kake: A tan capital R on an olive-green background, representing the Randomness Guide to London colour scheme. (RGL)
[personal profile] kake

Hello! This is the blog associated with the Randomness Guide to London (RGL).

RGL is a kind of database, kind of review site, used for documenting interesting places in London, UK. Our major obsessions are pubs, restaurants, cafes, bookshops, and museums, and we're also quite interested in places that are vegan-friendly and/or accessible. The administrators of the guide are [personal profile] kake and [personal profile] bob.

We're not a UGC (user-generated content) site, but if you have an update on something we've written about (perhaps a restaurant has closed, or a pub has had a change of management) then do let us know. Similarly, we're always happy to hear from people who'd like to come out on an adventure with us and see if they're a good fit for our team of contributors.

You can contact us by commenting here (anonymous comments are enabled, but please give us your name or pseudonym and some way of contacting you), or check out the Contact RGL link on RGL itself.

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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome back to another week of RGL updates!

Napura, Nunhead, London SE15

This week's featured article is Napura, SE15 3QF, a Portuguese restaurant in officially the best area of London, Nunhead. This is official because I say it is, so I'll brook no disputes. I wager it's changed since I lived there, though this was a Portuguese restaurant back then. Go get yrself a bacalhau. (The historical verdict, which may not have changed much, is that there's less for those non-meat-eaters such as myself.)

But that's fine because our updated article is Shree Krishna Vada Pav, a Mumbai-centric cafe which is totally vegetarian, though you have to travel a bit further from Nunhead, as it's in Harrow. It will, however, satisfy all your carbs-in-carbs needs.

Finally, just reopened is iconic pub The Half Moon in Herne Hill, which has been closed for nigh on four years now, so its reopening (as a Fuller's pub) is welcome.
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[personal profile] katstevens
Stuffins Unlimited, Croydon, London CR0

Evening RGL crew!

This week's featured article is for the legendary Stuffins Unlimited in Croydon. This sandwich shop is clearly inspired by the great 2 Unlimited not just in name, but in its cheerful personnel, quick-moving queue, boshing specials and hardcore rave breakfast baps (maybe). Get Bready For This!

First among a bunch of new articles on RGL this week is a new branch of the Nordic Bakery in Seven Dials. I am still recovering from the last time I had one of their extremely strong coffees at the Golden Square branch (approx 8 years ago). The coffee strength at Coffee Express in Belvedere is as yet unknown, but they'll do a weak cup of tea if you ask for one. (If you're after something stronger in DA17, the Belvedere Hotel pub has reopened.)

Elsewhere, in Brixton's Market Row there's Brazilian food at Carioca, while Earlsfield's Cah Chi will do you a decent beef japchae. Last but not least is the Running Horses pub in Erith. Where is Erith, I hear you ask? Well, I was at that pub myself just yesterday and I ate a large sausage roll, but it was dark outside and I got lost on the way, so I couldn't tell you exactly how I got there. Erith: shrouded in mystery! Or you could get the train.
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[personal profile] ewan
Hello again RGLers! No reported closures this week!

Cristina’s, Barking, London IG11

This week's featured article is Cristina's, IG11 8AW, a steak restaurant in Barking. It's child-friendly, not too loud, they have a lunch deal, and if you like steaks then it's probably worth your time. It is, after all, as they say, the "casual steakhouse".

One new article is Sai Mantra, an Indian/Sri Lankan restaurant in Gants Hill, sticking with the outer East London theme. Decent seafood roti, but it sounds like chilli mogo is the thing.

Finally, two updates are to Wanstead's Wetherspoons The George, and Chigwell's King William IV.
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[personal profile] katstevens
candid cafe entranceway
Photo by @quitepeculiar, used under Creative Commons license

Evening everyone! This week's featured article is for Candid Cafe in Angel. I'm glad it's candid in the secluded hideaway sense rather than the hidden camera practical joke sense. As it is, you can enjoy your tea and cake while nosing at the people below queuing for terrible goth gigs at Electrowerkz without worrying about Jeremy Beadle suddenly popping up from behind a pot plant. (I apologise for introducing this nightmare scene into your brains, dear readers.)

There's a brand new page for Tre Viet in Hackney, a noisy but highly enjoyable Vietnamese restaurant that will do you a massive bowl of pho AND bring the bill really quickly once you've asked for it. Cracking. Also new is Frank's Cafe in Limehouse, a no-frills greasy spoon with some room for improvement in their set breakfast ingredients.

