Scoop

Scoop, small and dainty on Brewer Street
Scoop London
A place I used to frequent often, their nuttella crepes are heaven!

History and Background:

Our gelato is a natural luxury

Having won many accolades over the years, I feel like Scoop Gelato has been overshadowed by the likes of it’s Soho newcomers and other fine artisan gelaterias (see Gelupo, La Gelateria), whilst it may be hidden from the spotlight, it still remains to be one of my favourite dessert places, (despite the lack of visits).

Emphasis on top quality natural raw materials, Scoop acclaims that there are no preservatives or no artificial colouring of their ice-creams. Gelatos, like others, are produced fresh everyday.

The crepes with warm nutella is a must order!

Scoop Gelato (16 of 19)
Matcha Crepe now on the menu! (squeals**)

01/04/2015: They have recently added a few new specials to the menu, such as Matcha/ Green Tea gelato, and crepe! I have added a few more photos from my most recent visit.

The desserts:

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Thicker crepes than Amorino, but quantity of gelato lacking in comparison to other places

Slightly pricier than others too, for:

  • Crepe with Lemon/sugar £3.70
  • Crepe with one gelato scoop £5.30 (+50p extra for an extra scoop)
  • Waffles are priced the same
  • Brownies at £2.50, with one scoop starting from £4.10
Crepe Scoop
THEY HAVE THE WARMEST NUTELLA YOU WILL EVER GET IN A CREPE

Scoop Gelato (1 of 1)

Scoop Gelato (1 of 19)
Nutella and Pistachio gelato for Nazia
Scoop Gelato (4 of 19)
Justin’s cheesecake gelato with a really yummy brownie

Scoop’s orange tables really don’t do me any good (or my camera rather). Justin thought the cheesecake tasted completely of milk rather than cheesecake. The matcha gelato was also rather bland and didn’t have that strong green tea taste to it. Nevertheless it’s all work in progress for Scoop since these are made fresh, daily! The brownie is definitely recommended, they have one of the gooey-est warmest brownies!

Scoop Gelato (6 of 19)
Strawberry Gelato with nutella crepe
Scoop Gelato (12 of 19)
Matcha Crepe with Pistachio, and Matcha Gelato, with sprinkled crushed almond cookies, served with whipped cream
Scoop Gelato (13 of 19)
Yes I’ve overloaded you with 4 photos, sorry.
Scoop Gelato (15 of 19)
Warm nutella sauce complemented the matcha flavour well, can get too heavy for one person, especially with 2 scoops…
Scoop Gelato (19 of 19)
A little sneak peak for whats inside your future crepe

The bits and bobs:

  • They have different opening times in the summer/ winter, see here for more information. (Still open relatively late)
  • Soho branch seems to have stopped doing crepes for a short while. You may want to check before going.
  • Very small Soho branch, would recommend going to Covent Garden if you would like a seat

Price: £

Scoop Fine Italian Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gaylord

Gaylord
Jujhar, Shaneel and Jerome at Gaylord

History and Background:

Second review from another visit can be found here: Gaylord (New Menu)

Another restaurant rich with history, established in 1966, they are in fact one of the oldest Indian restaurants around. Situated in the back streets of Oxford Circus, their front door is plastered with recommended timeout, squaremeal and tripadvisor stickers to illustrate that their name is worthy of recognition.

This restaurant is in fact the sister restaurant of Gaylord in Mumbai, India.

The meal:

gaylord

DSC08858
Poppadoms
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Chickpeas, potatoes, yoghurt, mint and tamarind chutney

A selection of dips to start of with. These were served once you’re seated,  a charge of £1.50 is added onto your bill. We first ordered, peshawari naan, leavened bread stuffed with nuts and raisin, and the original naan, to go with the mains. I don’t really know much about Indian cuisine, but I thought the peshawari naan could have been sweeter, and tasted slightly bland.

Naan
Naan £3.50
Peshwari
Peshawari Naan £4.75
Lamb Korma
Lamb Korma £15.50
Saag Aloo
My favourite, Saag Aloo £6.00

Out of the few occasions I’ve had Indian, I tend to think they overcook Saag Aloo with too much oil, especially at Tayyabs, White Chapel. Saag Aloo here was made just right, didn’t drink spoonfuls of oil.

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Lamb Shammi Kebab (Gaylord Specialty) £9.00
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Very average and quite dry, despite there being a dip
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Aloo Papri Chat £7.50

Aloo Chat consist crisp flour pancake spheres, chickpeas, potatoes, yoghurt,mint and tamarind chutney. Below we have Tandoori Chicken Salad, consisting of tandoori chicken strips, mixed greens, chaat masala vinaigrette. We had beers at the table, priced at £5.90 per bottle. (They only have 2-3 brands.)

