Paradise by way of Kensal Green

19 Kilburn Ln. London W10 4AE United Kingdom • +44 20 8969 0098 • theparadise.co.uk

Yup. That’s actually the name. And it’s quite a mouthful. Unfortunately the food, not so much. But more on that later. Let’s start by talking digs, because I’m starting to get the feeling that you can pretty much walk into any building in London and it will be stunning. Hell, I bet even their meth labs are tastefully appointed, dripping with old-world charm and yet somehow contrasted with just the right amount of modernity and eclectic flair. And Paradise carries that torch handily.

They also carry a healthy bevy of tasty cocktails like the one I had which I can’t even recall the name. All I remember are flashes of mint and gin, which are so deceptively refreshing they will knock-you-on-you-ass before your appetizer ever hits the table.

The food, however, was in stark contrast and a bit of a bore. Not by preparation, but by taste. The burrata and beet root salad with hazelnut and watercress pesto was as flavorless as the food on the flight over. The lamb shoulder was the best of my three courses mostly due to the flavors of the parsnip puree, spiced Swiss chard and Marsala jus, but the meat itself was pretty dry and overcooked. And come dessert, I didn’t even both to finish the ginger pavlova with marscapone mousse, blood orange and red currants. A blasphemous use of Pavlov’s name, because the dish is hardly drool-worthy.

Yes, there’s trouble in Paradise, but nothing a new chef couldn’t fix, because they’ve got it going on just about everywhere else.

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Holborn Dining Room

 

Rosewood Hotel • 252 High Holborn London WC1V 7EN United Kingdom • +44 20 3747 8633 • holborndiningroom.com

Behold! The answer to the age-old question. You heard it here first folks. The world’s first definitive proof that the egg came before the chicken. Well, at least as it pertains to the chronology of my meal.

For my starter I had an amazing scotch egg of Ultimate proportions. Served over a bed of mushroom risotto to sweeten the deal, and by that I mean savory. The only dish of its equal for me would be The Rumpus Room in Milwaukee.

To follow, I ordered the chicken (obviously) pot pie with mushrooms served over a bed of English peas. Sadly, the presentation outshined the flavor, but it was still a solid good. Just an awfully steep step down from the egg that preceded it.

For dessert, the chocolate volcano with ginger ice cream is a really strong get, made with really strong ginger, like sushi grade. Not that sweetened cutesy stuff. It’s real McCoy and it makes the dish shine.

The other thing that shines is the exceedingly cool and expansive industrial décor. Every bit as tasteful as the food- after all, it is a Rosewood hotel… in London. Regrettably the service lacks the energy of the crowd, at least in terms of speed of service.

*** In a follow up visit, the fish and chips also proved damn skippy. That’s Yankee for good.

Tredwell’s

4A Upper Stret Martin’s Lane London WC2H 9NY United Kingdom Covent Garden • +44 20 3764 0840 • tredwells.com

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I so love the vibe here. The moment you walk in you’re hit with the palpable energy of a live pianist striking the ivories beneath a huge clock made out of knives, hanging two stories up on an exposed brick wall. Apparently Marcus Wareing knows how to make an entrance!

He also knows how to make a mean steak, the hangar easily being the best thing we had, cooked like a pro and made even bestier by the braised shallots and a crack-like peppercorn sauce.

The other dish worthy of adulation is the duck. An off-menu prep that sings like a choir boy on Ecstasy, trying out for The Voice while getting simultaneous purple nurples on both pecs. In other words, it was good.

Beyond that though, I found most of the other dishes to be a bit of a let down, from the buratta with romesco and pardon peppers to the pumkin ravioli in hazelnut sauce to the truffled mac and cheese. Okay, so that last one was pretty decent, but nothing you wouldn’t expect to find at a dozen million other places far less schamncy than this. So no points there.

No points for the chocolate cake or the lemon square either. But hells yeah! on the salted caramel soft serve parfait thingy. I just about got my face stuck in the glass.

3 teeth

The Gorgeous Kitchen

Heathrow Airport: Terminal 2 London TW6 1EW United Kingdom +44 7795 636840thegorgeouskitchen.com

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I’m not exactly sure I would consider this place gorgeous, but it is nicer than a Cibo Express. The service is also nice, I have to admit. And most importantly, the food is good. Damn good, actually. Fresh, clean and simple, which from what I gather is the concept here. A beauty-in-simplicity/nature, which is probably the real reason behind the name. Either that or it’s for more narcissistic reasons per the photograph above of the owners.

So simply put, the scrambled eggs with Scottish nova and grain toast are spot on delicious. Full of flavor because they start with choice ingredients that don’t need to be drown in a myriad of spices, herbs and condiments in order to get something out of it.

