Dinner at Sakonis

image

Rating: 8 / 10

Nearest Tube: Alperton (Piccadilly Line) / Wembley Central (Bakerloo Line or Overground)

Service Time: 15 minutes

Address: 127 – 129 Ealing Road, Wembley, Middlesex, HA0 4BP

Website: http://www.sakonis.co.uk

Sakonis is somewhat of an institution in Indian vegetarian cuisine and has been around since 1984! I have many fond memories of eating there as a child with my family. It was one of London’s most popular Indian eateries, but has sadly declined in popularity since then due to lack of consistency in the quality of food. On our last visit, however, we were pleasantly surprised. The interior has had a long overdue makeover and the menu is much easier to navigate. Most importantly, the food gave us reason to blog this establishment!

The menu is reasonably varied and incorporates a number of Indo-Chinese fusion dishes. For those who are unfamiliar with this style of cuisine, it is the best of Indian and Chinese food in one wonderful melange!

We had Chilli Paneer, which lived up to its name in spice – Indian cottage cheese marinated in a tomato chilli mixture with onions, garlic and peppers. Ask for medium/mild if you aren’t used to heavily-spiced food. We also had Chole Bhatura, a common dish served on the streets of Mumbai – creamy chickpea curry with two delicious fried breads made from chickpea flour, yoghurt and fenugreek. We devoured the breads within minutes of them arriving at the table, so we decided to order something more to soak up the curry. We ordered a Garlic Naan which was nothing to write home about. In hindsight, we should have just ordered more bhatura! We washed it all down with a pot of mint tea – we asked for more fresh mint to be added to the pot as they were a little stingy!

Despite the disappointment of the naan, our stomachs were very satisfied with what we were served. We’re already looking forward to our next visit as we can’t wait to try the Garlic Mushrooms and the Veg Manchurian (a soupy and spicy dish of vegetable Chinese dumplings). They also offer a buffet at lunch and dinner times which is a good way of trying lots of different foods without ordering everything on the menu and breaking the bank in the process!

Customer service lacked warmth, but that soon became irrelevant once we’d tucked into the food. My only other minor grumble was in relation to the temperature of the Chilli Paneer – I like my food to arrive piping hot. In spite of this, we will no doubt return!

Bill for 2 people:

1 x Chilli Paneer = £7.49
1 x Chole Bhatura = £6.99
1 x Fresh Mint Tea = £1.99
1 x Garlic Naan = £2.20
Service Charge (10%) = £1.87

TOTAL BILL = £20.54

Advertisements

Dinner at The Cedar

image

Rating: 8 / 10

Nearest Tube: Queen’s Park (Bakerloo Line)

Service Time: 10 minutes

Address: 65 Fernhead Road, London, W9 3EY

Website: http://www.thecedarrestaurant.co.uk

One of the things I love about living in London is the diversity of the food on offer for relatively little money. No matter what your budget or taste, there is almost certainly something out there in the city for you. A great example of this is The Cedar in Maida Vale / Queen’s Park.

The Cedar is a small, quaint independent Lebanese restaurant with a simple yet varied menu incorporating a number of typical Lebanese dishes along with dishes of Italian influence (Pizza!). We love coming here as not only does Middle Eastern cuisine cater especially well for vegetarians, but the food is incredibly flavoursome and fresh.

We usually go on a Sunday evening, usually feeling famished and lethargic (i.e. can’t be bothered to cook) and when the restaurant is less busy. On our last visit, we had the halloumi and tomato salad, the falafel (6 pieces served with tahini, but we asked for chilli and garlic sauce) and veg mezze platter (hummus, vine leaves, a number of Lebanese dishes, a spinach pastry and rice). Despite our appetite and best efforts, we were unable to finish our food and there was more than enough food for 3 people! The food is accompanied by unlimited complimentary flat breads served hot. You’ll be glad to know that you can wash it all down with a selection of fresh juices which are made on the premises to order.

image

The Cedar is brilliant for dining out with meat eaters or with a group of veggies – the selection and quality is fantastic for both. I’ve been to most of the Lebanese restaurants on Edgware Road, the home of Middle Eastern cuisine in London, but none of the places I have visited compare to The Cedar. Moreover, the staff are friendly and the prices unbelievably reasonable so next time you’re in the mood for falafel, look no further…

If that wasn’t enough, when you’ve finished your meal, your server will bring you a small plate of complimentary Baklava (a mouthwatering Lebanese sweet pastry stuffed with nuts).

Bill for 2 people:

1 x Veg Mezze = £7.50
1 x Halloumi & Tomato Salad = £4.50
1 x Falafel = £4.25
1 x ‘Adam & Eve’ Juice = £2.95
1 x ‘Vitamin Plus’ Juice = £3.10

TOTAL BILL = £22.30

Brunch at Jack’s

image

Rating: 7 / 10

Nearest Tube: Queen’s Park (Bakerloo line)

Service Time: 10 minutes

Address: 101 Salusbury Road, London NW6 6NH

Website: http://www.jacks-cafe.com

Jack’s is an American style diner in Queen’s Park. It is causal and relaxed. At busy times, the tables are shared – it is a good place to visit when catching up with friends. It is predominantly a breakfast and lunch place, but they also serve dinner and alcohol. The menu is extensive, and the selection of food is quite broad – from fried breakfasts to omelettes, salads to burgers.

We visited Jack’s for lunch one Saturday afternoon. The queue can be fairly large, but it doesn’t take too long to get a table. They do an early bird deal, check the website for details. The breakfasts are served all day. We had two dishes: the ‘Yankee’ – French toast (or pancakes) with poached eggs, vegetarian sausage and maple syrup. We also had the three egg omelette (cheese and mushroom) with fries and sourdough toast. All breakfast dishes are served with complimentary bottomless tea and coffee.