Tandoor Chicken Salad £8.50

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Service: Absolutely awful. Whilst they were busy serving all other customers we were left ignored repeatedly after even requesting simple things such as more water, or beer. It took 2-3 times requesting, and 10-15 more minutes waiting, each time we wanted their attention. Poor service.

Bits and bobs:

  • Empty when we arrived but very soon quickly filled up in the evening. If you don’t have a booking, then go when it opens
  • They have deals such as 20% off or set meals, drinks are not included

Price: ££

Gaylord Indian on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Palm Court, Langham Hotel – Afternoon Tea

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Wendy and Joceline at Langham

History and Background

The Langham, London has been serving Afternoon Tea to the cream of London society since 1865.

Enriched with history,  the prestige and reputation of Palm Court, Langham Hotel,  has been alleviated even further in recent years, having been awarded several awards for ‘Top London Afternoon Tea 2012″. The West End hotel is located on Regent Street, one of London’s most iconic roads. Palm court itself, is displayed with elegance, intricately furnished with sage leather seats and a grand, high ceiling. Above average prices do not deter citizens from the traditional afternoon tea  experience, with the cheapest afternoon tea set starting at £47 per person.
The meal:
 
Afternoon Tea is often set, and may vary seasonally. Here is what you could expect:

Afternoon Tea with Wedgewood (£47.00)

* Currently a special offer for 10% off this set on opentable

Palm Court
Warm selection of scones from their Palm Court bakery with Devonshire clotted cream and strawberry preserve
Palm Court
Finger Sandwiches (unlimited)

Some finger sandwiches they currently have to offer:

  • London cured smoked salmon with whipped brie and rocket
  • Corn-fed chicken with tarragon mustard and plum tomato
  • Burford brown free-range egg and mustard cress
  • Smoked mountain ham with Comte cheese and white truffle oil
  • Cucumber with cream cheese and chives
Palm Court
Quintessentially British
Langham
The Tripod, and Amuse Bouches
More finger sandwiches

In terms of reviewing the actual food, it’s good food and you’re treated well, but at the end of the day, you really are being served some sandwiches, some scones and some tea. Is it worth £47? I’m not so sure. There are many amazing afternoon teas you can get around London for a cheaper price (expect for it to be between £20-£30.) Afternoon Tea at The Langham is mostly for the experience, after all, its up there with Fortnum & Mason and places on Park Lane.

Boey Jung
It’s the return of Boris! Clotted Cream and Jam on scones

 

Service: Very lovely staff, attentive, but not intrusive. There is 12.5% service charge atop of the menu choices.

Bits and Bobs:

  • Suggest you book
  • Smart Casual wear is the minimum
  • Afternoon tea is available all day, everyday

Price: £££

Palm Court on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

Shake Shack

Shake Shack
Probably one of the most visited burger joints since its opening Shake Shack

History and Background:

Everyone knows Shake Shack, everyone’s seen Shake Shack, everyone’s probably eaten at Shake Shack. On several occasions it has been my choice of food for working lunches with Pete, Grace and Daisy. Shake Shack opened in 2004, and went big in America. 34 locations across the US, with an anticipated IPO of $10 million back in Dec 2014, it sure is worth that much. Centrally located in Covent Garden in the main square, groups of people come flocking daily to grab a quick bite of the antibiotic-free Angus beef burgers. The heavy accentuation on how only natural and premium ingredients are used, makes this the place to go to, over its other fast-food competitors.

The meal:

Shake Shack
A typical single ShackBurger £5.00

You can choose between a single or a double burger, £3.00 extra for a double.

  • ShackBurger – cheeseburger topped with lettuce, tomato and ‘Shack Sauce’
  • SmokeShake – cheesburger topped with British free range Wiltshire cure smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce £7.00
  • ‘ShroomBurger – portobello mushroom filled with melted cheese, lettuce, tomato, ShackSauce
  • ShackStack – (favourite) – cheeseburger and a ‘shroom burger with the same toppings
  • Bacon, Cheese and ShackSauce additions are £2.00, £1.00 and £1.00 respectively
Shake Shack
Cheese Fries £3.75
Shake Shack
SmokeShack Burger

Unlike most burgers, they use very soft buns, the actual meat of the burger is on the thin side, and the lettuce can be more generous but all-in-all, Shake Shack burgers are easy to eat, great for the taste buds, and served pretty quickly. (I think you would probably classify them as a fast-food chain). Cheesy fries are heaven, they’re my favourite. Crinkle cut Yukon fries, crunchy, and not oily.

