Happy New Year & Nama!


nama restaurant. Copyright NHYM 2017. All photos by NHYM

I hope everyone has had a joyous New Year and start into 2017! Apologies for not writing in a while, but 2016 didn’t provide me with the right inspiration with all its tragedies, unexpected surprises and tumultuous times. I am hoping that 2017 will be a much better year all around and that you will  be hearing a lot more from me!

Like every new year, I make a note of my resolutions and what I want to improve in the new year. As always, ‘being healthy’ makes the top of list, but quickly slides down to the bottom of the list as soon as birthday cakes and cocktails pass my way. So when nama invited me to try their new winter menu, I thought this would be the perfect way to start the year.

namashelvesnhymFor those who don’t know nama, it is a ‘Raw Food’ restaurant based in Notting Hill and is vegan/organic/gluten free/processed sugar free etc… For those of you who don’t know me, I am a little more ‘steak with fries’ than ‘supergreen and nuts’ when I order in a restaurant (My friend this past weekend told me she loved me because I ordered a rack of ribs the size of a small lamb), so it takes a lot to impress me when it comes to ‘Raw Food.’


But when the waiter showed me the menu and raved about the truffle pizza and truffle pasta, I have to say that I was impressed. This was not your usual supergreen offering and these actually both sounded delicious. I love my truffles maybe even more than I love steak. It was an easy choice to make.


Not only did the Truffle pizza look great, it was actually really delicious. I was expecting another version of quinoa/sweetpotato/kale/pomegranate salad from this restaurant but this was completely different. The truffle spread sent my tastebuds to paradise…. And even if the walnut pizza didn’t really taste like pizza, I didn’t care as it tasted so good.


Next came the truffle pasta made with thick courgette spaghetti. OK, it didn’t taste like pasta, but again, it really tasted quite wonderful. And I wasn’t going to leave this place feeling like I had eaten birdseeds or rabbit food. This is proper, filling, hearty winter food. And I actually really loved it as did my friend who even asked if they delivered.


For dessert, we had the salted chocolate caramel cake, which was rich, thick and satiates any sweet craving you could have. I have to say that I didn’t expect to like my meal as much as I did. This is a little hidden jewel and I could have that truffle pizza any day. Try it, it may really surprise you.

Thank you nama for inviting me to this wonderful lunch!! 


110 Talbot Road

London W11 1JR






Restaurant Review: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


Dinner By Heston Blumenthal. Photo courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal 

Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

66 Knightsbridge 

London SW1x 7LA

Tel 02072013833


Food: 4.5 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Service: 4.25 stars

Design & Theatrics: 4.5 stars

Price/Value: 4.25 stars

Overall: 4.3 stars


The Kitchen, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 


The main meal of the day, taken either around midday or in the evening.

A formal evening meal, typically one in honour of a person or event.

Dinner unfortunately has a lot to live up to: this year it was rated No. 7 Best Restaurant in the World, it has earned two Michelin stars, and was rated 3rd best restaurant in the UK 2015. I went to dinner at Dinner the other night (which, by the way, is really annoying to say), with very high expectations. It’s not the restaurant’s fault, but every critic and journalistic review about this restaurant just gushes about how wonderful it is, so I was feeling dubious about the whole experience. Nothing can live up to its reputation, surely. I remember going to my first Gordon Ramsay restaurant at Claridge’s probably 15 years ago and all I remember about it was that it was a terrible let-down. I don’t remember the food, not the room, not the atmosphere. Just that there was nothing memorable about the experience. So, going to another celebrity-chef restaurant full of accolades and applause left me a little lukewarm.


Chef preparing The Meat Fruit. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Heston is known for his chemical-food wizardry, creativity and innovation, which made the Fat Duck Best Restaurant in the World in 2005. I read that this restaurant was going to be a very different experience. Where the Fat Duck is an ‘experience’ of theatricality and surprise, Dinner was meant to be somewhere you would want to go back to over and over for a nice meal rather than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The whole point of Dinner is to re-create old (ancient) British dishes in new, modern and creative ways. Having seen some of Heston’s magic tricks on TV, I was looking forward to some kind of experience (so many restaurants dish out the same dishes over and over that lack any creativity).


