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
Saravanaa Bhavan, Ilford, London IG1

Welcome back, belatedly!

This week's featured article is Saravanaa Bhavan, IG1 4PU in sunny Ilford. It's part of an international vegetarian Indian chain, and maybe you've been to one of the other London branches in East Ham or Tooting? Ganesha will watch peacefully over your dosa eating if you visit this spacious branch.

Other additions are a shabby pub/restaurant in Worcester Park/Cheam called The HG Wells, a Nigerian restaurant called Coal City in Edmonton (why not surprise the staff by visiting), and Chang's Noodle in London's fashionable Chinatown (excellent quality, and expect more than one noodle).

There's an update to The Gilpin's Bell in Edmonton, now under non-Wetherspoons ownership, but still offering Ruddles and similar cask beers.

Reported closures are Arbutus (always a bastion of unpretentious Michelin-starred fine dining) and The Windsor Castle in Marylebone (a bastion for the moustachioed gentleman).

Finally a couple of reopenings are The Fitzroy Tavern in Fitzrovia, and One and One Chinese buffet in Angel (now with meat, bucking the trend towards veganism).
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
CoffeE7, Forest Gate, London E7

Evening everyone!

This week's featured article is for CoffeE7 in Forest Gate, a veggie cafe with mild TARDIS-like properties. It is part of the Suspended Coffees scheme, where you can pay for an extra coffee (or tea, or a sandwich), to be claimed at some point by whoever needs it.

If you're after some quality Caribbean food in Finsbury Park, you could do worse than the subject of our newest page, Lulu's Caribbean Cuisine on Stroud Green Road. The menu has an entire 'Jerk Pit' section! I am fairly sure I saw Jerk Pit supporting my ex's mate's skatepunk band at the Bull & Gate in 1999.

The nearly-alliterative BG Zakuska Bulgarian Breakfast in Barking has had an update, as has the Mute Swan pub near Hampton Court Palace. In Angel, One and One (it's had many names over the years; I will always know it as 'the vegan buffet place') has reopened after a refurb, but is apparently not 100% vegan these days, so do make sure your mock duck is indeed mock. Finally, the Devonshire pub in Balham is also having a refurb, and is due to reopen in November.
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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome to a new week on RGL!

The Bus, Croydon, London CR0

This week's featured article is Bus, CR0 2BQ. It is a greasy spoon cafe in a bus, up Selhurst way. It's child friendly. Also it's on a bus.

Four new articles are as follows: The Long Room in Tooting, a pub with relatively cheap food; Saravanaa Bhavan in Harrow, a branch of a vegetarian Indian chain, thankfully not too anglicised; Jen Cafe in Chinatown, specialising in hand-made dumplings, a quick turnaround operation with better meat than veg options; and Nusa Kitchen near Liverpool Street station, a fine soup-focused takeaway corridor.

Finally, one reported closure is Oui Monsieur in Stoke Newington, a short-lived French bar/restaurant.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Mr Chilly, North Harrow, London HA1

Evening RGLers! After last week's Good Beer Guide pub deluge, here's what's been happening everywhere else.

Our featured article is for Mr Chilly, who is neither an underprepared arctic explorer nor an anthropomorphised ice cream but a small North Indian restaurant near North Harrow station. Try the biryani!

We've got lots of new articles. Let's kick things off in Morden, with a branch of Wimpy and the Morden Hall Bookshop, which sells second hand books from an old National Trust building in the park. Up the Northern line a few stops is Vijaya Krishna, a South Indian restaurant in Tooting, while back down in the other direction there's Bamboo Basket, a Chinese/Malay tea shop and cafe in Epsom. Ram's in Kenton is a veggie (and Jain-friendly) Indian restaurant that has a buffet with unlimited puri (mmm, delicious carbs), while all the way over in Eltham, the Yak and Yeti does a reasonable lunch deal.

