Brunch at Jack’s

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

Breakfast at Dishoom

Yummy Indian Brekfast at Dishoom in Covent Garden
Yummy Indian Breakfast at Dishoom in Covent Garden – we couldn’t wait to tuck in otherwise we would have taken a pic when it first arrived!

Score: 9.5 / 10

Website: http://www.dishoom.com/covent-garden/

Address: 12 Upper St. Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB (nearest tube: Leicester Square – Piccadilly Line)

Dishoom for breakfast on a Sunday morning is a must for everyone! This Indian Mumbai style cafe serves traditional Indian street food (rather than the Bangladeshi food we are used to seeing on many high streets across the UK). It offers great dishes for both meat eaters and vegetarians alike given the predominance of vegetarianism in Indian society. There are a few outlets across Central London, but our favourite is the one in Covent Garden.

The ambiance is bustling and informal. The staff are friendly and knowledgable and the food is wholesome and reminds me of home. It is incredible value for money, however, the winning combination means that you invariably queue for table – on occasion for over an hour. The trick is turn up for breakfast at the weekends at around 11am to avoid a large queue. Also great for our meat eating counterparts who will not be left wanting. In fact, Bloomberg voted Dishoom’s take on the full English as the best breakfast in London.

On our last visit we both had masala chai (Indian tea cooked with ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and other spices) which is refillable free of charge if you come for breakfast and is a must for newbies! To eat, we had “Kejriwal” – two fried eggs cooked in Indian spices on chilli cheese toast served with tomato chutney. Also be sure to ask for the complimentary chutney tray when ordering food as the condiments are great. To accompany the cooked breakfast we shared a bowl of their Granola which is awesome and possibly some of the best I’ve had in London.

In summary, a must visit for anyone who is partial to a bit of spice. You will not be disappointed!

BILL:

2 x Kejriwal = £9.80

1 x Side of Mushroom = £1.50

1 x House Granola = £5.20

2 x Masala Chai = £5.00

TOTAL (incl. service @ 12.5%) = £24.19

Coffee & Cake: Princi, Soho

Heavenly selection of Cake!
Heavenly selection of Cake!

Score: 9.5/10

Website: http://www.princi.com

Address: 135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT (nearest tube: Piccadilly – Piccadilly Line)

As part of this blog, I will be scouring London (in my free time, of course) to find the City’s best sweet delights. In my house, we all have a penchant for all things sweet so we’ll happily oblige in this selfless task to bring you the best that the City has to offer.

The first post in this series is an old faithful which I have been visiting since it first opened, and which never disappoints. The establishment stays true to its roots in Milan, the authenticity of which comes across in the food. The ambiance is relaxed and has a Mediterranean feel about it with communal tables and no table service – although there is now a slightly formal table service area . It is an all-day eatery which serves pizzas, pastas, salads, desserts and artisan bread. They also serve great smoothie, juices, wine and cocktails.

This may seem silly, but we also love the loos – they are always fresh smelling, clean and stock good quality hand wash. For a place as busy as this, this is nothing short of a miraculous.

On our last visit, as is customary on many a weekend,  we popped in for fresh mint tea and cake. The cakes really are something special here and the selection varies from week to week – the staff are always happy to explain what’s what so don’t be afraid to ask. Our personal favourites are the Pear and Chocolate Cake and the Praline Cake. You know you’re on to a good thing when you’re grinning like a Cheshire Cat at the prospect of good cake! Need I say more? Get yourself down here for a slice of heaven on a plate without breaking the bank.

Bill:

2 x Pear & Chocolate Cake = £8.80

2 x Fresh Mint Tea = £5.00

TOTAL = £13.80

Fresh Mint Tea (cinnamon optional)
Fresh Mint Tea (cinnamon optional)

Tredwell’s for brunch

The view of the ground floor restaurant from the mezzanine floor
The view of the ground floor restaurant from the mezzanine floor

Score: 7.5/10

Website: http://www.tredwells.com

Address: 4A Upper St Martin’s Lane, London, WC2H 9NY (nearest tube: Leicester Square – Piccadilly Line)

In my quest to find the best vegetarian brunch in London, I recently visited Tredwell’s. Tredwell’s is a chique and trendy restaurant, opposite the hugely popular Dishoom on St. Martins Lane in Covent Garden. It has a mezzanine floor, which feels modern, spacious and airy. The menu for vegetarians is fairly small, but there is more than one option and great dietary labelling to suit all.

We had ‘The Full Veggie’ – the kitchen were happy to substitute the oven roasted tomatoes for beans. The presentation was fantastic, the food, on the whole, was good. The dish comprised a portobello mushroom, tomatoes, sourdough toast, eggs and guacamole. The eggs were a little over cooked and the toast was slightly caught on the edges, but very kindly, we were offered a free coffee to make up for it – which was very good quality.

Overall, a fairly decent, reasonably priced veggie breakfast. My only complaint in terms of value for money was our juices, which were very overpriced at £4.50 each for a small glass.  A great option if you’re coming out to brunch with a meat eater at short notice as there is usually no problem getting a table. It’s also a short walk from from both Covent Garden and Picadilly underground stations.

Bill:

2 x veggie breakfast = £19

2 x fresh small mixed juices = £9

Service charge = £3.50

TOTAL = £31.50