Nando’s, Fitzrovia, London

I can never get enough of Nando’s and a recent Nando’s sauce retail promotion that offers a free quarter chicken had me clicking at my heels to get back in. The store in Fitzrovia was closed a painfully long time, so I had to make a few attempts to get in. One of my favourite parts of the (British) Nando’s experience is the sauces at the ready. I don’t recall this feature in Australia or New Zealand ever being so strong. And onto the food. I had the Peri-Peri fries (£2.45) and the fino coleslaw (£3.25) sides along with my mango lime chicken (£3.95). Before you throw me out, this sauce is nice. The sweet and sour make a perfect pairing for this cop out basting. Chips – amazing as always. Coleslaw, way overdressed and not as special as I was hoping for. This was the fancier coleslaw option with beetroot and a yoghurt dressing, so at least it wasn’t too calorific. Chicken – good as always. A quarter isn’t enough of a portion but the meat’s well, the skin’s crisp and that sauce. Until the next Nando’s review!

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7/10

Nando's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bageriet, Covent Garden, London

This year I’ve resolved to cut down on the refined sugars. Then it came to lunchtime and I thought to myself: bageriet. Life is for the living and you’ll be living it up when you encounter London’s finest Swedish bakery. Bread, biscuits, cakes, buns, pretzels and brioche. For such a small store, Bageriet sure pack a lot of variety in. I found the service on my visit cold but the baking is hot. I had one of the Semlors (cardamon bun with fresh cream) and a coconut tart. These were outstanding. The spiced bun is a delight to eat, with the filling inside being pillowy. It’s not a super sweet cream and they give you a lot of cream. It’s quite a big size so possibly better to have had in two servings, but I couldn’t wait that long. The tart is also superb. It tastes of freshness and the crust are filling are perfect. Well worth stopping in for when in the Covent Garden area.

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8/10

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

Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Soho, London

The name of Rosa’s originally comes from the previous owner of their very first location. Times have changed and now they’re are ten Rosa’s restaurants around London. That’s some Thai food domination right there. I popped into the Soho branch of Rosa’s ready for a spicy bite to warm up my mid-Summer blues (this is London). I had the two chilli pepper-rated Drunken Noodles (£9) and these did the trick, on account of setting my mouth on fire. Safe to say, it’s quite a spicy bite. This is flavoured by a basil sauce, and Thai herbs, this gives it a lovely authentic flavour. As a starter I went for the pork skewers (£5), these felt a little expensive for what you get but are nicely seasoned. The skewers come with super sweet tamarind sauce which provides an ideal contrast to the meat. Pork always does so well coupled with sweet notes in my books. Overall, it was a nice, affordable meal at Rosa’s in a cosy (and dry!) setting. I did find the spice levels for the noodles extreme for my palate but the quality is there.

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7.5/10

Rosa's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Bibimbap, Soho, London

For my very last office lunch in Soho, the guys and I headed around the corner to Bibimbap. As you can imagine, it’s a focus on the the signature Korean hot stone bowls of the same name. Bibimbap literally translates to “mixed rice’ and the dish was conceived as a means to use up leftovers. These days it’s a bespoke experience and at Bibimbap you can choose what kind of rice, topping and if you want an egg as well. It’s at a neat price, most of the options would end up under £10. I also got a side of the Korean fried chicken which I quite enjoyed, I did find the pieces not so meaty though. It was coating heavy but a nice coating at that. It’s a generous size and the beef I had on mine was tasty. There’s a diverse mix of vegetables for mixing in and I enjoyed the bibimbap like I always do. The high temperature of the bowl keeps it toasty for a good while. This almost encourages you to take your time and savour every bite. You do need to mix in some soy or Gochujang as it not that flavourful without it.

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8/10

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

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Four Winters, Soho, London

Sick of summer? Well, you can always find an icy treat all year round at Four Winters. These guys “freeze the seasons” and have three stores here in London and a few in the Middle East. I can only imagine how well received a place like this would be over there. The schtick is that it’s liquid nitrogen product, and they offer a few out there charming flavours. They change them seasonally, and some interesting ones were: red bell pepper, knafeh and cereal crunch. It’s a manual process here at Four Winters, the ice-cream is prepared to order. This made for a slow experience, magnified by a large order from the customer in front of us. I went for the Birthday cake flavour in a middle-level size, price was a tad high but the snack was nice. As with most dry ice-based ice-cream the product is very smooth, less creamy than the normal stuff. Easy to get down and not as melty as you might think. It terms of taste it was satisfactory, though ended up tasting more like vanilla than cake.

