FIVE GUYS 

Recently I tried out Five Guys; the American fast food chain that seems to be popping up all over London! That being said, the popularity seems to have slightly dipped in recent months but crowds still flock to the Covent Garden branch so I thought it was worth checking out.

I must admit I played it safe with my order – standard hot dog, fries and a Diet Coke. Not the most exciting of choices but it’s simple and classic and *should* be done well.

Unfortunately, from the minute I stepped in the door I was stressed! It was extremely busy and the ordering system wasn’t at all clear (perhaps I should have researched this in advance? Or maybe I’m being dramatic…) but the staff were helpful and efficient.

After working out how to collect my food I was excited to tuck in! I considered the food decent quality for a fast food joint but not spectacular. It didn’t help that there were a fair few intoxicated people making a scene, which didn’t exactly create a pleasant dining experience (through no fault of Five Guys!).

For a speedy lunch I would recommend to a certain extent but I felt it was rather pricey for the quality and atmosphere.

Five Guys – speedy summary: 

Grub for your gravy ***

Calibre of cuisine **

Vibrant vibes **

Top treatment ***

Diva direction – Ideal for a carb-loading refuel during a shopping trip…! 

GAUCHO

Let me start by saying that this is not a restaurant you would visit every week (unless you’ve got extremely deep pockets!) However, for a special occasion it is ideal. When I moved to North Greenwich and was looking for a venue for a celebratory meal, Gaucho at the 02 immediately jumped out! I’m a huge fan of steak and my expectations were through the roof after hearing excellent things from friends.

The 02 arena may not appeal as a particularly good location for a relaxing stress-free evening but as soon as you step through the doors into Gaucho’s famously dim lit interior any sense of apprehension will fade away! The staff are very friendly and attentive without being overbearing (annoying staff = a sure fire way to put a dampener on the evening!)

Our waiter thoroughly explained the different cuts of meat available and guided us through the wine list. As we were celebrating we had a bottle of champagne, Chateaubriand to share (medium rare), fries and a side salad. Being a bit of steak snob I was concerned that the food would be disappointing…there was absolutely NO need to worry! The food and drinks were delicious – the best steak I have ever eaten (big claim, but warranted here). Succulent and full of flavour, the meat was cooked to perfection.

Not content with stopping there we also had the “dessert sampler” – a trio of mini seasonal desserts. I particularly liked the chocolate mousse so I hope that features as one of the delights if you happen to visit!

The entire evening was brilliant – a great mix of fun, fabulous service and fine dining! Funds allowing, I will be returning!

Gaucho (02) – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy ****

Calibre of cuisine *****

Vibrant vibes ****

Top treatment ****

Diva direction – Special occasions/feeling flush/someone else paying 😉

BUBBLEDOGS

Hotdogs + champagne is quite possibly my dream combo. Despite hearing mixed reviews (majority of which were negative) I was excited to try it out myself.

Located in the beautiful Fitzrovia, the restaurant layout struck me as being a bit odd – high wooden benches which didn’t seem to make the most of the limited space. I visited at lunch time on a Saturday. I hadn’t made a booking and it was very busy so we were seated at the bar (not a problem for me but this might be a issue for others).

The staff were friendly and accommodating and the music choice was excellent – very much a retro vibe which I loved! Unfortunately the food was underwhelming, considering the price. We paid approx. £40 for 2 hotdogs (New Yorker and BLT), 2 sides (sweet potato fries and spicy tots) and 2 glasses of champers which to me seemed expensive for a quick lunch as the hotdogs were fairly small and plain; the food quality simply didn’t match my expectations.

I’m glad I tried Bubbledogs as it is a fun venue, however, next time I’m struck by a hotdog craving I will be going elsewhere. So much choice for American dining in London (special mention to The Diner and Electric Diner) for a more reasonable price.

Bubbledogs – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy **

Calibre of cuisine **

Vibrant vibes ****

Top treatment ***

Diva direction – great place if you’re looking for a novelty location 

BLACKLOCK


If you’re a fan of chops, Blacklock is the place for you! Located slightly off the beaten track in Soho (i.e. far enough away from tourist hell) you could easily walk past this little gem!

The restaurant is located in the basement area which is spacious and, dare I say it, slightly hipster (worst offender = wine out of tumblers!) But don’t let that deter you as the food is of a good standard and the atmosphere is unpretentious and welcoming.

I visited with my boyfriend and we went for the “all in” which included 3 pre chop bites (mini starters), all of the day’s skinny chops and 2 sides for £20pp.  I would definitely recommend doing this for your first visit as it is an opportunity to sample a variety of meats for a decent price.

Following the chops you may feel like you couldn’t possibly manage a dessert but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE think again. Blacklock only offers one dessert (again, don’t be deterred) – it is quite possibly the best cheesecake I have ever had. The waiter served us from a huge tray bake…I will willing him on to cut me a bigger slice!

Blacklock is an ideal location for a relaxed evening on a moderate budget.

Blacklock – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy ***

Calibre of cuisine ***

Vibrant vibes ***

Top treatment ***

Diva direction – Fantastic location for casual evening meal and drinks with a group of *meat-eating* friends! 

Cinnamon Soho

cs-logo-21

Since moving to London I have been on the lookout for a really good Indian restaurant. And I think I may have found it in Cinnamon Soho! A sister (and more purse friendly) branch of Cinnamon Club in Westminster located just off Carnaby Street it certainly lived up to the positive buzz around it!

The restaurant is quite small but didn’t feel cramped, and the service was friendly and unobtrusive. Our waiter recommended several dishes and was knowledgeable about the menu.

The food tasted authentic and flavoursome and the portions are a suitable sharing size. One dish I would thoroughly recommend (and haven’t stopped going on about since) is the fantastic lamb fillets – make sure these feature on your order, you won’t regret it!

Overall it was a great evening and I can’t wait for my next visit to see if there have been any new additions to the menu!

Cinnamon Soho – speedy summary:

Grub for your gravy  ***

Calibre of cuisine ****

Vibrant vibes ***

Top treatment ****

Diva direction – Perfect date night location!