The Fire Station, London


The Fire Station is a long standing institution, at Waterloo. Back in the late 80's The Fire Station was one of the first gastropubs. To many commuters delight after an one year extensive refurbishment, it has re-opened. The vintage fire station memorabilia sets the finishing touches to the fabulous refurbish. There is no fireman's pole that you can slide down, but with details such as vintage fire extinguishers, fire hose chandeliers, tap coat hooks, and a wall panel of the 1666 Great Fire of London.

The small menu feature highly on the current food trends of wood fired pizzas and sumptuous burgers. The drink menu is interesting, with in house smoked cocktails and if cocktails are not your thing, there are of course wine and craft beers available too.

Glazed Short Rib

Buttermilk Chicken

Black & Gold

Smoked Mackerel, King Prawns, Confit Garlic Butter Base, Marinated Mozzarella, Mascarpone, Rocket, Soft Boiled Egg

I was the odd person out, ordering the pizza rather than the burgers. It really did put me off when I heard the burgers are done well, not medium rare. I don't like my meat to be tough and dry, at least retain some moisture in the meat. My pizza was palatable, the downside was being ultraly thin and crisp. With all the soft textures of the topping, it sort of work against the crispy base. I do perhaps want a bit more chew to my base.

Moving on to the burgers, I do love a good burger. The expectation was sadly not met. Presentation wise, the burgers looked awfully lifeless. The bun is often overlooked, in this case it certainly was overlooked as it was uninteresting. The meat patty was overcooked, the buttermilk chicken was forgotten. To have a winner burger, meat needs to be medium to medium rare and a decent bun like demi-brioche. You can't go wrong with that recipe.

Spicy Coleslaw

Mixed Fries

The sides played a less important role to the point it felt meaningless. It was pretty average, not like we wanted to demolish it like a hungry beast.

Pink Duchess

Pineapple & Black Pepper Margarita

Château Cruzeau, St. Emilion Grand Cru, France 2010

The best thing about the pub, are the drinks. Who would not like the smoked cocktails? I didn't have a chance to try the smoked cocktails but the cocktails that I drank was decent enough just wished they'd filled up the whole glass. We also had a Bordeaux wine from St. Emilion region. Full bodied with a nose of plum and at £45 per bottle, not bad at all.

Overall, I felt let down by the food especially the burgers are overpriced. In terms of value, it's good especially for the drinks and given the area that it is in. I would come back from drinks and may give the food a second chance if I'm in the area again.

Score: 2.5/5
Price: £10-15/head

The meal was complimentary for soft launch.

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Crab Tavern, London


How much do you know about crab? Did you know the collective name for a group of crabs is a cast? When a crab lose its claw, it grows back easily? The two things that I know about crab, it is very delicious and it gets very messy eating it.

Given the name, there's no prizes for guessing what a lot of the dishes will feature. Crab Tavern is an all day seafood restaurant, with an American surf and turf concept tucked in the redeveloped Broadgate Circle in the City of London. It is rare to find crab on the menu in London's restaurant with the crab meat still intacted with the shell. So, it is time to get our hands dirty...

Oysters Of The Day

Hand Chopped Steak Tartare with King Crab

West Coast Clam Chowder

For someone like me and my friend Ronson, we are like a newbie when it comes to removing the shell of the crab. Meanwhile, Mr. T would proclaimed himself to be an expert especially in hairy crabs (a speciality crab from China). It was on Mr. T's hand to do the dirty job of decluctering the shell for us.

Before that, we shared the starters. Not too sure what kind of oysters it was but it was good, lovely natural sweetness. Because we are in a seafood restaurant, we opted to add king crab meat to the beef tartare. It does not make any difference when mixed together beside the price, you can't really taste the crab meat as the beef have overpowered the whole dish. Nevertheless, it is a tasty beef tartare. The clam chowder had a lot of chunky seafood over swimming the plate, so much so it was lacking the soup. It was decent, not mesmorising.

Singapore Crab

Best Legs in Town

Moules Frites

French Fries

Warm Asparagus & Green Beans

If you never had Singapore crab, this imitation may pass your mark. If you had the real deal in South East Asia, this definitely have failed it. The crab should be stir-fried in a semi-thick, sweet and savoury tomato and chill based sauce. In no way is the crab coated in the sauce, it was more like the crab sitting on a tomato dressing and no hint of chilli. The crabmeat itself was creamy and rich, along with the crabmeat from the leg of king crab. Which you don't get a lot of legs, given there's not a lot of meat on them. The moules frites, aka mussels and fries was so forgotten, we barely touched the dish. It is something that you can whacked up at home easily and taste more delicious. All you need is mussels, butter, shallots, white wine and parsley. Simple as that, or you can always add some garlic to it.