Of course there are some pub updates too: the Duke of York in Surbiton and the Albert Tavern in South Norwood (both owned by Greene King), the Cape bar in Wapping, the Cricketers pub in Croydon (great for tram watching), the Barley Mow in Epsom, the Villiers Arms in Oxhey (as confirmed last week, Oxhey is indeed a real place) and the Railway Tavern in Bexley. I judge it would be quite a challenge to create a (theoretical, even!) pub crawl to visit all seven of those in one day, even though you would be unaffected by the temporary closure of the Gospel Oak to Barking line (it's shut until next February).

Finally, some closures to report: Italian restaurant Tentazoni has moved from Bermondsey to Notting Hill, while the Charlotte in Crayford, the Dover Castle (a Sam Smith's) in Marylebone and the branch of Spirited Wines in Putney have all closed.
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[personal profile] ewan
Hello, welcome back after a brief hiatus. It is that time of year for the Good Beer Guide updates! (Non-GBG-related changes will be in next week's update.)


Our featured article is therefore Category Good Beer Guide 2017. Here is a link to the CAMRA website if you want to see what it looks like and/or buy a copy.

There are many new entries to our database:
* The Beehive in Tottenham (a very nice pub I should have added years ago);
* Brewhouse and Kitchen by Angel station;
* The Broken Drum in Blackfen near Sidcup;
* The Four Thieves, a former Antic pub in Battersea;
* The Hare and Hounds in Greenford;
* J.J. Moon's, a Spoons in Kingsbury;
* The King's Arms, another lovely pub I should have added years ago (it's in Bethnal Green);
* The King and Co. in Clapham;
* The King's Stores in Spitalfields near Liverpool Street;
* The Long Pond in Eltham (see main image above);
* The Penny Farthing in Crayford;
* The People's Park Tavern in South Hackney (a large place);
* The Phoenix in the City of London (Throgmorton Street if you must know);
* The Railway Arms in Oxhey (hey! I hear you say, is that even in London? well no, but it's by Zone 8 Bushey station);
* The Rifleman in Epsom;
* The Shaftesbury Tavern in Upper Holloway;
* The Ship in Gidea Park;
* The Upminster Taproom;
* The Wibbas Down Inn, a Spoons in Wimbledon;
* The Woolwich Equitable.

There's also a stub entry for The Radius Arms in Whyteleafe, which wasn't visited in time to get a full write-up.

A noteable re-entry is the lovely Chesham Arms, which was under threat a few years back, but has reopened and is lovely.

Finally, one that actually entered the GBG last year, but we missed it: The Woodman in Woodmansterne.

Pubs pubs pubs pubs. Go to a pub?
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Redemption, Old Street, London EC1

Evening everyone! I hope you all found time to do something interesting over the holiday weekend. We're taking a few weeks off for some beer-related investigations, but there's plenty this week to tide you over until then.

Our featured article is for Redemption in Shoreditch, a vegan restaurant with an interesting (and 100% non-alcoholic) drinks menu. I don't think I've ever heard of a cocktail with lettuce in it before, let alone drunk one.

We've been to Swanley! The station is now in TfL zone 8, giving Oystery access to the Greene King-owned Lullingstone Castle pub, the Blue Harbour fish'n'chip shop (big portions, give the peas a miss), The Chef Chinese Restaurant and Sharon's Card Crafts, which sounds like a must-visit for papercrafters.

If for some reason Swanley doesn't float your boat (perhaps you are allergic to swans?) there are new articles for Cafe Adagio in Addiscombe, the Tulse Hill Hotel pub (another Greene King establishment), Pepe Italian Street Food (a pizza/pasta takeaway in Soho), The Finsbury pub near Manor Park station and the Somali Town Restaurant in Streatham, where the menu options have a refreshing simplicity (no lettuce cocktails).

The Mimosa cafe in Herne Hill has had an update following a visit, as has the Old Ale Emporium in Harringay (not to be confused with Haringey) and our old Ewok-village friend in Finsbury Park, the Faltering Fullback.

Finally, one sad closure to report: the lovely old Tudor Rose in Marylebone is going to become a restaurant. When I worked nearby I was always happy to spend time in this pub, especially in winter with its open fire and seemingly semi-permanent Christmas decorations hung all around the walls.
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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome back. I was off ill yesterday so I present this week's update a bit late, sorry.

