Posts Tagged ‘covent garden’

Resto 26 Bhatti, Covent Garden

May 28, 2017

Half three in the afternoon is a bit of a weird time to go to for a curry but we’d been to a concert and hadn’t had lunch. On our way to Dishoom (which we knew would be open) we were surprised to see that Bhatti, which screams trad Indian, also had its doors open. So we took a punt.

Two other diners and the waiter were the only other souls in the room. Most of the other restos on this stretch of Great Queen Street have gone upscale but Bhatti has stuck to it guns and retains a whiff of the 1970s in its décor. The menu is solid British Indian staples at pretty reasonable prices for this location but how was the cooking?

Mixed. My starter of aloo chat was some watery spuds and lettuce in an insipid sauce. Reports from across the table on the state of the onion bhaji were not encouraging. However, the main of a chicken jalfrezi delivered the required heat if not being altogether a taste sensation. Good naan bread and okra compensated slightly but it was rather disappointing that two chilled mugs couldn’t be wrangled for our Kingfishers – I had to settle for the warm one.

Service was good and it was obvious that they only had a skeleton crew on for the afternoon crowd. I would hope that things improve once the evening session gets started but if you want the trad Indian in this part of London it’s a better option to hang on if you can till The India Club starts cooking.

5/10

#Food #London

Review #95 Amphitheatre Restaurant, Covent Garden

November 13, 2016

Eating at the opéra, in my limited experience, is always expensive and often a bit of a shot in the dark. And I mean that whether you’re getting some sandwiches and a glass of wine or going for the full gut-busting blow out with gallons of booze on the side. This time we strayed more towards the latter option but hoped to lock in value and convenience by choosing our menu in advance of arrival at the Amphitheatre Restaurant at Covent Garden.

We’d booked the table from 5 o’clock and with show time at 6.30 I thought we’d have ample time to get in the first couple of courses before heading to our seats. The room was buzzy with a good cross-section of your average Covent Garden crowd. The solid suburban middle class who would be hurrying for the train when the show ran late, the rich but not super-rich (they get their own rooms), tourists of various ages and origins (some unlikely couplings amongst them), and the odd normals out for a treat (like us).

Service was super friendly and super quick. Champagne was delivered almost instantaneously and swiftly followed by the starters; obviously it helped that they were both cold. Crab was dressed in its own shell. One was tempted to ask them to wash it out and let us take it home it was so decorous but then again no one wants a jacket stinking of crab. I had a sea bass ceviche which delivered on the heat and tang. A good start.

Next up was red wine. Now I’d ordered a wine from Oregon simply on the basis that I didn’t know that wine was even made in Oregon. This one was a pale red, almost towards the rosé end of the spectrum (although rosé – good rosé – as I once learnt in Quag’s, has an enormous variety of thing going on), and very refreshing. So not exactly perfect to go with the steaks that we’d ordered but in and of itself a dose of pure joy.

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The steaks, frankly, took an age being delivered about half an hour before kick off. And as the waiter began to unload sides of salad, chips, kale and celeriac I realised that I’d over-ordered on a vast scale. Although I tried to relax about facing this kind of stuffing with the bell imminent I found it hard to forget that we were against the clock. But the steak was perfectly cooked and sides all good so I’ve no complaints about the food. But it was with a guilty conscience that I rose to go to the auditorium leaving acres of uneaten veg behind me.

I’d seen Les Contes d’Hoffmann at ENO a few years ago in a spectrally sinister modern production (as I remember it, any memory of opera that I have is filtered through a fair amount of booze) but this one was a straight meat and potatoes, feel the quality of these sets and cossies style thing. Which I was quite happy to roll along with. Of course it helps when all of the singers are outstanding and although no expert I can confidently predict that I’m unlikely to see a better acting-singing tenor than Vittorio Grigolò in my lifetime. He was good.

At the first interval we had autumn fruit and a Beaumes de Venise. Now, dear reader, when you order autumn fruits what do you expect? I’m thinking berries, apples and pears with possibly grapes at a stretch though by November that would be very late. Well, the ROH has other ideas. Autumn in the UK is pineapple, mango and pomegranate. Slight category error there though all tasty. And I wish I’d gottle a bottle of Beaume because one glass wasn’t enough.

Back to Offenbach for Act 2, which came in at a brisk 30 minutes. Poor old Hoffmann gets blown out yet again and it’s back on the sauce for him. As it was for us with cheese, good generous lumps of it in four varieties with a bit of the red held back to wrap it up. I have to admit that the final act of an opera is often a bridge too far for me but not this time, I was eager for more.

So would I recommend the opera? Undoubtedly. Would I recommend the restaurant? Yes, but not unreservedly. It’s great to have your own space to retire to between acts although you do miss out on the people watching to be had if you’re perching with a glass in the Floral Hall. The food is very good for a mass catering experience and the lateness of our steaks may have just been a glitch. It’s not a cheap night out but why should it be when you’re seeing a collection of the best singers of their generation in one of the finest theatres in the world?

8/10

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap

 

Review #16, Lima Covent Garden

February 19, 2016

So the eldest child was back for reading week and by way of a little get together we decided to do a little eating ‘n’ shopping in Covent Garden. Our rendezvous was at the Lamb and Flag (top pub, recommended if you don’t know it already) and not being in the mood for scouring the area for food we went to literally the nearest restaurant.

This meant Lima (not Lemur, arf), a short stagger out the back in Floral Street. Having never been to a Peruvian restaurant in my life before 2016 I’ve now been to two in a few weeks but this was a totally different experience to that to be had in Tito‘s. While Tito’s is at the cantina end of South American dining Lima is definitely at the the opposite end of the scale of sophistication.

The food and ingredients are basically the same however – ceviche, seafood, meat, maize, exotic spuds and sour/sweet heat. But at Lima the food is exquisite both to taste and to look at. Each plate was a picture, and the refined nature of the food is only enhanced by a similarly elegant room. We had a Peruvian Chardonnay and were soon hit with the two bottle conundrum – three people and one bottle doesn’t work but two bottles seems a bit much. Being on holiday the next day we went for broke and got a second. What we should have done of course is had a pisco cocktail to warm up and then supped one bottle of white. Which goes to show that in Peruvian dining I may be learning rapidly but have yet to turn pro.

All this good stuff comes at a cost – Lima is not cheap. But that’s okay if the product is good; compared to most places in Covent Garden Lima delivers value for money.

8/10

To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap


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