eating out with abby

it’s been a busy few months for eating out, with mixed results.

i loved koya and #meateasy, both of which have had a lot of press and blog coverage recently. min jiang was another treat – david and i went for lunch because i’d read good things about their peking duck and it lived up to all expectations. unlike a few other places – kopapa and byron have also had a decent reviews but i was under whelmed by both.

and if you’re looking for somewhere in london which is buzzy and affordable with good food, get yourself down to brixton – brixton village market (pictured above) is blossoming and there is plenty of choice. at last it’s not just a matter of hoping the franco manca queues aren’t too long. it’s not a good evening destination though – many of the cafes and restaurants shut after lunch/early in the evening.


pizza express – i tried the new leek and gorgonzola pizza (the winner in a “design your own” competition) which wasa bad choice – it was far too sweet for me.

rsj, waterloo – they have an excellent range of loire wines and there is plenty of friendly advice available to help you choose. food is very classic and well done – my favourite was my starter, beautifully light gnocchi served with sage, pumpkin and mushrooms.

byron, soho – our first visit to this burger chain and i won’t be going back – the burgers were flavourless! such a disappointment after hearing good things.

koya, soho – believe the hype, this restaurant which specialises in udon noodles is wonderful. i adored the vegetarian mushroom with walnut miso. this miso paste is incredible – it is served separately so you can try it on its own before stirring it in to the broth - it has a wonderfully rich sweet and savoury flavour.

min jiang, kensington – an expensive belated birthday treat for david. i loved the freshness of the dim sum, the glorious views and the peking duck – this is jay rayner’s take on it: “it's the real thing, with skin like glass and the colour of chippendale mahogany. it comes in two services. first, that skin carved tableside, to be dipped in sugar, perhaps with a dusting of salt; or to be wrapped in pancakes, either with spring onions and cucumber, or with slivers of pickled turnip and cabbage with minced garlic, plus a dollop of plum sauce.”

the peppertree, clapham – this little thai restaurant has been a regular haunt since i moved to london 15 years ago. i still love it – cheap and cheerful with fresh flavoured dishes. sadly it can be a bit of a scrum on a friday lunchtime when one local business sends all its employees over for lunch!, south bank – casual bistro dining overlooking the river, i do like this place

casa sybilla, brixton – the birth of many new and very good food and drink places in brixton village market has created a real foodie buzz in the area. if you’ve not visited recently (in the past 6-12 months) you really should visit and do some exploring – it’s evolving all the time so catch up here on the latest news. my lunch today was a delicious rustic pasta and bean soup.


kopapa, covent garden – i was excited to try peter gordon’s new restaurant as i love his fusion approach to cooking. sadly it didn’t live up to my expectations – no standout dishes and only a few that i’d reorder. pricey too, for what it is.

koya, soho – their udon noodles are served hot or cold, with hot or cold broth/dressings. this time we stuck with hot & hot (atsu atsu) - pork miso for me and prawn tempura for david. the pork broth had a much greater depth of flavour ; one large prawn tempura, which quickly became soggy, really wasn’t a good value choice. the braised pork belly with cider side dish was, once again, delicious.

#meateasy, new cross – this fabulous pop-up should be on every burger-loving foodie’s list - between three of us we had three burgers(mine was the chilli burger which i loved), one philly cheese steak, chicken wings, onion rings and chips. it's a great casual-dining experience with great food to match. if you don’t like waiting, you need to get there early - it opens at 6, we arrived at 5 past and struggled to find a table. there are good cocktails on hand though, if you do need to wait.

bob bob ricard, soho – the rhubarb gin & tonic is reason enough to visit. a good choice for a slightly glam girls lunch, made affordable by the set menu.

the wollaton, nottingham – this gastro pub won best pub food in nottingham last year. portions were huge and the food was good, apart from the prawn cocktail which was dreadful (watery frozen shrimp and not enough marie rose sauce).

platform, london bridge – nice enough but nothing particularly interesting.

the disappearing dining club, old street – a new one-table restaurant (up to 10 people) which you can take over or join another group. food was delicious but cold/slow in places. hopefully these teething issues will be ironed out quickly as the food is worth trying.

abby dysonComment