Rui shatkora and rice at Ponchokhana, Whitechapel, London E1

The featured article is Ponchokhana, E1 1DB. Not in fact some kind of Mexican-equestrian hybrid, this is instead a Bangladeshi cafe, which has good rice and flavourful fish in the fish curry, though we daresay their other food is also worth trying. Good prices too.

Three new articles! Andu Cafe in Dalston does Ethiopian vegan food, with a really sour injera. Brazil Express is a Brazilian cafe in Stratford, which also offers some grocery items for pao de queijo fans, lovers of preserved hearts of palm, and other exotic things. Finally, there's Eddie's Cafe in Addiscombe, a greasy spoon which does greasy fried things as you'd expect.

There's an update to The Fox, friendly craft beer hub in Dalston.

One reported (but thankfully temporary) closure is The Ladywell Tavern, a tavern in Ladywell. It's being refurbished, we hear.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Yu Xiao, Dalston, London E8

Evening all! A bumper week, kicking off with this week's featured article Yu Xiao, a Chinese supermarket on Kingsland High Street (right near Dalston Kingsland Overground station). It's stuffed full of noodles, pickles, tofu and other East Asian groceries.

Our old peripatetic friend the Japan Centre (currently located in Shaftesbury Avenue) has had an update. A slightly different selection of tofu, noodles etc is available there, as well as a vast number of magazines with Japanese boybands on the cover. The Blythe Hill Tavern in Catford has also had an update, including some useful #limeandsodawatch pricing info.

There are plenty of new pages this week, including three fully vegetarian eateries: the Lighthouse cafe in Catford, Indian restaurant Saravanaa Bhavan in Ilford, and the awkwardly-portmanteaued CoffeE7 in Forest Gate. Guess which one has a chandelier! Also new is the Orbit Beers Taproom, just off the Walworth Road (good for train spotting), and Cappuccino in Norbury (good for fried eggs). However fans of egg will no longer be able to obtain tarts from Sun Luen Snack Bar in Chinatown, as it has closed.

Finally, some cinema news: the Bromley Empire and Leicester Square Empire are now Cineworld Bromley and Cineworld Leicester Square respectively.
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[personal profile] ewan
Oval Tavern, Croydon, London CR0

This week, as members of the RGL community prepare to visit the Great British Beer Festival, our featured article is a pub: The Oval Tavern, CR0 6BR in sunny Croydon. It does around five real ales served from the cask, pub quizzes, food, darts, proper locals' pub stuff done well, just like you need sometimes.

We also have three new articles for you. There's Redemption, not the brewery but instead a vegan restaurant in Shoreditch, which I can co-sign on because I have visited myself, though I didn't add it to RGL. But it does tasty food. Note that aside from dairy, honey and other animal products, they are also free of alcohol.

There's also Bloomsbury Farmer's Market, a regular market every Thursday in Torrington Square; and Manor Bar and Grill in Tooting.

We have a significant update to The Prince Arthur in Hoxton, a classic Shepherd Neame pub.

Sadly lots of reported closures this week: The Good Samaritan in Whitechapel; Boho Mexica in Spitalfields; The Duke of Wellington in Marylebone; The Only Running Footman in Mayfair (though it's still a pub, just not gastro, which sounds fine actually); and The Tyburn, a Wetherspoons by Marble Arch.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Beer Rebellion, Sydenham, London SE26

Evening RGL crew!

This week's featured article is for the Sydenham branch of Beer Rebellion, a micropub run by the Late Knights brewery dudes. It's a bit more spacious than the Gipsy Hill Beer Rebellion, which we've also visited recently and thus have a brand new page for. The Sydenham branch has a revolving menu with different popups taking over their kitchen each week (this weekend for example, it was tapas). The Gipsy Hill branch meanwhile has a more stable menu: half burgers, half 'not burgers'.

It's not all about the beers and binary burgers this week though! There are new pages for Saffron, a decent Nepalese/Indian takeaway in Tulse Hill, and for Ponchokhana, a small Bangladeshi cafe in Whitechapel which sounds like a handy place to stop for a 'not burgers' lunch.
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[personal profile] ewan
Ezo Bistro, Barking, London IG11

Hello! Our featured article this week is Ezo Bistro, IG11 8TU, a cafe in the concourse of Barking Station. Stations are never usually conducive to good cafes, but RGL feels this one might be an exception. They've made an effort with the decor, and there's a mix-and-match sandwich menu for which you might get bonus spinach side-salad.

