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The QI Independent Restaurant Guide

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579522.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 7:42 am Reply with quote

Wasn't sure whether to start this here, or in QI Lists - but I guess it can be shunted if needs must.

I thought it would be a good idea to have a thread where we can share our recommendations for good, and unusual, eateries.

My reasoning behind the thread is twofold, really. First, I'm spending an increasing amount of time away from the office, so when arriving in a new town, it would be nice to be forearmed with a couple of places other than a manky hotel restaurant to grab a tasty bite.

Second, we went for a quite spectacularly good meal in a little Indian place on Upper Street in Angel on Saturday, and our party were pretty much the only group in there for the duration of our stay. As we left, contentedly stuffed, we saw the queue for the Pizza Express a few doors down trailing out the door. This struck me as being something of a shame.

So I'm not particularly interested in the PE's, Wetherspoons (ugh) or Nando's and the like of this world, as the meals are pretty much identical whether you are in Northampton, Southampton or wherever.

Contributions from our international contigent would also be most welcome for holiday purposes.

So I'll kick off by recommending the aforementioned Indian, called Emni, which sets itself apart from the usual run-of-the-mill Indians by offering slightly more unusual regional dishes than the standard korma/madras/vindaloo/tikka masala fare. I had a Rajasthani dish called a Laal Maas, which packed quite a punch, and just the right side of uncomfortably hot for my smoke-and-coffee ravaged tastebuds. The menu is also quite veggie-friendly.

I'll also mention my absolute favourite London restaurant, which is Porters, a traditional English restaurant in Covent Garden. I've lost count of the number of times I've eaten here, and never had a bad meal. It is our standard place when entertaining friends or relations from abroad and offers good, simple English food at reasonable prices. It may not be best suited to hot summer days, but their steak and kidney pudding is just the ticket in the winter - plus, it is one of the few restaurants in the immediate vicinity of CG that isn't a massive rip-off. Which is nice.

I'm sure I can add some more at a later date but any more starters for ten (ho ho ho)?

Sebastian flyte
579526.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:09 am Reply with quote

I love it here, stalkers will not find me here on a regular basis..Rex Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain.

579534.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 8:44 am Reply with quote

If you're talking Indian then I'd recommend a trip to Eriki in Swiss Cottage (a few other decent restaurants there as well), it's got some interesting dishes you don't usually see.

Thai/Malaysian, I'm always surprised to find that my favourite is still a very cheap place in Colindale called Jakarta which has a really nice chicken dish called Kuzy Ayam which is excellent with coconut rice.

If you want Hungarian then the Gay Hussar in Greek Street is very nice, with interesting dishes.

To be honest, I find the quality of restaurants in London where you get a meal for 20-40 per head has improved in the last few years and there are plenty of good examples around.

I should also mention that I've noticed in most restaurants a Chilean white wine often seems to be the best choice (I don't drink red), I still can't work out why.

579548.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 9:20 am Reply with quote

To be honest, I find the quality of restaurants in London where you get a meal for 20-40 per head has improved in the last few years and there are plenty of good examples around.

I think you're right. Naturally, there are a vast number of places to avoid (I've never, for example, had a great meal in a Chez Gerard and think they are generally overpriced and oversnooty for what you actually get on the plate) but there is indeed a wealth of good places to eat.

But still, what else would one expect from the centre of the known universe? ;-)

Things have been made even more affordable for us lately, as we are now in possession of a Taste London card, which for seventy quid (although Mrs T wangled a discount) gives you 50% off the food bill in no less than 800 London restaurants, with certain conditions. We've already used it enough in two months to cover the initial outlay, so it's worth its weight in jellytots.

The Gay Hussar is one of the participating restaurants, so I'll bump that one up the list of places to try.

579561.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:03 am Reply with quote

A great Indian restaurant is Lasan, in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. I've eaten there a couple of times and the food is just excellent. Innovative and very tasty, it's picked up a few awards as well. I'd especially recommend their fish dishes, and their vegetarian stuff is very good as well.

Sheriff Fatman
579582.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:29 am Reply with quote

For those that like a fusion of Indian and Middle Eastern food, I would heartily recommend Hanam's Kurdish restaurant in Edinburgh.

Excellent food at extremely good prices, I have never been disapointed when I have eaten there.

Ion Zone
579587.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 10:46 am Reply with quote

Olive Grove Canterbury, amazing food, really amazing, vegetarian friendly (bar the deserts). Full waiter service, very friendly, very very good quality Italian and Mediterranean food at a very reasonable price. Nice and clean. Though it is sometimes a bit crowded I have never had to wait for a table. I have taken people there on dates as well as friends. Has a nice photogenic little garden next to it with benches but no outdoor tables. The specialise in pizzas and pasta.

Yes, the olives are high quality and probably imported especially.

There was also a Spanish tapas bar I would recomend, but sadly they closed. I would avoid the italian resterant next to the canal as I know somone who had a bit of a funny stomach, though that may be due to the richness tof the food.

579600.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:14 am Reply with quote

Thought of another one, Tampopo. I've eaten at the one in Chelsea, but there are others in Manchester, Leeds and Bristol. Food is East Asian: Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Japanese, Korean etc, and very tasty.

Ion Zone
579609.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:27 am Reply with quote

A great Indian restaurant is Lasan, in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

I thought it was really very greasy spoon, there is a Wok'n Roll, though. Where is that in relation to the clock?

579613.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:30 am Reply with quote

BTW, I was in Cornwall and Devon on holiday recently (in case no one noticed my lack of posts for a while....) and had an ostrich steak from an ostrich farm somewhere in Devon. I have to say it was incredibly delicious and I'd describe it as very soft duck meat without the fat (it's apparently low in cholesterol as well).

Does anyone know anyone around London that serves ostrich meat (except for the burgers you get at the annual braai)?

579615.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:31 am Reply with quote

Rasa in Stoke Newington Church Street is a wonderful vegetarian Indian restaurant - I've had a couple of good and pretty inexpensive meals there.

If you're in the Boston area, there's a good Indian restaurant called Diva in Somerville.

In Portland, the best Indian restaurant is called Passage to India.

There are a lot of good Japanese restaurants in Portland too.

579624.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 11:39 am Reply with quote

Ooh, I just realised I can get the TasteLondon card for 50 because of my work links... and 3 month's free membership to the Gourmet club card, why didn't anyone tell me???

Num, num, num, num....

579647.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:07 pm Reply with quote

I'd recommend my local Chinese, The Drunken Chef in Thame, Oxfordshire.

Lovely staff and good service, very good food, takeaway service and a two koi carp tanks to watch while you wait. My favourites off the menu are the honeydew ribs (loads of tender meat on them) and chicken and cashew in yellowbean sauce. It is quite pricy though, but you feel that you've paid for good quality food and got value for money.

579661.  Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:25 pm Reply with quote

Does anyone know anyone around London that serves ostrich meat (except for the burgers you get at the annual braai)?

I don't know for definite, but you may want to try the Bok Bar, and it's attending Bok Shop, in Covent Garden. Unfortunately, their website is a big sack of pants.

I do have a couple of South African friends kicking about, so I can always ask around too.

Speaking of duck (which you weren't really, but there you go) I've had some rather splendid duck dishes at a place called Munal, a Nepalese restaurant no less, in Putney. They don't seem to have a website either.

580124.  Tue Jul 07, 2009 9:01 am Reply with quote

Ooh, just realised I can make you even more jealous and have 3 month's free membership of the GourmetSociety, I might try that first :)

Has anyone in Germany tried this place?:

I like the looks of the schnitzel :P


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