Saturday, 31 January 2009


Once you've been to one shopping mall then you've been to them all and that’s irrespective of whether it's in Nebraska, Seremban or here at Westfield.

The cow calleth moo-eth

Daughter mucking about with her toy, bought when she was only seven.

We both had cheeseburgers, and it came as requseted; 'abattoir fresh'.
For a chain, Byron's a rather unexpected piece of good fortune.

Up escalator- we were seriously hungry by now!

Why, thank you. Why do I always get to face the butt?

Bron's Mini Classic

She demolished them in 3 mins!
I get annoyed by those anaemic looking or half baked rolls...argggh!

My Gruyère Cheeseburger

Rather tasty burger. Once again you simply have to praise Byron for their unflappable consistency- the burgers always arrive well done instead of the promised medium! No fuss kicked, because these burgers are pretty good.

The weighing machine stopped working, so an indulgence of onion rings and fries was permitted.


Decent enough burgers at a most convenient location fit for yummy mummies,
teenagers, babies, and tourists from Sarf London.

Dread is the first word that came into my mind when I deliberated on whether to join the long queue at Byron. Inconsistent reviews with both the press and bloggers were responsible for my lack of confidence with this chain of hamburger restaurants.

It was also Saturday, lunchtime in Europe’s newest shopping centre, Westfield. My daughter more or less decided that Byron was ideal, as it was technically the closest to her intended shopping target of Hollister.

Ten minutes later we were seated at the bar next to the open kitchen, I do enjoy observing the nerve centre of any restaurants; the food seem to taste better as the cooks you’re watching, intently I daresay, tend to take more care with your dinner. The whole place is bright, airy and clean. The ambience as you’d expect from the American influence is lively and loud. The service was efficient and accommodating.

This lady, let’s just call her the Goddess of all Managers, was a sight to behold, she controls everything from here and all the dishes were allocated perfectly with frightening precision. She is the sort of woman who wouldn’t know the meaning of the word panic! Dudette.

My daughter’s Oreo Cookie Milkshake was really a drink and dessert in one; it was huge and as always, most kids would agree it was heavenly.

Her Byron burger of dry cure bacon, mature Cheddar and Byron sauce.

My Cheeseburger with Gruyère.

Byron claims that all their hamburgers are cooked medium unless otherwise requested, well both father and daughter uttered nowt. As you can see, well done was the result.

Excellent courgette fries and very average (certainly not hand cut) fries.

Shared indulgence of Knickerbocker Glory- Ice cream, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, toasted almonds, maraschino cherries, whipped cream. Again huge and decent value, more than enough for two to share.

Overall the burgers here have the right potential, certainly not up there with Haché but nearly on par with Gourmet Burger Kitchen, if not for the overcooked patties. Excellent value all round coupled with assured service and decent fast food; no wonder the crowds here were mainly families and discerning teenagers.

The Loft
Westfield Shopping Centre
W12 7GF

Friday, 30 January 2009



Not trying to sound cynical, but I'm happy to see Yumchaa still exists in Soho.

Refreshing 'I'm a Lady' kind of brew.
£2.00, bloody good value.

For all those mountain goats (or the mildly out of touch) yum cha is Cantonese for ‘drink tea’. Like several places I’ve been to now for the first time, Yumchaa was ‘stumbled’. Stumbled upon on my way to Flat White on Berwick Street; so coffee was put on hold this afternoon in favour of tea.

The interior belongs to the school of shabby chic like Fernandez & Wells, but possibly more half baked. Unlike cafés that specialise in coffees, Yumchaa lacks the tingling of the nasal passages that one gets from roasted coffee beans. An interesting thing to note, ladies far outnumber gents as customers (not that I’m complaining!).

As per usual with discerning cafés of late, posh sandwiches and serious cakes are on full display to impress and make total mockery of that word, diet.

A daunting display of teas (from green to white) is displayed in cute little milk jugs for one to sniff and peruse.

The friendly young lady who served me suggested that I try her favourite of Blueberry Hill.

