A November 2003 trip
to London by vampirefan
Quote: London has a variety of places to tempt your tastebuds. They also have plenty of theme restaurants. This is my list of my favorite (and one not favorite) places, and I have covered the major theme bars!
Restaurant | "Fifteen "
All the proceeds from his Fifteen restaurant go back into the foundation for chef training. So, when you eat here, you get a great meal and help support a great cause. Some of his students work in the restaurants as well, giving them a chance to learn all aspects of the business in case they want to own or manage a restaurant.
The look and feel of the restaurant is very retro and trendy. The furniture is very sleek and curved, giving it a retro-chic feel. There is chrome everywhere in the bar, and the bar almost takes center stage. On one of the back walls there is a big heart on the wall that looks almost like a tattoo.
This restaurant is considered the cheaper version of his restaurant and is easier to get into than his main restaurant. Since it was kind of a cool day, John and I went simple with soup followed by dessert. I had yummy corn chowder. It was thick, creamy, and chock-full of spices. It has corn, broccoli, and peppers. It was a little hot, but too not to hot, just perfect on a cool day. John went with a tomato soup, but this isn’t your normal Campbell’s soup. This was almost like an Italian soup. I don’t really like tomato soup, but I gave it a try, and it really was good. This had a tomato base (of course) with shredded fresh basil, some thyme, and fresh oregano.
For dessert I had a low-fat raspberry yogurt crepe with fresh berries on top - delish and low calorie. Yeah! John had what seemed to be almost like oatmeal with berries. We rounded off the meal with a pot of tea.
They do take major credit cards. They do not take reservations. And while you’re here, you can pick up some of Jamie’s cookbooks. Everything hit the spot, and I walked away feeling better know I had been able to, in some small way, help someone else. For more information, go to www.jaimieoliver.com or www.fifteenrestaurant.com.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 29, 2005
15 Westland Place
London, England N1 7LP
0203 375 1515
Restaurant | "Hard Rock Cafe - London"
Now, while no one has ever accused The Hard Rock of having the best food around, it is quite tasty and a welcome relief when visiting outside the States. I went with the old standby of the original burger. This is one pretty thick and very tasty patty. It comes served with a very large order of fries. John went with the club sandwich, which comes with homemade mayo, ham, bacon, and two types of lettuce and is served with coleslaw and fries. We very rarely make it though a meal with room left for dessert, so we split one. We gobbled up their Down Home Apple Cobber. It’s definitely a must-try. The cobbler is toped with walnuts, caramel, and oh-so-divine ice cream (made just for the Hard Rock) and topped off with just a dash of cinnamon sugar. What a way to end the night.
While waiting for your meal, everyone enjoys checking out the walls chock-full of rock-and-roll memorabilia. After all, that is what most people come for. Everyone from Madonna to Hendricks to Clapton, and London favorites as The Beatles, Billy Idol, and Sting have something here. The staff are always hip and trendy, and quite a few sport tats, which is why I also love this place. Imagine the looks you get in stuffy restaurants if you walk in sporting 11 tattoos like I do!
After you have made your tummy and taste buds happy, head next door to the gift shop. Purchase a Hard Rock T-shirt so the whole world knows what a world traveler you are. I have had many conversations about my London trip started by, "Have you been to the Hard Rock in London?" You can also get a London Hard Rock pin to add to your collection. You can also purchase shot glasses and a Barbie decked out in rock-and-roll gear, leather jackets, and more. And now they have a version of the vault, where you can see some of the major pieces from their rock-and-roll collection.
You can go to www.hardock.com for more information. You can also make reservations here up to 1 month in advance.
Hard Rock Cafe
150 Old Park Lane
London, England W1K 1QZ
Now, I don’t necessarily go because they have food that knocks your socks off. I go because I love the movies and love being surrounded by all the memorabilia. Plus, quite honestly, I love to let everyone know where I have traveled in this world, and what better way than with a Planet Hollywood T-Shirt. The food, though, is quite tasty and does hit the spot. We were actually quite hungry and decided to go with an appetizer and skip dessert. We started our meal off with bruschetta, baked French bread topped with tomatoes and olive oil. It was quite tasty and filling. I went with the fajitas. You get your choice of chicken, beef, or vegetables; I went with the beef. That is brought out on a sizzling skillet, leaving a yummy trail following the waiter. It has green and red peppers and onions cooked with it. Then, on the side you will find your tortilla shells, pico de gallo, and cheddar and jack cheese. They also have sour cream and guacamole, but since I don’t like either, I had them leave it off. This is also served with a side of Mexican rice. John went with the Scottish prime sirloin. It was a nice 10 steak served with a creamy peppercorn sauce and your choice of potato, fries, or veggies. John went with the loaded baked potato. Sure enough, we were too stuffed for dessert.