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7/10

Four Winters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat Tokyo, Holborn, London

You can never know for sure, but although I had another decent meal at another Eat Tokyo, my stomach was feeling worse for wear afterwards. I’ve been to exactly one other branch of this chain and the game here is the same. Cheap, fast, fuss-free Japanese cuisine in the heart of London. The menu at Eat Tokyo is always mammoth, but I ended up wanting to get the bento box again. My friends went for the sushi and the pork katsu plate. Portions are as big as the menu, you’ll struggle to finish the dish. And I was mostly happy with the food, some of the teriyaki chicken tasted a bit funny. But good sides and it’s a fun variety. But as mentioned, I wasn’t feeling so sharp a few hours after the meal or the day after. I mean, I’d still go back, but be a bit more wary.

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7/10

Eat Tokyo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Princi, Soho, London

Princi in Soho always packs a crowd. There’s ample seating for them too, as well as plenty of happening Italian menu items on offer. All the food’s mostly ready, so it’s efficient to order and take your seat. As a result, there’s not much in the way of service. The interior and vibe at Princi is quite nice, even with the loud company and a quirky tableside drinking fountain art piece thing. At least I think you can drink from it. I ordered in, one vegetarian lasagna and a side salad (which you can get two options for). This was slightly over the £10 mark. Creamy, cheesy, well-made. I would have liked a bit more variety beyond the green beans (only mild gripe) and like all lasagna it does feel quite heavy. The pasta was fresh and tasty. The side salad was a complementary lightness, you don’t get too much of it on this size though. Pizzas are the most popular as it would appear and there’s plenty of sweet (Italian) treats on offer too. Nice meal, go join the crowds and check out Princi one lunchtime.

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8/10

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

Shake Shack, Covent Garden, London

Cheese, cheese, everywhere. That’s the good part. Everything else about Shake Shack was disappointing for me. Originally starting out in Madison Square Park in a literal shack, the chain had exploded globally and eventually found it’s way to Covent Garden here in London. As with any lunch time, it’s busy and there’s a chunky queue. My order was for the ShakeMeister single patty for £6.50 and a Cheese fries (£4.00). You get given a buzzer when you order as there’s a bit of a wait until it’s ready. The burger feels very small and sloppily prepared. You can’t quite see it, but there’s the tiniest of squirts (remind me how much I hate that word) of the ShackSauce. The meat wasn’t in a patty form either, it was split in pieces. It felt like a such a greasy eat. I felt unclean. The shallots were nice and the fries were as expected. The two storey venue does feature some fun people watching.

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5/10

Shake Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bone Daddies, Soho, London

I haven’t found much ramen in London that floats my boat, but Bone Daddies remains one of my current favourites. It’s a busy venue, in Soho, and there’s been a bit of a queue on some evenings. I evaded that with a lunchtime visit and ordered the Tonkotsu ramen for £11. Bone Daddies is not your typical ramen destination. By it’s own description it’s New York inspired and your ramen purist might roll up their eyes by the mere sound of that. Give it a chance though and it’s still a great shade of one of my favourite dishes. Fresh notes, flavourful broths and some of the best fried pork belly that I’ve had in this form. The twenty hour broth is bright not only in appearance, but in flavour with some punchy savoury seasonings. Some of the richest soups I’ve had and it won’t break the bank.

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8.5/10

Bone Daddies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vietfood, Chinatown, London

Take a break from the crowds of Chinatown and get into Vietfood. Great value Vietnamese cuisine in an antique-styled setting. The owner formerly worked as the Chef de Cuisine at Hakkasan and earned a Michelin star. The experience here at Vietfood is much more laid back. No booking required, find a table downstairs or up before the staff will whisk over a menu to you.  I went for the lunch special Com Hộp (£7.90) with the lemongrass chicken option. All the specials get served with a salad of salad, and rice. Both were worthwhile mentions, the rice has a nice soy seasoning (with garnish) and the salad has a tasty dressing. The piece of chicken isn’t huge, but together it’s enough for a lunch. The seasonings were very Vietnamese and tasted authentic. And with just a touch of char which brings out the smokiness of the sweet lemongrass marinade on the chicken. More then satisfactory.

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8.5/10

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