Tsunami in Charlotte Street

For ages one of my foodie friends has been trying to persuade me to join her for lunch at one of her favorite local lunch spots – Tsunami in Charlotte Street. Charlotte Street has always been a good spot for dining, with an interesting mix of restaurants ranging from Michelin starred Pied a Terre to more humble dining establishments like Thai Metro. I had booked our table the day before and it did rather look as though I had got the last one, indeed by 1.00 the place was full and buzzing with conversation. The room is very stylish and beautifully lit, I especially like the etched glass window/door area. The downside though is the room layout, it is a long narrow L shaped room and several of the tables are a bit cramped. If you are sitting near the door there is no way to avoid the draft when customers arrive/leave the restaurant. So this is possibly not the best venue when the weather gets wintry.

We shared a selection of starters and main courses, that included mixed Sashimi, Dragon Roll Sushi (Shrimp tempura wrapped in eel, avocado, cucumber and scallion) which was delicious. Nasu Goma (grilled aubergine with sesame paste). Some refreshing and beautifully presented Tuna Tartare (served in a glass of ice – pictured).  Crab Tempura, Sea Bream and Rib-Eye served with exotic mushrooms and fresh truffle sauce. We also managed to find room for desserts, they included a coconut pana cota, a rather spectacular dish titled Chocolate Ball Melts – which did just that when the waitress poured the sauce over it and an Ice Cream Tempura. They also had a fairly decent list of cocktails, which we didn’t indulge in on this visit – perhaps another time. Tsunami is not cheap so it is worth looking out for Top Table deals. They also do a £15.00 set lunch that looked pretty good too.

Marks out of 10

Food 6.9

Service 5.9

Ambience 6.2



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Mortons Club – Private dining

Mortons Club overlooking Berkeley Square, is often described as the best private members’ club in Mayfair.  Dressing appropriately is de rigueur.  Elegant attire and high heels for the ladies being encouraged in the evenings.  The Restaurant  is part of the Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation and a sibling to The Greenhouse.  The restaurant has an excellent reputation,  some say if it were not a private members club it might merit 2 Michelin stars. Not quite there though in my view, but I have to say the food style and menu did rather remind me of The Waterside Inn (a 3 star Michelin).  So I can sort of see where that idea comes from.  The food is certainly of a very good standard. It is somewhat retro in style, with classic dishes like Steak Tartar and Crêpe Suzette (which we were tempted to order just for the table side service).

I started with braised octopus. The octopus was nicely cooked but rather lost in tomato sauce. Tasty though, it went well with my glass of Gavi di Gavi La Meirana, Piemonte, 2009.

My companion had the Fois Gras, not the best she has had (that’s at Pied à Terre), but certainly a good sized portion.  For my main course I ordered the Steak Tartar and appreciated the chance to have a tasting spoonful first so I could check it was not too spicy for me.   That was accompanied by very good french fries and a glass of M. Chapoutier, Saint-Joseph Les Deschants, Rhone, 2003. My companion had the Jacobs Ribs (short ribs) which were beautifully cooked – very tender beef.

For dessert I had an attractive, subtly flavoured lycee tartlet and coconut crumble with rose water ice cream and my companion had the Carmel parfait with Licorice ice cream – too many interesting combinations on the dessert menu to follow through on the Crêpe Suzette idea. We accompanied our desserts with a glass of Coteaux du Layon, Dom.des Sablonettes, 2004.

We decide not to bother with coffee, so it was a nice touch to be given the petit fours anyway – something that is often done in the better restaurants. However we were rather taken aback at just how spectacular looking the petit fours were, definitely not petit. My rather awful photograph (difficult lighting) really does not do them justice, it was a candy store. Marshmallow lolly-pop, chocolate bread stick, huge meringue, truffles, pastries and jellies, a real sugar rush.

(UPDATE June 2011 – We made a return visit and I managed to replace most of the old  pictures, but alas by the time we reached the dessert and petit fours the light was gone (even with the speedy service) so I have left the old ones in.  On this visit I particularly enjoyed my perfectly cooked lamb chops.  For dessert this time I had a lovely poached apple stuffed with cinnamon ice cream.

We also noticed on this visit that the menu had stronger Italian influences. It included some pasta and risotto dishes, and a cornetto dessert.)

The dining room is a nice size, about 40 covers I would guess, with a view over Berkeley Square. There were also plenty of staff so service was brisk.

The club itself is very pleasant, with some attractive modern art work from some mainstream artists like Julian Opie. It has two bar areas and a good size room ideal for party bookings. The lower membership fee for under 30’s obviously works, as the average age was definitely on the 30’s mark at least on a Saturday night, might be different during the week.

