London’s gastronomy is various, as various as many ethnicities it accommodates.
Mexican, Italian, Greek, Romanian, Turkish, Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, English, Polish, Hungarian? You name London’s eating it. This doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy job to pop in in the right venue. Search, google, ask for a friend’s opinion, check, book or just walk in. Picking the right location and restaurant according to your tastes in terms of food, location, value for money is a difficult task and you can easily blow it up.
It happened so many times to me since I’ve moved to London that I’ve given up trying to go out for a nice meal.
But the worst of all experiences was last week when both I and my boyfriend felt like having a glass of wine and some dessert, alfresco, central London but in the same time far from the Saturday evening madding crowd. We checked the terraces behind the Odeon cinema and just went with the flow and sat down in an Italian restaurant. We didn’t have too many choices and just order what they had in the wine and dessert menus. A glass of rose and a soufflé for me. The wine, a spicy taste more than a fruity one and the soufflé was from another film. The crust was old, warmish with some whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream. Terrible money for value, far too expensive, more than a cake in Harrods or a glass of wine in a posh club.
Conclusion, just avoid any type of unknown restaurant in a touristic place!
What surprised me in a pleasant way was a restaurant in a mall shopping centre, Las Iguanas. I’m not very keen on these kind of venues but turned out to be an excellent choice. Not mine, my friend’s one. The food was delicious, especially the gambas tapas. And the drinks so moreish. The Freixenet cocktails, the shots mixing cacao and lime, cinnamon, tequila, whiskey cream… so luring, just perfect for a lazy Saturday afternoon.
Sometimes trends are to be followed. Chains offer you exquisite flavours, their experience and expertise to the market. They confirm a public demand and this particular one proves it in London and other cities.