Joy King Lau

I finally have the chance to review the wonderful Chinese restaurant Joy King Lau! It has been a staple in the Hooper family for over 15 years. When my husband was a child, he was introduced to this place by one of his mother’s friends, and since then he has always made his way back. He took me for a dim sum meal in 2008, and since that day I knew I had found my staple Chinese cheap eats restaurant in London!

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Joy King Lau

The restaurant is on three different levels and the inside is a bit run down, but don’t let this put you off. The food is definitely worth it! The very first thing you must order is the Chinese green tea. It is 80p a person and it is unlimited! The waiters were extremely attentive in serving us fresh tea and never let our pot go empty. In fact, we went through 5 pots on our last visit!

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Chinese green tea

We ordered two appetizers, the satay chicken and the beyond amazing sesame prawn toast! If you have never had the pleasure of eating sesame prawn toast, I highly recommend that you try it from Joy King Lau. It is always fresh, buttery and delicious every time I have ordered it, and I am never disappointed! This is a must have dim sum dish, and make sure you ask for chili dip sauce to go with the prawn toast, it will change your life.

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Chicken satay & sesame prawn toast

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Sesame prawn toast

This was the first time I have ordered the satay chicken, and it was good but there are other appetizers on the menu that I prefer a lot more, such as the wontons or the chicken dumplings.

For our mains, we ordered the Singapore noodles, sizzling chicken with spring onions and a side of egg fried rice. The Singapore noodles are one of the best noodle dishes you can order at Joy King Lau. It is a massive portion of vermicelli noodles together with prawns, chicken and pork. I tend to order it extra spicy so it has more kick, so I would highly recommend that if you like the spice! The egg fried rice is one of my favorite dishes on the menu. It is a very simple and non complicated egg fried rice, and I think that is what makes it so good. Sometimes simplicity is best! Do not come to Joy King Lau without ordering it with your mains.

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Singapore noodles

I was feeling a bit adventurous and ordered the sizzling chicken with spring onions, and I was not disappointed! The dish came on a sizzling platter, and chicken was mixed with spring onions, garlic and a wonderful ginger sauce. I am a big fan of ginger, so I really enjoyed this dish.

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Sizzling chicken with spring onions

Joy King Lau is located on the edge of China Town in Soho near Leicester square. It has been rated by Timeout Magazine as one of the top 20 dim sum restaurants in London, and I definitely agree with this rating! You can get an amazingly cheap dim sum lunch for two for under £20! Dinner is a bit more expensive, but you get massive portions that you can easily share.

This is my favorite cheap eats Chinese restaurant in London, and I hope you will all go and visit. I will be coming back here for years to come, and I know you won’t be disappointed!

Cheers!

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Cheers!

Overall Score

Food: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Price: £ lunch ££ dinner

Atmosphere: Best for groups and couples

Website: http://www.joykinglau.com/

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Afternoon tea at Harriets

I recently visited Cambridge on a mini break with my husband Sam (see my dinner review here) for a late Valentine’s Day break. I had a really great time and got to see a world class city that boasted beautiful architecture, an idyllic river and centuries of academic and cultural history.

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Bridge of Sighs

On our final day in Cambridge, we visited a charming afternoon tea establishment called Harriets Tea Rooms. Inside, this place was absolutely adorable! The tables were tastefully decorated with white linens and a simple vase with a single flower. They had a talented young pianist playing a medley of classical and modern day music, and the servers were wearing Edwardian-era attire, which added to the overall charm.

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Harriets Tearoom Cambridge

The menu is extensive, and has an assortment of tea options, sandwiches, light meals and desserts! I decided to order the Harriets Cream Tea (£6.95) which came with a pot of Harriets special blend, fresh scones, Cornish clotted cream and delicious strawberry jam. The scones tasted fresh and I loved the clotted cream. I am beyond obsessed with clotted cream, I just wish it wasn’t so fattening! I also really enjoyed the tea – it was a traditional pot of black English afternoon tea, which is my favourite!

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Harriets Cream Tea

For me, one of the best things about Harriets Tea Room was the price. It was extremely good value for what we ordered, and I really enjoyed the atmosphere. (FYI: The full afternoon tea option, which includes sandwiches and dessert, is £12.95). The tea room was filled with family and friends chatting, it felt non-pretentious and the servers were kind and friendly. I highly recommend Harriets if you are in the Cambridge area – you won’t be disappointed!

I honestly think I must have been a posh English lady in a past life because I absolutely LOVE afternoon tea! Expect to see more afternoon tea posts from me in the future!