Mortons Club certainly seemed to be doing good business, there was no sign of the recession here!

Marks out of 10

Food 6.4

Service 5.9

Ambience 6.8


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L’Autre Pied – Pied à Terre Lite

Had lunch at L’Autre Pied in Marlybone yesterday. This restaurant  has been on our wish list for a while.  It is the sister restaurant to an old favourite Pied à Terre. The set lunch at £17 for 2 courses and £22 for 3 courses is a good deal, you really do not need to spend hundreds of pounds here, although you could if you wanted to, by following the example of the Commonwealth Development Corporation who allegedly claimed for a £700 dinner on expenses – see Telegraph artical.

For each course of the set menu a reasonably priced matching glass of wine is recommended. They also do a 4 course and a 7 course tasting menu.

l’Autre Pied is much more casual than its sister restaurant Pied à Terre, certainly at lunch time there is not a white table cloth in sight.

We had an interesting amuse bouche –  a tiny tasty sausage roll presented on a piece of slate.  Then we started with the Canneloni of Confit Guinea Fowl, Lemon Thyme, Roasted Button Onions, Tarragon Cream, followed by Roasted Breast and Confit Leg of Partridge, Root Vegetables and Turnip Fondant. The Partridge  was beautifully cooked, moist and full of flavour, we also had a couple of stunning matching wines.

For dessert they had to change the set menu as they had ran out of the Treacle Tart, so I had a Caramel parfait instead, with hazel nut ice cream and Caramel foam. My companion ordered her dessert a la carte, going for Baked Alaska  Poached White Peach, Vanilla Ice Cream and Raspberry Sorbet. The dish looked rather like a small white hedgehog when it arrived. The Baked Alaska had not been cooked in the conventional manner, rather than being in the oven it looked like the meringue had been added by hand and heated with a blow torch, which meant the sorbet was a little bit too hard, however it was still a delicious dessert.

On the whole I found the food at L’Autre Pied to be quite similar to Pied à Terre, which is praise indeed.

Marks out of 10

Food 7.2

Service 6.9

Ambience 6.5


UPDATE: October 2016, L’Autre Pied no longer has a Michelin Star.


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Pied à Terre – First Foot

Pied à Terre is somewhere you always want to come back to, although the cost keeps this place very much in the arena of a special occasion venue.

We have had so many great culinary experiences here over the years. It was also the place we discovered PX sherry.

Here is a short video showing the restaurant in action:-

The people behind Pied à Terre have now opened a second restaurant l’Autre Pied (the other foot).

Marks out of 10

Food – has been variable, can range from 7.5 to 8.8

Wine 8.9 (on our last visit the wine matches over shadowed the food)

Service 8.5

Ambience 7

UPDATE : October 2010. Pied a Terre has lost one of it’s stars in the 2012 Michelin Guide.


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Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – Royal Hospital Road

Must do a return visit to Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – Royal Hospital Road, maybe once the credit crunch is over.  On my first visit I was pleasantly surprised how low key and unpretentious this place was, as all really good restaurants tend to be. The staff were highly professional and friendly.

The food here was off a high standard – do not confuse this place with other Gordon Ramsay outposts like :-

  • Boxwood Cafe – which on my visit served up fairly boring food on chipped china!
  • Claridges –  which has 1 Michelin star that I do not think it merits. This is based on my own experience and reports from friends, the conclusion being that the food in Claridges is quite ordinary and the service leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Maze – which does provide good food and wines, but is let down by the casual style of service and the room, which is far too big and somewhat  lacking in ambience.

Royal Hospital Road however is the real deal – haute cuisine at its finest. When we were there the man himself was actually in the kitchen (this must be a rarity now with all his TV work). The wines are also top quality, I had a stunning Gewurztraminer to accompany my Fois Gras. We over ordered on the dessert front though, as after a lovely light pre-dessert, we elected to share a rather large tarte tatin (we had spotted one at the next table and it looked so good), and some how managed to find room for the lovely petit fours too. We left the restaurant fully satisfied and off the opinion that this place seriously rivaled our then favorite restaurant Pied a terre.

Marks out of 10

Food – 8.8

Service 9

Ambience 7


UPDATE  April  2010 : The Boxwood Cafe is now closed and Claridges has lost its star.

UPDATE November 2010 : A friends recent visit to Royal Hospital Road, confirmed that the restaurant is still delivering outstanding traditional french haute cuisine and first class service.

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