Sagardi

Location:  Shoreditch

Cuisine: Spanish

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

Basque restaurants in London are like buses – wait for ages, then 2 come along at the same time. Last month, we reviewed Eneko in Aldwych, now we have Sagardi, situated bang in the middle of trendy Shoreditch. We could attempt to describe Eneko as projecting the image of a sophisticated BMW car, whilst Sargardi possesses more of the  cooler, younger vibe of a Mini – both equally pricey but providing quality.

Our large group of 15 were led to the basement where private rooms reside – this offered us privacy and the freedom to be raucous, however, we missed the theatre of the main floor, showcasing the huge charcoal grill where the steaks were prepared. The staff were very knowledgeable, bringing us hunks of meat joints to choose from, describing their age, type of cow etc – too many details if you ask me..don’t give my food character or personality please..I feel guilty enough as it is!

So how did the food taste? – we tried a huge selection including Fried Txistorra sausages – tasty chorizo like bites, Grilled Biskay black pudding starter  – portion rather copious to stomach alone, definitely a sharing plate. From the grill, we sampled a T-bone Ox steak. Prices were dear at £60 a head for the meat ALONE with no trimmings. We could tell there was pride and joy with the meats offered (showcased in the window display – vegetarians look away).  Sadly, we were disappointed by our first experience of Ox…undercooked and a bit tough and chewy (perhaps Ox just does taste like that). Out of the ‘home-cooking’ style dishes, we selected the oxtail stew slow cooked in red wine for 4 hours which was rich and luxurious, however at £24 with no sides, you begin to realise this place ain’t cheap. Top dishes were the tuna tartare (£16), ham croquettes (£8) and the super tasty clams in green sauce. Bizarre pricing baffled us , with a side order of grilled peppers priced the same as the tuna tartare ….perhaps our ignorance in Basque delicacies is exposed here.

Our impression of Sagardi is that it is not really steered at families (based on our Saturday night with cool hipsters hanging around the bar). Friendly staff helped carry a buggy down the stairs and there is plenty of space for buggies – however, the location and dim lighting of the venue doesn’t really suit kids (plus no baby changing).

In summary, Sagardi is pretty good – some dishes were hits, some not so. Prices are pretty steep (unaffordable for stay at home mums who don’t live off their city lawyer/banker husbands) and if we had to choose between our favourite new basque restaurant, we would have to opt for the more refined Eneko (Note, LFM drives a Mini).

http://www.sagardi.co.uk/

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Chicks n Sour

Location: Shoreditch (Haggerston)

Cuisine: American (Asian influence)

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

OK I’m a foodie but I have a soft spot for KFC. I’ll admit it. So when somewhere does deep fried chicken, LFM is there! So we find ourselves in hipster-ville Haggerston where Chicks n Sour have recently opened. Most of the dishes are based upon deep fried chicken, priced around £10 for 2 pieces – expensive compared to the KFC benchmark but oh so worth it! Crisp and tasty batter, succulent chicken and interesting accompaniments like pickled watermelon. The soft whippy ice-cream desert was a bit of a let down compared to the mains.

Chicks n Sour is not really the place to bring a baby (Perhaps older kids). The venue is really laid back and the staff were lovely to our baby, it’s just that the venue is small, the clientele  are young hipsters and the music blares out (fortunately our baby loves reggae music and we brought our own high chair and left the buggy at home – she had a great time!).

http://chicknsours.co.uk/

Lyles

Location: Shoreditch

Cuisine: Modern European (British)

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Lyles is bang on trend right now in terms of the direction of the London food scene. Fresh, clean flavours with just a few ingredients per dish with heavy influence from Nordic cuisine.

The bright airy room felts informal but sophisticated – you could proudly conduct a business meeting here or invite the in laws.  Staff are knowledgeable and courteous.

We tried the monkfish liver in intrepidation (a delicacy in Japan but often discarded in the UK). This was creamy and full of foie gras like richness, especially teamed up with blood oranges. The Dexter steak was perfectly cooked and the chocolate dessert was sublime. Only disappointment was the chargrilled calcot – a mystery exotic spring onion type vegetable from Spain which basically tasted like a giant onion.

In terms of baby friendliness, Lyles is spacious enough for buggies and highchairs are provided. However, our biggest bug bear are that the timings are limited for a family lunch – only open Mon-Fri, so papa (or mama) will have to take a day off work or nip out of the office on a lunch break since they are closed weekend lunchtimes.

http://lyleslondon.com/

Bread and Butter Cafe

Location: Shoreditch

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Maybe we’ve been in London for far too long and have become accustomed to the rip off prices, but it is rare to find a cool hipster cafe serving decent food at reasonable prices. £5 for blueberry pancakes with bacon, summer fruit compote and granola – bargain!  Granted, ‘Bread and Butter’ are in the unremarkable end of Shoreditch, on the sooty main road near Haggerston overground but this neighbourhood is becoming a foodie destiny (Dukes brew and que, Tonkotsu East). Baby chairs on hand.

 

https://www.facebook.com/Breadandbuttercafe

Address: 7 Enfield Road , N1 5EN,  London

Pond

Location: Shoreditch

Cuisine: Asian

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 3.5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 0/3

Pond is situated in a real ‘edgy’ part of London (was scared to use my mobile phone when I got lost trying to find the place), created in an old warehouse. Feels uber trendy and hip (what is foodie mama doing here?). Some dishes were hit and miss (Hits = Poke & Catfish, Misses = why so much Spam on the menu?) Great cocktails – we loved Luscius Lana’i, pineapple sorbet & Prosecco. Left baby at home as they only open in the evenings – no one wants a screaming tired baby knocking over their cocktail!

http://pond-dalston.com/