Monthly Archives: December 2013

Season’s Greetings

Xmas 2013Xmas 2013




Merry Christmas & Happy New Year, everyone!

I was a bit preoccupied and I am sorry that it is too late to write this. But Christmas day is not over yet (5 more minutes)!

Today is the last day of this blog for this year until February next year. Thank you for reading my blog, and hope you’ll come back next February!

Xmas 2013


Maze Grill by Gordon Ramsay @ Grosvenor Square, Maifair

ゴードン・ラムゼイ。元サッカー選手でテレビにもよく出演するセレブリティ・シェフ。イギリスに13軒、世界に20軒レストランを展開し、トータルで14ものミシュラン星を持つ。メイフェアのMariott Hotel Grosvenor Square内にあるMaze Grillは、様々な種類の牛の肉と部位を揃え、客の好みの焼き方で炭焼きしてくれる、肉を得意とするお店。その割に何故か寿司もメニューに並んでいるが、肉と寿司を一緒に出すのは、日本人的には邪道に思える。

Maze Grillのハンバーガーは、二切れのオニオンリング以外付け合わせなしで£14するが、肉を得意とするだけに美味しいに違いないと信じていたのに、期待外れだった。パテは熱々じゃなく、調理してからしばらく放置されていたのではないかと疑っている。好みの問題なのだが私はケチャップ派で、トマトレリッシュは元々好きではないけれど、ここのは甘すぎ。付け合わせのオニオンリングは衣が厚すぎて、ヘンな味のドーナツを食べているみたい。食前に出されたパンは美味しかったが、ハンバーガーの前にパンをサーブするのも変な気がする。



ランチからディナーまでノンストップで営業しているMaze Grill、通常のランチタイムを過ぎても、店内はかなり混んでいた。やはり彼の名声のおかげか。自慢のステーキを注文すれば良かったのかもしれないが、付け合わせなし肉のみで£28〜130(メニュー)もする。買い物ついでに立ち寄っただけで特別な機会でもなかったし、ハンバーガーだってイギリスではレストランでも出されるれっきとしたお肉料理だから、手を抜いてもらっては困る。

Gordon Ramsay. Ex-footballer turned celebrity chef and TV personality who owns or runs 13 restaurants in UK and another 20 worldwide (list) with total of 14 Michelin stars. His Mayfair outlet at Mariott Hotel Grosvenor Square, Maze Grill, specialises in quality meat and offers a wide selection of different breeds and cuts of beef cooked over a char grill at the guest’s specification. For some reason, sushi is on their menu but I believe they shouldn’t mix those two but just focus on meat. 

Therefore, Maze Grill’s hamburger, £14 with no extra except two onion rings, must be good. That’s what we expected. However we were disappointed. The patty was not hot, seemed like being left over the kitchen counter for a while. I didn’t like their sugary tomato relish, but this may be just my personal preference – I just prefer ketchup. And the onion rings were battered too much and quite disgusting. Oh, their bread was good, though it was a bit strange to serve bread for a hamburger.

The service was friendly but a bit pushy, like if we want wine (they don’t have any bottle with moderate price), starters, and desert, and made us feel cheap by not ordering extras (or it’s my imagination). But we are on diet, theoretically, and just wanted to have a plate of burger and some salad, and go.

Total cost of this lunch for 2 burgers, caesar salad, bottled water, tea and espresso, with £4 cover charge, £1 donation to StreetSmart, and gratitude automatically included, is £59, which is about $100. This is famous Ramsay’s restaurant I wouldn’t complain, as long as food is good, but it wasn’t.

Nonetheless, the restaurant was quite busy, even much after regular lunch time. Another advantage of Maze Grill is all-day dining. Largely thanks to Gordon’s name? Maybe we should have chosen their famous steaks. But it was a normal lunch, not for a special occasion, and it’s quite pricey starting from £28 up to £130 (menu). 