Shake Shack
Shack Stack and Cheesy fries combo is my norm….

Other choices on the menu include Flat-Top Dogs, Frozen Custard, Shakes, Ice Teas, Root Beer and Wines. Oh and dog food….

Shake Shack
The portobello mushroom overtakes majority of the space inside a Shake Shack burger

Service: Quick service, friendly staff, they will collect your food for you when the buzzers ready. Very casual, almost very American.

Bits and bobs:

  • Large outdoor seating area, rare to get an indoor (may have to queue for a seat sometimes.)
  • Open 11am-11pm every day, but Sunday where it closes 30 minutes earlier
  • Expect queues at peak times

Price: £

Shake Shack on Urbanspoon

Square Meal

[CZ] Oblaca

Oblaca
At the tallest tower in Prague
Background and Taste:

Located 66 metres above ground, the Oblaca restaurant in Zizkov Tower overseas the whole of Prague with its wide framed windows. Modern Czech, international and seasonal dishes flood the menu and the 50 seat restaurant sustains a very modern and metropolitan feel.

Before entry to the tower, you will see strange architectural designs by Czech designer David Cerny. They are what I think are naked babies climbing up the tower sides. It located away from the major attractions of Prague, so this may be something you want to do at the beginning, or the end of the day.

The meal:
Zizkov Tower
Our holiday in Prague, March 2014 started off on a high!
Zizkov Tower
A selection of breads are given, with garlic butter, of course on the house

If you’re used to London prices, you will find that dining even at the most expensive restaurants to be pretty cheap in Prague, (using Oanda exchange rate @ 14.03.15).

Zizkov Tower
Tiger Prawns – (335 CZK) £8.75
Zizkov Tower
Salad of fried prawns in panko breadcrumbs with a sauce of fried crab, chilli peppers and lime leaves

Met by surprise with our starters, how beautifully and intricately placed they were, it meant minimal editing when it came to posting! Tiger prawns were crispy, but tender inside, sauce added flavour. Below, was my main, foie gras, it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. Lukewarm when served and a bit bitty.

Zizkov Tower Oblaca
Foie Gras with grilled goose liver with gingerbread purée, marinated cumquats and chocolate sauce (245 CZK) £6.40
Zizkov Tower
Pretty Vanessa with her pretty main in a pretty city~

Next up was mains, I chose to have truffles from the Hall of Fame menu. So I have a fascination with mushroom of all types, and its not a surprise I ordered one here in Prague. The gnocchi was cooked  well with what might be truffle puree inside.

Zizkov
Truffle Gnocchi served with black truffle in a cream sauce (345 CZK) £9.00
Zizkov
Beef Steak a la chef (655 CZK) £17.10

Brazilian sirloin steak with grenaille potatoes and rossini sauce, it’s quite a lot of meat on one plate but the stunning visuals just made it so much more easy to finish.

White chocolate mousse (140 CZK £3.70
Zizkov
with pecan nuts in honey, pistachio gelée and almond croccante

We decided to order 3 desserts… but it was too much and we left the second and third basically unfinished. The only one that impressed us with the Pina Colada ice lolly and boy was it good.

Zizkov
Variation of Chocolate Foams (145 CZK) £3.80
Zizkov
with biscuit de savoie with a sour cherry glaze
Home-made Pina Colada Ice Lolly (155 CZK) £4.05

My absolute favourite! The pineapples soft and sweet, but obviously fresh, even on a cold day you have to try this!

Zizkov
with “sous vide” pineapple with a mixture of winter spices and chocolate-coconut bed

Bits and bobs:

  • Advised to book, but to be honest I think you can pretty much walk in since it didn’t seem to busy. (We came at lunch though.)
  • They have a bar area as well as another cafe on the same floor, (not linked to the restaurant but you can have a look at these if you’re going to Zizkov Tower).
Zizkov
360 view at Zizkov, amazing even on a cloudy day

Service: Sub-standard. Nothing special.

Price: ££

A: Mahlerovy Sady, 2699/1A, Prague 13000
T:
F: http://www.towerpark.cz/en/restaurant/

[HK] Cafe R&C

Cafe R+C
Fun latte art in Cafe R&C
Background and Taste:

Cafe R&C is a dainty cafe around the corner from Via Tokyo and Waffills situated on Haven Road. Known for doing the cutest and eye-catching coffee art in Hong Kong, they have been around since at least July 2010. Waiting is a normal thing in Hong Kong, and it’s hard to find somewhere good without having to queue first. Two visits to this place (with Fia, then Heoloi and Grace) incurred a 30-40 minute wait on average.