Too immersed in our conversation, we only had mojito, Bloody Mary and a peroni. That is as far as I can remembered.

We went during the soft opening, I will not blame the staff for their lack of knowledge of the food and drinks. Service is fine, what you'd expect from a typical restaurant. The big question is the price, is it because it is in the city where all the big businessmen would come dine and drink that you can put a ridiculous price tag on some dishes. Not all dishes are overly expensive and I don't think the price justified for the execution that was received. Crab tavern does have a unique selling point and London does lack restaurants that focus on crab. You can have restaurants that focus on lobster, why not crab? It is still early day, too early to see the foresight.

Score: 2.5/5
Price: ~£40/person (50% soft launch, ~£90 for 3 people)

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Cigalon, London


"We can't define anything precisely. If we attempt to, we get into that paralysis of thought that comes to philosophers... One saying to the other; you don't know what you are talking about! The second one says: what do you mean by talking? What do you mean by you? What do you mean by know?"
- Richard Feynman

Brilliancy is not for bragging. If you're talented, you will get noticed with reward. I think I have found the restaurant that shine the brilliance. Cigalon, name for crickets in French is a restaurant specialised in Provençal cuisine. Tucked in among lawyer's office, mainly businessmen dining on the day. With high ceiling, natural light shining in (perfect for photos), discreet pink banquette booth and potted olive trees. The décor was welcoming.


Champagne Cocktail

I have no doubt on the culinary skills, from the mastermind of the Michelin Gascon team. We choose to dine for the excellent valued star deal set menu from Bookatable, 3 course and a cocktail for a fantastic mere £20. Champagne cocktails was served upon arrival, it was a rather sweet drink but delightful.

Bread Selection with Tapenade

Watermelon, Cured Ham, Ricotta & Rocket Salad

Grilled Mackerel, Fennel Salad & Sauce Vierge

Whetting the appetite was bread selection with punchy tapenade, a change from the usual butter and reflecting on the Provençal side. My companion had the watermelon and cured ham which he wasn't too keen on. It was the watermelon which he thought did not go with the ham. On the other hand, I thought it was paired differently from the usual melon and it worked. My grilled mackerel was cooked nicely with a crispy skin, acidity coming from the sauce vierge and all balanced by the fennel salad.

Crispy Suckling Pig Belly, Roasted Squash & Grapes

Mixed Leaves Salad 

Black “Niçoise” Olive Mash

We both had the same main, crispy suckling pig belly with perfect crackling. I can still remember that bite of the crunch, the meat was melt in the mouth texture with a big chunk of cooked squash. Needless to say, it was delicious. The photo does not show how big the pork was, but it was a decent size that we over ordered on the sides thinking it would not be enough. Nicely dressed vinaigrette on the mixed leaves salad. It is a first for me, to have black olives in a potato mash giving extra flavour and dimension. I liked it, what I liked even more was the mini staub bowl that was served in.

Darjeeling Tea

Mini Madeline

Lemon Panna Cotta & Red Berries Compote

Charred Tome de Brebis & Black Cherries 

We shared a pot of Darjeeling tea with complimentary mini madeline that was still warm. The tea is from La Via del Tè, an Italian teahouse based in Florence. It is not the best Darjeeling tea but still drinkable. Honestly I was already full by now, knowing I somehow needed to make room for the dessert. The lemon panna cotta was creamy, not too sweet and the sharpness of the red berries compote was spot on. The Tome de Brebis is a semi-hard ewe's milk cheese and it has a wonderful, sharp and salty taste. I love cheese, I really do and I really like the Tome de Brebis with thin slices of toasted bread and the tangy black cherries. This was more than enough, that I wanted more cheese.

With the meal, we had a carafe of Domaine de la Citadelle "Le Chataignier" 2014, Luberon. Fresh and fruity, brilliant with the fish and surprisingly it worked with the suckling pig too. The palate is medium bodied, silky and full of apricot and with a crisp, dry finish.

This is a hidden little gem, the food was slick and talented. The star deal set menu proved to be a bargain, £20 for 3 courses and a cocktail and can easily be booked via Bookatable by choosing the set menu choice rather than a la carte. Service was top notch attentive and warm. I had no complaint, well maybe a little too much food I ate. I must say if you are good at doing something, you will get noticed soon and perhaps more people will start noticing this restaurant.

Score Rating: 3.5/5
Price: ~£30/person

I was invited to review.