Argos Renewed Digital Store @ Old Street


アーゴス新店舗での買い物は、より簡単&迅速に。まず、商品説明ビデオや消費者のレビュー等が見られるアプリケーションを搭載したiPad、または店内の無料WiFiを使って自分のスマホやタブレットで商品を選ぶ。以前はレジで代金を払った後、味気ない待ち合いスペースでかなり待たされて商品を受け取らなければならなかったけれど、今は商品が用意されると、注文時に自分でインプットした合言葉が呼ばれるので、カウンターで代金支払い・商品受け取りが同時に出来る。また、前もってオンライン、または店内でスマホやタブレットで注文・支払いを済ましておけば、60秒以内に注文品が受け取れるFast Track collection serviceも導入された。



UK’s catalog retail giant, Argos, transformed their analogue style and dull shop space and opened its first of six digital concept stores on Nov 26 near Old Street station. No more laminated catalogues, small pencils and paper slips, and toy-like stock checker machines (see my post for old system) – all are replaced by iPads.

How to shop at new Argos is easier and quicker. Customers use iPads with  applications such as product videos and customer reviews, or personal mobile devices via free in-store WiFi. The collection counter and annoying waiting system has gone as well. Previously, after paid at the cashier, you had to sit down and wait quite some time in a waiting space like a doctor’s office, facing the same way  to the collection counter. Now instead, after ordering via an iPad kiosk and choosing a memorable word to distinguish your order, then till staff use that word to call up the order, allowing shoppers to pay for goods and receive them at the same time. Customers purchasing goods online or via mobile devices can enjoy a new Fast Track collection service, so you can get your purchase within a matter of 60 seconds since you walk in the store, Argos claims.

Now the store looks more high-tech and clean. No pencils or paper slips on the floor. I went to shop at the new store for the first time and was a bit confused, but friendly staffs always offered a helping hand. Much better than before, though I still don’t like their (cheap) logo and color combination of red and light blue…
Until December 24, you can get £5 voucher when you spend £40. Good incentive to try their new digital stores.

argos ad

Artigiano Espresso Bar @ Paternoster Square, St Pauls


ロンドンに2店、Exeterにももうすぐ開店するというArtigianoは、コーヒーの品質にこだわりを持つ、らしい。コーヒー豆は、コーンウォールにある小さな焙煎業者・Origin Coffeeから仕入れ、通常のブレンドに加え、「旬」のブレンド、そしてドリップ式コーヒーを提供。エスプレッソマシンは予想通り、カスタムペイントされたLa Marzocco Linea。手作りの「こだわり」のサンドイッチやパイ、サラダ、ケーキやペイストリー等もある。エスプレッソバーのくせに、何故か地ビールやワインの種類も豊富なのだけれど、それは商売。イギリス人の好物を知っている。


tea‘ tea house is gone, and now Artigiano Espresso Bar moved in. Does this symbolize that coffee is taking over tea-drinking nation of Britain?

Independent coffee shop with two venues in London and one coming soon in Exeter, Artigiano says they care about quality of coffee. The coffee is sourced from Origin Coffee roaster from Cornwall. In addition to the regular coffee blend, a seasonal espresso and filter is also on offer. Espresso machine? Custom-painted La Marzocco Linea as you may predict. There serve also ‘artisan’ food  such as sandwiches, soups, pies, salads and some cakes. For some reason, another British’s favorites, craft beers & wines are available. It’s a business!

Ground floor seating is nicer with some precious sunshine in dark November, but was full with people in business suits at 3pm on weekday. They don’t have to be in the office? Downstairs is furnished in the same style, but felt more depressing for some reason. Maybe just psychological. However, this may or may not affect the taste of food and drink. M’s baguette with goat cheese and tomatoes and potato & leek soups were ok but not exciting, and my bacon and egg sandwich and were boring. Their ‘quality’ tea & coffee? Not so impressive…

“London’s Best Coffee” App

このブログの貴重な情報源の「London’s Best Coffee」アプリ。私もアプリを見つけたMも、本当は教えたくないけれど、既にインストール済みの人もいるだろうし、そのうち見つける人もいるだろうから、出し惜しみせず紹介します。


お値段は£1.99、Google playiTunesで入手可能。

I am not sure if M, who found this app, or I really want to share this app with you, as this is one of the important sources of my blog. But probably some of you already have it or you would find it sooner or later anyway.

With over 150 best independent cafés, stalls and artisan roasters registered, “London’s Best Coffee” app is excellent tool to find a café serving speciality coffee near you in London. The app is regularly updated and new cafés are quickly added. It includes reviews, photos, maps and news, and easy to use. Even I can use it. The information of the cafés is very detailed – not only address and opening hours but also the type of beans, espresso machines, and even available brew methods each café uses. You can rate your favourite places and share with others.

Available at Google play and iTunes for £1.99.