Dinner Menu. NHYM 2015. 

The menu, as described by Heston on his website is ‘inspired by historic British gastronomy’ with all dishes documented with the year of its origin. From the reviews I had read, there are some signature, ‘cult’ dishes that are a ‘must-try.’ And what’s the point in going to a restaurant without trying it’s world famous dishes. Some friends hadn’t been that impressed and I didn’t know if I was ever going to go to this restaurant again, so might as well try their ‘cult dishes’ or those that have been highly praised. So here’s what made the final list:

Starter: Meat Fruit (c.1500) Mandarin, chicken liver parfait & grilled bread.


The Meat Fruit. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

Neither myself nor Mr. X are particular fans of chicken liver parfait, but when in Rome… It is one of the ‘Cult Classics’ of this restaurant, so not to be missed. This dish is really a feast for the eyes. His Mandarin look-alike is really quite stunningly perfect as food-behaving-like-other-foods (and very appropriate eating it in the Mandarin Oriental). It is worth ordering just to see the mastery that comes with creating this dish. It is good, but it was never going to completely win us over in terms of taste. But even Mr. X was impressed by the artistry involved in creating the dish.

Frumenty (c.1390) Grilled Octopus, smoked sea broth, pickled dulse & lovage


Frumenty, photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015. 

The grilled octopus was perfectly cooked and chargrilled, lifting the salty, sea flavours out of the octopus. The ‘lovage’ (some kind of plant) was interesting, but for me it was all about the octopus itself. I skipped the sea broth etc.. which left my palate as I wanted it. Personally, I didn’t need all the extra garnishes.

Roast Iberico Pork Chop (c.1820) Smoked hispi cabbage, confit onion, apple & mean, Robert sauce


The Pork Chop. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

The pork chop was delicious. The quality of the meat immediately stood out. It was really tender and perfectly cooked and seasoned. Again, I didn’t need the added sauces etc… as I thought the meat to be perfect on its own. The smoked cabbage was a nice addition, but didn’t particularly need the confit onion, apple & mead.

Tipsy Cake (c.1810) Spit Roast Pineapple


The Tipsy Cake. Photo Courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 

The Tipsy Cake is another ‘Cult Classic,’ which I couldn’t resist ordering. It was served with spit roast pineapple, rendered sweet and salty on the spit. The doughy, sherry- soaked, sponge cake was full of sweet yet soft flavours, reminding me of my carefree childhood of devouring indulgent cakes in the backyard without the worries of muffin-tops and middle-aged-post-baby-fat.

Ice – Cream Machine


Ice Cream Machine, photo courtesy of the internet. NHYM 2015. 

We didn’t manage to try the ice-cream machine, but it looked really fun and gimmicky. Next time…


Unlike many two star Michelin restaurants, there weren’t amuses bouches and palate cleansers in between each dish, which was a pleasant surprise. This makes it easier to come for a quick meal rather than a 3-hour sit-down extravagance. The service was great in that the servers were brilliant, knowledgeable, helpful and enthusiastic. It did mean they were a bit slow at times, but it was made up by our waiter’s charm and expertise. The room is a bit bland, but it is a 5 star hotel so can’t digress too much from the mainstream to please a demanding and varied clientele.

Finally, the food is really, really well executed, researched and cooked. Some of the added flavours were not to my liking, but I just didn’t eat what I didn’t like. I am too old for feeling like I need to eat everything on my plate, even things I don’t like. I am pleased that this restaurant wasn’t a let-down. I would happily go back and have the exact same meal over and over again, which I think was Heston’s intention with this restaurant. Now that I’ve found a good formula of starter-main-dessert, I would find it hard to break away from it. The price is quite similar to very pricey restaurants in London: Chiltern Firehouse/Arts Club etc…so not a deterrent for superior cooking.

