Revisited: Counter, Vauxhall Arches

Out Of Office Magazine was invited back to Counter,  a bar and brasserie nestled under the railway arches at Vauxhall station, try the new menu 

Counter changes its menu regularly so we were delighted to be invited back almost a year on from our first visit.

To kick of our experience we opted for two contrasting, yet equally delicious, cocktails – Chinapolitan consisting of zubrowka vodkka, sweet lychee and lime, and the Central Park, a Jim Bean Double Oak and apricot mix. Note that Happy Hour runs from 5-7pm every day with a good selection of cocktails, wines and beers.

On to the food… For starters we had the scallops with boudin noir AKA black pudding. Although known as blood sausage this recipe bears no resemblance to it usual solid consistency, in fact it’s smooth and creamy, and paired perfectly with the shellfish. We also shared a charcuterie board, before embarking on a chateaubriand board for two.

The steak was accompanied with chips, potato dauphinoise, portobello mushrooms and stuffed tomatoes. It was cooked perfectly (medium rare), while the mushrooms and potato dauphinoise were the perfect sidekicks. But… although the chips were delicious it put our carb count up a bit much and the mince-stuffed tomatoes were too rich and filling for this meal.

While we feeling rather full, we seldom can resist a dessert and opted for the chocolate fondant with an orange sorbet.  A deep and tangy mix, it was worth the 15-minute wait.

All in all, we were thrilled to  return to this modern brasserie and would recommend it for staff or clients drinks, dinners, meetings or functions.

What? An independent restaurant serving  flavoursome food, a wide selections of wine and cocktails. They also have private hire options.

Why choose Counter? Those who appreciate architecture and good food will feel at home here. We’re also thrilled to say the restaurant is  a much better temperature than last time, so no jumpers needed!

Cost: ££

Arch 50, 7-11 South Lambeth Place, London SW8 1SP
020 3693 9600
www.counterrestaurants.com

 

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Review: Islington Town House, Angel

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews The Islington Town House, a cosy pub built in the late 18th Century 

In Angel where Liverpool Road meets Chapel Market lies The Islington Town House, a self-proclaimed ‘after work de-stressing’ pub. 

The nooks and crannies of this place emphasise the age of the property and create a warm and intimate feel across three floors. 

It serves small plates and sharing dishes,  ranging from octopus carpaccio to pork chops and fries. Following a discussion with the highly knowledgeable server, a number of small dishes were brought out.  Their famous soufflé, raved about on Tripadvisor, is everything that its built up to be, with its perfectly cooked and the melt in the mouth texture it was the highlight of the meal.

Along with the soufflé, the baked camembert is another favourite on other review sites and again lives up to expectations. It’s provided with a selection of toasted ciabatta slices.

The steak tartare was also delicious, moist and went well with the crisp toast provide, while the octopus carpaccio was a fresh and zesty small side dish. 

What? A cosy pub in Angel offering up an extensive range of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails, as well as an interesting menu of small plates and sharing dishes.

Why choose The Islington Town House? If you’re looking for a pub for lunchtime or after work drinking and nibbling with charm and character, we’d certainly recommend giving it a try.

Cost: ££

The Islington Town House, 13 Liverpool Road, N1 0RW

0203 637 6424

www.islingtontownhouse.co.uk

 

Review: Balans Soho Society, Seven Dials, London

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Out Of Office Magazine visits the newly opened Balans Soho Society café at Seven Dials

This recently opened venue on Monmouth Street is the sixth location in the Balans family and modelled on the Soho café style. It’s simple, sleek, bistro style is clean and cosy – much like our seat specially reserved for us in the corner of the restaurant.

Also like our visit to the Kensington restaurant, the staff were friendly, attentive and well-informed about the variety of food and drink on offer. We also learnt that, like the Kensington restaurant, a staff member had left for an adventure and landed back at Balans a few years later – it seems they are a good employer with employees only enthusiastic to return.

We started with the seared scallops – perfectly cooked but a small portion that left you wanting a little more – plus the lamb pastilla, which was filling and tender. For our mains, we opted for the 10 oz sirloin steak cooked medium rare and the Cornish crab linguine that certainly didn’t skimp on the chilli!

Too full for dessert we stayed for another glass of malbec and merlot, happy in our surroundings. While we relaxed, a waiter dropped a full tray of glasses but the staff took it in their stride with a smile. (Very unlucky considering they had just opened!)

What? A great addition to the Balans Soho Society collection. Close to Covent Garden, Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square.

Why choose Balans? Nice for for a planned brunch, lunch or dinner out, or a spur of the moment occasion. The menu is varied with international influences and changes regularly.

Cost: ££

32-34 Monmouth Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9HA

020 7836 2982

www.balans.co.uk

Review: Ma’Plucker, Soho, London

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews Ma’Plucker, a fun and casual chicken shop in Soho

This bright and funky diner gets really popular in the day time. Here, you can have chicken three ways: rubbed and rotisserie-roasted, buttermilk-dipped and crispy or pulled and spicy, barbecued slow and low.

There are lots of different sides on offer, such as mash, seasonal greens, buttered corn, ‘crack and cheeze’, fries and pickles.

We opted for the fried chicken and halloumi bun, accompanied by fries. We washed it down with the Chilean Sauvignon Blanc.

We would recommend going here for lunch as much of the menu options had sold out by the late evening!

Where? A stone’s throw from Carnaby Street, located on Beak Street (impeccable location) this restaurant is great if you’re looking to explore shops in the West End, going to the theatre or work nearby.

Why visit Ma’Plucker? If you’re looking for fresh chicken cooked with soul – try Ma’Plucker. They also do various midweek deals, such as ‘Wing it Wednesday’ and a ‘Bird & Bubbles’ brunch with unlimited prosecco at the weekend.

Cost: £

 

Ma’Plucker
75 Beak Street, London W1F 9SS
0207 096 2046
http://www.maplucker.com

 

 

 

 

Review: Sutton & Sons, Stoke Newington, London

Out Of Office Magazine reviews Sutton & Sons fish and chip restaurant in Stoke Newington, London

Sometimes it’s the simplest, freshest food that can’t be beaten. Sutton & Sons offer up high quality fish and chips made the old fashioned way – hand cut chips and a wide selection of fresh fish fried in beer batter or grilled.

This is a casual restaurant but it’s certainly not short of charm, and the staff are very helpful and friendly. Plus the lobster subs, crab and oysters take up a notch if that’s what you’re looking for.

We opted for the tempura prawns to start, with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. This was followed by the cod goujons (which are absolutely huge!) and a lobster sub – all nicely washed down with a cool bottle of prosecco.

We were too full for dessert (the portions are very large) but the sorbets and battered Mars Bar looked delicious.

Where? We visited the Stoke Newington branch but there are also restaurants in Essex Road, Islington and Hackney Central.

Why visit Sutton & Sons? If you like fish and chips, then you need to visit this restaurant. It’s delightfully simple and satisfying. They do takeaway and delivery too, but we’d recommend eating in.

Cost: £

90 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 7NY
020 7249 6444
http://www.suttonandsons.co.uk