The Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia is a place I’ve always wanted to go. Years ago, I was enthralled by the pictures of the bar that I saw on a website (cant remember which) and I really wanted to go (yes, I don’t drink, but I like bars, love the atmosphere lol). I didn’t end up going though, but years later, while restaurant hunting I came across Crazy Bear’s restaurant, and after analysing the menu to make sure there are enough chicken dishes for Shiima, I made a reservation. The Crazy Bear Group (to give it its full title) comprises of hotels, bars, restaurants, farms, and farm shops, but I’m only focused on their Fitzrovia establishment, which has the restaurant and also the bar, which I wanted to go.
The Crazy Bear restaurant serves Asian cuisine (primarily Japanese and Chinese). It’s a brief (7 minutes) walk from Tottenham Court Road station, which is where we walked from, but it’s a shorter walk from Goodge Street Station. Soon as we step into the restaurant, we were checked in by the maître d and led to our table in a corner of the darkly lit restaurant. Much care was taken with the décor of the restaurant; it is certainly unique and I imagine they were going for more than a hint of grandeur, but Shiima and I weren’t too excited about sitting side by side (supposedly I elbow her while I eat, I think she elbows me! Lol), but I imagine this will work for some people. Our waiter was nice and excitable, really looked like he was having fun in his dealings with us and the other diners he was taking care of, which wasn’t much as it was 6PM on a Friday so the restaurant was just getting busy.
The menu was fairly extensive, which is expected considering they are serving Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Before I proceed on the a la carte menu, which is what Shiima and I went with, I must add that everyone around us went for a set menu, which they seemed to have enjoyed. I ordered the baked venison puff and the assorted steamed dim sum platter for starters, and the black cod and honey roasted pork loin for main. Shiima had the salted edamames, vegetarian spring rolls, thai style chicken wings and the assorted vegetarian dim sum platter for starters, and the stir fried Chicken and egg fried rice for her main.
Okay, so, I’m writing this less than a week after going to the restaurant, and I must say I can’t quite remember much of taste of my dishes or the feeling the food elicited from me while eating. Looking at the pictures, I remember enjoying the wings and thinking they were fairly large. I don’t remember the black cod, which says a lot because I love that dish usually; and the honey roasted pork loin was good, although I remember forcing myself to finish it. Sadly, it was the same for Shiima. In her estimation, the wings were “okay”, same for her main, which I didn’t even try, and again that says a lot. Like mine, her dim sum was unmemorable, but the edamame was good. We usually eat the dim sum with a chilli dip – Chilli oil (with flakes) for me and Shiima has the vegetarian chilli sauce because the chilli oil has shrimps, but they didn’t have Vegetarian chilli.
We were still hungry though, so we went for desserts; I love desserts. Shiima went for the chocolate crème brulee with vanilla ice cream, and we fought over because I wanted that as well, but as the bigger person (literally lol) I chose another dessert, the salted butter caramel with chocolate sorbet. This, I remember, because I really didn’t enjoy it, had a couple forks of mine and abandoned it, including the chocolate sorbet, and likewise with Shiima. I had a couple spoons of her dessert, and I thought it was all right; I’m no professional, but it seemed more like a chocolate mousse than a brulee.
The restaurant experience wasn’t the best, I must admit, but there is promise in the Crazy Bear, especially considering the really cool bar downstairs. We plan to visit again, pick completely different dishes (more sushi in my case), and go to the bar downstairs when we are done eating; hopefully we will have a better experience. Beyond the food (I know, the food is everything to us foodies, but follow me), the restaurant has a cool vibe and friendly staff. It is certainly ideal for a date in that regard. It is pricey, but then that comes with the territory.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Price: £50+ each (excluding alcohol; but the set menus are a lot cheaper)
Rating: 3 out of 5