Hats off to Heston and his team, helmed by the chef Ashley Palmer-Watts who runs the kitchen. It’s a foodie destination with some theatrics, some excellent cooking, and some flaws, but overall, I was won over and have become a devotee of the Heston-Cult.


Chef preparing the Pineapple of the Tipsy Cake. Photo courtesy of the Internet. NHYM 2015. 




Dinner By Heston Blumenthal - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


‘Review: Paradise By Way of Kensal Green’


All photos in this post courtesy of NHYM 2015 apart from one. 

Food: 3.8 stars

Atmosphere:  3.85 stars

Service: 4 stars

Design: 4 stars

Price/Value: 3.8 stars

Overall: 3.85 stars


First floor Bar/Restaurant Courtesy of the Internet NHYM 2015


Paradise isn’t a new restaurant, but they have just put in place a new Head Chef, Cat Ashton, straight from the Petersham Nurseries to head their kitchen, and I was cordially invited to try their new menu last week. My friends fall into two camps; those cool/hipster ones that said ‘Paradise is really cool, great place!’ when I told them I was going, while the others looked at me blankly/abject wonder when I told them I was going to Kensal Green for dinner. They responded: ‘Non! Kensaal Greeen?’ shaking their heads ‘I ‘ave never ‘eard of eet!’ These latter are some of my Euro-continental friends who have never left SW3 to SW7, but I felt that it was time I covered a restaurant that may not be as polished or groomed as some of the others, but makes it up more than enough in character and colour.


The Restaurant Dining Room NHYM 2015.

Paradise is more than just a restaurant, it is a 3 levelled area of Gastro-pub, private rooms, bar and club. On the ground floor, as you are welcomed by a giant statue of an angel, there is a front bar and a private dining room on the right, with the main dining room at the back. On the first floor is a club/bar where DJs spin on weekend nights, when it gets so packed it reminds me of my first ever Metallica concert when I was 13 years old… ie. way past my age-tolerance. On other nights, they host all kinds of open-mic, poetry nights, and special events, for the true trendsters out there. In Notting Hill terms, this place could be a hybrid of Beach Blanket Babylon and the First Floor Restaurant on Portobello, decorated with religious iconography, chandeliers, candelabras, old Renaissance-style oil paintings on the wall, and mismatched wooden chairs.


Restaurant Dining Room NHYM 2015. 

The Food

But back to the restaurant, which is what I was asked to review, compliments of the house. The menu is solid English comfort food staples with a twist of sweetness (Cat must have a sweet tooth). We started off the dinner with Flower Courgette Tempura filled with Ricotta Cheese, which was quite creamy and unctuous with a honey sweetness, and a Burrata which was satisfyingly good. For our mains, both of us chose the steak. We are both hearty meat-eaters and we had the asparagus and honey-butter Rib Eye steak, which was good. Not mind-blowing good, but good nonetheless and satisfying. On the sides, we had polenta chips with parmesan, and if you hadn’t noticed, Polenta is currently all the rage at the moment.

The service was good, almost a bit too attentive, although they brought the potatoes instead of polenta at first, but quickly rectified it with a profuse apology. The wait staff were all very friendly and helpful, and actually all had English as their first language, which is quite a rarity in London.


Rib Eye Steak and polenta chips NHYM 2015.

Grand finale

For our desserts, we had the Pavlova with mango, which we were told was really the dessert to have, and was quite caramel-like chewy, and made us feel like two kids eating Carambar (a caramel candy from my youth which sticks to your teeth for the rest of the evening, for those who don’t know) and the Sticky Date Pudding, butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice-cream, which was a twist from the usual Sticky toffee pudding, but which was equally as indulgent.


Sticky Date Pudding with Butterscotch Sauce and Mango Pavlova NHYM 2015.

