Donuts & Baguettes, Soho

If I needed a spot for some hangover-sugary options, Donuts & Baguettes is a good pick. But not if I’m looking for a good donut. Or Baguette. The location is handy, being in the crust of Piccadilly Circus. And with wide opening hours of 7am to 11pm every day, it no doubts captures some of the confused-where-to-eat crowd. I popped in on my way home and had a vanilla lined donut. Not sure what the difference is to the other vanilla donut but probably moot. The frosting is fine, and Dunkin Donuts like, but the cake wasn’t up to scratch. Could have been the lower level of freshness at this evening hour but it ended up tasting dry. For £1.85 not too diasterrific but I’m sure you can do better around here.

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6/10

Donuts & Baguettes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EAT, Covent Garden

EAT’s another rather basic eating chain. As basic as the name suggests. I don’t find it quite as tasty as the likes of Pret, who do deliver a consistent level of quality, especially on the salad front of late. I finished up a long half day of training and needed something speedy to eat en route to my client hotdesking. In the spirit of hot (which is what London is right now) I went for the chilled curry salad. A bit of an usual mix, but I had some hopes it could have been a good one. Including a slice of the watermelon and thyme cake it comes under the £8 mark. Not expensive, but overall EAT’s not impressive. The sauce is a bit weird tasting and it ends up being a pedestrian mix of slaw, salad leaves and curried veges. I eat it and feel nothing. The cake had some good (albeit, artificial) flavours but that didn’t taste of complete freshness. I mean, it came in a bag, so I should have anticipated as much. So eh, I could eat the stuff, but I couldn’t love it.

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Frankie & Benny’s, Finchley Road

This chain is so dire. With a general level of crowd, you’d think it would be half decent but I’ve only been disappointed on every occasion. On the plus side, it is fast so it’s all over quick enough. The prices are expensive too, so it’s not like a cheap eat option. It was a morning and as I was needing a hearty early fix, I went for the usually safe option of the bacon and eggs on English muffin. There’s just no joy on this plate. The eggs are fine, the muffin is fine but the bacon isn’t right. Texture is a bit weird and there’s not a lot of it. Also had a coffee and that was something I try not to think about again. So that’s one I’m going to try avoid. And yes, I should have heeded the warnings from my London friends.

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Plum + Spilt Milk – Great Northern Hotel, King’s Cross

I visited Plum and Split Milk off the back of this Hot Dinners offer I had. 50% off the weekend brunch menu price was enticing and the food and venue looked upper class to boot. It ended up being a bit snobby in service but the eating for the most part is crowd pleasing. With bargains to be had, I ordered three items being the Irish potato cakes with bacon and egg (£12), duck slaw salad (£11.50) and the plum and split milk dessert. Three friends were along for the savings. We were well looked after with all dishes satisfactory. Of my choices I enjoyed the duck salad the most. The potato cakes were a bit more pedestrian (I’ve had better bacon for cheaper) and the signature dessert was tasty but not stellar. It’s a fantastic space and there’s some fantastic food on offer. With a touch equal attention to the food as their is to the design, and you’ll be onto a winner.

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Dirty Bones, Carnaby

Carnaby Street does events every now and then and we took advantage of a recent one for a cheaper (cough, bargain) dinner over at Dirty Bones. There’s three branches of Dirty Bones in Carnaby, Soho and Shoreditch. Their menu is New York style American comfort food, so it was one I had my eye on for some time. Also, I love the Carnaby Street area, it’s a nice little retreat from the crowds and tourist traps. So what did we order? We had a lot of the fried chicken, the beef short rib and truffle fries. The short rib was actually meant to have been a salad. But we were happy with our mistake order, and it was my favourite of the table. The BBQ sauce on the ribs is flavoured by salted caramel and burnt onion, so you know there’s some delectably sweet notes. The fried chicken fell a bit more flat, which was disappointing as one of the things we were most looking forward to.

