Archive for the 'Restaurants' Category

Pho – Farringdon

Reviewed on August 31st, 2015 by Dina

There is only one thing that had to be tried when visiting Pho and it had to be the Vietnamese national dish of the noodle soup, Pho. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of other items on the menu that sounded just as tasty such as the vermicelli noodles Bun, broken rice Com Tam and the various starters.

The Pho Nam Rom was made of enoki, shitake and button mushrooms in a vegetable broth. It was a superb fresh tasting soup with a light flavour and there was a real depth to the mushrooms. So many mushrooms, spring onions and rice noodles made this wholesome soup. It was a bonus that it had my favourite of enoki mushrooms too. A side plate of fresh herbs, lime, chilli and beansprouts came with the Pho. Extra condiments of fish sauce, garlic vinegar and chilli paste were on the table.

Even though there was enough flavour with the Pho Nam Rom, it was great that you were able to add the herbs and sauces to your liking. A much needed wooden spoon together with the chopsticks was the only way to delve into the big steaming bowl of Pho.

Pho is quite a small restaurant with wooden tables and red chairs. There is a big illuminated “Pho” sign at one end of the restaurant. All of the food was made fresh and it seemed that the kitchen was on the lower level. There was fairly loud music playing in the background mostly from the 80s and 90s. The staff explained the menu really well and they were friendly and gave service with a smile.

Having a hearty bowl of Pho at Pho was really satisfying. The portions are big so definitely go there on an empty stomach.

Pho, 86 St John Street, London, EC1M 4EH

Rating: ★★★★☆

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Hiltl – Zurich, Switzerland

Reviewed on August 23rd, 2015 by Dina

Hiltl is known for being the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Europe and has been run by the Hiltl family since 1898. The restaurant is deceiving in size; it is a lot bigger than it looks. There is a huge buffet area with over 100 different varieties of food with flavours and cuisines from all over the world. In addition to this, Hiltl provides an A La Carte menu.

The clean and tidy restaurant area is spread over two levels. Plush cushions and patterned seating make it a comfortable dining area. There are also wooden tables and chairs. The lighting is quite striking and there are chandeliers on the upper level. The staff are really polite, attentive and give great service.

The A La Carte menu provides a refreshing take on vegetarian food with so many intriguing items. The menu is categorized by Starters, Salad Platters, Fresh Vegetables, Traditional, Hiltl Classics, Pasta and Asia. There is also a list of allergens for all of the dishes. It was too difficult to choose what to have so we went with the staff’s recommendations for a couple of things from the Traditional section of the menu.

The Hiltl Burger was made to a secret recipe and was in a sunflower and pumpkin seeded bun. The tasty burger had so much flavour. It came with Swiss herbal quark, coleslaw and a tomato based cocktail sauce. These sauces were ideal for the fresh country fries. The burger and all of the accompaniments were served on a wooden board.

It was nice to try something different by having the Cordon Bleu. This was made of seitan, smoked tofu and Appenzeller cheese all wrapped in a crispy coating. The smokiness of the tofu went well with the nuttiness of the Appenzeller cheese. Appenzeller cheese is a speciality cheese produced in the northeast region of Switzerland. The Cordon Bleu was made complete the vegetables of yellow and orange carrots and courgettes. The vegetables were all chunky and not overcooked.

Hiltl has tempting desserts on offer and it is a shame that they could not be tried on this particular occasion due to the restaurant closing for the evening. There are also a range of juices and different teas such as peppermint combined with thyme.

All of the food at Hiltl was delicious and very enjoyable. The combination of the flavours for the dishes work so well together. Even if you are not vegetarian, Hiltl is a fantastic and worthwhile restaurant to try.

Hiltl, Sihlstrasse 28, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland

Rating: ★★★★★

Bibigo – Angel

Reviewed on August 2nd, 2015 by Dina

Even after reviewing many eateries, it’s exciting to come across a cuisine that has not been tried before. Bibigo was my first experience of Korean food and it was perfect. It felt like a high end restaurant. The interior was clean and spacious with lots of wood decor and intricately carved wood panels. The bar was at the entrance with high stools. The chefs at work in the kitchen could be seen from the dining area.

There were many items on Bibigo’s menu which sounded interesting but the one that was settled for was the Hot Stone Bibimbap. A sizzling hot stone pot contained the colourful vegetables of mushrooms, sliced greens, kimchi and tofu. All of this was on top of a bed of fluffy rice. The spicy Kohot sauce and yellow sauce was given on the side. The Bibimbap tasted delicious. The combination of the seasonal vegetables with the sauces and rice went really well together.

The Kimchi Stew that my friend had was equally satisfying. The spicy stew was made of pork and tofu and came with rice. There seemed to be a slight confusion when more rice was asked for. The staff came and gave an empty bowl. So we weren’t sure if they were coming back to fill it with rice. After a short while, we asked again and this time a bowl that was full of rice was given.

The staff were all very professional and gave us good service. They were able to explain the items on the menu in detail when we asked about the dishes. The hot water and the regular water were given in small glasses. These had to be asked to be refilled throughout the meal. It may have been better to have been provided with a jug of water.

Bibigo is a truly lovely place to come to for healthy Korean food. It is nice that we will be returning to try the other items on the menu in the future.

Bibigo, 407 St John Street, London, EC1 4AB

Rating: ★★★★½

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