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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Chiang Mai Kitchen, Oxford

Our evening on our Oxford day trip concluded with a dinner at Chiang Mai Kitchen. We paced ourselves rather well over our day, and timed the meal with enough space to get to the station with ease. Chiang Mai brings the elegance and charm of Thailand to this town. There’s some gorgeous presentation on offer and the curry knocked our (tired) socks right off. We took our seats promptly, but we needn’t had rushed at all, the kitchen serves all items quick-fire. We ordered the Massaman curry beef (£9.95), chicken cashew stir-fry (£8.70) and the fried tofu (£6). And a side of arbitrary coconut rice (£3.40).

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The Magic Garden, Battersea

My big brother’s currently in town, and we had our second catchup meal in the quaint neighbourhood of Battersea. Our newly engaged friends were along for the ride. Being London, the weather was questionable on this Bank Holiday. The Magic Garden has an eclectic, funky vibe. Littered around (litter = literally) there’s an old car, mystery shed and a mosaic of old furniture. Coupled with the soft, dirt ground, it made me wonder if it’s for kids or drunk adults. Either way, it’s a good time. Few others ventured out to the Magic Garden on this afternoon, but the meals still sure took their time. Menu choice for this day was more limited. So three of us veered towards the burger and my sibling went for the fried calamari and cauliflower fritters.

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Wagamama, Covent Garden

As I love to mention to anyone I meet, I used to work at a Wagamama’s. It’s such a thing here, and back at home no-one really went near it. And something curious always seems me returning to dine at one. Not sure what it is, but on this occasion we were after a fixed time meal before our showing of Kinky Boots.

The show, not the item of clothing. We found one of the spots on ground level, outside but inside and downstairs is a spacious dining space. Service was lacking on the higher ground, but we weren’t so bothered since I do know my way around the service counter here. I ordered the teriyaki chicken donburi at £9.95. I didn’t care for the kimchi but the chicken has a nice, grill coat. There’s a disproportionate amount of carrots and pea shoots, but the teriyaki flavour in the sauce is nice. It does need more of it. From memory this is possible on request of the server, but she wasn’t around. From memory I should also be able to recall the recipe. But otherwise, another good sized meal at the Waga’s, finishing in perfect time and no dramas.

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7.5/10

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