The Ambience/Crowd

We had an early seating, which was a novice’s mistake, as the place only really gets crowded around 8:30/9pm (tip: don’t go before 8:30pm), when it filled up with an eclectic crowd of Americans, French, English and other nationalities. Next to us was an Asian couple on probably their Friday-Night-Fourth-Date, filled with slight nervous excitement, flirting and compliments. ‘Ah young love’ I said looking at my husband, dreamily remembering our fourth date. This was date night for us, but a slightly different date night: ‘let’s-get-out-of-here-we-need-a-break-from-our-kids-date-night’. Next to them were two older women having a nice Friday night dinner together. The crowd was mixed, young and old, one table was intergenerational, while another table had a table 10 young men celebrating a birthday. Some tables were trendy, some weren’t. (The private room in the front was filled with 10 giggling, dressed to the 9s, probably celebrating a hen night).

The Verdict

We left as the younger versions of ourselves came in. I can’t comment on the rest of the place that night as we had a baby-curfew (the time when it’s time to go home because you know you will be woken up at 5am by your toddler), but from what I saw, it is place for a fun night out with a group, where the main agenda of the night is to have a good, fun night, which in some restaurants in London is hard to find (some friends have accused Chiltern Firehouse to be more about people-watching than enjoying one’s self). Dinner was Gastro-pub Good, but in a creatively goth surrounding. Mr. X really enjoyed Paradise and feels quite at home there, less ‘see and be seen’ than some of our Notting Hill/Mayfair restaurants we often frequent. So, if you’re in the neighbourhood, this one should be on top of your list to check out, Goth and all.




Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green on Urbanspoon


Review: Wormwood Restaurant

‘…there’s a new Wormwood/In our hood/Gotta try its so good/Chef Rabah Ourrad/He’s a chef-rapper/Who loves his Lobster. 


Wormwood Restaurant

16 All Saints Road

London W11 1HH

0207 854 1808


(All Photos courtesy of the internet for this post)

Food: 4 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Service: 4.25 stars

Value/money: 3.75 stars

Design: 4 stars

Overall: 4 stars

The Restaurant

The latest foodie addition to Notting Hill is Wormwood, a Mediterranean restaurant in what some people call the dodgier part of NH/W11. I have been meaning to try this restaurant for quite some time now, having read very good reviews, the most recent from Giles Coren last Saturday, who highly rated the food, less so the concept of ‘sharing plates.’ All Saints Road is having somewhat of a revival, from the Rum Kitchen to the Wormwood Restaurant, and is becoming the Hollywood Road of the North; a quiet road with an international restaurant across from a rowdy, rustic Italian. ‘Wormwood’ really is a tragic name for a restaurant though, didn’t the owners know that Wormwood Scrubs is a prison just a few miles away? Or is it purposefully a commentary about the dream of two Algerians who now co-own their restaurant, proving that the underdogs can come out on top? (Chef Rabah Ourrad has an interesting background of a young Algerian-in-Paris-rapper-turned-chef with stints at Momo’s, Sketch and the Ledbury. I would like to sit in his kitchen while he raps ‘Le Micro Brise Le Silence’ over his truffle emulsion).


In any case, it is a light and airy restaurant with colours of green, blues and white patterns with some olive trees in its terrace to keep it, well, very Mediterranean. The crowd is quite grown up looking for an exciting change from ‘Michelin star’ type restaurants, which do get repetitive after a while (I must admit that my experience of Marianne’s of Masterchef fame down the road was disappointingly underwhelming, hence why I have not reviewed it). The concept here  is keeping high standards of cooking techniques in a more relaxed ‘sharing plates’ style, ‘elegant yet relaxed,’ as it likes to be described. There is a lovely back area, which can be privatised, and also acts as an art gallery.


