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A Snazzy All-Day Brasserie Restaurant in Waterloo. Pulse London Reviews: Florentine.

At a glance

🍴 Type/Cuisine: All day dining brasserie-style restaurant.
📍 Location: 6 Hercules Road, London SE1 7DP, London.
🗣 Social: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
💸 Price: dinner for 2, 3 courses pp with glass of wine: £80
🌏 Website: http://www.florentinerestaurant.co.uk

All-Day Dining in Waterloo.

Restaurant recommendations in Waterloo can be a be a bit tricky. After all, it’s hard when swanky Mayfair and hip Soho is just across the river. But Florentine is an all-day dining brasserie-style restaurant worth crossing south of the river for.

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Swanky with a capital S.

The first thing I noticed was how swanky the interiors are. There are comfy looking banquettes and the dark furnishings just oozes class. The dining room is separated from the bar and reception by a giant screen producing a soft golden glow which created an intimate vibe in low-lit settings, and the melodic acoustic of pop classics playing softly playing in the background further helped create a relaxed atmosphere.

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Ravioli and steaks on point.

The menu is pan-European a la carte. While I thought the fried squid could’ve have been a bit crispier, the buffalo ricotta ravioli, on the other hand, maybe the best I’ve ever had. It’s completely drenched in a buttery and creamy sauce, topped with thinly shaved black truffle which took it to another level. For mains, steaks can be tricky to cook. But I was pleased that the rib-eye 220g of grass fed, 32-day aged rib-eye with béarnaise sauce was perfectly juicy and cooked just the way I like it. With the braised lamb shank, although melt-in-the-mouth tender, I can’t help but think there are better ways of cooking a lamb shank to really make it really stand out. It was nonetheless delicious.

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Buffalo ricotta ravioli.

Venetian doughnuts for days.

To end, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy a tiramisu. At Florentine, I found this Italian staple dessert done superbly. The Venetian doughnuts was also a sweet success. Three pillowy balls coated in sugar and filled stuffed with boozy marsala cream.

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Venetian dougnuts comes highly recommended.

Service first in its class.

The service was just as excellent was the food. From the moment I stepped into reception, the welcome was warm and friendly. Fabio, our star Italian waiter, was attentive always making sure that our glass was always full and together with the sommelier, shared their expertise to help pick out the best dishes and wine to complement our meal when asked.

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Wow factors.

Although not a dish I ordered, I was invited to see first-hand the mahoosive size of their Herculanean burger and Tomahawk steak. Intended for sharing, it’s sheer size is a sight to behold and sure to amaze. Bring your mates, this is a food challenge you can’t handle on your own. If brunch is your thing, I am told you should come down between April – September where the fry-up featuring the gargantuan ostrich egg will be available again.

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Tomahawk steak for sharing. Looks and smells incredible IRL.

A restaurant for that special occasion.

You no longer have to book yourself table the swankiest restaurant in Mayfair to treat yourself. Florentine’s intimate vibes, slick interiors, top-notch service and food make Florentine an excellent choice to bring a date or to celebrate a special occasion including birthdays. While it won’t be cheap, Florentine won’t blow a hole in your savings either. It’s fine dining-that the every day hard-working Londoner can afford to treat themselves to once in a while.

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✨ DECOR & AMBIENCE: 4½ / 5.
🤵🏻 SERVICE: 4½ / 5.
🍸 FOOD: 4 / 5.
🌟 OVERALL: 4½ / 5.

See more photos of Florentine.

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Japes Reviews: Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas Done RIght

AT A GLANCE

📍 Location: 22-25 Dean St, Soho, London, W1D 3RY
🗣 Social: Facebook, Instagram.
💸 Price: £££
🌏 Website: https://japes.uk/

Where do you go if you get a sudden craving for deep dish pizza or waffles? A surprisingly tricky question especially when you consider London to be one of the world’s foodie capital. But I’ve finally found an answer and it’s one that has made bustling Soho its home.

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Soulful food at Tabun Kitchen, Soho

I’ve never tried Palestinian food before, so understandably I was excited to try some for the first time at Tabun Kitchen.

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Front of Tabun Kitchen on Berwick Street, Soho, Oct 2017

Tucked away in vibrant Soho, Tabun Kitchen is an “authentic Jerusalem street food and Jerusalem home cooking with a modern twist” priding itself on fast, affordable and flavoursome dishes.

Owned by film producer Hanan Kattan, Tabun Kitchen takes its name from a biblical clay oven used to dish up spiritually nourishing Palestinian home cooked food.

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Basement decor

TheJerusalem taster menumight be a little on the pricey at £35 per head, but it gives you the best that Tabun Kitchen has to offer. As a 4-course dinner, it’s going to stuff you.

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Palestinian “pizza” – veggie friendly manaeesh with Akkawi Cheese & Za’atar
olives, sundried tomato, is’ha sesame toppings

Sharing is caring as they say, and that is certainly true in the Middle-East. Tabun Kitchen rings that ethos from Palestine to London. Dig in and help yourself to any of the mains that arrives in the middle of your table.