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Lick Gelato, Soho

I came. I licked. I conquered. Lick Gelato is so handy to the office which is both exciting and dangerous. I headed inwards for a scoop of the cold stuff.  I went with the black sesame option after carefully analysing the options. Perfectly fine ice-cream and unfussy service as per the description on Google. It’s refreshing that Lick Gelato is an independent store, and that they offer such an interesting range of flavours. In fact, there’s 24 flavours and they change from time-to-time. Back to the black sesame, there’s a great creamy texture and some lovely savoury nuttiness, without being overly sweet. That’s one more dessert options all licked up.

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7.5/10

Lick Gelato Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

L’eto Caffe, Mayfair

One of the most eye-catching cakes available at beloved L’eto Caffe, is the Green Herb Cake. It looks exactly as it sounds. I was told it was one of the more healthier options with no added sugar, but the copious amounts of cream may suggest otherwise. The green comes from the natural spinach and there are dots of pomegranates littered about. As with the other cakes from L’eto, it’s decidedly good. The sponge is light as a cloud and the layers of cream make for a velvety, smooth treat. It doesn’t feel too heavy and the Green Herb in particular has a refreshing lack of saccharine sweetness. So bit of a wacky eat, but I’m a fan.

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8/10

L'ETO Caffe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pimlico Fresh, Victoria

My point of residence here in London affords me easy access to three handy stations. That’s Victoria, Pimlico and Westminster. Despite that, I do find myself venturing further afield then sampling some of the local cuisine around here. Time Out London was so generous to label the area as “a gastronomic desert, riddled with soulless chains and not much else”. Which is not entirely untrue. Chalkboard menus, friendly staff and communal wooden tables immediately suggest Pimlico Fresh is different. I found a seat (it gets packed) and contemplated the options. I devoured the green eggs and bacon on toast option (for about £7). They go a little nuts on the cherry tomatoes but the plate is a very happy one. A good smush of avocado, perfectly fried eggs and bacon. With the right amount of runny yolk underneath a stream of pesto. The ratio of toppings to bread is very appealing. A little salt and pepper helped finish of the flavours and I was a satisfied local.

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Nadege, Trinity Bellwoods

I’m a huge fan of the Trinity Bellwoods area, and if I was looking to reside in Toronto, I’d give that a good go. I had walked past Nadège Patisserie quite a few times over my week in Canada. I’ve always possessed a major sweet tooth so I knew I had to try it at some point. It’s a good patisserie, but it wasn’t one of my favourites. I ordered the Nadege donut ($8.00) which is ended up really being a cake. There’s layers of caramel chantilly, salted caramel cream, crisp praline wafer and almond shortbread. The presentation seemed a little bit off, there was an blip of glaze. Once you spoon in, the layers all come together. And it’s satisfactory. The caramel notes are balanced and the creaminess is delectable. The textures between crisp and soft didn’t get gel for me. So good, but not as stellar here as some of the other patisserie desserts I’ve had (see: Bibelot). Plenty of options so maybe I would have had more success with another choice.

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7.5/10

Nadège Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat Tokyo, Soho

My jaw dropped when I saw the size of the Eat Tokyo katsu curry of my neighbour. £9 gets you an insanely large bowl with surely what must be a kilo of rice, curry and what, five individual breasts of chicken? It’s all so overwhelming and the smells were alright. I was a bit more tamer with my selection. But still ended up spending about the same, for my chicken karage donburi. I substituted the sushi for some pickles and it was a huge portion, with salad and agedashi tofu as well. The flavours were good and there was a lot of them. I did have a salty aftertaste later on, so may be MSG-y or maybe it was salt. Can’t go wrong at that price point, though split with a friend (or two!) and give the massive curry a go. There’s eight branches of Eat Tokyo around London and they’ve been going for a good while. Whilst the staff weren’t Japanese the food could have fooled otherwise.

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