Test Drives

Test drive

Hot Dinners test drives the Riding House Cafe

Hot Dinners tries out the New York inspired restaurant in Fitzrovia.

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Hot Dinners tastes tapas at the Opera Tavern

The past year or so has been something of a magic makeover for Covent Garden as it gradually transformed from being a culinary wasteland where only those who thought a tofu burger or Cornish pasty were the giddy heights of what the food world could offer would enjoy eating there, to something of a dining destination in its own right.

Recently we've witnessed the opening of some serious restaurants…

Read more: Hot Dinners tastes tapas at the Opera Tavern

Mennula: a new type of Charlotte Street Italian

It's a lazy shorthand we know, but there's something to be said for eating in a restaurant where a majority of the customers hail from the same part of the world that the cuisine originates from. It does make you feel that the kitchen must be doing something right. So, when invited to try out the Santino Busciglio's Mennula in Charlotte Street, Hot Dinners was comforted to see a reliably large num…

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Hi-tech Hi-dining at Inamo St James

Inamo, the Oriental fusion dining brand which blends sushi and sashimi with iPod-style touch ordering, has been thumbing its nose at traditional London high dining for over a year with its Soho outpost. Flushed with success, the duo behind this innovative concept recently added to their stable with Inamo St James, perched appropriately enough, next to the legendary  Japan Centre on Regent’s Street…

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Kampai! Hot Dinners sips from the sake cup at Saki

It’s been referred to as ‘the Japanese tequila’, but has never really found its feet in the capital. With very few dedicated tastings, bars or shops, how much do we really know about sake?

Saki, a Japanese restaurant/shop/tasting room hybrid tucked unobtrusively behind Smithfield market, offers an authentic taste of the Japanese nectar. Hot Dinners was invited along to one of their speciality sak…

Read more: Kampai! Hot Dinners sips from the sake cup at Saki

Breakfast at Jamie's - Fifteen London's Full Monty.

Fifteen, Jamie Oliver's restaurant which sets out to give a leg up to youngsters, is one of those places that Hot Dinners has always intended to go to, but were put off by the alleged difficulty of getting a table. It hadn't even occurred to us to try the place for breakfast until we were recently invited to try the morning service out with a bunch of fellow bloggers.

As we all sat down for the br…

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Amaranto at the Four Seasons; deluxe Italian in Mayfair

The recent relauch of the Savoy Hotel got so much press that another major London hotel revamp seems to have gone almost under the radar. The Four Seasons Park Lane closed n 2008 for just over two years for a £125 million overhaul using Pierre-Yves Rochon, the same designer as The Savoy to propel it into the 21st century. If you've been before, apparently you'll hardly recognise the place.  For us…

Read more: Amaranto at the Four Seasons; deluxe Italian in Mayfair

Odette’s: A Labour of Love in Primrose Hill

Movers and shakers in Primrose Hill may recall the past few years of Odette’s, the bar and restaurant set snugly amongst a row of Victorian houses, with mixed feelings.

Its chequered past has involved a history stretching back to 1978, and most recently was under the leadership of Mark Powers (allegedly an uninspiring era).

Now under the ownership of Welsh prodigy and Great British Menu star Bryn…

Read more: Odette’s: A Labour of Love in Primrose Hill

Hot Dinners has Dinner by Heston - London's biggest restaurant opening of 2011

It must be emotionally draining to open a restaurant burdened with the high expectations that Dinner by Heston has had, and certainly Blumenthal and head chef Ashley Palmer Watts looked both exhausted and elated when we dined there on opening week. As well they might - for this restaurant has clearly been a labour of love for the pair of them. The attention to detail, from the historical influence…

Read more: Hot Dinners has Dinner by Heston - London's biggest restaurant opening of 2011

Trying out the new QV Bar at Soho's Quo Vadis

Quo Vadis has always been a favourite Hot Dinners haunt (particularly whenever we manage to gain access to the members' club upstairs) so when we were invited to try out the new QV Bar, we may have reacted with rather unseemly haste.

The QV Bar launched in January and occupies a space previously taken by part of the main restaurant. As owner Sam Hart explained, it had been one of those neither fis…

Read more: Trying out the new QV Bar at Soho's Quo Vadis

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