Want to know whether a bar, restaurant or club is suitable for that girly chat or romantic meal, check our reviews below. Each review has a talk or a dance rating rating out of 5. 

Monday
Oct012012

SushiSamba - 27/09/12

I am amazed that have I not heard more about SushiSamba, its neighbour Duck and Waffle has had quite a lot of blog coverage, but Suhisamba has not figured on the radar at all. I also work less than 2 minutes away, so it was a surprise when I saw it as one of the most talked about restaurants in a Zagat email.

Outside terrace before sunsetFrom the pictures it looked huge and spectacular, but the number one reason to go was obviously for the view. For those of a delicate disposition I should forewarn you the lift is quick, very quick and goes up very high; 40 floors. My drinking companion for the evening and I felt peaky and slightly shaky when we got out, apparently they have already slowed it down (I am not sure that is true.) As you are launched rapidly skywards the most amazing views of London are revealed.

CocktailOn arrival you have a few options, if you are just drinking; there is a bar on the left hand side with views to the South or you can go downstairs to the roof terrace with its Orange glowing tree set against a backdrop of the North east of London, the final option is a smaller bar with again views towards the shard.  So apart from the views is it worth the rocket ride to the 40th floor? The positives; service was quick even at its busiest times, the drinks were expensive but not outrageous a glass of Laurent Perrier was £12.50 with cocktails around £10 and all the staff we encountered were super friendly and not pretentious, the acoustics were really good, even when it became packed it was easy to hear yourselves. On the negative side, we got charged 12.5% service charge when purchasing at the bar, v annoying; The clientele was very one dimensional mainly middle aged suited men taking clients out, not enough seating and no cover from the elements in the outside areas.

Outside terraceView from 39th floorAll in all though a fun place, amazing views but may end up a bit of a tourist trap due to its WOW factor.

Talk Rating: 5/5

Wednesday
Sep122012

White Rabbit - 08/09/12

I have been rather busy since my holiday and so this is a week old, luckily it was a pretty memorable experience. I had been prompted to try it by a friend who knew the owners, but more importantly it is round the corner so there was no excuse. I was tempted to try this place for dinner with a few friends, but this can always be risky so took the less perilous option and went for brunch. All the more exciting as it had only just opened for brunch.

As I approached the trendy force surrounding the restaurant was strong, very strong; from the lack of signage and exposed girders to the retro styled staff.  Not that I am complaining about  trendy places it is all helping my property go up in value and if they serve good food means fewer taxi trips. The décor was clean and minimal, it oozed calm. They had little touches like a lambswool rug on benches and also royal embossed mugs, which were tongue in cheek.

 We ordered two bloody mary’s straight away, both of us quite hungry.  After 10/15 minutes started to get a bit itchy as it wasn’t that busy in there and I started to wander if this was a good idea.  I chased the order and asked to order our food as I was starting to get concerned that was going to take a long time too. She assured me the barman was on the case and it was just being ‘lovingly made’. When it arrived and order taken we could start to relax.

 Smoked Trout with Scrambled EggThe cocktail was good, interesting addition of red wine, which made it less rich could have had a hint more horseradish in for me. Food arrive quite quickly after ordering. My first reaction was wow that is small. I am not sure whether that was due to my hunger or recent experiences in NY, but portions were a little on the tiny side.  However they tasted good; smoked trout with scrambled egg was a nice change from the regular Smoked Salmon egg combo.  The scrambled eggs were very tasty but could have been a tiny bit wetter.

The atmosphere was great, no music just relaxed chatter. Unlike Cookshop it was somewhere you could imagine lounging around reading papers. The service I am sure will pick up and feel more polished as time goes on, would recommend checking it out.

Talk Rating: 5/5

 

White Rabbit on Urbanspoon White Rabbit on Urbanspoon
Tuesday
Sep042012

New York Trip - Day 4

Cookshop; 156 10th Ave (between 19th St & 20th St)

Feeling a bit delicate on a Saturday in NY then you have to do brunch in Chelsea with everyone else who has not managed to escape the city. The destination was Cookshop, who pride themselves on their ethical and organic ingredients.

