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: 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: La Porte des Indes, London

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews La Porte des Indes in London’s Mayfair, near Marble Arch tube station 

When we arrived on the doorstep of La Porte des Indes we were not prepared for what lay beyond the cloakroom down the marble staircase. We were really taken by surprise because from the outside the restaurant does not look like much, but inside it is a palace. Inside this metropolis you almost forget you’re in a crowded city and feel transported by the palm trees, indoor 40ft water fall fountain and the traditional Indian dress of the waitresses and waiters.

Actually the location is a former Edwardian ballroom, acquired by the restaurant in 1996. And not only does it boast a spacious restaurant but there is a jungle bar and a number of private rooms available for hire, all decorated with antique Indian artefacts.

On the menu there is not a tikka massala in sight. ‘La Porte des Indes’ literally translated means ‘gateway to India’ and the dishes are Gallic-influenced, representative of Pondicherry, a former French colony in India, dating back to the 19th century. The executive chef Mehernosh Mody and his wife spent several months there researching the traditional cuisine of the French-Creole people. This hard work gives La Porte’ a unique and varied menu. And it’s worth mentioning if you want to learn how to cook these dishes they do operate cooking classes.

The brand has proved successful, with locations in Brussels and Dubai, as well as London. And in the halls, on the way to the bathrooms, in the London restaurant are photos telling a story of a popular eatery often visited by A-list celebrities, from Hollywood film stars to politicians.

After a speciality G&T, we opted for the sample-style Menu Maison which meant we got to try a little bit of everything. For starters the highlights were the Parsee Fish: fillets of sole encased in mint and coriander chutney lightly steamed in banana leaves, and the Murgh Malai Kebab: chicken tikkas marinated with cream cheese, mace and fresh green peppercorns, and for mains it had to the Barra Lamb Chops and the Poulet Rouge – all washed down with a delightful Côtes du Rhône, Domaine Les Aphillantes, France. To finish we had a tasty trio of desserts, and the highlight of this was a rich chocolate fondant.

What? A special Indian restaurant in London with an atmosphere and menu you will not soon forget.

Why choose La Porte des Indes? It’s a unique experience that you will remember. Why not impress your clients by hosting a special event here in one of the private rooms?

 

32 Bryanston St, London W1H 7EG

 

 

Review: Radisson Blu, Liverpool

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews the Radisson Blu in Liverpool – a stylish hotel with a bar, restaurant and spa, a short walk away from the bustling town centre of the city 

The hotel is a short walk from the town centre and perfectly placed to allow residents to explore the various popular attractions such as the Albert Docks, The Maritime Museum and Tate Liverpool. With high-speed wifi, restaurant and spa, and a stones throw from the town centre it’s also great for business travellers.

All staff members are very helpful and happy to assist with any query. The hotel is comfortable, clean and stylish.

What? A hotel with a bar, Italian restaurant and spa, with 194 uniquely designed guest rooms and suites including the exclusive River Suite, the largest hotel room in Liverpool.

Why choose Radisson Blu? A well respected chain of hotels and resorts with fantastic facilities in a range of locations around the world.

 

107 Old Hall Street, L3 9BD, Liverpool, United Kingdom 

0151 966 1500

www.radissonblu.co.uk/hotel-liverpool

Review: Mews of Mayfair, London

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Out Of Office Magazine reviews the Mews of Mayfair – a stylish restaurant, cocktail bar and lounge located in the heart of Mayfair. 

Mews of Mayfair is a short walk from a busy Bond Street station, past well known shops like Victoria’s Secret and Claridges Hotel, and nestled in a historic courtyard. Upstairs the restaurant has a nice quiet atmosphere, while the bar, lounge, and outside seating area have a more of a lively buzz.

The scallops and crab proved tasty starters, while the fillet and rump were cooked perfectly, the fillet was the better choice for quality rather than quantity. Mews boasts a good selection of wines and we went for the full bodied rioja, which went with red meat fantastically. A selection of sorbets nicely cleansed the palate at the end of the meal.

What? Four floors, consisting of a lounge bar, cocktail bar, brasserie, and a cosy outside seating area. The menu features fine food, signature cocktails, vintage champagnes, and a wide selection of wine.

Why choose Mews of Mayfair? The Mews is a stylish place to meet clients in a top London location. The restaurant is classy and quiet, while the bar has more of a buzz. It has a meaty menu with dishes like fish & chips, steak, guinea fowl and ox cheeks. Be aware there is not much choice for veggies.

10, Lancashire Court, New Bond St, London W1S 1EY

020 7518 9388

mewsofmayfair.com