Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Reviews index

I've reviewed a ton of places since I started doing this blogging malarky - so here's a convenient list of them.

I try to cast my net wide, so this list contains anything from places where you can grab a takeaway lunch for a few quid right through to some very upmarket eateries.

American / Burgers

  • Byron (chain) / revisit
  • Bodeans (chain) "The burnt ends, with crispy, caramelised fat are a thing of sloppy joy, and last, but definitely not least, there's that big, succulent beef rib, full of proper meaty flavour and meltingly tender."
  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen (chain) 
  • Dukes Brew & Que, Haggerston
  • Hache (chain) "soft, pink, meaty and very succulent indeed, the juices mingling with the melted Stilton and decadently saturating the tender flesh of the soft brioche bun."
  • MEATLiquor, West End "only a couple of guilty steps away from fucking your cousin over the bonnet of a rusting Buick behind the drive-thru."
  • Cask Pub & Kitchen, Pimlico / revisit
  • Ravensbourne Arms, Ladywell
  • Boom Burger, Clerkenwell
  • Honest Burger, Soho "The quality of the beef was stunning."
  • Lucky Chip @ the Sebright Arms, Hoxton 
  • Jamie Oliver's Diner, West End "While not everything was truly terrible, this wasn't the sort of eating experience you'd expect from a celebrity chef."
  • The Big Matt @ Hawksmoor "This is the way fries used to be, and indeed the way they damn well should be! It's very grown-up, and yet eating them made me feel like a child again."


  • Olley's Fish Experience, Herne Hill "the eat-in section is 80s bistro meets Captain’s Cabin, with not a formica surface or industrial fryer in sight."
  • Village Fish Bar, Ladywell
  • Browns (chain)
  • Members Dining Room, Palace of Westminster "while the quality of the ingredients were never going to be in doubt, the way in which they were assembled was surprising and delightful." 
  • Curve, Canary Wharf
  • Hawksmoor (chain)  "the purest form of meaty, bloody goodness"


  • Pizzeria Sette Bello, Tooting "I can't think about it without salivating like an Italian bitch on heat"
  • Spaghetti House (chain) "Even the things that aren’t truly awful are mediocre, which in some curious way actually makes the whole more awful."
  • Ask Italian (chain)  "dull, tasteless and so underseasoned that if I did ask a real Italian their opinion, they would've likely flounced out in operatic disgust."
  • Pescatori, Fitzrovia "The rock oysters go down a treat, smooth as silk with no trace of grittiness"
  • Zaza Gelato, Canary Wharf "it's molto squisito. Trust me on this one."


  • Paul (chain) "It's like the God of Cocoa ejaculating down your throat from a big, celestial chocolate cock!"
  • Cafe Rouge (chain)
  • Creperie, Canary Wharf


Indian / Asian

  • Silka, Borough "Just about everything I've tried from their menu has been quality, and as an added bonus the portions are fairly generous"
  • Radha Krishna Bhavan, Tooting "It sizzles on the plate and the aromas of cumin and ginger trigger a major salivation reflex."
  • Vijaya Krishna, Tooting "the Tilapia tasted so fresh I'd have easily believed that it could have been caught that very afternoon"
  • Princess of India, Morden "cock-strokingly good value for money"
  • Karnavar, South Croydon "I have found a contemporary Asian restaurant that does pork, and does it extremely well. And that's a big fucking deal for me."

Greek / Turkish / Middle Eastern

  • Troy Barbecue, Streatham "A simple, meat-oriented menu that will have you viewing the humble kebab in a new light"
  • Tad, Hackney "Not so much a 'tad' as a 'big fuck-off plateful'"
  • Lamb & Haloumi, Holborn "they start cooking late in the morning, frying up minced lamb, peppers and onions on a huge stove, ready for a lunchtime service which lasts until they run out of food. And they usually do, because this place is extremely popular."
  • Amal Shawarma, Tooting Bec "shittingly super-flavoursome wraps of meaty goodness"
  • Apatura, Croydon "I wonder if this place has any serious designs on being a decent restaurant, or if it's really a 'respectable front' for whatever shameful dodginess goes on in Croydon's dark underbelly?"
  • Atesh, Croydon "I was minded to wonder if it had dried out horribly on the grill and some sort of eccentric Turkish salvage operation had taken place."

Chinese / Japanese / Oriental

  • Roka, Canary Wharf "all the flavours you'd expect from modern Japanese cuisine"
  • Singapore Sam (chain?) NOW CLOSED
  • Wasabi (chain) "a very good way to get a quick fix of East Asian food that actually tastes of something"
  • One and One, Islington "just a bit shit"
  • Big Fat Panda, Battersea "The range of appetisers and starters is particularly appetitising and, err, startery"
  • Cocoro, Bloomsbury "The Japanese have made eating fresh veg fun - no wonder they live longer than anybody else on earth, even taking into account hara-kiri rates and sumo wrestlers."
  • Cat Ba Island, Croydon  "I'm not averse to taking the odd nipple in my mouth but on the whole I'd prefer that it didn't belong to a dead pig!"

Breakfast / Brunch

  • Dukes Brew & Que, Haggerston "manages to achieve the bacon nirvana of being really crispy yet still utterly meaty"
  • Simpson's in the Strand "the sort of plateful I'd expect to be served at a three star seaside hotel while listening to a couple from the West Midlands arguing about a roof rack."
  • Hawksmoor Guildhall "If there is a better breakfast to be had in the capital, I think it'll take some finding." 
  • The Breakfast Club "Who cares if each rasher takes five minutes off your life? It's a trade worth taking in this case." 



  • The Rooftop Cafe, Borough "dessert perfection was achieved - without (presumably) any chocolate or alcohol, which is absolutely remarkable"
  • The Gay Hussar, Soho "a melt-in-the-mouth expolosion of unctious umami"
  • Cafe Brood, Borough "it's right in the heart of London, yet eating at the Brood feels somehow like being on holiday."
  • Gaucho, Canary Wharf
  • Birley Salt Beef, Canary Wharf
  • Bene Bene (chain?)
  • Gourmet Hotdog company (chain)
  • Organic Chickpeas, Canary Wharf
  • Department of Coffee and Social Affairs, Holborn
  • Nelson's Cafe, Borough 
  • Whyte and Brown, West End "Me. Want. More. No, seriously, more. More!"
  • Harry Morgan, St Johns Wood "I do wonder if gefilte fish plays the same role in Jewish culture that sprouts do in Christmas dinners. Everyone expects to see them on the table but few actually enjoy eating them. Or maybe those pesky Semites are playing a joke on the rest of us?"
  • Adam's Ethiopian Restaurant, Brixton "The cabbage isn't pleasant. Lukewarm and soggy, it's reminiscent of the sort of largely fictional school dinner for which we were told to be thankful because people were starving in places like Ethiopia."
  • The Real Jerk, Streatham "Makes me want to pick up one of my many basses and play some Roots Reggae before smoking a big spliff!"


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