The Waiting Room – Whetstone

Reviewed on May 10th, 2015 by Dina

A slightly different take on a cafe, The Waiting Room teams itself with its small home furnishing store. The Waiting Room is a really cute cafe adorned with fairy lights, dressers lined with lamps, frames, tealights and flowers. A garland of hearts decorates the cafe window. Stars hang above the lamps and small chandeliers also make up the lighting.

At the back of The Waiting Room, there are a few cosy seats. The rest of the cafe is made up of table and chairs. The soft lighting and jazz music create a lovely ambiance. Even though the cafe was busy, it was not noisy. There was a gentle hum about the place.

The staff were friendly and not intruding. They provided excellent personal service. The Waiting Room seemed to have its regular customers with the staff taking time out to chat to them. It made it feel like the staff were caring.

The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room TeaThe Waiting Room InteriorThe Waiting Room SandwichesThe Waiting Room Afternoon TeaThe Waiting Room SconesThe Waiting Room Interior 2The Waiting Room CakesThe Waiting Room Interior 3

As I was seated at the back of the cafe, I was next to the kitchen. It looked clean and compact. There was not much noise from the kitchen and hence it did not impact on the atmosphere.

The tea that caught my eye was the rooibos with cherry. The tea was from the Little Sparrow range of loose teas. A heavy silver teapot with its own stand contained the tea. There was a traditional feel to the teaware. Small flowers decorated the teacup and saucer.

The aroma of the cherry was strong from the loose tea. Sometimes teas can be a letdown, as in they do not taste as good as they smell. With this Little Sparrow tea, the taste of the cherry with the rooibos was divine. The staff had no problem refilling my tea when the pot was empty.

The Afternoon Tea continued with the silver theme and it was presented on a square silver cake stand. Squares of soft bread, one filled with classic cucumber and the other with cheese and pickle were the fresh sandwiches. It was nice to have a combination of white and brown bread.

The two small fruit scones were delightful. The attention to detail really made the Afternoon Tea at The Waiting Room great. Shot glasses with teaspoons contained thick clotted cream and strawberry jam. Whole pieces of strawberry made the jam more special.

The last of the cakes were the macaroon and chocolate brownie. The almond macaroon was perfectly crispy on the outside with a chewy texture and creamy filling. Rich, gooey and moist made up the intense chocolate brownie. Just to make it more indulgent it was lovely to have it with a little bit of the clotted cream and jam.

The Waiting Room gives a ray of sunshine to a dull rainy day. It definitely brought me that happy feeling. It is a gem of a place and I am excited to introduce my friends to the wonderful world of The Waiting Room!

The Waiting Room, 50-52 Totteridge Lane, Whetstone, London, N20 9QJ

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Shimla Spice – Shipley

Reviewed on April 26th, 2015 by Dina

Shimla Spice looks quite decadent with its flocked wallpaper, ornate silver mirrors and little lights covering the ceiling. It has the banner in the window stating that is the Best Indian Restaurant in England 2013 from the English Curry Awards.

The Shimla Spice Vegetarian Mix was a good combination of vegetable pakoras, onion bhajis, paneer pakoras and vegetable samosas. It came with a side salad. Although all of the items were fried, there were not at all greasy. The batter and pastry encasing the various items were crispy.

Shimla SpiceShimla Spice Vegetarian MixShimla Spice InteriorShimla Spice Balti Veg PaneerShimla Spice Saag PaneerShimla Spice Vegetable Masala

The Vegetable Masala was a combination of aubergine, cauliflower, pepper, peas and carrots in a thick sauce. Peas and paneer made up most of the Balti Mixed Veg Paneer. A side dish of Saag Paneer was also had. The spinach was not overcooked and not too mushy. The paneer pieces had a grilled texture to them. All of the dishes had a lot of flavour and were not too spicy as requested. The naans that accompanied the meal were freshly cooked, soft and fluffy.

Even though we had enquired about the closing time to make sure we could dine without time being an issue, the waiters did not give us an enjoyable dining experience. Throughout the whole meal, the staff were constantly hovering over us, taking away plates even though we were still eating. The main dishes were brought out as soon as the starters had been finished, without letting us have a gap in between.

Shimla Spice was given the benefit of doubt, thinking that this was just a one off experience. But we have returned a couple of times, only again to be rushed through the entire meal. It is a real shame as the food is of good quality.

If you want curry in a hurry, then Shimla Spice is the place to go. If you are looking for an enjoyable relaxed evening out, then it may be better to head to another eatery in the vicinity!

Shimla Spice, 69 Otley Road, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD18 2BJ

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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Roti King – Euston

Reviewed on April 17th, 2015 by Dina

Down a random side street near Euston is the place to get authentic Malaysian and Singaporean street food. Don’t let the look and the size of the eatery put you off in any way. Two signs, one of Roti King and the other of Euston Chinese Takeaway mark the site.

Roti King is nothing fancy and it is all pretty basic. A very small eating area, together with the chef making the rotis at the front by the entrance is pretty much what Roti King is. Queues of diners going out of the door and up the stairs to street level eagerly wait for a table so that they can have some of the roti and curries. The place is so small that tables are shared between diners and there is a quick turnaround with food and customers. Quality is no way compromised though.

Roti King Roti Telor and Dahll CurryRoti KingRoti King Roti Canai with Curry Fish

Flaky, buttery, crispy, hot rotis are made by the skilled chef. It is mesmerising to see the Roti King chef at work. You can watch his skills from the covered glass area. Everything happens front of house, from the roti making to the washing of the dishes.

The way the rotis are made are first the chef flattens the dough ball fairly thin. Then through a series of flips and turns, he makes it paper thin. With some additional folds, rotations and more flattening, he makes it a round shape ready for the hot plate. After the roti is cooked, back it goes onto the stainless silver work surface to be scrunched up. And there you have it, the Roti King has worked his magic and the roti is ready to be served with your curry.

Two dishes were chosen for this weeknight meal. One was Roti Telor which was the roti with egg in the middle. This was had with the Dahll Curry. The Dahll Curry was a combination of a dahl with a curry base which gave it a wonderful distinctive moreish flavour. The roti was perfect to dip into the tasty, mild Dahll Curry.

The second dish was the Roti Canai with Curry Fish. Fried pieces of fish in a slightly spicy sauce accompanied the plain rotis. Again a wonderful and delicious dish.

Roti King provides pure comfort food. As the size of the curries are not huge, you don’t feel overly full. A bigger portion of curry could have easily been eaten. There are also some noodle, soup and rice dishes on the menu which looked tempting when other customers had ordered them. If you have a sweet tooth, then sweet rotis are also on the menu. But we did not have room for them, as we were happily full from our dose of the savoury rotis.

If you want to know exactly what Roti Canai is, the menu states:

“Roti canai is a type of Indian- influenced flatbread found in Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia. It is often sold in Mamak stalls in Malaysia. It is known as roti prata in Southern Malaysia and Singapore, and is similar to the Indian Kerala porotta”.

Roti King is closed on Sundays and also they have a rest time between 3pm and 5pm on the other six days. It is always best to get there early to avoid the queues.

Roti King, 40 Doric Way, Euston, London, NW1 1LH

Rating: ★★★★☆

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