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  • 8 Porchester Gardens
    London W2 4QS
    Bayswater
  • Transit information Central Circle District Hammersmith & City Get Directions
  • Phone number 020 7221 1415
  • Business website lecafeanglais.co.uk
  • “It's a shame someone as talented as Head Chef Rowley Leigh was forced to spend his time leaning next to the pass checking his phone and chatting to regulars rather than locked in the kitchen.” in 2 reviews

  • “Appetizer: Parmesan custard with anchovy toasts (£4.5) is the most famous dish here.” in 4 reviews

  • “Rowley Leigh is the tour-de-force, behind (or, even, in-front-of) this glamorous venue, on the site (unbelievable but true) of a former McDonalds, located on the top floor of Whiteleys shopping emporium.” in 3 reviews

  • 5.0 star rating
    27/1/2012

    I was greatly impressed by the remarkably high ceilings, huge windows and beautiful art deco chandeliers. Having the entrance to the restaurant outside Whiteley's helps diminish the feeling of eating in a shopping mall.
    I came with a large group in January for a much delayed Christmas party and we were well attended by the staff. I cannot fault the food. We had an amuse bouche of parmesan cream with anchovy bread, delicious. I chanced having a salmon mousse, never been a big fan and have not had one for years. This mousse was dense and creamy, covered in little brown shrimps. I really enjoyed it, but was unable to finish it, as it was quite heavy. For main I had baked radicchio with Fontina, moreish and inventive. Dessert was a slice of intense chocolate tart, with crème fraiche.
    Most of the people dining looked like people who lunch. Lucky them.
    They do a number of menu deals that are reasonable, especially considering its glamorous furnishings.

  • 2.0 star rating
    24/12/2013

    Ate here with family, we were tired and wanted some place close by.

    For £30 per head, it isn't the cheapest. Food is middle of the road in a quality, and inferior to every restaurant in Paris at that price point.

    Seriously if you're in London, this is only recommended if you have huge French craving. Unmemorable.

    Specifics : the appetizer of goose and pheasant was the most refined; can't remember what it was specifically. Pheasant was alright but severely bloodied from a shotgun pellet;

    Waiter was unapologetic. Service was slow and uninspired, so we removed the optional 12.5% vat.

  • 5.0 star rating
    9/4/2009

    This fabulous restaurant is located in a not so fabulous neighborhood, and a not so fabulous shopping mall called the Whiteley's.  I didn't have high expectations as I entered this restaurant from the second floor, until I sat down.  It's a very charming dining place with big tall windows, allowing lots of natural sunlights in.  Their menu has lots of selections, and my dinner turned out to be really wonderful.  Waiting staff is professional and friendly too.  

    Appetizer: Parmesan custard with anchovy toasts (£4.5) is the most famous dish here.  Dip the toast in the hot parmesan custard.... HMmmmm

    Main Course: Lampchop (£15.5) is exceptional!  Very tender and juicy with crusty roasted skin on the side.  Compliment extremely well with a glass of Richelieu redwine (£7.5), rich and smooth flavor.

    Dessert: Chocolate souffle with homemade pistachio ice-cream (£8)  This is the another highlight of the dinner..  the souffle was baked in perfection and puffy, comes with hot chocolate sauce on the side.  Finished with a pot of loose leave Darjeeling tea (£2.5).  

    All for 1 person, total £49 including the 12.5% service charge.  Yes I finished everything on my plate and I was tumbling out of the restaurant because I was so full, but happily satisfied!  Must come back again!!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    4/8/2009

    People always tell me that there is good British food out there and that I'm just not looking hard enough. Granted, over the years, I've become attached to meat pies and the occasional roast dinner. But this restaurant might actually tip the scales for British cuisine (sure there are French influences here and there). The dishes are not complex, but done to perfection. If you were looking for something that tastes like pictures in food magazines look, then this is it.
    I ordered the thai curry, which may have been a mistake given the more basic the dish, the better... but it was still good. The desserts are amazing. Thumbs up on the ice creams. Over all, my favorite thing about this place is the starters. Definitely order a few.

    Also, WTF?! In a shopping mall?

  • 4.0 star rating
    14/7/2010
    1 check-in here
    Listed in Bayswater, London

    I came here for dinner on my birthday with my family because 1) they are nearby to where I live, 2) Yelp reviews were fairly good and the sentiment was seconded by a coworker, and 3) they are a 1,000-point table on Opentable.com!

