Archive for the 'Bistros' Category

Kentish Canteen – Kentish Town

Reviewed on December 20th, 2014 by Dina

Arriving at Kentish Canteen on a Sunday for a friend’s birthday, it was jam packed. An eye catching collage on one of the walls was a great feature. Various breakfasts and lunches were being brought out as we waited in the entrance for the table.

There were salads and cakes on open display right where the customers were asked to queue for a vacant table. This meant that people were basically having their coats and clothes touching the open food as the customers were leaning on the display table. It is a shame as the food looked fresh and if it had been covered, it would have been a lot better.

Kentish CanteenKentish Canteen SmoothieKentish Canteen Collage WallKentish Canteen Food DisplayKentish Canteen Veggie Bean BurgerKentish Canteen Interior

The Tropical Popical smoothie was a thick fruity concoction of passionfruit, papaya, mango and pineapple. The Veggie Bean Burger with all its sides was presented on a wooden platter and there was enough to share between two people. The bean burger was dense and the bun had a brioche taste to it.

The skin on chunky chips were very moreish. The combination of sides went well together with the tasty bean burger. The sides included sweetcorn with star anise and coleslaw. A small dish of button mushrooms was also added to complete this filling meal.

The dining area was made up of wooden tables, chairs and some cushioned seating. The staff seemed to be rushed off their feet which resulted in the service been a bit hit and miss at times. A few times we had asked the staff for things and we had to ask again after a while. On a couple of occasions, even by the end of the meal, the requests had not been met.

Kentish Canteen does stock the local Kentishtowner newspaper and also did seem a popular place with the locals.

Kentish Canteen, 300 Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, London, NW5 2TG

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Kentish Canteen on UrbanspoonSquare Meal

The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm – Stowe

Reviewed on October 12th, 2014 by Dina

A year has passed by fast and with another bambino in our group, it was that time of year for an annual outing with friends. After a wonderful morning at the National Trust Stowe Landscape Gardens, an Afternoon Tea was our indulgence.

A short drive from the gardens, Boycott Farm was the where the Hayloft Restaurant was located. The Hayloft Restaurant is on the upper level of the converted barn. Wooden beams, fairy lights and hay pictured tablecloths make this a magical dining area.

Vintage style rose patterned teapots, teacups and saucers started off the Afternoon Tea. The Traditional Tea was plentiful and there was enough for a few cups of tea for the whole afternoon. Three tiers of triangle sandwiches, scones and cakes made up the food selection.

Hayloft RestaurantHayloft Restaurant InteriorHayloft Restaurant EntranceHayloft Restaurant TeaHayloft Restaurant Tea and SconesHayloft Restaurant Afternoon TeaHayloft Restaurant SconesHayloft Restaurant CakeHayloft Restaurant Farm ShopStowe Landscape GardensStowe Landscape Gardens 2Stowe Landscape Gardens 3

Cheese and cucumber was on white bread and the ham and mustard was on brown granary bread. The ham was Boycott home cured and went well with the mustard mayonnaise. Thick cheese slices and slices of cucumber was the other classic sandwich.

The scones were fresh, big and had a good amount of fruit in them. These came with deep dishes of homemade strawberry jam and clotted cream. The perfect combination of scones, cream and jam; a mouth watering treat!

To complete the Afternoon Tea, the top tier had slices of Victoria sponge cake and rich fruit cake. The cakes were moist and had a lovely flavour. As the Hayloft is part of the farm, the produce and food is of top quality.

One thing to note is that the Hayloft Restaurant does accommodate for gluten free diners. The Afternoon Tea is available with gluten free sandwiches, scones and cakes with no compromise on the taste.

The staff were really friendly and gave us great service with a smile. They allowed us plenty of time to enjoy our Afternoon Tea and the whole afternoon was very relaxed.

It is hard to resist all the fresh produce, savoury and sweet pastries, vegetables and cakes in the farm shop on the way out from the restaurant.

A special day out was had with all of us. Precious friendships are strong no matter how many years go by. This quote says it all  “Friends are like stars. You don’t have to see them to know they are there”. The Hayloft Restaurant made for the perfect place for the gathering and a delicious Afternoon Tea.

The Hayloft Restaurant, Boycott Farm, Welsh Lane, Stowe, Buckinghamshire, MK18 5DJ

Rating: ★★★★★

Hayloft Restaurant at Boycott Farm on Urbanspoon

Maroush Bakehouse – Earls Court

Reviewed on September 12th, 2014 by Dina

A full Lebanese breakfast was on the cards when seeing the menu at Maroush Bakehouse. It seemed like it would make for a nice savoury brunch. It was slightly surprising that when the breakfast was served, it was mainly bread based. On the menu, the items were described as baked pastry. Nonetheless, it was still all cooked fresh and was tasty.

A mini Zaatar Manakeesh was soft bread topped with thyme and sesame seeds. Similar to this was the vegetarian Lahem B’agine with the same bread base but with a cheese topping. Both of the breads were freshly baked. The grilled halloumi was cooked perfectly and it went well with the Zaatar Manakeesh. To make the breakfast a little lighter, there was the strained yogurt dip of Labneh. A small pot of olives and a bit of salad made the selection complete. A basket was warm Lebanese Khobez flatbreads was also served.

Maroush CoffeeMaroush BakehouseMaroush BreakfastMaroush KhobezMaroush Hot ChocolateMaroush Bread DisplayMaroush InteriorMaroush Interior 2Maroush Cake Display

The decaffeinated Americano was really smooth coffee. To end the brunch, it had to be something sweet. Even though there were lots of cakes and pastries, the hot chocolate was chosen. The hot chocolate was not too rich but creamy enough. It was nice that the staff were able to make it with soya milk.

Maroush Bakehouse provides a really relaxing atmosphere. The staff let you sit and enjoy your food. They don’t make you feel pressurised into ordering more food or drink. The staff had the balance just right of being attentive and good service yet leaving you alone to enjoy your time. The dining area felt clean and tidy as the staff made sure everything was spic and span once diners had left.

Displays of a variety of breads, cakes and biscuits adorn one side of Maroush Bakehouse. It was nice that the bread loaves that were on open display were on the higher shelves and all the cakes at the lower levels were in covered boxes. It made the place feel hygienic. The dining area is clean and spacious and there are not too many tables. Behind the cushioned seating area, there is the glass wall decorated with orange strip lighting. Not only did it make for great decor but looking closer at it, it revealed the actual bakery area.

As it had got to lunch time, there were people ordering lunch items. The aromas and the sights of the lunch items looked delicious. Tempted by other people’s orders and realising that Maroush Bakehouse do takeaway, it felt right to take some food home for later.

Firstly, all the food was cooked fresh to order and the portion size was big even of the mezza items. The Lentil Soup was creamy and delicately flavoured with cumin. Batata Harara consisted of potato cubes cooked with garlic, sweet pepper and chilli.

A couple of favourites, even though everything was delicious, were the Moussaka and Shish Taouk. Aubergine, tomato, chickpeas, onions and peppers baked together made the Moussaka. It was more like a stew and it made a change for it not to be a cheese or cream based moussaka. Succulent charcoal grilled chicken cubes made the ever so moreish Shish Taouk. All of the takeaway food was wonderful. So many great fresh flavours made for a tasty evening meal.

Maroush Bakehouse specialises in its freshly baked goods and cakes but also does some of the tastiest Lebanese food. It is a perfect place for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Maroush Bakehouse, 131-133 Earls Court Road, London, SW5 9RQ

Rating: ★★★★☆

Maroush Bakehouse Earl's Court on Urbanspoon