“Food OK but overall disappointing”
We booked a pre-theatre table before going to the RSC. Service was a bit slow to begin with and we had to ask whether they’d forgotten the beers we ordered. Then it became very brisk with few niceties. The food was OK but not up to the standard of the Opposition Bistro we went to the night before. The goats’ cheese with honey-roast beetroot had none of the opposition of flavours, with the tang of the cheese offsetting the rich sweetness of the beetroot, that we expected – it was bland and sweet. The calamari was v hot and crisp but was more batter than calamari. The chicken with truffle had no truffle aroma and a flavour of mushroom but no intense truffle flavour – very disappointing. The steak was tender but lacked flavour. The high spot was the Languedoc Cabernet Sauvignon, which was excellent. Something annoying was that in the RSC programme for Wolf Hall for that day the ad for le Bistrot said present your tickets to the staff and get a reduction, They refused to give the reduction and said it didn’t apply.Time they changed their ad, then, Overall, disappointing. Would not go again.
“Great food, service and atmosphere”
A very picturesque bistro in Sheep Street in the old part of Stratford. Very welcoming and fast, attentive service. Started with a bottle of Old Speckled Hen, a treat to find on a bistro menu. Then the apple-smoked salmon with delicious home-made cucumber relish. The pork loin with a chunky square of pork belly on a bed of tasty Savoy cabbage was great – tasty ingredients with some of the best pork I’ve tasted. The pork belly was perfectly cooked with crispy crackling on top of a layer of melting fat and then very succulent meat. The cod topped with Welsh rarebit was excellent and inventive. Service was great and the owner knew all about where the pork came from, always a good sign that the restaurant cares about the quality of the food. Wine list is good and v reasonably priced. Very popular and despite the arrival of a huge crowd of Scandinavian men, the bistro was not too noisy, but just the right level of convivial noise of people enjoying themselves.
The Anchor, Walberswick – 01502 722112; http://www.anchoratwalberswick.com/
I’ve stayed at the Anchor twice – during shooting trips to Suffolk. It is a wonderfully welcoming pub with very comfortable and spacious accommodation, great food and excellent breakfasts. The rooms are large, very clean and well furnished, with WiFi. Last year I stayed on Thanksgiving Night and had a wonderful meal of Grilled Oysters and the roast Turkey all washed down with excellent Adnams beer. Breakfast was local keepers with perfectly one poached eggs (an art in itself). This year I was too late for dinner but had an excellent evening chatting with the landlord and his barman over beer and then Ardbeg malt whisky. Breakfast was full English – perfectly cooked and with the best pot of strong tea I’ve had in ages. Set me up for a day’s shooting. The owners go out of their way to make you feel at home. Excellent. Will return again and again and again..
Stayed December 2013, travelled solo
5 of 5 stars Value
5 of 5 stars Location
5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
5 of 5 stars Rooms
5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
5 of 5 stars Service
When you step through the doors of Il Portico in Kensington High Street you could be forgiven for thinking that you have stepped into someone’s home in Italy. The welcome is warm and the hospitality immediately makes you feel at home. The atmosphere is lively without being noisy or over the top and you can immediately tell that the staff are there to ensure that you do the most important thing in a restaurant – enjoy the food. The charming waiter who served us described the specials of the day in a loving way that really made you want to eat everything on the menu – which over time I intend to do.
On our latest visit, though, I couldn’t resist going back to something we had on our first meal there – Sardine alla Genovese. These are fresh, grilled Dorset sardines split open and flattened out and gently seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. It is a simple but perfectly prepared dish with the seasoning complementing and not dominating the delicate flavour of the sardines. It is one of the best fish dishes I’ve tasted. The Afetato e Mozzarella di bufola, Parma Prosciutto with mozzarella was great – flavours and textures mixing wonderfully.
The main courses were up to the high standard of the antipasti and made for a great meal overall. I went for the Galleto al matone – roasted free range poussin prepared with garlic, chilli and rosemary and just a hint of lemon. It was cooked so that the skin was crisp and just on the right side of blackened. The meat on the bird was moist and full of flavour. Liz chose the duck with balsamic vinegar and raisins and we both had the zucchine fritte and sautéed potatoes. The duck was cooked just to the right level of pinkness and was tender, melting and seasoned delicately with an unctuous jus. The zucchini was cooked in a light, tempura-like batter and was crispy and not over cooked, so the vegetables were still firm. The whole meal was accompanied by a tasty red wine – Salice Salentino Riserva from Puglia.
We had no room for dessert, which was a shame, but rounded a superb meal off with a delicate but powerful grappa. My only thought now is when we book to eat there again!