    They are indeed inside a mall although if that bothers you, you can go in on the ground floor, there's a lift up to the main restaurant and you never have to feel that it's in the Whiteleys complex.

    Food was delicious! Salads were light, imaginative, and tasty. My fish was perfectly tender. I tried the two different lamb dishes that my mom and sister had ordered. I don't even like lamb in general and I thought they were good. The summer pudding for dessert was pretty, but way too tart.

    Overall, I was very happy with the food and experience here. It was a little challenging to flag someone down to get the check in the end -- the restaurant is quite large, but they do manage to fill it up. It is too pricy to patronize for anything other than a special occasion though.

  • 3.0 star rating
    27/3/2012 Updated review

    There should probably be a snidey joke about eating in shopping centres somewhere here but Le Cafe Anglais is no food court cop out. Sure, it's occupied the top floor of handsome from the outside Whiteleys for five years now, but if the shopping centre trades on past glories Le Cafe Anglais resolutely doesn't.

    If you'd been told that Capice Holdings or Corbin & King had a hand in the place you wouldn't be surprised (they haven't to the best of my knowledge) - it displays several hallmarks of a well designed, well run restaurant by their exacting rulebook. Attentive, individual staff; an eye for detail; simple tastes and flavours and great, great quality ingredients.

    The food was simple and excellent. It breaks neither budget nor boundaries but delivers a solid performance for £30-£35 a head. From an expansive brasserie menu I went for plump, juicy if teeny tiny scallops followed by a simply grilled veal escalope. Good as it was to tuck into after a week of more challenging dining, i admit to slight food envy watching my guests tuck into a perfect piece of muscly firm hake, served under a snappy salsa verde atop dense sticky lentils. Competence can be used as an indicator of the ordinary or prosaic, here it was sublime.

    The dining room is grand. High windows open up the light flooding over chandeliers and sassy banquettes. Beautiful floral displays set off the crisp white linens and serried tableware. If I had to find fault here it couldn't be with the front of house look or the intelligent wait staff, though I whoever chose such an awful, artless Jackson Pollock for public transport carpet for the space needs their head examining.

    Other than that godawful floor covering; if there's a fault, it can only be in the location. It's a shame someone as talented as Head Chef Rowley Leigh was forced to spend his time leaning next to the pass checking his phone and chatting to regulars rather than locked in the kitchen. Maybe the ladies who lunch do so during the week, but you won't find much better cooking at this price level and style within the area and it's a shame that on this Saturday lunch at least, it didn't have a more appreciative audience.

    3.0 star rating
    27/3/2012 Previous review
    There should probably be a snidey joke about eating in shopping centres somewhere here but Le Cafe… Read more
  • 3.0 star rating
    21/1/2011
    6 check-ins here

    From the reviews, I thought this place was going to be absolutely amazing. Well, i was only mildly interested in their food. I ordered the lamb and realized that I should've ordered two plates to fill myself up.

    The service was great though. Our server was a guy from Manchester and he was very nice and very attentive.

    The radishes and the bread at the beginning of the meal is a great touch. I may come back and try out something else and see if I can bump up this place another star.

  • 4.0 star rating
    30/5/2013
    1 check-in here

    Came here tonight. Modern, bright restaurant in the Bayswater shopping complex, literally a minute's walk from Bayswater station. You don't even have to endure the shopping to get here. Here we go: bread on the table was dry. Parmesan custard with anchovy was interesting. I like anchovies as much as the next man, but it was a little too overwhelming. My friend has the aubergine puree and loved it. Prosecco was good. Next: I had the beef fillet which I had with chips and it came with béarnaise. I have to say that it was really rather good. The beef was a curious rose colour inside, rather than red, but perfectly seasoned and extremely tasty. I also tried my friend's lamb sweetbreads. I have never tried them before, but they were actually quite delicious. We both opted for the chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream. It did not disappoint. I don't normally finish puddings but this was an exception.
    Service was excellent. For example; they put a fresh bottle of tap water on the table without waiting to be asked. They were attentive without being intrusive. Are we bordering on the perfect dining experience? Omg yes! I am so coming back, but maybe I'll leave the anchovy off next time..