(Smoked Aubergine)

The Food

Sharing plates is the hot trend of the moment for restaurants, and Notting Hill is no exception; Polpo, the Shed and Mazi are just a few of the recent openings in the past few years. Mazi, a nouveau-Greek, showed how simple Greek food can be elevated to sophisticated food, using ingredients like Rice Paper for the Souvlaki instead of your regular old Gyro bread. It is international cuisine with a twist. Wormwood to me is the Morrocan version of Mazi, trying to create nouveau Moroccan inspired dishes. If you like Mazi, you should try Wormwood. The lobster couscous with lobster bisque is delicious, the beetroot salad cleanses the palate and allows space for the foie gras which is another distinctive dish. There is pork belly tagine, sea bass dishes, and lots of aubergine. The cauliflower truffle combo is becoming my new craving, which I also found here at Wormwood, almost as good as the cauliflower and truffle mousse from Nuno Mendes’ Chiltern Firehouse. At some point though, it felt as if my palate wanted just two or three ingredients per course, rather than 6 ingredients per plate, with 10 plates for four (Example: Scallops ceviche with redcurrant dressing, coriander cress, and homemade limoncello gel. That means 60 different ingredients in one sitting).


(Lobster Couscous)

The menu offers inventive and unique dishes blending Morrocan, French, Spanish and Lebanese influences, and bringing unusual ingredients together. But it all rather works. The dishes are quite sophisticated in their presentations and have more ingredients than necessary (he just couldn’t resist showing off his jellies and mousses) that they turn out quite foodie but difficult to share. The service was excellent and we were impressed by our waitress’ poetic memory of all the dishes and ingredients per plate. It felt as if the rapper Chef wanted to prove his fine dining skills and creativeness while ‘keeping it real,’ which suits All Saints Road perfectly.

The Verdict: The older, more sophisticated brother of Mazi restaurant for those who are tired of Michelin-star restaurants formality. Great for a grown-up dinner with ‘couple-friends’ who don’t know each other very well. If there’s a break in the conversation, the food is always a conversation starter.





(Homemade Cocktails)
Wormwood Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Review of Polpo Restaurant, Notting Hill


(That’s him in the window/ that’s him in the spotlight/ Working the tables/ It’s Russell Norman/The Restaurant Man. Photos taken by NHYM Copyright 2014)

Polpo Notting Hill

126-128 Notting Hill Gate London W11 3QG


Overall: 3.75 stars

Food: 3.5 stars

Service: 3.5 stars / raised to 4 stars for having Russell Norman on the floor

Design: 4 stars

Value: 4 stars because their Pizettes were only at £5 and their plates are very filling

Having read some of the gushing praise of Russell Norman’s, aka the ‘King of Small Plates,’ many restaurants (Spuntino, Polpo Soho, Polpetto, Mishkin’s, and Polpo Covent Garden), and how people actually wait in line for an hour and half for a seat, I was thrilled to hear that one was opening up in Notting Hill. Not one for waiting in line for a restaurant (I’ve left ‘waiting in line’ behind a red velvet rope in my 20s, let alone any restaurant line in Soho), there was no way I was ever going to shlep all the way to Soho, unsure of whether I would have to wait 30 or 80 minutes for a table. Polpo Notting Hill would be the perfect way to try one of this famous restaurateur’s restaurants, without ever having to leave my 10-minute radius. Not quite ready to face the possibility of waiting in line, I took the safe road and booked a lunch reservation (They actually don’t ever close after lunch, which must be great for business).


The Polpo Restaurant concept is about being a Venetian Bacaro serving small Italian plates (the Italian version of a tapas bar). Having been to a true Bacaro in Venice during my ‘Gap/Backpacking year’, which made me think of a dark, smokey restaurant full of students and young trendy things, smoking cigarettes, drinking vino and nibbling on bits (not only the food), while discussing the superiority of Italian men (I was a twenty-something woman after all), I had high hopes and expectations for this establishment.


The original Polpo was created during the recession, and Russell Norman was able to make it a success by making it a relatively cheap, relaxed and cool dining scene. Russell’s background is as a restaurant manager and operations director at Caprice Holdings. He knows a thing or two about running a restaurant and what attracts people to a restaurant. It is not always clearly about the food alone. In the recession, he saw that all the buzzy, cool places were the ones that were packed. So he interior designed all of his restaurants (and is known for carefully choosing all the details from the toilet sinks and lighting himself), to attract the trendy and cool crowd. His staff are hired for their attitude and for being the creative types, rather than necessarily their restaurant credentials, which adds to the cool factor of the restaurant. When I saw Russell Norman working the tables as I came in, being a true ‘Restaurant Man,’ listening to what his clients and staff have to say, seeing with his eyes how the restaurant was being run, I wanted to love it.