The food is homely and unpretentious, and the prices are reasonable. Service is fast and the staff are efficient. My only gripe is that the fried food could on occasion be cooked in cleaner oil. Definitely worth a visit, however, if you’re in the area or visiting the park – there are plenty of options for both vegetarians and meat eaters alike.

Bill for 2 people:

1 x Yankee = £9.00

1 x Omelette = £9.00

TOTAL BILL = £18.00

Lunch at Honest Burger

image

Rating: 9 / 10

Nearest Tube: Liverpool Street (Bakerloo / Hammersmith & City / Central line)

Service Time: 10 minutes

Address: 12 Widegate Street, London E1 7HP

Website: http://www.honestburgers.co.uk/menus/

We, like our meat eating counterparts, love comforting (somewhat greasy) food on occasion. When it comes to comfort food, nothing satisfies that guilty craving like a good veggie burger. I have become fed up, however, of always being served portobello mushroom and halloumi when I go in search of this kind of food – not that there’s anything wrong with mushrooms, it’s just that I’d like to see something more innovative. Cue, Honest Burger, an Americanesque chain of burger joints offering some of the best fast food in London.

image

The veggie option was a fritter (not dissimilar to a Pakora) of spiced cauliflower, sweetcorn and shallots in a gluten free bun (optional) with coriander and cucumber yoghurt and served with delicious rosemary chips. Contrary to popular belief, a good burger doesn’t need to be greasy – Honest Burger are testament to this. You can also opt for additional sauces. We were tempted by the Chipotle Mayo, but decided to make our own concoction of mayo and mustard which was also delicious!

The staff were upbeat, knowledgable and helpful and the atmosphere, relaxed. The flavours were surprisingly good and it certainly hit the spot! I will almost definitely be returning

Bill for 2 people:

2 x Veggie Burgers with GF buns = £16.00
1 x Onion Rings = £3.00

TOTAL BILL = £19.00

Dinner at Shayona

Rating: 9 / 10

Nearest Tube: Stonebridge Park (Bakerloo Line) or the 206 bus

Service Time: 10 minutes

Address: 54 – 62 Meadow Garth, Neasden, London, NW10 8HD

Website: http://www.shayonarestaurants.com

This is one of our favourite places to eat Indian food in London. It is located opposite the Swaminaryan Temple in Neasden which is one of London’s hidden gems. The cuisine is exclusively vegetarian, but without onions or garlic (you would never know!). The food is fresh and flavoursome and the portions are a good size. Always make sure you ask for their house green chutney which is a great addition to the starters.

Swaminaryan Temple
Swaminaryan Temple

We went early on a Sunday evening to miss the Sunday night rush. The decor is colourful and modern and the ambiance calm and family friendly as no alcohol is served. For starters, we ordered Crispy Khumb (deep fried mushrooms stuffed with paneer and spices), Aloo Sweetcorn Tikki (crispy patties stuffed sweetcorn and potatoes topped with yogurt, cheddar, and chutneys – heaven on a plate!) and Chilli Paneer (Indian cottage cheese marinated in a tangy tomato chilli sauce). For mains we had very little room left so we shared the Malai Kofta Curry (dumplings made of paneer, cauliflower and dry fruits served in a rich cream cashew nut gravy) accompanied by a butter nan which was truly exquisite – true to its name, it’s safe to say that it promptly melted in my mouth.

image

We left the restaurant with our bellies feeling very content and we couldn’t fault any of the food. The waiters could be a little more attentive and the restaurant is a little off the beaten track, but when your food arrives, all this will pale into insignificance.

Bill for 2 people:

1 x Falooda = £3.70

1 x Crispy Khumb = £6.90

1 x Chilli Paneer = £6.25

1 x Sweetcorn Aloo Tikki = £5.75

1 x Malai Kofta Curry = £6.50

1 x Butter Nan = £2.50

TOTAL BILL = £31.85

Tea & mid-afternoon snack at Asher’s Africana

Masala Mogo and Chutneys - mouth-wateringly good
Masala Mogo and Chutneys – mouth-wateringly good

Rating: 10/10

Nearest Tube: Alperton (Piccadilly Line)

Service Time: 20 minutes

Address: 224 Ealing Road, Wembley, Middlesex, HA0 4QL.

Asher’s Africana is an affordable, canteen style, Gujarati restaurant on Ealing Road in Wembley. The food is distinctly Indian, but is influenced by East African cuisine due to the settlement of Indian communities in places like Uganda and Kenya during British Colonial rule. History lesson over. All you need to know is that the flavours are out of this world!

We stopped by after a trip to the temple, which is just a few minutes walk away. The staff are friendly, but speak limited English.

We ordered Masala Mogo (fried cassava marinated in a tomato and chilli sauce) and Mehti Bhajia (fried dumplings with fenugreek). It is served with incredible coriander and tamarind chutneys. We washed it down with a few cups of chai (spiced tea.) The food cannot be faulted – simply delicious!

This place is also very good for typical Gujarati Thalis – a metal dish filled with curries, breads, rice and dhal. If you’re popping in for dinner, be sure to try this. You really can’t go wrong for £6! There is little sense of urgency here, however, so don’t expect your food to arrive within minutes of ordering. Typical wait times are between 20- 30 minutes. It’s worth it though…

Bill:

2 x Masala Chai = £2.00

1 x Masala Mogo = £4.50

1 x Methi Bhajia = £3.00

TOTAL BILL = £9.50