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Posts Tagged ‘Bayswater restaurants’

Le Cafe Anglais interior from www.londontown.com

Le Cafe Anglais interior (from http://www.londontown.com)

A few weekends ago, Jon and I had dinner at Le Cafe Anglais with our friends visiting from New York. I have to confess that the reason we went was pretty lame: I’d read a positive blurb about it in the New York Times. But you know, I rely on NYT articles when I travel outside of London, so why not use it for my current hometown? [Note that this instance isn’t nearly as bad as the time I discovered the Paul Young chocolate shop in my own neighborhood only after it turned up in the New York Times foraging section.]

Le Cafe Anglais wasn’t my first choice for dinner, but I was striking out at the other, smaller restos I called the day of, and I was super grateful Le Cafe Anglais had a table for four at 9:30 pm on a Saturday. When we arrived at the resto and saw how many tables filled the enormous dining room, I was no longer surprised that Le Cafe Anglais had room for us. You rarely see a space that large in London. That said, even at 10 pm, the place was still packed and lively.

As every review about Le Cafe Anglais will tell you, the resto is located next to the Whiteley’s shopping mall. Let’s just say it’s not a pretty sight. But once you’re in the Cafe’s airy, high-ceilinged dining room, it’s like you’ve walked into an old Cunard line dining salon. (And here’s the disclaimer that my knowledge of early-20th-century Cunard dining rooms comes straight out of perhaps-not-so-accurate films like Titanic).

Despite the upscale decor, Le Cafe Anglais feels very friendly and welcoming. It’s the perfect place for everyone from a party of one to a party of twenty, and the menu items are priced to be similarly flexible: you could nibble on a series of £3 hors d’oeuvres or you could feast on rack of lamb for £18. (more…)

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Kiasu Restaurant exterior

When it’s cold outside, I crave curry laksa. The sweet, creamy coconut milk and the spicy chili oil warms me up. So last week, because it was cold and because – like many Londoners – we’ve been reading Time Out’s Top 50 Restaurants in London issue, Jon and I visited Kiasu, which was Time Out’s best “Cheap Eat” in 2007.

Kiasu is right across the street from Bayswater tube. It’s easy to miss (i.e., we missed it) because their front window is covered by so much distracting window art that you don’t notice the restaurant name. I can’t say the decor gets much better inside, but when I’m eating cheap, super-nice decor just makes me suspicious (that I’m paying more for overhead than for food).

Overall, our meal was good enough for the price, but it wasn’t good enough that I’d make Kiasu a destination. The dishes we ordered were a tad bland, which is not an adjective I expected to use when describing food from the Malay peninsula, and given how good all the other reviews I read were, maybe Kiasu’s popularity has been its downfall (i.e., is the kitchen toning down flavors to appeal to more people)? It was cheap, though. Two starters, two mains, and two drinks cost under £30.

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