  • 5.0 star rating
    15/3/2009

    there is nothing more frustrating to have to book months in advance for a restaurant in London when there are so many - but none come close to this place. I love the staff, i love the Location (a fan of all things tacky) and i love the little nibbles - the Parmesan custard and anchovy toast is amazing - i always say 'next time i am ordering it for my starter main and pudding'

    i realise raving will only make my frustration more frustrating

  • 4.0 star rating
    18/3/2011

    This place is worth a visit, especially if you're in the mood for a good meal that feels like it's in an episode of Poirot.

    Service has always been good here, if ever so slightly aloof. Food has never disappointed, the parmesan custard being a high note. It won't come cheap, but they serve up a nice meal.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1/12/2008

    If there was a fertile and beautiful island in the middle of the Channel populated by creative and perfectly balanced people - this is the sort of food they would be putting on their dinner table. Le Café Anglais uses a combination of French and English influences to create a really great menu for one of London's best (and most awarded) restaurants. The hors d'oeuvres are probably the most inventive bit of the menu and can be ordered alone in the bar area for a lighter meal. The parmesan custard and anchovy toast is special and one of their big favourites. The main courses are simpler, think brilliant roasts, grills and a few classics thrown in.

    The atmosphere is clutter-free, clean cut, without music, with great cooking aromas and is lit just right in an understated brassiere way. When I went the staff were supreme - really helpful and the wine manager in particular was spot on with all his suggestions. It's expensive but totally worth it if you enjoy your food and want something that takes the average and sends it straight back to sit in the middle of a boring year 6 maths exam.

  • 5.0 star rating
    19/2/2009

    If you are looking for a truly uplifting restaurant, this is it.  I went for a Saturday lunch and was bowled over.  The room is magnificent - huge, open and light, with massive windows on two sides.  As the restaurant is upstairs, it all feels so much more open and, whilst it's not a Parisian rooftop view, the imagination can still wander....

    As to the food, it's Anglais and all the better for it.  To me, it was comfort food with a twist.  Everything was very correct and delicious, beautifully served on white linen and I struggled to choose from the large range of British classics.  The only thing not comforting was the price - but then it wasn't outrageous for the quality.

    • Qype User honest…
    • London
    • 6 friends
    • 22 reviews
    2.0 star rating
    25/3/2010

    Its no surprise that LCA has got some great reviews. I know that they are friends with some very influential people in the PR & hospitality sector and of course Rowley Leigh is a columnist himself.

    So is it worth all the hype???

    Well, its very hard to say at present. They are very, very hit and miss at the moment, people I know that have been are very unsure too. I have been several times but my most recent visit will make me think about ever going again. Sunday, poor to shockingly bad service, food cold and sent back, management just not getting it under control. And when you are paying £35 for whole chicken, yes thats just one chicken, I expect good things..Expect to pay 40-60 per head, which on one visit may seem fine, but go again the next week and you will be horrifed..

    Sort it out! I know running a restaurant is difficult at the best of times, but they have the experience and knowledge to get this right. At a time when money is not flowing as easily as it can thorugh London and theres always other restaurants that are getting it right, you have to deliver. Despite the West London and Chelsea set supporting this so far, in my view this could end up going either way, far to easily... It shouldnt even be a question of that with the resources this place has...

    Would give this place a miss at the moment, but worth a look back in the near summer future..

  • 2.0 star rating
    12/1/2011

    I was looking forward to this restaurant, the menu suited my tastes. When we arrived the receptionist was polite and up the lift we went to a large room, quite pretty but a little empt y(it was a tuesday night in january). Our waiter was uptight and a little impolite at times but he seemed to calm down a bit after he spilled some wine on the table whilst pouring. The appetisers sounded fun so we had 3 and the parmesan custard and anchovy toast was really excellent, the rest were uninspired. We had starters as well which were nice salads. Main courses of wild duck and venison were both nice but not outstanding. Dessert of chocolate souffle was airy and well executed.
    All in all dissapointing. The price would have been fine if the service and the food had really hit the mark but it did not and i will not be returning There is far better British food out there St Johns and Hix Chop house to name but two.

  • 3.0 star rating
    16/2/2010

    It was a friday morning when the last of the FT vouchers came thru when enabled us to phone this smart resturant in Bayswater for lunch. I mentioned we were booking with FT vouchers and they could not have been nicer. Cafe Anglais in Bayswater has been going for over 2 years now and was the brainchild of Rolley who previously owned KP in Kensington Church Street. Their fixed price lunch at £16.50 for two courses and £19.50 for three are a gift..as there is no real need to go on to the a la carte as fixed price menu is stunning...so this time no mention of all the courses and what we had go along for a treat and see the wonderful Art Deco interior in Whiteleys and a long walk in Kensington Park afterwards which is five minutes away...enjoy!!