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From left to right: Musakhan Chicken, lamb makloubeh, Fatet Jaj chicken

Of the many stellar dishes on the Jerusalem menu, it’s the main that takes the limelight. For me, the Lamb Makloubeh that really steals the show. It’s explosive with flavour.

Tabun Kitchen 07Diners with a sweet tooth are well looked after with three selection of treat. Perhaps my favourite was the Knafeh made from akkawi cheese and kataifi pastry soaking up all that sweet orange blossom syrup.

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Interiors on the ground floor

Tabun Kitchen is not the largest but it is comfy and modern with white walls and clean lines. Some may say a bit clinical but that never bothered me.

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Further interiors

It’s refreshing to see a soulful little restaurant like Tabun Kitchen pop up in Soho among all the ubiquitous burger restaurants and pizzerias. For spiritually nourishing home-cooked Palestinian meals, Tabun Kitchen delivers  👍


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50% off Pizzas at Pizza Pilgrim Every day?!

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If you’re not already impressed with the cool, retro feel of this Pizza Pilgrim branch (which also happens to be inside a former warehouse beside a riverside), then you will be when you learn what they’ve gone and done: they’ve and launched Ape Hour.

What is Ape Hour you ask? Well, from 3-6pm every day, you get:

  • Any pizza for a fiver,
  • A cocktail for £5
  • A schooner of beer for £3

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Getting pissed in pizza for under a tenner? Yes please.

If you’re not knocking back a pizza and washing it down with a beer/cocktail, then get your competitive streak out on the Nintendo Switch or the foosball table in the downstairs bar/gaming area. It’s swish.

I’m rather fond of West India Quay with its swanky offices, fancy restaurants, and cool vibes. Now I have the perfect excuse to visit more often.

What do you think, dear readers? Ever been? What are the best restaurant/bar deals you’ve enjoyed? Let me know!

 

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The Old Brewery, Greenwich Gets an Impressive Facelift!

Oh Greenwich, you never cease to impress me.

For those who know me, you’ll know I can’t quite stop banging about how incredible Greenwich is. The history, the market, the museums, the restaurants, the park – it’s everything you want all in one place. For me, it’s also the perfect excuse to hop on the DLR more often too and an escape from the sometimes overwhelming centre of London.

On this occasion, The Old Brewery relaunched and I was lucky to have been invited to see it for the first time.

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Old Brewery, Greenwich (32)

Relaunched just in time for the summer months, The Old Brewery is a gastropub/bar/restaurant located within the walls of the Old Royal Naval College. Only moments away from Cutty Sark tube station and a stone throw away from Cutty Sark, the Old Brewery is just as beautiful as the building that surrounds it. I particularly like the decor which recalls Greenwich’s famous maritime past. It might just be me. I have a weird fascination with ships!

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Old Brewery, Greenwich (20)

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The food was excellent as you would expect from a Gastropub/restaurant using the best of seasonal British produce. I thoroughly enjoyed the mini-sliders but the fish & chips and mini roast beef and Yorkshire pudding weren’t bad either.

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It’s more than just a gastropub, it’s a great place to hold events too especially with an outdoor terrace outside and an overhead performance area for live music. I was told that a wedding reception took place here just a week before my visit. Not a bad choice if you ask me!

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Old Brewery, Greenwich (37)

Like I said, The Old Royal Naval College is beautiful itself and by the time you’re making your way back home, you walk past majestic buildings like these. Not a bad stroll.

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Delicious food, great location, beautiful interiors and perfect for the summer months, I reckon I’ll be back pretty soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sipping Room by Drake & Morgan, West India Quay

Oh London, you have no idea how good you have it. It seems like every week, heck, every day, that a new restaurant opens for foodie Londoners to get all wet about. It’s no surprise to see London right up there as one of the gastronomic capitals of the world.

Being fortunate as I am to be involved in the restaurant and bars biz in a journalist role, I am blessed with invitations to get a sneak preview of the latest restaurants on the scene. The excitement of discovering a new place before it opens to the public never wears off.

On this occasion, I was headed to The Bothy. I was particularly excited not just because it happens to be in one of my favourite location in London, West India Quay, but this new restaurant is the latest from the Drake & Morgan Group, owners of some of my favourite restaurant. I cannot lie, the free food and free-flowing alcohol was also a big plus! 🍾

The first thing I noticed was the stylish outdoor terrace at the front. It’s huge with its own bar which makes it a great al fresco space.

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The food is inventive and locally sourced. Not hard given how close the venue is to London’s famous Billingsgate Market. On the menu, British classics such as the humble Scotch Eggs exist alongside other modern European dishes.

I’ve never tried Haggis before and never thought I ever would. But for some reason, I did here – and it was freakin delicious. Just try not think about what it really is!