Denizens of North East London will surely already be celebrating the full reopening of the Goblin line following electrification works - no longer will you have to get the strength-sapping 41 bus through the endless traffic at Turnpike Lane when a quick jaunt from Crouch Hill to South Tottenham will do the trick nicely. Also reopened is the Beehive in Marylebone. I think this is the first week for ages that we've had more reopenings than closures! Hurray!
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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome back!

RU@D Cafe, West Ham, London E15

This week's featured article is Rial Cafe, E15 3BT, or maybe Ruad Cafe if you like. It's a cafe in West Ham with eclectic furniture and tasty lunches.

Our two additions are a MICROPUB in Anerley, the Douglas Fir (run by Gipsy Hill and is fairly minimal in decor, but good beers and WiFi), and Resham in Norbury (an Indian restaurant which specialises in Indian-style Chinese food).

Three reported closures are The Belvedere Hotel in Belvedere (which is near Erith, if that helps?), Beer Rebellion in Sydenham (short lived sadly!) and The Camel and Artichoke behind Waterloo station.

Finally the very fine Claret Free House in Addiscombe is now called The Claret and Ale.
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[personal profile] katstevens
Simpson's Tavern, Cornhill, London EC3

Evening RGLers! This week's featured article is for Simpson's, a venerable old pub in the City which is even older than Jonathan the tortoise. It's closed on weekends but makes up for it by opening early for breakfast during the week - worth a visit if you're after a fry-up in EC3.

A trio of new pages to report: Maria and Aldo's Coffee Bar in Beckenham, a pleasant local cafe with a vintage feel; De-Lites, a small Bengali cafe/takeaway near Shadwell station, and Crystal Palace Market, which is not a market at all, but a busy gastropub-style restaurant and bar. Apparently they do oysters! (I did not try the oysters.)

Finally, in lift refurbishment news, the lifts have now been refurbished at Lambeth North tube, and it's fully reopened.

The blog is taking a short break next week - we'll be back in a fortnight!
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[personal profile] ewan
Sorry for the late entry this week! I hope it hasn't thrown out your planning for all the places you want to check out...

Murger Han, Euston, London NW1

This week's featured article is Murger Han, NW1 1DA. It's a Northern Chinese restaurant in Euston, and although I've never really been sold on 'Euston' as a descriptor of the area, I recognise most people probably know where you mean (this is really Somers Town, surely). Anyway, I'm getting distracted from the important thing, which is that for all its utilitarian decor, you can get some interesting porky fatty burger-type things (these it seems are the "murgers" of the name), and a nicely-balanced vinegary soup. Don't try and pay with Scottish currency, mind.

One addition is a Nigerian restaurant in Canning Town, Squires, with decent thoroughly-cooked fish stew.

There's an update to Napura, a Portuguese restaurant in Nunhead, from which you can also order takeaway.

Two temporary pub closures are the Aeronaut pub in Acton, and the Great Northern Railway Tavern in Hornsey.

Finally the reported permanent closure of East Dulwich tea shop Le Chandelier. Now a restaurant called Spinach, the idea of which isn't really thrilling me tbqh but I don't live in East Dulwich.
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[personal profile] katstevens
IMG_20160906_175036163

Hullo RGLers! This week's featured article is for the Penny Farthing, a friendly micropub in Crayford, with plenty of real ale and real cider. If you happened to be walking from Wroxter to Canterbury along the old Watling Street Roman road, it would be a perfect 162-mile pint pit-stop.

There are a couple of new pages, one for Potli in Hammersmith, a reasonable Indian restaurant/takeaway, and one for Cafe Shack, a greasy spoon in Old Coulsdon (decent deep-fried sausage but maybe give the milkshakes there a miss).

Mayfair lost a couple of Michelin stars in October with the closure of Hibiscus - I had a cracking bowl of soup there once. I never had a decent bowl of soup from the Chiswick branch of Oddbins, but that's closed too. Finally, Lancaster Gate tube station is shut until July, while they sort out the lifts.
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[personal profile] ewan
IMG_20170101_132239818

Bit of a light one this week! The featured article is Steakout, SW16 4AQ, which was added recently. It's a halal steak restaurant in Norbury. Expect neon, toy cows, sizzling steak.