  • 4.0 star rating
    11/5/2012
    2 check-ins here

    Lovely rabbit terrine, followed by delicious grilled black bream. Nice room, good service. Nice bar area at the front if eating alone. Super kitchen

  • 4.0 star rating
    6/11/2010 Updated review

    Am happy to say Cafe Anglais has revamped it's menu, added an oyster bar, and regained the sparkle!    Yay!

    3.0 star rating
    25/7/2009 Previous review
    While still the nicest restaurant in the area, sadly, Cafe Anglais has lost a little bit of its… Read more
    4.0 star rating
    9/3/2009 Previous review
    I'm not usually one to recommend going to the mall to eat.  Or to do anything really.  However, if… Read more
  • 3.0 star rating
    19/2/2008
    First to Review

    I really wanted to try this place which had been talked about a lot in the press (probably at great PR expense as they even managed to get a whole front page of the FT Weekend to hype it up before the opening) and the result is rather mixed. The pluses are the room's volume (and the location for me as I leave nearby), with a great dining room with huge windows giving a lot of light at lunch time and a great sense of space in the evening, an elegant but not stiff art-deco room with a choice of square, round and oval tables, not too close to each others, and - importantly - comfortable chairs. If you get in via the entrance on Porchester Gardens you forget that you are in a shopping mall (and that this great space was occupied by a McDonals restaurant until last year!). The food and the price is where it starts to go wrong. The menu is very long and they have come up with some sort of small appetiser portions a bit like tapas. Good idea except that most of that food isnt made for tapas - trying too hard really. I had a very French dinner starting with Paté de Campagne, then onto roast Rabbit with Spinach and then Chevre cheese. The Paté was average and did really feel home made, the rabbit was more bone than meat and I had to get a sharper knife to deal with it (!) and the cheese was ok but nothing spectacular (I asked for the Vacherin but they had ran out). I guess the menu will be evolving as I am not sure having roast as a central part of the food served really works. Overall we spent a good evening because the service is good, the setting is good, and the place feels buzzy without being too noisy but for that price I was expecting better food and my neighbour, who does not leave in London, summarised it well saying that compared to Paris or Bruxelles many London restaurants felt superficial. Le Cafe Anglais feels new and the menu is a bit too conceptual, neither cafe, nor anglais nor French really - a kind of London thing. In the area, for that price you should try the Angelus restaurant with better food, better service and a more appealing menu.

    Note 1: just been back a few months later, a bit less buzz in the room but was positively surprised by the food which was consistently good, especially the roast meat and poultry. Still expensive but I did have the £5 omelette and I could have lived on that for the evening really.

    Note 2: It is interesting to see that someone (the owner?) is busy writing 4* and 5* reviews on this business using different user names (easy to spot as most of those do not write on anything else). Is this a sign that clients are not showing up in those difficult times? I will go for an omelette and report!

  • 2.0 star rating
    26/5/2012

    These are nice people who wish to please, but they have no idea how French food should taste, or be cooked and served. The artichoke pasta had nearly uncooked garlic in it, the lobster bisque had a hint of the right flavor--shell stock was used--but the soup was almost watery. The fish soup was not like what I have had in France. The chicken was blah, and a tad overcooked. My daughter ordered the sole off the bone (is there any other way). When she bit in, there were four bones in the first bite. They took it back and fileted it, but it was overcooked, she couldn't eat it. The place was half empty on a Saturday night. They have a nice selection of reasonably priced champagne. The manager apologized and took two appetizers off the bill. But they need to send the chef to a good culinary school and then to spend some time in France.

    • Qype User minkym…
    • London
    • 4 friends
    • 50 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    24/11/2008

    My husband and I had a gorgeous meal here this weekend, a belated wedding present from some close friends of his. I loved the decor, the clean creamy-beige lines of the art-deco style ceiling lamps and the bustle of the open-plan grill area to the left of the restaurant. We thought the hors d'oevres were great value: the parmesan custard with anchovy was particularly good, as was the arbroath smokie pate, both served with done-to-perfection melba toast. My husband's starter of foie gras terrine was a highlight, as was my main course of rack of lamb, very flavourful, without being overwhelmed by sauces etc. I also loved that we could have a small carafe of wine with the starters and switch to a larger carafe of a different wine with our mains. The service was slick and unobtrusive and we'll definitely eat there again.