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Vinothec Compass, London


The sounds of mixing golf and gastronomy seemed like a brilliant idea and it was. I never actually swung a golf club before and the disastrous thought of missing my first hit haunted me. I am not the most sporty person, and thankfully no one laughed at me because I hit every balls at the right direction and distance. Reluctant to think that I am actually better than I thought, maybe it is time to go for a golf course? Before that, we need food...

I have eaten at many places, but definitely not in a restaurant overlooking over a golf course. Vinothec Compass is co-founded by wine extraordinarie's Arnaud Compas and Keith Lyons, menu overseen by two Michelin trained experience chefs Jordi Rovira Segovia's and Daniel Rodriguez Navas. They've set to change the experience of golfing at this new state of the art 60 bays driving range (featuring a panoramic view of the Thames and Canary Wharf at North Greenwich) to including a gastronomy journey. What's more impressive, it has a cellar boosting more than 600 wines emphasising on the taste and not the price tag or region itself.

Pol Roger 2004

Pol Roger Reserve

Grilled Chorizo

Grilled Artichokes

Before swinging the golf club, we sipped on flutes of Pol Roger champange and snacking on some pintxos (chorizo and artichokes). Can't help to imagine, so close to the city and there's an unnoticed place to play golf. The Greenwich Peninsula golf driving range host 60 bays, with private seating and entertainment on offer.

Champagne over golf

Blogger Vi Vian playing golf

Blogger May from Eat Cook Explore, sheiss definitely an expert and swing her club fiercely. Meanwhile, Vi Vian a novice hitting her first golf ball.


Baby  Squid, Tomato and Coriander

Chardonnay, Château Burgozone 2012, Bulgaria

After some golfing fun, we went on a Catalan influenced journey of small plates paired with a selection of wines. Watching the chef in action with a simple flash cooked baby squid complimented with a ripe skinned tomato, garlic and olive oil with a small piece of coriander. The baby squid was cooked perfectly and the garlic went so well with it. Paired brilliantly with a Bulgarian Chardonnay 2012, Château Burgozone. It was light and crisp with a note of apple and pear.

Smoked Trout Salad

Volubilia 2013, Morocco

Back to the table, a smoked trout salad with fish roe, olives, asparagus, pea shoots and labneh stuffed in grilled leek. A lot was happening on this dish, maybe a bit too much. Paired with a wine from a country that I did not know it produces wine. A lovely pink hue Moroccan rosé, Volubilia 2013 with a slight tannin and fruity taste of wild strawberries. Goes very well with the oily smoked trout and it cuts through the saltiness of the olives.

Suckling Pig, Piquillo

Convent des Jacobins 2005, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru

The crackling on the suckling pig was amazing, thin and crispy with a juicy layer of fat and meat falling apart served with apple and piquillo pepper drizzled with a balsamic glaze, Hard to resist just to have the piece of pork in one mouthful when the flavour complimented each other with an old world wine. A 2005 Bordeaux Grand Cru from Convent des Jacobins, Saint-Emilion. Wonderfully aged textured wine with a plum flavour.

Cod Confit, Romesco Sauce

Dido 2013, Montsant

A playful dish of cod confit with a subtle and nutty romesco sauce. The white fish was beautifully firm and still retaining its juiciness with a hint of salt running through it. Washing down with a Catalan blend of Macabeu and Grenache, Dido 2013 from Monstant. A elegant full bodied wine with a tropical fruits palate and a lush, lovely finish.

Longhorn Onglet

Alpha Estate 2010, Greece

Star of the evening, the Longhorn Onglet. Onglet is a cut of beef that is not used widely and served rare with a shallot of its juicy seeping out, potato slices and a jus. The Onglet was a perfection, not easy when you have to prepare and serve for 30 diners simultaneously. Paired with not what was originally on the menu, ad-hoc Greek Xinomavro 2010 from Alpha Estate. The future of Greece may be uncertain, but the future looks set fair for Greek wines.

Vinothec Cheesecake

Domaine Sainte Lucie 1971, France

The disappointment of the sumptuous quantity of the de-constructed cheesecake served in an espresso cup made with Brillat-Savarin. Presentation wise was not the best, it tasted more exciting on the palate and I enjoyed it despite the 75% fat content in the cheese. All is well, I can never resist cheese and paired with a Riversaltes 1971 from Domaine Sainte Lucie. It was a taster menu we sampled, in respect your meal would be a bigger portion than the photos.

Vinothec Compass is a place to for celebratory golfing experience if you managed to swing perfectly everytime, followed by matching food and wine.  My only complain is the location being on the Greenwich peninsular, which is a tad far for me. Otherwise, there is no where else in London where you can find such a unique golf and gastronomy journey together.

Score: 3.5/5
Price: £30-40/person

I was invited to review.

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