Our one new article is Bela Vista in Plaistow, a Portuguese cafe/restaurant with draught lager (Sagres I'm guessing) and pretty good Portuguese food.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Nusa, Broadgate, London EC2

Happy January everyone! This week's featured article is for Nusa Kitchen by Liverpool Street station. If you're looking for a quick lunchtime soup stop, you're in luck! If you're not looking for lunchtime soup however, your options will be limited - unless you are in the market for breakfast soup! (I mean, porridge is technically a soup, right?)

Two new articles on RGL this week: firstly, the rather dimly-lit Flat Iron steak house in Covent Garden, which has good value/quality ratio of steak, but meagre portions compared to somewhere like the Hawksmoor. Secondly we have the Candid Café in Angel, which ironically seems a rather good clandestine meeting spot, tucked away off the beaten track, above an arts space. Alas it stops one letter short of being the best of all possible cafés - keep cultivating that garden!
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[personal profile] ewan
Hello, and after a bit of seasonal break, welcome back to a new year, 2017!

Lulu's Caribbean Cuisine, Finsbury Park, London N4

This week's featured article is Lulu's Caribbean Cuisine, N4 3EN. It's pretty small and colourfully painted, and if you're there for a weekday lunchtime you may find yourself the only one. Generous portions and flavourful too, worth checking out we think.

There are three new pages: A&N Brothers Cafe in South Croydon (decent breakfast); Steakout in Norbury (neon pink, but decent steak); and The Fox pub between Coulsdon and Caterham (more a restaurant than a pub, but you can drink there, and the food is... decent).

Our two reported permanent closures are Bottledog on Grays Inn Road, and The William Jolle pub (a Wetherspoons) in Northwood Hills.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Andu Cafe, Dalston, London E8

Hullo all! Our last round-up of the year kicks off with our featured article, Andu Cafe in Dalston. The menu is both short and vegan! Having a dollop of everything on a massive expanse of injera sounds like an excellent plan. The archives tell me I've already linked to the Captain Sensible song about wot, so here's Wiley instead.

We have a new page for Suda, a busy and modern Thai restaurant in Covent Garden, hidden away in the courtyard off Upper St Martin's Lane, and there's an update for Cristina's steak house in Barking, following a recent visit. The Glamorgan gastropub in Croydon has closed, while Cafe Bohemia off Mare Street in Hackney is due to close in January.

And that's it for 2016 - RGL wishes all our readers and contributors a very Happy New Year!
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[personal profile] ewan
This week is a fairly slim entry...

now wearing 3 party hats for #rgl10

The featured article and the only new article too is Category Waterloo And City Line Pub Crawl 2016.

I was there; it was excellent. There were even party hats and bob got a free pint in one of the pubs because it was his (website's) 10th birthday.

Happy birthday RGL!

There are also some updates to the pubs visited, obviously.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Ram's, Kenton, London HA3

Evening all!

This week's featured article is for Ram's in Kenton, a vegetarian Indian restaurant and sweet shop with a decent all-you-can-eat buffet. Unlimited bread! There are also two new pages on RGL: Cactus Grill in Wallington serves Mexican/American food with a lunchtime meal deal, and Hap Lee in Norbury does the usual Anglo-Chinese cuisine (maybe skip the aubergine).

There's an update for the Orange Room in Mile End, just around the corner from a house where approximately half the population of Livejournal has lived at one point or another, including this author. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a local Lebanese mezze place at the time - but now there is!

Several pub closures to report: the Hatchet near Mansion House, the Chequers in Hendon, and the Greenwich Pensioner in... wait for it... Poplar! (Come on, why would you think a Greenwich Pensioner might be in Greenwich?) The Victoria Stakes in Muswell Hill is also temporarily shut following a fire, but the Good Samaritan in Whitechapel has reopened: very handy for a pre- or post-Tayyabs pint.
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[personal profile] ewan
Lighthouse, Catford, London SE6

Hello! This week's featured article is Lighthouse, SE6 4SP, or "LightHouse" perhaps, as that's what the facade looks more like. It's a vegetarian cafe in Catford with glamorous light fittings and texturally interesting porridge. Also, other food. Plenty of options.

Only one new addition for this update, which is Rial Cafe in West Ham, though don't look for that name anywhere on the outside. (This is developing into a bit of a theme this week eh?) It's a pretty small cafe with eclectic decor.

Finally, the reported closure of Hendon's Atari-Ya (or... "Atariya"?) sushi bar, which was rather nice. Still, the other Atari-Yas are still going as far as we know.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Coal City, Edmonton, London N18

Evening everyone! We head to the far frozen North for this week's featured article: Coal City is not a colliery in Yorkshire, but a small Nigerian restaurant in Upper Edmonton. The edikang ikong (a hearty veg soup) was just the right level of spiciness to thaw out our intrepid reviewer.