Overall Score

Food: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Price: £

Atmosphere: Best for couples and families

Website: http://harrietscafetearooms.co.uk

Double the Loch Fyne

It has been a weird couple of weeks for me, as I have been to Loch Fyne twice in the past two weeks, once during a mini break in Cambridge and then again for UK Mother’s Day!

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Loch Fyne Covent Garden London

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Loch Fyne Cambridge

My experience at the Loch Fyne in Cambridge was top notch, and it was also a great night out with a lively atmosphere! There was a certain seaside charm associated with the restaurant that made the dining experience authentic and felt aligned with its rustic Scottish roots. We also had a very good waiter from Brazil, who provided excellent service and was very attentive (not the case in London). We ordered the moules marinières (£6.95) to start and I was extremely surprised that I liked them! I have never really been a fan of mussels, but the sauce was creamy and delicious, and now I think I am a convert!

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Starter portion moules marinières

For my main course, I ordered the Lobster and frites (£24.95) and it was fantastic! It was a generous portion, fresh tasting and seasoned very well. It also didn’t hurt that it was cooked in butter! The frites were also proper (aka not chips) and cooked the way I like them, thin and crispy!

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Lobster cooked in butter

My dinner at the Loch Fyne in Covent Garden compared less favourably to my Cambridge experience. The restaurant lacked the same rustic charm, and the service was not as attentive. The waitress didn’t pay much attention to our table, but this may have been due to the Mother’s day rush! The food, however, was up to the same standards. I ordered the moules as my main which were tasty, but they totally screwed me on my frites portion! I felt a bit betrayed. My husband ordered the Thai green curry with monkfish and prawns (£14.95), and it was surprisingly good. The fish had good texture and the flavor of the Thai curry sauce really complemented the dish. (Sorry no photo!)

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Bread appetiser

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Main moules marinières

Overall, Loch Fyne is a very nice seafood restaurant providing simple, yet consistent, recipes and fresh ingredients. As this restaurant is a chain, it is not the greatest or freshest seafood you are going to find in London or Blighty (see my post on Chamberlain’s), but it is pretty good value (most dishes are under £20). They also currently have an offer online that saves you £10 if you go during the week or on a Sunday. Their set lunch menu is also extremely reasonable offering 2 courses for £10.

I would recommend this restaurant if you want a good quality seafood meal without breaking the bank.

Overall Score

Food: 3.5/5

Service: 3/5

Price: ££

Atmosphere: Best for groups, lunch and tourists

Website: http://www.lochfyne-restaurants.com/

Chamberlain’s: A hidden gem in Leadenhall Market

There is so much to say about this wonderful restaurant! Not only is this one of the best restaurants I have ever been to, but it is also the location of where I had my wedding reception last summer.

The restaurant is located in the beautifully ornate Leadenhall Market, one of the oldest covered markets in London dating back to the 14th century. It was primary used for the food trade, and has gained recent distinction as being the backdrop in several famous films including Diagon Alley in the Harry Potter series.

Chamberlain’s is primarily a seafood restaurant that prides itself on sourcing the very best food available. During my Valentine’s dinner my husband and I ordered the 5 course tasting menu and it was spectacular (£65 per person not including matching wine)!

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The meal started with a single champagne gratin of Irish oyster garnished with caviar. I am not usually a huge fan of oysters, but this was amazing! It was cheesy and delicious!

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Our second starter was lobster ravioli and was the best lobster ravioli of my life! The pasta and seafood tasted extremely fresh and was full of flavour.

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The roasted fillet of sea bass was by far my favorite of the tasting menu! It was light, flavorful and presented beautifully. This item is on their regular menu, and I would highly recommend it!

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The spectacular main course was Beef Wellington stuffed with foie gras. Having not grown up in England, I had never previously tried this traditional English dish, and I was not disappointed! It was not my favourite item on the tasting course since I am not a huge fan of foie gras, but the beef was very tender and my husband Sam really enjoyed it.

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I am a huge fan of dessert and especially anything that has cream, so I was beyond impressed with the Strawberry Pavlova! It was crunchy, had fresh strawberries and best of all delicious cream!  I was already very full at this point, but I managed to eat my portion as well as Sam’s. 🙂 The tasting menu concluded with Valentine’s Day themed chocolates and petit fours.

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The executive chef, Andrew Jones, joined Chamberlains in 2011 after holding the premier Sous Chef position at Claridge’s, and his delectable and innovative dishes that are not only extremely good value (try finding a superior tasting course menu on Valentine’s day for under £100 a person) but incredibly delicious! The service is impeccable, and the manager Xavier is always willing to go above and beyond to satisfy his customers.

This is my favorite restaurant in London, and I will always come back!

Overall Score:

Food: 5/5

Service: 5/5

Price: £££

Atmosphere: Best for business & special occasions

Website: http://www.chamberlains.org