This tea was floral and bewitchingly fragrant, it was an absolute delight to drink. My qualm with drinking this sort of concocted brew is that I start to possess a certain complex. I mean this blueberry thing is the antithesis of my other fave, the builder’s brew; it’s all too girly and the frivolity of it all seemed to be at odds with my masculine disposition. Thankfully this kind of blind panic was short lived, the tea was a perfect brew for the rather wondrous lemon drizzle cake.

Sky’s the limit as far as the stomach is concerned when consumption of this wonderful tasting cake is unrestricted.

Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said for the Chocolate Cake, the first slice was hopelessly dried out and hard; methinks stale. The young lady replaced it without fuss, I think with hindsight alone she knew she shouldn’t have served that in the first place. Naughty.

The replacement slice whilst fresh, was ok and not exactly mind blowing. Maybe the stale slice put a damper on the rest of my afternoon here. Badly kept cake aside, I’m coming back for the teas (30 at last count) and the civility of the whole place.

Yumchaa is a near oasis of calm compared to Flat White. If one tires of the boisterousness of the latter Yumchaa is decidedly heaven sent. The following
analogy might be weak but it spells true- canines head to F-W but felines prefer Yumchaa.

45 Berwick Street
London W1F 8SF

Add pics-


Notting Hill and English Breafast

Apple thing

Brownie thing


Carrot Thing

Regent Park Blend- light and mega floral

Apple ...

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Sacred Café

Ganton Street shot from Carnaby Street

Just how novel is that?
Dollop of vanilla ice cream and your own cocktail flask of iced coffee- £3.00

Sacred, hats off for an excellent summer quencher and bloody good value it was too!

Tea Break in Carnaby Street
Green tea of Japanese rose (?) for two. Despite the name, it was refreshing.
Digging in the Rocky Road Cheesecake



Carrot Cake

Chocolate Brownie


I don't care much for the coffee here, but the staff, the food and the tea more than make up for it. Lovely chilled place.

Can I possibly keep up with the rise and rise of Aussie and Kiwi coffee houses in London? Surely the Italians must be worried sick with the antipodean renaissance of perfecting their caffè espresso and cappuccini to a large degree that’s never been witnessed two to three years ago in London. My all too recent love affair with this type of coffee served is down to the Flat White reviews found at Trusted Places. So the answer to the first question is a resounding yes, in fact let’s populate London with this kind of café. Its vibrancy can only be synergistic with the best city in the world.

Sacred Café was stumbled upon purely be accident. Countless times I’ve walked past this place only to be given the impression of yet another contemporary caff with ‘tourist trap’ intentions. It was during one afternoon when loitering (don’t ask) near its front window that I noticed the ‘latte art’ (ferny pattern and whatnot) on one of the customers’ cuppa; eureka! flattie served here. I must also state that Sacred doesn’t quite have the same underground following as its coevals like the said Flat White or Fernandez & Wells.

This place is all female staffed. I find them feisty (which I don’t mind at all, at least you know where you stand with ‘them peeps’) but welcoming.

The basement area where I ended up was like a chill-out lounge with decent music gently filling the entire room. This is the sort of place that might make me feel out of sorts if I’m in my fifties, it’s unashamedly youngish at best.

Well here’s my summary of the food and bever

Flat White- Smallish in size and strong tasting; but not delicious or ‘rock me boat’ type.

Organic Carrot Cake- this has gotta be the most beautifully presented slice of cake in London. The mélange of a twist of orange, slice of kiwifruit and strawberry complimenting the cake was a wonderful sight. The cake tasted moist and rather delicious.

Long Black- needed to try this to support my deduction of the flat white. Again it was indeed strong tasting but lacking that coffee boldness and sourish undertones were noted. I’m beginning to suspect that the beans were not of the Monmouth or Union variety. Disappointing.

I may well come back here, but perhaps only for the cakes and tea instead.

Carnaby Street Precinct
13 Ganton Street


The cakes here are bloody good, these guys actually take the trouble to ensure that they remain moist and delicious. The girls who work here are great as well. The coffee, oh stick to the tea!

Blueberry Muffin

Gold Diggers Chocolate Crunch Cheesecake

It was achingly satisfying!

The Flat White that failed to shake the world, my world that is. It was too 'polite'!