  • 1.0 star rating
    8/11/2009

    I went there Friday for their 2 year anniversary. It was awful. Everything seemed pre-cooked and was just foul. I would have sent it back in a pub. The fact that they even charged normal prices was a joke.

    I have been here before and the a la carte menu is good, worthy. But Friday was horrible. Avoid any specials or celebrations. The quality of food is poor.

    • Qype User tikich…
    • London
    • 391 friends
    • 585 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    1/9/2009

    The rotisserie chicken at Le Café Anglais cannot be beat. Once the roaster starts slowly spinning those plump and juicy birds, the homey and appetizing aroma alone is incentive enough to visit this most elegant of London fine dining establishments. One of Le Café's whole (and wholly succulent) roast chicken costs £32. Half a chicken (which with a couple of vegetable side dishes makes a more than ample meal for two) is $16.50. A breast is £14.50 and a leg, £4.50. A long list of sides includes delectable dishes such as courgettes Provençales, salads such as curly endive with mustard dressing and more. During my last visit, sides of samphire and new potatoes (£3.50 each) impeccably accompanied my and my dining companion's half chicken lunch. As tasty as the chicken is there are innumerable other reasons to visit this Bayswater restaurant. Take the roomy and stylish Art Deco dining room for example. It's gorgeous and, even at full capacity, never feels crowded. Wonderfully, comfort was not taken for granted in designing this space. As smart a setting as it may be, Le Café has an 'alright to lean back and relax' feel to it. Service is top notch and cordial. And the non-poultry items on the menu all look incredibly tempting: who wants to go halves with me on double veal chop with broad beans, bacon and dandelion? A quality wine and spirits list and yummy desserts menu rounds out the many good excuses to treat yourself to a Café Anglais visit. Despite only opening as recently as 2007 (and  believe it or not  on the site of an old McDonald's!), Le Café Anglais is already something of a London foodie institution. As ubiquitous as rotisserie may be in France and other parts of the Continent, it's sadly not so easily come by here in London. Le Café Anglais offers such no fuss scrummy comfort food in a lovely venue.

    • Qype User amethy…
    • London
    • 187 friends
    • 402 reviews
    5.0 star rating
    15/12/2011

    Rowley Leigh is the tour-de-force, behind (or, even, in-front-of) this glamorous venue, on the site (unbelievable but true) of a former McDonalds, located on the top floor of Whiteleys shopping emporium. A statement chandelier and red velvet furnishings make an impressive impact, as you cross the threshold, through the heavy frosted-glass doors. The staff are smiling and welcoming. We sat, on a pastel green banquette, facing the busy, open- kitchen. Rowley was in attendance, over his brigade  whom he appeared to treat with total respect  resulting in an overriding vibe of calm and harmonious efficiency, dedicated to producing great food, on a timely schedule. My two companions (regulars at the venue) had the Christmas Set Menu, (three courses at £35), as they craved the seasonal main of Roast Goose, with Christmas Pudding, to finish. I decided on a light starter of Beetroot and Boquerones (Spanish anchovy fillets), at £5, followed by the deliciously creative, vegetarian main  comprising roast chestnuts, fennel, cavolo nero and polenta slices, in a richly-flavorsome, tomato-suffused stew sauce  (£12.50). It was super-filling (although not heavy) and a perfect counter to December weather. I couldn't finish it all but was still 'lured' into a dessert (I had to join in with my table, you understand!) So, I indulged in the decadent, deep-dark chocolate soufflé, with its complementary, home-made hazelnut (including crunch) ball of ice-cream (£9.50). Divinely intense and, again, impossible to finish. A brilliant setting for taste, quality, contented good service; useful, to bear-in-mind, that it's also possible to enjoy a light, reasonably- priced meal, throughout the day, in the Oyster Bar, close to the entrance.