New to RGL this week is Cafe Rosh in Shadwell, serving an all-too-rare combo of fried breakfasts and biryanis (and chicken themed sandwiches) for a very reasonable price.

Elsewhere, The Melbourne in Wallington has closed for a quick refurb, while in Chinatown, RGL favourite Leong's Legend has moved around the corner to Gerrard Street. I'm sure we'll get round to paying a visit to the new location soon!
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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome back to another week where we plunge ourselves into the pubs, restaurants and shops of London.

Woolwich Equitable, Woolwich, London SE18

This week our featured article is a watering hole, The Woolwich Equitable, located in a former building society headquarters (guess which one) and run by the Antic pub company. It tones down on their usual quirk and has some decent food and music which is not too loud in the afternoon.

Three new articles are Shadi Bakery in West Croydon, good for all your naan needs, Coughlan's Bakery in Wallington, good for your lunchtime sarnie needs, and Little Bar in Tooting, which is indeed very little and offers bottled beers, wines and cocktails.

There's a significant update to The Elephant and Castle pub in the lovely Elephant and Castle area, again taken over by Antic.

Finally the reported permanent closure of The Dignity, one of the few pubs near Finchley Central, and pretty decent one too. But gone now. Gone.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Chang's Noodle, Bloomsbury, London WC1

Evening all!

This week's featured article is for Chang's Noodle on New Oxford Street. Their intriguingly-named Man and Wife offal turns out to include some spicy tripe! It feels like ages since we featured tripe on the RGL blog, doesn't it? If that doesn't get your mouth watering, there are plenty of other Northern Chinese dishes to try - the pork belly with shredded cucumber and the baked buns sound pretty good.

There's a new page for the Meantime Beer Box, located just outside the O2 in Greenwich. Meantime may not be quite so locally-focused as they used to be, but their beers are all present and correct in this bar, including some experimental ones.

Last but not least, we have an update to the Rockingham Arms, aka the Elephant & Castle Wetherspoons (housed in the former Ministry of Health headquarters, the Grade II listed Metro Central Heights). Given the location I would say it's a good Spoons for bus spotting, but the outside space is a bit limited and it's hard to see out from inside.
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[personal profile] katstevens
Sharon's Card Crafts, Swanley, Kent BR8

Evening everyone! Our featured article this week is for "the best thing in Swanley", Sharon's Card Crafts. Behind the humble exterior lies all the papercraft supplies you could ever need. If you need to replenish your glitter stocks before the festive season, and you feel like going on an adventure to Zone 8, then this sounds ideal.

We have a new page for Murger Han in Euston, a cash-only Northern Chinese restaurant serving salty noodles and juicy dumplings, while the page for Khan's Indian restaurant on Westbourne Grove has had an update following a visit. It's reassuring to know they can tell the difference between prawns and king prawns - mollusc knowledge was a tie-breaker on University Challenge the other week, so you never know when you might be called on to identify crustaceans.

Elsewhere, Italian restaurant Enoteca Turi has moved from Putney to Pimlico, while the Ravensbourne Arms in Ladywell has been rather abruptly abandoned by Antic, as they're shortly opening a different pub up the road.
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[personal profile] ewan
Another week, another round-up of RGL updates for you!

Bob Wines, Sydenham, London SE26

Our featured article this week is Bob Wines, SE26 5EU, no relation to the bob of this parish. Instead, it's a very handy shop for those living in Sydenham who have need of alcoholic sustenance, offering local 'craft' beers, as well as fine wines, including English ones and a tasty viognier. You can get refillable wine bottles too.

Two new articles are: The Masons' Arms, a pub in Kensal Green which has real ale; and Bread Ahead, a small bakery in Covent Garden with some excellent sweet things.

There's an update to The Thatched House pub (really a restaurant) in Upminster.

Temporary closures are reported at The Lucky Rover in Chessington, and The Crown on Blackfriars Road.

Closed more permanently are: Doukan, a Moroccan restaurant I have enjoyed in Wandsworth; Si Mangia Italian in East Dulwich; and McLaren's Cafe Bar and Grill in leafy Honor Oak Park.

Finally, just a note that The Armoury pub in Wandsworth has reverted to its original name of The Crane, with a refurb to boot.

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