Tag Archives: london

The New Angel restaurant review

Now on a student budget, the frequency of visiting fine food establishments has slowed to a snails pace (presumably a snail not too fussed with how its grass is prepared). However, with John Burton Race back in London and his new restaurant, ‘The New Angel’, offering 50% off, my foodie instincts kicked in and I had to book.

Having been seated by a clearly accomplished waiting team, the menu and breads followed quickly.

I went for an onion and potato bread, followed by a soda bread. The onion variety was a little charred on top, giving it a slightly bitter and unwelcome aftertaste. Though the sweetness of the onion was very pleasing. The soda bread was beautifully soft and trumped the onion and potato.

Look at the aeration on that!

Look at the aeration on that!

After ordering, an amouse bouche was quickly served; a mushroom soup with a parmesan tuille. In terms of amouse bouche of mushroom soups that I’ve had in the past, this was probably the finest (surprising amount of competition there). Really deep, rich pure mushroom flavour. The tuille I felt was a little stale and had to revert to the uncivilised, yet welcome practice of dunking.

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For starters, I decide to shun the advice of the maitre’d (very good he was by the way) of going for the salmon, instead opting for the scallops, served with onion bhaji and pickled vegetables. Beautifully cooked and presented, if perhaps a little small. I felt however that there could have been a little more of a curry hit in the curry elements and a bit more pickle in the pickled elements. Still a pretty solid starter. Let’s go for a 7/10

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Choosing a main was nigh on torture (albeit being nothing like torture). I would have happily eaten all of the mains offered (aren’t I a  saint) and had to place my trust in my sister to choose for me, as I was that pathetically indecisive. Her verdict being the pigeon with savoy cabbage, a truffle and madeira sauce, with a mushroom and foie gras tart.

The smell emanating from the dish was just lovely. The pigeon was succulent and perfectly pink. The skin wasn’t crispy, instead melted away to gamey deliciousness. The sauce was deep in flavour of madeira and truffle, balanced perfectly. While rich, it was harmonious with the dish. Savoy cabbage was a nice accompaniment; can’t really say much more about that! But the best thing about the dish and in fact the whole night (barring the company of my sister of course … she paid!) was the mushroom and foie gras tart. Delectably smooth foie gras, worked perfectly in the crisp tart shell, with the earthy mushrooms finishing off a wonderful mouth feel (whatever that means!).  It was a most enjoyable dish. To parallel the theme of indecisiveness here, I can’t decide between an 8 or 8.5/10.

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Dessert was aesthetically stunning; a strawberry and lemon mille fueille, with raspberry sorbet and italian meringue. I almost felt bad taking my first spoonful (well, not quite)… then I tasted it. Ooh, just lovely. Fresh, light, indulgent; all words that I look for in any dessert!

It was a tad hard to eat, with the mille fueille taking a little persuasion to break free and I felt there could have been a touch more zing in the lemon element, but I’m knit picking. The italian meringue was of the highest quality, putting my own attempts to shame. The real pleasure of this dessert was the number of different combinations, making each spoonful interesting. From the texture of the crisp millie fuille with the varying creams and meringues around the plate. The flavours of raspberry and the marshmallowesque of the meringue. 8/10

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Coming in at under 30 quid a head, including a glass of wine, ordered out of a fear of looking cheap by my sister, represents very good value for money. I feel if I were paying full price (£55), perhaps an extra amouse bouche and or a pre – dessert, would have sweetened the deal (pun intended).

Not that I have any power, influence or even credibility, but I’d give it a Michelin!

Thanks for reading.

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Nearly made it to 2000 views on my blog, so thanks to anyone who has pushed that number up (I’m sure even my Jewish mother couldn’t have done that by herself!)

May be reviewing the Taste of London festival in June (though don’t hold me to that).

I will post a special review (well for me anyway) at some time in August … Osteria Francescana. So you all have that to look forward to!

Thank you

Chakra restaurant review – Mutton dressed as lamb!

As we turned up to Chakra, we were a little embarrassed. I thought I had booked for a standard curry house, but the white leather interior and people in suits put an end to such thoughts.

Our poppadoms had been deliberately broken up. They were trying too hard, I don’t know how such touches were meant to add to the experience, but rather trying such things as they felt they had to, to make a ‘posher Indian experience’. This ended in a rather comical scene where my brother (who had recently fractured his finger), was trying to put some chutney on a crumb of poppadom (maybe you had to be there!)

We were even given an amouse bouche; a red bean thing. Nice enough, but I started to think they were trying to be something they weren’t. If you want to be an upmarket restaurant  then you have to serve upmarket, better food, not just pretend to do so.

As the mains arrived, all I could think was ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.

The food was cold and lacked that deep depth of flavour. Give me a good old curry house all day long to this. There is a reason why places like Benares are successful. They have managed to Westernise and modernise their cuisine, without losing real, delicious Indian flavours. Chakra tried to poshen it up and failed. How does breaking the poppadom in to tiny pieces add to the experience; it doesn’t!

The service by some of the waiters was, like the food, a little cold. When taking our orders, their eyes would drift else where and showed little interest or respect to us. At my favourite Indian place (Sai mantra in Gants hill), they often forget cutlery, the menus are old takeaway menus and the waiters speak little English, but they are polite and appreciate the custom; again this over robotic, often rude waiters yet dressed nicely, all day long!