Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m snobby about West London. Anything south of the river that isn’t close to the Thames is a no go zone. East London, however, evokes many complex feelings of love and hate. I lived there for a short while when I was a kid and loved it, and I always associated it with slightly messy streets and the smell of cigarettes wafting through the air.

Fast forward a few years and one London Olympics later, Stratford in particular has become a really interesting place to be. Although Nando’s is still one of my favourite places to go to in the area, The Westbridge Hotel is a new addition to my ‘Places to Hang Out’ wishlist.

The hotel’s restaurant offers a smart and relaxed setting for an afternoon out. The menu is a typical hotel restaurant menu, with a range of starters usually found in a bar or snack menu, but with a much more fancy twist on each dish. The Chicken Salad, for example, has pomegranate and quinoa as ingredients, not your run of the mill ingredients.

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After a quick drink while waiting for our food, my partner in foodie crime and I were thrilled to receive our beef burger and steak orders. It was a carnivorous kind of day. If you’re looking for volume, the steak was rather large, and the burger patty was so full we had a hard time finishing it. It was a good, solid burger though, and although it was a warm day, the hot burger tasted great. We found our own way of shooting ourselves in the foot by taking too many pictures and allowing the steak to go cold. Atrocious! The service at The Westbridge Hotel was fantastic, and we really should have asked them to heat the steak, but we were too eager to get to dessert.

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For dessert we ordered the Chocolate Fondant and the Nutella DeLuxe Sundae. The chocolate fondant was soft and gooey in the middle, but a little too milk chocolate for my taste. The one issue we had with the ice cream was melting. I didn’t eat it fast enough and since it was served on a slate it made a bit of a mess. The sundae, on the other hand, was eaten up before I could blink.

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One of the best things about The Westbridge Hotel’s restaurant is the outdoor area. We spent a long time digesting and drinking lemonade in the quiet outdoor patio. For future trips to Stratford, if I’m not in the mood for a Noisy Cheeky Nando’s, I’ll be at the Westbridge Hotel drinking some seriously good coffee and soaking up the vibe in the restaurant.

About Gem Hunter Zohra

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Zohra runs Halal Gems, the curated guide to halal dining. Their interactive magazine has reached the Top 10 on Apple’s App Store in 18 countries. She produces and presents her own TV show in the UK, The Curious Foodie , on BMTV (Sky Channel 845).

Zohra’s passion is transparency in the food chain, and she encourages people to ask ‘Whats in my food?’. Her background is in strategy and innovation, across the telecoms, media, technology, entertainment and non profit sectors.

Zohra holds an MBA from Cambridge University, and lives in London, England. Follow her on Twitter.