Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Balthazar

We had a reservation for breakfast at the Chiltern firehouse which I ended up cancelling due to their poor kitchen inspection report. Instead we went to Balthazar which frankly left me a bit cold. Granted the room is lovely and indistinguishable from the New York room, but the whole experience was over and done with in 30mins. Ideal for a business lunch but a bit slick for the start of our trip. 
It started with the coffee. For £3.50 you get one small cup of filter coffee for the same price at what used to be the St John hotel you got a whole cafetiere. I asked for two scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and asked that instead of toast that I could get salad. Did I get any? No. Did I get any toast either? No. Rachel had an egg royal and although you can pay double to get two eggs, £9 gets you what can only be described as a lonely looking poached egg.
I won't go back as there are too many better places for breakfast.

Oskars bar

We had a reservation for lunch at Dabbous which wasn't all that hard to get. I had emailed them with our dates and they had space. Unfortunately, when they emailed me the latest tasting menu it didn't really appeal so I cancelled it and we had a few bites downstairs in Oskars bar. Unfortunately they don't update the online menu so the coddled egg and the short rib of beef with stiltechon wasn't available but we did have the olives, two lots of the chicken wings and the short rib sandwich.
The wings were boneless and were ideal to have with cocktails but could have been more seasoned with both spice and salt for our palates. The sandwich was good and probably would have suited HI.
Oskar was there himself and was very chatty and the cocktails good and unusual in their taste and ingredients.
The decor was industrial chic and if I were in the area I would stop in again as it had a pleasant relaxed vibe.

Busaba Eathai

This may be a chain but it delivers on so many fronts. The food is excellent. Hot clean flavours. We stuck to the salads. The pomelo salad, som tom, chicken satay salad, the calamari, beef and ginger and the duck massuman. All very very good. Quick service, buzzy atmosphere. I wish we had one in Glasgow. It was so tasty we went two days in a row.

Berners Tavern

A lot has been written about this place and indeed it is a stunning room. We sat at the bar and had a really nice time. For such a fancy place the staff were very chatty and friendly and not snooty. I had a very good non alcoholic cocktail and the bar tender allowed us very generous samples of wine before Rachel chose her glass. They even charged our phones for us. I would definitely return here.

Spuntino

We stopped in here after Oskars bar. Given it was 3 pm it wasn't too busy. The food and cocktails were all pretty good. I a dark and stormy with the fried chicken, steak tartare and brown sugar cheesecake. Would definitely return.

Blind pig

One of many of Jason athertons group. There were 4 of us, the jar of hummous and aubergine was lovely along with the now ubiquitous padrons. We had quite a few very good and strong cocktails including the slap and pickle. Would go back 

Ember yard

There were 5 of us for dinner so a place that served small plates seemed to suit us. Our waitress was very good, friendly, efficient and told us we had orders too much.
We orders the squid, which was good the sea bream which was ok, the trout which I didn't like but others did.
The 3 standouts were the presa, the underblade and the burger which were all delicious and I would have again.
The tomato salad was lovely as was the butter lettuce. The parsnip chips really didn't need the honey but still got finished.
We has order the leg of lamb to share which I found to be the most disappointing of all the dishes. I expected it to be slow cooked and falling apart, instead, it was rare and in some parts seemed uncooked. The 3 makes still ate it all up but I couldn't eat any of it.
As we shard everything it came to £30 each including coffees, which is pretty reasonable.