When I entered Polpo, what struck me immediately was a slightly damp smell. Perhaps to recreate the summer’s humidity in Venice or perhaps why it shut down for one day (a flood maybe?), 4 days after opening.  But then I saw the bar, which immediately made me forget my initial impression. The Bar is Beautiful. I do love a nice bar, and this one easily took me back to my Italian Backpacking days. I was then seated with a perfect view of the restaurant, (which is one of the reasons I always come early to choose my spot before my lunch date arrives). The clientele here is rather eclectic as the restaurant is; beautiful posh British Blondes two tables on my left, two American NHYMs two tables on my right, a family of 4 across from me, older men having lunch, young trendsetters  at the bar and two lovely Notting Hill Grannies, one Japanese and one American, next to me. This is what I love about London; all ages, all nationalities and all social classes mixing easily together in an Italian Wine Bar. I can imagine it being great at night with a buzzy atmosphere with cocktails flowing, a few good friends, and lots of laughs.


We ordered small plates on the recommendation of the waitress; a plate of ciceti, the garlic and clam pizzette, classic beef and pork meatballs, lamb caponata, the polpo of course, and the asparagus and broad bean salad. The food was good, but unfortunately not quite as good as I was hoping. There was a slight lack of flavour to the dishes, perhaps a slight banality to them. The arancini and the pizettes were rather good, I liked the creativity of eating a spicy clams, capers and garlic pizzette. The Polpo fell a bit short of my expectations, instead a crispy, browned Italian octopus the way I like them, it felt as if this poor polpo had drifted for days in the Med and somehow landed on British territory, and had become a bit soggy from all the British rain. The lamb and meatballs were just average, and knowing that this restaurant is coming from one of the biggest restaurant names in London at the moment, I was, I admit a tad disappointed.

Perhaps I am expecting too much from a Bacaro, perhaps my expecations were too high and I am a demanding NHYM that should be kept away from Notting Hill Gate. Perhaps these are teething issues which he will iron out over the next few weeks, so I will come back for another go in two weeks, this time at night to capture the buzz. But then again, perhaps this is what Russell is trying to do; cheap and cheerful dishes in a great atmosphere. And maybe, this restaurant was not conceived with me in mind. When I read reviews later on Tripadvisor, I realised that this place is not for earth-shattering, tantalising food, this place is for friends to meet, drink and have a good time in a greatly designed restaurant with a good atmosphere. After all, this is all the Italian students could afford on a budget, so in this respect, Russell is succeeding after all.



twitter: @NHyummymummy

Polpo on Urbanspoon

p.s. For those also adverse to waiting in line for a dinner table, there are subtle ways of getting a dinner reservation but what’s the fun in telling you how? I will leave it to you to figure it out on your own…


Review: Private members club 5 Hertford Street

Private Members Club 5 Hertford Street

2-5 Hertford Street Mayfair, London W1J

Food: 2 stars

Atmosphere: 4 stars

Design: 4.5 stars

Price/Value Ratio: 1 star

Service: 3.5 stars

‘In London if you have £10,000,000 you’re poor’

Only in London and a place like 5HS or Loulou’s, as the cognoscenti like to call it, can you overhear someone saying that with £10,000,000 you are poor. This city never ceases to amaze me. I finally managed to fit in a dinner there after one year of hibernation post baby number 2 with Mr. C, my husband, and some Eurotrash friends. I had high hopes for this establishment, being lauded as a melting pot for celebrities, royals, billionaires and opened by Robin Birley in 2012, whose father was behind Annabel’s fame and mother was Lady Annabel Goldsmith.

