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. 


Pret A Diner - 30/05/12

I have been away so lots of places to catch up on. The week before last before London turned back into a city swimming pool I went to the pop up restaurant prêt a Diner.  Located for 3 months just round the corner from Mayfair with 2 Michelin starred chefs and Colebrook Row in residence it sounded exciting.  However it came at a steep price, £75 for 3 courses with wine, cocktails, desserts and a main course upgrade coming as extra.

Trying too hard to be hip - needed to concentrate on the basics first

Colebrook row was taking over the bar, I know the bar well so was expecting good things. The cocktails were priced at £12 each so at the pricey end. Overall we were happy, but I got a Bellini that was half full compared to everyone else in the room, obviously opening another bottle was deemed too much effort – not good enough at £12.

The food was upstairs where a grand old room is covered in graffiti and turned into a basketball court.  All our  table chose the Niederkofler menu over Locatelli’s as it looked more appealing. We were given the hard sell to upgrade and to get mineral water, which at this price would not expect.  The amuse bouche, starts and pasta were excellent and could not fault. However we were all disappointed with our main courses, even those who had upgraded,  as were served undercooked fondant potatoes and veg. The reason for the rushed main course maybe due to the fact they were drastically running out of time for the next sitting of people. We were not offered desserts, but asked to go downstairs to the bar for a surprise (it was a friend’s birthday). We went down to the bar which had been quiet when we left but now bursting at the seams , the staff were running around apologising to everyone. Timings it seemed were not going to plan. We arrived at our saved table (much to everyone else’s annoyance) and a very large portion of cake was delivered to us. It was a relief to get something for being shooed off our table before dessert also the bill was racking up.

I got the impression it is more about the theatre of the experience rather than the food and although I enjoyed it for the most part, will not be going to another Pret a Diner experience.  

Talk Rating: 3.5/5 (louder more hip music then any normal michelin restaurants)

Pret a Diner on Urbanspoon

Ev Bar and deli – 24/05/12

London feels like the best place in the world when the Sun is shining, you have a chilled glass wine in your hand chatting away to friends. Unfortunately as  sun is so rare everyone else has the same idea.  So when I was looking for somewhere to meet a friend near Waterloo I was a bit stuck,  she suggested going to the arches just behind Waterloo East. There are a few bars along this stretch with plenty of plants around the tables.

It is like a little oasis in the middle of the industrial wasteland. 

 I walked thru the throngs of people and getting a table seemed very unlikely, but just at the end I reached EV deli and nabbed a table.  The view of the shard was framed beautifully by the avenue of foliage  and so took a dodgy shot on my phone.  EV have a bar and restaurant next door, but that looked heaving so went straight into a huge deli and after some searching found a cold Italian pinot grigio, opting not to go for the cheaper Turkish options. I didn’t try the food, but looked like good mezze food and cheap prices. The atmos outside was great with a  bustle, but no piped music (that I could hear) and just the gentle hum of chatter. Definitely one to keep on the list.

Talk Rating: 5/5


The Secret Garden Pub - Battersea 13/05/12


 Last weekend we were lucky enough to have a small break from the terrible weather. A beautiful afternoon in Battersea Park, followed by an evening in a pub garden was considerably better thanpredicted half thru the week.  Along Battersea park road is the Secret Garden pub, bit of a wasteland area and not somewhere I don’t think you would think of going unless you worked or lived near here. However it was conveniently located 15 mins from the park and therefore was very handy when darkness approached. 

...we ventured outside to find a very large garden with an eclectic mix of old sofas, rugs and lights; more shabby than chic.

It was Sunday and unbeknownst to the person who had booked the area it was quiz night. The quiz master was armed with a pa system, which was not he atmos we were looking for to celebrate our friend’s engagement. So we ventured outside to find a very large garden with an eclectic mix of old sofas, rugs and lights; more shabby than chic.  This was not helped by the reluctance of staff to clear dinks and food. However, as we had an area  it was quickly tidied before we sat down.  As the night drew in and fairy lights turned on the ambiance improved. At the same time a nearby group started strumming their guitars sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much  - mixed reviews in the group.    