Even their fresh squeezed orange juice was impressive for a country not particularly well known for its citrus.

My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that they are a bit stingy with the multigrain toast, which is pretty awesome. So be sure to ask for more or extra or both.

Not a bad way to spend a layover, I gotta say.

3 teeth

Cock & Bull

23 W 45th St. New York, NY 10036(212) 819-1900 • cockandbullnyc.com
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Before I jump right into this review, let’s take a moment to really appreciate the name. I mean really take it in. Cause the way I see it, we’re talking truckloads of confidence (or money… or both) it must’ve taken to name this place what is essentially synonymous with bullshit. A name most people wouldn’t exactly flock to as a draw. But, on the other hand, a brilliant play toward lower expectations, because if you wind up having a shitty meal or terrible service, well what did you expect? It says bullshit right on the door!

Name aside, Bullshit fashions itself quite faithfully after your typical British Pub with its dark wood walls, Guinness on draft, a healthy selection of scotch and rugby on the telly. And contrary to my theory above, the service is pretty attentive and on the ball.

In terms of food, one must first calibrate themselves in reality, after all, it is bar food, and worse still, British food. A culture known for such culinary contributions to the world as shepherd’s pie, pot pie and fish & chips. So, now going in fully calibrated I would like to start with a major shout out to the fish sliders, done “fish & chips style” with batter-fried cod on little buns with slaw and nicely seasoned wedge fries- er, I mean chips on the side. In fact, they were so good I much preferred them over the regular fries which you can also order by the basket or with a burger.

The only misses for me were the deviled eggs. As in the devil himself was missing. No heat. No spice. No seasoning. No bloody anything other than mayonnaise as far as I could tell, making them way too creamy and not all that tasty. Oh and in case you’re wondering what in the hell that dish is in the picture above, that’s bacon wrapped meatloaf ladies and gentleman. Talk about devilish.

Come drinks, the Guinness was good, poured like it should (look, I’m a poet), nice and smooth. And while the bourbon selection is a little light, the Bulleit Rye is always a crowd pleaser, so box checked on hooch.

In general a solid choice for a drink and a bite with friends before hoping on a train at Grand Central and slipping into a food coma.

3 teeth

The Shakespeare

24 E 39th St. New York, NY 10016(646) 837-6779theshakespearenyc.com

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I actually wanted to eat upstairs at The Peacock, but I’m sad to report that luck was not on my side that day, it was closed for a private party. So, what to do? What to do? Well, there’s always the old-world, pubby vibe downstairs at The Shakespeare. Not exactly an even trade, but I had heard good things and decided to roll the proverbial dice, grabbing myself a seat in the wooden, low ceiling, extremely cold dining room.

As I sat there, I couldn’t help but feel like I should’ve been donning a pilgrim’s hat, talking old English and gnawing on a turkey leg. I also couldn’t help feeling cold. I’m guessing it’s to encourage alcohol consumption?

On the upside, they warmed the cockles of my heart with one of the best salmon burgers I’ve ever laid teeth on. Made substantial inherently by the fish itself, being one of the “fattier” fish burger meats, but also by its bun and creative toppings like Chancellor’s sauce (whatever the hall that is), red pepper relish, avocado and cilantro.

This burger alone was good enough to quell my disappointment for having missed out on The Peacock… for now, anyway. But I will most certainly return… to both. So stay tuned, because I have a feeling there’s some knife uppage in their future.

3 teeth

The Fat Radish

17 Orchard St. New York, NY 10002 • (212) 300-4053 • thefatradishnyc.com
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I heard about this place from the same person who recommended Vinegar Hill House to me, and considering how much I LOVED VHH, I figured I had to try Fat Radish.

As you can see from the number of knives below, it is no VHH. There is quite unfortunately nothing on the menu that I would rave about and only two things on the menu I would consider “good.” Those two being the sweet pea pot pie and the Kale Caesar Salad. That’s it.

The amuse bouche was amuse blah. Basically some radishes with olive oil and herbs. The tomato and avocado squash salad was inventive, but unfortunately that didn’t translate into a yum.

The grilled cheese and pickles was okay, but nothing you couldn’t make at home in 5 minutes- so I’m not sure why you’d ever order it out at a restaurant. Also not sure why people raved about it. It’s just whatevs. The Vodka Lemonade was also just eh.

And the cookie plate was a joke. They could’ve just put a bag of Oreo Cookies on the table and it would’ve been better.

I did like the decor however. Very cool inside. Service was also good. But the neighborhood leaves something to be desired, making it definitely not worth the trip, out of your way, with so many other great places in more desirable areas of the city.

2 teeth