Upon entering Loulou’s, first appearances satisfied the senses. The decor of thick fabrics, curtained doors, an eccentric oversized stuffed giraffe head, and bartenders in proper uniforms took me to a place where French boudoir meets Great Gabsy hedonism. The lights were so low that one could easily hide their flaws for the night. The scene was a smattering of older English aristocrats mixed in with American Hedge Funders, girls-night-out tables and twentysomething Eurocrats (Eurotrash aristocrats). Like Julie’s in Holland Park, there were small alcoves everywhere, perfect for hiding your mistresses or lovers. It was a good start to the evening. The Whiskey Bar was sexy and cool with lots of gold trimmings, although the cocktail I asked the bartender to make was nothing more than fruit juice mixed with vodka.

We found our table downstairs in Loulou’s, through a maze of stairs, curtains, alcoves and tables to a back room, which buzzed with conversations of term sheets and how much money you needed to feel rich these days. Completely obnoxious yet entertaining. Now for the food. The menu consisted of standard but unimaginative starters priced at £20-£30 and mains from £30-£40. For those prices I am expecting great food. Great food reminds you of places you have been through the memory of your tastebuds triggered by remembered tastes. The Arts Club menu charges similar prices but the food generally delivers. I was curious to see how this compared.

I ordered a starter of tuna tartare and the special of the day, lobster linguine. You can tell a lot by a tuna tartare, from the freshness of the ingredients to the chef’s mastery of flavours. A good tuna tartare in London is hard to find, California being the birthplace of tuna tartare, this one was married to an avocado layer. This version had bland, defrosted, chopped up tuna mixed with souring, stinging avocado. The chef must have forgotten the spices and left the avocado on the counter for too long. I was clearly more at a conveyor belt sushi chain than sitting in the Californian sun.

I chose a safer dish (or so I thought) as a main with my lobster linguine. We are closer to Italy and lobsters are easier to find in the Mediterranean than ahi Tuna so I hoped this would be an easier trip to make. To my disappointment, the pasta seemed to have been boiled from a bag of dry semolina pasta and the lobster was equally from a frozen bag, devoid of the sweet firmness of fresh lobster. The tomatoes were neither good nor bad, indicating a lack of awareness from the chef leaving the dish quite unremarkable and worthy of not much more than Carluccio’s. This was a far cry from the River Cafe’s delicate and freshly made pasta dishes made with carefully sourced ingredients, which managed to both ask yourself where you could find these tomatoes in London and simultaneously take you to a sunny terrace in Italy’s piazzas.

The desserts chosen by our host were sweet treats, sweet but lacking much character but by this time my attention and enthusiasm had considered wavered and I knew what to expect. Considering the cost of my meal, £22 for the starter, probably £40 for the main (the waiter omitted the price of the specials) and around £13 for a dessert, this is a place where if you start looking at the prices, you really shouldn’t be here because it will really leave you feeling sick. Therefore I opted not to look at the bill from fear of having to taste the tuna tartare again.

We then wandered to the main bar area of Loulou’s, another beautiful golden bar with white staffed bartenders, crammed with twenty year old rich kids with childish enthusiasm acting like they were in a music festival mosh pit only with Armani suits and Louis Vuitton handbags. This was my cue to leave. Our friends told us the party started later in the nightclub area and I could see the potential of a great night out of sweating, dancing, drinking shots, and dancing on tables being in a beautiful place full of beautiful people (helped by Botox, expensive clothes and dim red lights) but I was ready for an affair with my bed instead.

This place is perfect for those a) who don’t care what they eat or how much they spend on cafeteria food b) need a debaucherous night out away from their job/kids/husbands/wives or for their extramarital tryst c) aspirational twenty and thirty year olds dreaming of becoming the founder of the next big Hedge Fund or Net-a-porter. Next time, I will order a Gin and Tonic, which frankly would be hard to ruin, skip dinner, and hide in an alcove to listen and watch the outrageous crowd before heading to the dance floor.

Later, I sighed and turned to Mr. C in the comfort of our Uber Mercedes on our way home and asked ‘Am I too old for this?’ ‘Yes’ he replied, ‘you would have loved it at 20.’