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Step inside and you’ll discover a low-ceiling but stylish venue spread over two floors. Housed within a former dock warehouse, I’m glad Drake & Morgan had preserved many of the features that remind me of the buildings past. I’m a sucker for these things. The basement is spacious with plenty of table and banquettes to sit.

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Head Chef James

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As night descends, The Bothy takes on a party atmosphere with the DJ mixing up great some tunes, and The Bothy lighting up in the same pretty way as the rest of Canary Wharf.

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West India Quay is already well known for its restaurants. Lately, I’ve noticed many changes and it’s getting better every time. The Bothy is a welcome addition, and if you’re nearby looking for somewhere to dine al-fresco or just after-work drinks then I’d recommend paying a visit to The Bothy, the latest from the Drake & Morgan group of restaurants.

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Top 5 Wetherspoon Pub in London

Restaurants and bars chains can get a lot of flak with its the standardised menu and homogeneous interiors.

A pub chain Wetherspoon may be, not all branches are exactly the same. If you let your eyes wander beyond the menu, you’ll appreciate the interiors and individual charms that is unique to each pub. Did you know some  Wetherspoons was once an opulent ballroom?

Even though it’s a pretty standard across pretty all its branches, the menu is still great with a wide selection dishes to choose from pub favourites including beef and ale pie, to healthier choices like a quinoa salad. Vegetarian and vegan are catered for too.

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Image: Yours truly, me.

There is no denying that a good Wetherspoon pub offers a decent meal and beers at drinkonomical value. It’s why I quite enjoy visiting a Wetherspoon. Having been around a fair few around London, I can think of a few Wetherspoon who’s decor and location caught my attention. Here are my top 5 Weather spoon pubs in London:

The Crosse Keys

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Based in the City of London, The interior of The Crosse Keys is an impressive sight. Sadly, the image below doesn’t quite do justice, but it’s the best I have! Once an old bank, Wetherspoons has preserved many of the bank’s baroque features from the marble columns to the intimate nooks and crannies which hark back to the buildings halcyon days. You’ll be mistaken in thinking that his place is full of suits as its central location brings wanderers and explorers too.  It’s pretty spacious so even when it does become busy, you still have pretty decent chance of bagging yourself a table.

The Ledger Building

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Located beneath the soaring skyscrapers of Canary Wharf,  The Ledger Building in West India Quay is another spacious Wetherspoon with a historic past. Once a former docks building, The Ledger Building takes its name from the historical usage as housing lodging for dock workers in the West India Docks. It’s now an inviting pub with contemporary and comfy settings with 3 dining areas, a lounge area, a bar area and an outdoor terrace at the front which is perfect on a summer’s day. It’s pretty much next door to The Museums of Docklands so grab a drink when you’re around.

The Knight’s Templar

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Image courtesy of Wetherspoons

Smack bang in the middle of legal London and next door neighbours to Lincoln’s Inn and the Royal Court of Justice, The Knight’s Templar is one of the posher Wetherspoons I’ve uncovered in London. As a former Georgian Bank, it’s preserved many of the bank old features including the ornate columns and a balcony that overlooks the pub below. It even has a private area for private functions.  Apparently, it once featured in a movie called ‘The Da Vinci Code’ starring Tom Hanks if you keep an keen eye on you. It’s not the biggest of pubs so expect it to be crowded after work. And lots of lawyers.

The Penderell’s Oak

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Another Wetherspoon to be found in legal London, The Penderell’s Oak along Chancery Lane occupies the ground-floor and cellar of Penderel House, named after Richard Penderel. At the end of the Civil War, in 1652, he helped King Charles II to escape from Cromwell’s troops by hiding the royal fugitive in an oak tree on his country estate. This might explain the tree branches that coils itself around corners and walls here. It’s surprising quite large, the basement is pretty big and nods towards its legal location with its very own mini law library.

Hamilton Hall

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Image courtesy of Wetherspoon

Certainly the most opulent and striking Wetherspoon I’ve ever visited, the Hamilton Hall is a station pub in Liverpool Street and once a former ballroom of the Great Eastern Hotel that once existed beside the station. It was named after Lord Claud Hamilton, chairman of the Great Eastern Railway Company (1893–1923). It has three dining areas, and exquisite decor adorned with intricate details, golden guilds, and chandeliers.

Nowadays, it’s even easier to order your food and drink. Download their ‘Pay & Order’ app and in a few taps, you will have ordered your food without even having to get up and muscle your way to the front of the bar.

What do you think of Wetherspoons? Have I missed any here? Let me know below 🙂

Let’s be friends on social media: Instagram & Twitter

Other restaurant blog posts: MOMMI; The Stables in Whitechapel; Afternoon at the Egerton House Hotel

 

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MOMMI Review: The Good and The Bad

Fusion restaurants intrigue me for its ability to create some truly unique dishes by combining two cuisines. MOMMI in Clapham in south London is such restaurant, marrying  Japanese flair with Peruvian flavours. Only a short walk away from either Clapham station on the Northern Line, the hip interiors and warm lighting provided an opulent glow inside.

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