Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wagamama watch: teriyaki salmon soba

Tasty, and made even more delicious with a healthy portion of soy sauce. 8/10.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: Nizuni Japanese Restaurant (Charlotte Street)

Situated on Charlotte Street, a road that is both close to my University and boasting some great restaurants (the previously reviewed BiBimBap being one of them), Nizuni is an elegant, dimly lit Japanese restaurant which serves a range of Japanese dishes, with sushi being its main draw.

We ordered two different sets of sushi, a nizuni set (in honour of the name of the restaurant, I thought it would be rude not to) as well as a 10-piece sushi selection. Both were utterly delicious (great quantities of fish and the sauces were tantilising), but frightfully overpriced. The 22-piece nizuni set came to £39, which averages to almost £2 per individual small piece, which, just by a visual inspection of below, you can see, are accomplishedly cooked and presented, but certainly not the gold that such a price tag would imply.

Although the waiters were extremely helpful and obliging, there was a trainee girl working that day who got our orders confused, and thus, delayed us getting dinner. I’ll be generous and not dock the restaurant too many points for that as I could see her intentions were good, but her mind was jumbled. For her sake, I hope her memory has improved since our visit.

The alcohol selection wasn’t as expensive as the food, and we had a whole bottle of Japanese rice win between us and a beer apiece. Both tasted great.

Aside from the marvellous Hi Sushi, I am yet to visit a sushi place in London that offers good value for money. This certainly hasn’t changed having visited Nizuni. That said, the food was certainly high quality, and if you have the time, do check out their website, which is one of the coolest I've seen of a London restaurant so far! (If only they'd saved the money on their web designer and spent it on lowering prices of their food, I would have an even more favourable view of the place).

Grade: B

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Retrospective OOTD: standing in front of the Bastille

Sunglasses: Rayban
Earrings: gift from China
Necklace: Swarovski
Miniskirt: hand me down from friend
Bag: Primark
Cardigan: Marks & Spencer
friendship bracelet (barely visible): Mango

O2 Priority freebies: loom band set

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cake watch: chocolate fudge cake (John Lewis)

John Lewis' cake collection are the gift that keep on giving. A generous chunk of chocolate cake, pure indulgence, utterly delicious.

Grade: A

La Ballerina (Covent Garden)

Situated behind a gorgeous statue of a ballerina itself, this Italian restaurant is usually frequented by theatre-goers just before they’re catching their show. I ate here under because I’d been walking for a while around Covent Garden, quite aimlessly, and was hungry. Not quite as cultured a motive for visiting it, but, with so few people inside, I wanted a bit of peace and quiet, it seemed a good location.

The food, truth be told, was pedestrian at best. The best steak I’ve had in London remains Hawksmoor, and I didn’t expect the steak in a normal restaurant to rival that of a specific steak joint, but, even the steak from Gaucho, which I had a few problems with, was better than this. It was a struggle to finish the steak here, as it was chewy, borderline uncooked. The vegetables it was presented with had an awfully school dinnerish look about it (see below), and the sauce, though plentiful (it arrived in its own pot), was a little tasteless and had to be lathered onto the steak in multitudes to have its effect. The one saving grace of the meal was the spaghetti, which was delicious, particularly coupled with some parmesan cheese, which the waiters gave generously.

And it’s the waiters at the this place why I am reluctant to give it an altogether terrible review. They were attentive, helpful and polite throughout - a vast difference from the majority of snooty waiters at most London eateries I’ve visited, who are only waiters through circumstance because they couldn’t make it as an actor/photographer/writer, and see fit to take that baggage out on the clients. There was absolutely none of that there. They had great tact - knew when to leave us alone - but were approachable and chatty. I liked them a lot.

But, alas, you can’t polish a turd, and for all their best efforts, there was a reason why there were about two families dining here when I first looked in. La Ballerina has a whole load of unnecessary policies in place that don’t make things easy for their customers - for example, you can only order wine by the glass if it’s the house wines (disgusting), anything more elegant has to be ordered by the bottle. What if we don’t want to consume a whole bottle of wine?! This place is practically pushing people into alcoholism. And let me tell you, I don’t need any help in that department.

So, from the outside, it may seem appealing to go inside a quiet place where you won’t be bothered and there aren’t many people. But next time I see somewhere like this, I will double-think. Just why is it, that this place is so empty in the first place?

Grade: D

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