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.

rosas-thainoodle

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

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

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

Ping Pong, Soho, London

The number eight is an auspicious number in Chinese culture, it reflects fortune and wealth. And triple 8 is even better. It also happens to be the price of Ping Pong’s current lunch special. Only £8.88 for your fusion-Asian dumpling fix. There’s two basic options, one meat, one vege. I opted for the latter which gives you four dumplings and two sticky rice parcels. That’s definitely not enough for one appetite, let alone mine, so I supplemented the BBQ pork buns (£4.10). Ping Pong (the restaurant, not the sport) is quite prolific here in London, with nine stores and all the gravity of such a footprint hence deals – and marketing!

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On Sundays they offer a make-it-or-break it bottomless brunch dim sum option for £25. That has been tempting. The food is all steamed right in front of you. It’s fast and the dumplings and buns were great. The pastry is sticky but manageable and the fillings are flavourful and interesting. Even the rice parcels had some vege paste inside which made them enjoyable (I had anticipated plain-ish rice). And I was very content with the pork buns too. The fillings are proper and meaty and didn’t taste dodge as they can (and do) in some places. So I’d be bouncing back to Ping Pong in no time.

8/10

Ping Pong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gelupo, Soho, London

I have a new favourite gelato place in London. And I’m not the only fan. One of the busiest gelaterias in central London is Gelupo. Gelupo has only one store, and that’s in Soho. That is already a good sign. Why do I like this place? The gelatos have immense flavour, they come in a variety of revered and unusual flavour combinations and the soft, creamy texture is great. It is very melty, so make sure to eat up quick. The Island Poke (pineapple and chilli) sorbet has a wild kick worth trying, but my preference is in the gelatos. Of that, the ricotta and sour cherry is my favourite. They offer samples, although the salted caramel never disappoints. I can’t remember the name of the rich, chocolately flavour one I had – that seemed to have doses of everything and is an extremely indulgent dessert. Almost like a gelato fondant. Prices are fair, £3 ,£4, £5 for one, two or three scoops, and although there’s a queue at busy times it is always worth the wait.

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9/10

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

Mother Mash, Soho, London

My friend Davina, from Canada, but these days Melbourne, was in town for the week. We had spent a busy Monday morning being tourists around London. And like many tourists we were after a lunch with that British edge. Something traditional, something local. We ended up in Soho. And we found ourselves at Mother Mash. Mother Mash is a venue that celebrates the humble mashed potato. And a major way. It’s a three step process but your first big decision is what type of mash to go for. There’s eight (!), and the mashes are made to order. Some include vege, cheese, or are of the sweet potato cut. I liked both the Cheesy Mustard and the Colcannon ones that we got. These are some fun and worthwhile twists on the regular. And your other choices are for the main (sausage or pie) and one of five gravy options. The vegetarian sausages are executed well. And the gravies are delightfully savoury and there’s plenty of it. My pie was the special Lamb Hot Pot and this was tasty. It’s meaty, chunky and some awesome flavours (only downer is it might be ordered in). For £9.25 – £9.95 the price is reasonable and can understand it being a popular haunt for the work-time lunch.

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Mother Mash Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Snog, Soho, London

So much food, so little time. I’ve been procrastinating on checking out Snog for a little while now. Snog is right next to the regular street food market and on the times I’ve been interested, the size of the queue been a little off-putting. According to the locals in the office, it’s a bit of a hangouts for the teens and tweens. Snog plays the angle of “less guilt” desserts, the frozen yoghurt is fat free and sweetened with agave nectar. I can’t be bothered Googling if that means it is healthy or not so I’ll reserve my judgment there. I went for the salted caramel pour in classic size (£3.50) and I wasn’t feeling any of the toppings so went plain. It’s fine, it’s a mooted salted caramel taste and the colour is very pale. Not overly sweet, not salty at all. It’s all too boring on its own and the toppings are rather expensive, even two additions will set you back an extra £1.50. I’d like my froyo to be able to stand out without the toppings. So I’ll pass on the next go.

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6/10

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

Hoppers, Soho, London

One of my absolute favourite restaurants in London is Hoppers. And I’m not alone there, there is a constant stream of fans also queuing for the experience. Expect to wait some time if you’re coming during the usual dinner and lunch times. If full, it’s a process of leave your details and they’ll message you and on a chocka day that could be >1hr. One of the reasons it’s busy is due to being awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. But the more important reason is it offers fast, tasty, consistent Sri Lankan-styled food that is a huge step beyond the norm.  And I’m getting better at the ordering. So a base curry and a hopper is the first thing you should get. The conical dosa is fine if you prefer something with a bit of crunch. Of the menu, I quite like the root vegetable kari (£6) and the hopper (£4.50), you definitely need the one with the egg. It’s also nice to have a few sides and pickles as well for a nice, diverse plate, and it’s worthwhile sharing a few starters. Try the chicken lollipop chukka (£6) or the taro, cashew and ash plantain fry (£3.50) The drinks are fab, check out the Wattalapan Milk (£5.50) for something a more refreshing. Prices are more than reasonable at Hoppers and despite the long waiting time, it’s a speedy exit as well.

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10/10

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