances; the house special.

This was an excellent way to sample a variety of the cuisine on offer.

The dish was served on a humungous plate, which was presented in a covered basket (to keep the heat in). Our meal included; chick peas, lentils, chicken in a spicy sauce, spiced minced lamb, spiced minced beef, hard boiled eggs, cabbage and carrots (rather similar to sauerkraut), spinach and cottage cheese.

These were served on a large piece of flat bread (with a consistency and taste similar to blini), which covered the plate.

Additional bread, folded like napkins, was provided to accompany the meal.

Incidentally, I should point out that you don’t use cutlery; but instead eat with your fingers. All good fun!

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal; each of the dishes had a special flavour which complemented the others.

As the meal was very filling, we had no need of starters or deserts.

Our meal, which included a robust bottle of Ethiopian wine, came to 510SEK before service.

Overall Opinion

A pleasant, unpretentious meal and restaurant; worth a visit if you want to try something different.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Restaurant

Christi
32 James Street
London
W1M 5HS

Phone:- 0207 935 0416

Overview

Eva and I were strolling around Oxford Street on Friday, and decided to take “pot luck” and try one of the numerous continental restaurants that have flourished in the back streets around that area.

We dropped in on Christi, an Italian restaurant.

Ambience

Christi is a jolly, lively Italian restaurant with ample seating inside and outside.

When we were there on Friday evening, since the weather was fine, the outside tables were packed with customers. However, the inside was a little more sedate and so we took a table inside.

The décor is “bistroesque”, the ceiling painted green and the numerous mirrors (painted with classic urns) that adorned the walls were back lit by green lights.

The tables were laid with linen cloths, white on top of red, together with red napkins.

Menu

The menu offered a good range of pasta, meat and fish dishes; the usual ones associated with Italian cuisine.

I would note that they do not serve smaller portions of pasta for starters, so order pasta as a starter only if you have a hearty appetite.

Service

The service was friendly and efficient, the staff were very welcoming and helpful.

Food

I chose the lasagne for my starter. This, refreshingly, had been baked not microwaved as in some establishments; it came bubbling hot in its earthenware serving dish.

The lasagne consisted of a generous quantity of spinach pasta interlayered with meat, and it was covered in a robust tomato based béchamel sauce. It was a good size for a starter; but perversely, as it was meant to be a main course, I would say a little small for its intended purpose.

I chose calves liver in a white wine and sage sauce for my main course.

This was excellent, the liver was cut thin, but was tender flavoursome and very succulent. The sauce complemented the liver without overwhelming it. I was pleased to note that fresh sage was used in the sauce, not dried.

I chose sauté potatoes and broccoli to accompany the dish. These were freshly prepared, and well cooked. A good choice in my view.

Eva chose the deep fried mozzarella to start with. This consisted of two large pieces of mozzarella covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried. They were served with a small side salad, and a tomato based sauce.

The mozzarella was nicely cooked, not at all greasy, and was complimented by the piquancy of the tomato sauce.

Eva chose ravioli in an asparagus and cream sauce for her main course.

This dish consisted of a generous portion of home-made meat filled pillows of pasta, covered in a rich (but not claggy) tasty asparagus and cheese sauce.

She was very pleased with her choice.

The meal, which included a robust Chianti and several Irish coffees, came to £90 including service.

Overall Opinion

A very pleasant restaurant, worth a visit if you are in the area; burdened down with purchases from Selfridges and the other stores on Oxford Street.