On arrival it looked like the chance of getting a table was zero,  a metaphorical coach load of people had just arrived and even getting through the door was a challenge. Unbeknownst to me a table had been booked and after the crowds dissipated I managed to order a bloody mary at the bar and wait for the others.  The bloody mary was very spicy with the horseradish really coming through. The menu did offer a host of variations, but I’d gone for the basic; brunch hung-over is not the time to experiment. The others in the group had mixed feelings about their cocktails a vodka infused one a bit heavy on the vodka.  In hindsight think I should have opted for the more adventurous; Meat Packing Mary -  House infused bacon vodka with Applewood bacon slice.


Surprisingly after witnessing the many people leaving on arrival, there were some empty tables, but the atmosphere was still buzzy. It was definitely a group brunch place not for couples who want to sit for hours reading the papers.  I can’t remember any music playing, probably because the noise of gossiping groups masked any background noise.  I ordered the grass fed burger with fried egg - $20.  The burger served medium came with skin on potato fries, it was a knife and fork burger and was very succulent with a good mix of flavours, the egg oozing but not too much.  Better than Hawksmoor, hmmm not sure.  Service was slick with a little wait for cocktails, but food was prompt.  It is the great place to get quality food, killer cocktails and with the highline opposite perfect to walk off your brunch. 

 

Talk rating: 4/5 (dependent on who you have next to you)

Thursday
Aug302012

New York Trip - Day 3

Salon De Ning at the Peninsula Hotel guest review from Suzanne Hart

New York in summer is all about the roof top bars and Salon de Ning is one of the nicest (and probably amongst the priciest).

The location is great (700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street) and the views from the roof top bar are stunning. Watching the sun set behind the sky scrapers of New York whilst sipping cocktails is one of life’s great joys!

The bar is served by a private elevator in the hotel, which only holds about 10 comfortably and so did get busy at the end of the night. Salon de Ning consists of 2 outdoor roof terraces and one small inside bar. The decor inside was designed to evoke the glamour of 1930's Shanghai and I definitely think they have the Asian glamour spot on. Outside there is little decoration the views more than make up for it. Comfy chairs makes it too easy to spend hours sipping cocktails!

There are 2 roof terraces - one smoking and one non-smoking. This makes for a very pleasant experience for non-smokers, although the smoking terrace was much busier and would probably have been better atmosphere.
Music wise it was a very mixed bag! 80's old school rock followed by the latest dance tune, but definitely caters for everyone and if you don't like one song you know then next one will be the polar opposite! Volume just perfect so you could hear the songs, but not loud enough to make shouting necessary!
Price wise its definitely not cheap! Cocktails started at $24, with a champagne cocktail being $26. A bottle of Heineken was $13. My advice would be to forget the price and go cocktails - a much more authentic experience and although double the price I reckon it was triple the alcohol in the cocktails! With tip expect to be paying $30 per drink.
Cocktail recommendations would be the Big Pear Martini, Blueberry Sling & Rub Red Breze. The Raspberry Royale & Sorrento Limonata champagne cocktails were both disappointing and so I would steer clear of the sparkling drinks.

Talk Rating: 5/5 (non smoking side)

Thursday
Aug302012

New York Trip - Day 2

El Centro, 824 Ninth Ave. (54th St.)Manhattan, NY 10019

During the day we eat at our local diner (review to come) and then went to an outlet mall; Woodberry Common where the food is very much secondary so won’t bore you that. In the evening we were all shattered after having a day of full on shopping day.  After some review searching decided on a relaxed  Mexican meal. Arriving at 9.30 ish we had to wait 20 mins and so had a drink at the bar. We all opted for various types of Margarita’s, my friend keen on the slushy, original kind whereas my other friend and I opted for Strawberry margarita’s at $12 each, not bad for a quality margarita. The food; what I remember of it was good and a few choices for my veggie friends which is always a plus. A new thing on us were chilaquiles, described by the waiter ‘as nacho’s on steroids’,  my firend thought they were great.  Portions were large but not crazy, the guacamole very tasty but without the theatre of Rosa Mexicano’s where they make it at your table.  Service was slightly odd with many asking the same thing, however that was made up by the fact they were super hunky.  Would definitely be back, when I’m feeling a bit more sparky.

Talk Rating: 4/5

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