Several new articles too! Gurkha's Diner in Balham is a Nepalese restaurant which doesn't go very heavy on the spices (if at all). The Roebuck is a pub in Borough, busy on a Friday as you'd expect. The Blue Eyed Maid is another pub not too far away from that one, on Borough High St, and do Indian food during the day. Finally, Cafe Nomad in Norbury is a halal Mediterranean pizzeria and restaurant.
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[personal profile] katstevens
Namak Mandi, Tooting, London SW17
Evening RGL readers!

This week's featured article is for Namak Mandi, a Pashtun/Peshwari restaurant in Tooting. I spent a good half hour down a Wikipedia rabbit hole after googling the difference between Pashtun and Peshwari, and ended up learning (a small amount) about the post-colonial implications of the Durand line! Incredibly complex history aside, there are some tasty-sounding menu options at Namak Mandi, including enormous Afghan naans.

Also based in Tooting is Khani Cuisine, an Indian/Chinese (i.e. Chinese food tailored for Indian tastes) cafe, for which we have a new page. Also new: Queens is a pleasant locals' pub in Upton Park (no real ale but there is a pool table). I imagine it will become much quieter on match days following West Ham's move to the Olympic stadium. Finally, there's a new page for Norbury's Cappadocia Ocakbasi, a Turkish restaurant who are very generous with their lahmacun.
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[personal profile] ewan
Hello and welcome back!

Rasa, Mayfair, W1

Here is Rasa, W1S 1AD. It is our featured article for this week. You may be familiar with it as part of a chain of South Indian vegetarian restaurants (well, most of them are vegetarian). This one is a fine representative of the others, so if you've been to one, why not try the Mayfair branch?

Three new entries for you.

Our SE London representative visits Bob Wines, unrelated to RGL sysadmin and regular contributor of that name. Look for local beers and English wines, if those take your fancy. Plus the usual beers and wines of the world.

There's an article for Mr Chilly in Harrow. This one's North Indian unlike our featured article. The key word in the review is "flavour" so expect flavour in your food. I like flavour in my food, that's for sure. Maybe visit on a cold day, so that the name is appropriate. Shouldn't be hard, eh.

Finally, our SW correspondent posts about Punjab House (another North Indian place) in Balham, which is near Tooting, quite easy to get to from there really. Indian "all day breakfast" sounds intriguing.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Sugahill, Sydenham, London SE26

Evening RGLers!

This week's featured article is for the Sugahill cafe in sunny Sydenham. The gang have a record fair every Sunday, so you can enjoy your brunch while listening to (maybe) Orange Juice and (perhaps) The Lovely Eggs. A delight for rappers and non-rappers both!

Non-musical additions to RGL this week: Ezo Bistro is a small but comfy cafe that just happens to be in Barking station (though you'd never know it from the inside). Our ongoing mission to explore the entirety of Tooting continues with the Ramble Inn, a friendly locals' pub with plenty of (keg) beer, while we found the Furzedown in Streatham rather loud and football-focussed for our liking.
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[personal profile] ewan
Hi there welcome back to another week of interesting things to drink, eat and do south of the river (and maybe like one or two things to the north -- though that lack is entirely my fault by the way).

Senzala, Brixton, London SW9

So the featured article this week is Senzala, SW9 8PS, which is a creperie in Brixton Village Market, that burgeoning community of little foodie units. There are sweet and savourity galettes and crepes served up by Brazilian chefs, and if you're vegan you'd usually steer clear of this kind of thing, but fear not for they do some vegan options too that sound great.

The new articles are: We Brought Beer, a branch of a craft beer shop/stall in Tooting, where you can drink on the premises as well; Frydays, a fish and chip restaurant in Norbury (do you see what they did with the name eh?); and Som Saa, a well-reviewed Thai place in Whitechapel/Spitalfields, so do go read Kake's review, as it sounds great.