There is the normal pub food, roasts, burgers, fish and chips etc. We only tried some nacho’s, which took some considerable time to get to us and although devoured quickly were pretty average.  The staff were not overly impressive and one guy was downright chippy and over familiar. If I was in the area may stop by, but was not in my opinion a destination pub. 

Talk rating: Sunday Quiz 2/5, Outside 5/5


Drink, Shop & Do 05/05/12

Saturday night and my sis’s birthday beckoned in King Cross. With some trepidation she had booked her birthday at this recently opened venue. The concept is kinda what is says on the tin; a shop sits at the front which makes a great foil for any random tourists who want to come in, on the first floor is a bar and the next floor is an area to ‘do’. The ‘do’ element can be anything from makeup classes to ‘Play with Clay Star Wars Style’ – there are some pre arranged events or you can book a private class for a hen do. All this seems quite strange for a birthday and so onto the 4th element, that doesn’t quite fit the title ‘Dance’. They have revamped an ex sex shop in the basement where you can drink and dance, this is where we were.

What they have created is a place for girls without the usual tacky hen do accoutrements.

We had a small area, which wasn’t really conducive to sitting, but as we had quite a big group, standing made more sense. When we got there at 8, the music was loud but not unpleasant and the cocktails were flowing. The cocktails are some of the most full on concoctions, me and my friends had tried for a while – very alcoholic (hey I am not complaining). Once the place filled up the music level was ramped up and the queues at the bar were longer. They had 3 staff but cocktails if made properly take a while, luckily I had a bevvie of men to do the waiting for me.

The music was old school 90’s – first time I have heard Neneh cherry, Buffalo Stance for many a year, but fun and not cheesy. What they have created is a place for girls without the usual tacky hen do accoutrements. Slight warning though think the boys are catching on, apparently boys to girl ratio is starting to even out.  

Talk Rating: 8-10pm 3/5, 10-2am 1/5

Dance Rating: 4/5


Cote d'argent & L'Atelier Gourmand - Lille 28/04/12

Just come back from a weekend in France, a quick weekend booze cruise. At least once a year we make a trip across the water to purchase our BBQ wine. We have at least 5 or more BBQ's a year where we go through a lot of alcohol and so some cheapish French plonk does the job.

BBQ Wine and Fizz

We started off at the Eurochunnel and the worst bacon sandwich I have ever had (Burger King, why am I not surprised) and after a delay arrived around at 1. We had a already booked a restaurant; Au Cote d’Argent in Calais, we had been there before and knew it was pretty solid. It is positioned by the beach overlooking the ferries coming in and out of the port, not exactly picturesque but pleasant none the less. Food focuses on seafood and was very good, how sustainable it was we are not sure. We mainly had seafood, but think the prawns were probably trawled and therefore on our ‘should not eat list’.

Talk rating: 5/5

We stayed at the L’Hermitage Gantois in Lille. Out first choice had been in Le Touquet, as I haven’t stayed there before however after viewing Trip Advisor our chosen hotel had bed bugs eeeeuww. After a week of wrangling managed to get a refund and with no other affordable options in Le Touquet so opted for the reasonably priced 5 star in Lille.

In the evening we went to a very small 20 cover restaurant, run by a family; L’Atelier de Gourmond.  Service was efficient if leisurely, with only 1 waitress things couldn’t happen instantly. We were very happy with the relaxed service, as already pretty full from lunch and needed time to enjoy the champagne and amuse bouche.  They tucked into fresh starters  of duck carpaccio and then hefty main courses, of veal with summer vegetables and lobster risotto.  Desserts looked amazing but no way of eating that. Great ambiance and good food would recommend to anyone looking for relaxed, quality dining.

Talk rating: 5/5