Right near the nonsmoking section was a very large Buzz Lightyear from the Toy Story movies that would be a hit with any young ones. The nonsmoking section is also the Bond Room. All types of Bond memorabilia, except Bond himself, can be found here. They have the original orange bikini worn by Ursula Andress, a Bond jacket, and several other items. Down on the floor they had a DJ spinning some tunes, and the dance floor was open. Thankfully, they were playing ‘80s dance music, so I was quite happy. John was just glad they weren’t playing rap.
Planet Hollywood does accept major credit cards. They do have a bathroom attendant who expects tips, so make sure to bring some change for them. You can make reservations up to 1 month in advance, and they are highly encouraged. There is a gift shop on the bottom to purchase souvenirs from to remind your friends you went to London and they didn’t! For more information, please visit www.planethollywood.com or www.planethollywoodlondon.com.
The London Trocadero
London, England W1V 7FE
+44 20 7287 1000
There menu is delectable, and there are always plenty of vegetarian choices in case you are a vegetarian or vegan. I was shocked to see such items as duck and veal on the menu, which is not something you see on the American menus. It was a tough decision, but I went with the Rasta Pasta. It combines pasta, broccoli, peppers, and spinach. You get your choice of walnut pesto or Alfredo sauce and chicken or vegetarian accompaniments. I went with the chicken and pesto.
For dessert I went with the oh-so-yummy Citrus Ice Age. It is a knockout desert consisting of lemon and lime yogurt with cherry compote. To die for!
John went with a Rainforest Steak Burger. It is an 8-ounce Scottish beef party with Swiss cheese and served with fries. He said the Scottish beef was superb. To round off his meal, he went with Cha Cha Cheesecake. It is banana cheesecake on an amaretto biscuit and toffee-crunch ice cream. I stole a bite and can attest to its sublime quality.
This is a totally nonsmoking restaurant. They do accept credit cards. They do have a gift shop on the premises. For more information, visit www.rainforestcafe.com.
The Rainforest Cafe
20 Shaftesbury Avenue
London, England W1D 7EU
We walked in and gave them our name and were seated very promptly. Maxwell’s was nice enough. It looked like your typical American bar/restaurants. There was lots of wood on the bar, tables, and booths. Downstairs was a disco, but upstairs was a little more quiet and quite cozy. There was a mural that ran along the bar with celebrities such as Elvis (I swear he is everywhere) and my girl Marilyn Monroe.
We gave our waiter our name and told him we had already pre-selected our meal and gave him our copy that I had printed out. He told us no problem and that we would be in and out with plenty of time to get to the show. He promptly brought us our tea, and we were surprised when we were able to get it sweet, something we usually find only in the South. Our meal consisted of a salad, entrée, and dessert. Our waiter quickly brought out our salads. So far so good.
Then a large party was seated in front of us. The level that we were on was pretty slow, but we had already ordered our meal, so we though it wouldn’t be a problem. For our entrée we both selected chicken, something that normally does not take forever to cook. Our waiter seems more preoccupied with the group than us, and it was not just the fact that this was a large group. He kept going over and checking on them while we were just sitting. I guess he figured they would give a bigger tip.
Finally, we got his attention and asked about our meal. He looked stunned, like he didn’t know what we were talking about. A few minutes later, out it came. It was herbed chicken and mashed potatoes. It consisted of chicken breast, garlic mashed potatoes, broccoli, and a mushroom sauce. The meal itself was great. Our waiter didn’t come by to check on us, but boy, he made sure his group was okay. Finally, he came and gathered our plates and asked us about dessert. We told him he had already pre-ordered everything and again handed him our confirmation.
I ordered a sundae and John ordered cheesecake. Twenty minutes later, we still did not have dessert and there was no sign of our waiter. We finally got up to leave, and what do you know, here came our dessert, but it was too late since we had to get to the theater. There was no excuse for this service. I am sure the group he liked so much left him a better tip since we left zilch!
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on March 29, 2005
8-9, James Street
London, England WC2E 8BH
+44 (020) 7395-5804
Charlotte, North Carolina