There's an update to The Old Dispensary pub in Camberwell.

The Shooting Star near Liverpool Street is now temporarily closed for refurbishment and will reopen under a new name.

Finally, one reported permanent closure is Maotai Kitchen in Chinatown.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Sun Luen Snack Bar, Little Newport Street, London WC2

Hullo RGLers!

This week's featured article is for Sun Luen Snack Bar in Chinatown, which sounds like a nice quiet place for a breather (and an egg tart) in the centre of town.

A bunch of new articles have appeared! There's a branch of the Franco Manca pizza chain in Wimbledon; long-established dining spot Joanna's in Crystal Palace; the organisationally-challenged Tartine Artisan cafe, and Lebanese restaurant Meza, both in Tooting Broadway. The Bond Street branch of Rasa has had an update following a visit, by me! Spoiler: it's still great, and you should all go.

Lastly, after what seems like aeons, the Waterloo Tap is finally open, and ready to sell you some craft beer.
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[personal profile] ewan
Welcome back! As Kake notes, RGL is becoming increasingly RGSL, which means I need to pull more weight and actually make some North London updates. I can only apologise for this oversight!

Lamberts, Balham, London SW12

Anyway, the featured article is Lambert's, SW12 9AZ, a British restaurant in Balham. Service is efficient and the food is appetising. Plus they have a good value lunch offer, should you find yourself in South West Twelve.

The one new article is for The Gorringe Park, a pub in Tooting with those classic gastropub vibes.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Bushwacker Wholefoods, Hammersmith, London W6

Evening all! A bumper week to catch up after the Bank Holiday.

This week's featured article is for Bushwacker Wholefoods in Hammersmith, which stocks a whole range of vegetarian groceries including Taifun tofu (I wonder if they have curry and pineapple flavour?

New new new! Craft Tooting is a small craft beer shop by Tooting Broadway station. Further up towards Wimbledon Park we have more beer at the By The Horns Brewery Tap, while the Pear Tree pub in Purley has little jars of beer in front of the pumps so you can see what colour it is (I love it when pubs do this). Not quite so new but existing under a different name: The Aleksander in St Margaret's is now The Alba.

The page for Lion Inn in Thornton Heath has had an update, as have ones for the Sugahill cafe in Sydenham and Imperial China on Chinatown's Lisle Street (which seems to be *the* place to meet your blind date?). Places *not* to meet your blind date, unless you want to hang around outside a now-closed pub: the Red Herring pub near St Paul's, and the Devonshire House Wetherspoons in Crouch End.

Finally, pre-gig Brixton favourite the Trinity Arms is temporarily shut for a refurb. It's planned to reopen in August, hopefully in plenty of time for any attendees of 'Progress Wrestling: Chapter 36 - We're Gonna Need a Bigger Room Again' wanting a pre-bout pint of Ordinary.
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[personal profile] ewan
Mama Pho, Deptford, London SE8

This week, our featured article is Mama Pho, SE8 5DG. It's a Vietnamese cafe in Deptford, a successor to Cafe East. Expect generous portions, tender meat, and disappointing salad.

A new addition is, for a rare change, a station! It's Lea Bridge Station, which used to exist as a passenger station but some time before RGL was founded. Well it's open again, so grab your trains to Stratford and TOttenham Hale here.

Finally, an update to Picture Palace, a former Wetherspoons pub in Ponders End, now sold on to another operator, but it's still a pub.
katstevens: (dogswim)
[personal profile] katstevens
Evening all! A quick update tonight: our featured article is for Affogato, a cafe in Norbury that does all-day breakfasts, waffles and a range of loose leaf teas.

New to RGL is the first combination craft beer/hot sauce establishment I've ever heard of, Hop Burns & Black in East Dulwich. My workplace has an entire fridge shelf dedicated to sauce bottles with skulls and crossbones on them - I will be informing my boss about HB&B ASAP.

There are also updates for the efficient Roti Masters Caribbean takeaway in Croydon, and the newly-refurbished Bear in Camberwell, which seems to have emerged from its makeover unscathed (although it no longer has a quiz night).


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