3 eyed cartoon – yes it’s another green tea latte! (sandwiches are in the background)

I would recommend to come here for the caffeine kick, but not the food, having been twice, the sandwich selection and toasties are canteen style, and mediocre. I like my toasted triangles pretty crunchy but found the ones here to be too soft. Cheese used is packaged processed cheese. Scallop spaghetti was a bit too salty (presuming the black sauce they have on the menu is squid ink) and the spaghetti dry. The lattes and coffees are above standard, but I wouldn’t say it’s the best I’ve had. Cafe R&C is more to do with presentation of latte art more than anything else.

Sausage Ham and Cheese Toastie $28
Cafe R&C
Crabmeat Toastie $28

They have a wide range of mains and foods from the brunch menu, including pasta, spaghetti, fry-ups and salads, some from the menu below (using Oanda exchange rate @ 14.03.15):

  • Toasties ($28) £2.45
  • Cappucino ($40) £3.50
  • Green Tea Latte ($42) £3.65
  • Honey Latte ($40) £3.50
  • Scallop with Black Sauce ($110) £9.55
Cappuccino $40
Cafe R&C
Scallop in Black Sauce $110
Cafe R&C
Chicken in spinach sauce $68

Bits and bobs:

  • Wifi available
  • Expect to table share

Service: Friendly casual staff, 10% service charge

Price: £

A: G/F, 22-24 Haven Street, Causeway Bay
T: +852 2890 9838
F: https://www.facebook.com/cafernc

Banh Mi Bay

Serving one of the best Vietnamese baguettes in London
History and Background:
I first heard of this small eatery by word of mouth, Vietnamese food is not so mainstream in the UK, especially in London, but its actually one of my favourite cuisines.(I always think I’m half-Vietnamese due to my father’s history with Vietnam but many people think otherwise haha…) There are several good Vietnamese places worthy of note, but I first thought I would try my hand at Banh Mi Bay, Banh Mi is a literal translation for Vietnamese baguette, so you can guess that one of their specialties would be their…baguettes! I came with with Matt and Amy, to the Holborn Branch. You can find Banh Mi Bay in Fitzoriva (takeaway only) and St. Pauls. They also do delivery to certain areas of central London, for more information check their site: http://www.banhmibay.co.uk/ With a strong focus on Vietnamese authenticity, they stick to Vietnamese delicacies and local foods and have a strong following of City workers committed to having their daily lunch at the Vietnamese cafe. Fast and quick service means that Londoners and commuters can easily hustle and bustle within work hours without having to wait for good food.
The meal:
Banh Mi
Chargrilled Satay Chicken £4.50

One of the cheapest eats in London, takeaway prices vary from £4-6.

  • Fresh summer rolls (my favourite) – recommended * £3.50
  • Deep Fried spring rolls £4.00
  • Banh Mi Baguettes ranging from Shredded Caramel Pork to Char-grilled Satay Chicken £4.50
    • Extra main filling £1.00
    • Add Pate £0.50
  • Pho (similar flavours) for £6.00
  • Rice Boxes £6.00
  • Vietnamese drinks ranging from £1.50 – £2.00
Slightly dry but filling
Banh Mi
Chargrilled Lemongrass Beef £4.50
If you like sweet chilli flavours these baguettes are right up your street

These are big baguettes, but I found them to be slightly too dry, it may be because there’s too much bread – condiments ratio. Nevertheless, they’re enjoyable and aromatic, and similar to those that I have eaten in Vietnam. The added kick from chillies and fresh herbs allow your taste buds to savour the fresh flavour.

Banh Mi Bay
Deep Fried Spring Rolls £4.00
Vietnamese rolls are pretty different to Chinese spring rolls so do try some!

Fresh summer rolls (below) are my absolute favourite, my grandma always make them for the family on special occasions, and it really does taste exactly the same! The rolls are tasteless without dipping it into the lemon/ fish sauce I really love, you should relish the taste when you get a chance.

Fresh summer rolls £3.50

Service: It does get really busy especially during lunch hours, but the staff are friendly all the same. They are super speedy and very quick service, just what people love. They won’t rush you out either, since most of the business is take-out.

The bits and bobs:
  • Opening hours can be quite specific:
    • Mon-Fri 1130-4pm, 5.30-9pm. Closed Sundays
  • No booking between 12pm – 2.30pm, weekdays
  • Expect a queue but it dies down
  • The pho is supposed to be quite good, so try them out, (I will next time)
  • If you are thinking of visiting, ask me to come with, please!
Price: £

Banh Mi Bay on Urbanspoon