    • Qype User laisse…
    • London
    • 29 friends
    • 61 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    15/3/2010

    [Non-Photo Review] For full review, see here: wp.me/pwXBH-Ex  Le Café Anglais  Parisian Brasserie Meets London Shopping MallAnd it Works! Summary:Le Café Anglais has been lovingly created & takes inspiration from the best that Parisian Brasseries and British cooking has to offer. The menu is appetizing and broad-ranging; the food is simple, satisfying and well cooked. All of this is set against the rather grand backdrop of a light, airy and well-designed dining room and professional service. It certainly is hard to believe that the same space used to house a McDonalds, but thank goodness Rowley Leigh had the intuition and foresight to spot what was very much a diamond in the rough. This is a place you could take both parents and friends to, and have a good time either way. Not your average mall dining I first came across Le Café Anglais (LCA) before I really knew what it was. We were walking through Whiteleys, the London mall located on Queensway, and I saw a restaurant at the other end of the floor that the cinema is on. I peered through doors and thought it looked a bit too new and nice for the location (it somehow just didn't fit in with its surroundings), but the menu looked rather appetizing and was certainly broad-ranging. It touched a nerve, but alas, these were the days before I was a food blogger, so I didn't have a clue that the Chef Proprietor was none other than Rowley Leigh  a stalwart of the London food scene  and therefore didn't give it too much thought after walking away and moving on to whatever else we were doing that day. A few years later, I eventually realized that a place I had been reading a lot of good things about, which was located on a posh-sounding street called Porchester Gardens (and not in Whiteleys!), was none other than the same restaurant. Then, after seeing Chef Leigh in person at the Starter for Ten (Chefs vs. Critics) quiz show that was part of the London Restaurant Festival, and realizing that he really knew his stuff  both about cooking and the history of food  I decided I must get myself to his restaurant, and pronto. Thus the scene was set, and we invited one of our good friends, Mr. S (who has made guest appearances before on this blog), to join us for the occasion. There was a bit of a kafuffle with our arrival. I had driven there and dropped off my two dining companions at the small street-level Porchester Gardens entrance, where you can take a lift up to the restaurant. I pointed up at the restaurant, saying that it was on the first floor. Well, my normal maniacal attention to detail had slipped, and as they instead decided to enter through the mall (much less glamorous, darling), they couldn't find the placebecause it's located on the second floor. They called me during my nearly half-hour expedition to find a parking spot and I tried to explain to them where it was. They eventually got there and were seated, but it took me ages to get back. I arrived flustered and a bit out of sorts, but eventually everything got rolling. As a colleague from my office might say, the dining room is well impressive. And it is. It's hard to believe that a McDonald's used to reside in the same space. There is a very interesting article that Chef Leigh wrote himself in the FT in November 2007 just before the opening, which explains the vision and process of setting up the restaurant, and it is well worth a read. He will tell you in far greater detail, but in essence, they have managed to capture a number of the lovely design features of famous Parisian Brasseries throughout the dining space and it makes for a bright, airy, buzzy and very comfortable place to eat. I also love how they have honored the original art deco features of the building itself. It all works together seamlessly and is very classy. If you are interested, there are some photos, plus a video where Chef Leigh gives you a tour of the restaurant and kitchen on their website. Where to begin The menu is certainly ample, some might say portly, and offers a number of pleasant surprises all the way from the hors d'oeuvres (which precede the first courses) right through to the desserts. There is a lot to take in, plus there are a few first- and second-course specials each evening with the à la carte menu. I have to say that the waiters answered our questions knowledgeably and professionally and, with a little assistance, we had made our choices. My late arrival meant I had missed out on a few little nibbles, but I did manage to snatch a red radish, which was fresh and got me in gear to begin this affair. There was also a single piece of bread left  gee, thanks guys  so I made a quick grab for that too, and enjoyed it with a bit of butter. They were both very nice but not extraordinary. 7/10. Starter 1: Langoustine Spaghetti with Cherry Tomatoes & MintI seem to be in quite a fishy mood this year, so I decided to go for one of the pasta dishes that contained langoustine. It arrived hot, colourful and with a nice

    • Qype User sharon…
    • London
    • 2 friends
    • 6 reviews
    2.0 star rating
    15/2/2009

    My partner took me here for our anniversary dinner last night with great expectations but we both left disappointed. The food was generally very good with some flavoursome high spots in the kipper pate, parmesan custard, a smoked salmon omelette and the sherry trifle - all really great. But our evening was badly let down by very patchy (and sometimes absent) service.
    The staff were warm and helpful when they came, but the service was so inconsistent we never worked out who was our waiter - we had so many different ones, sometimes because we were forced to catch an eye from whoever was passing. And there were too many slips - we had to ask twice for water and again for the bill, to chase up the cream that was ordered to go with a dessert, to send back wine that came a course too early (having clearly said it was to go with the main course) and we were left waiting at least 15 mins for someone (by this stage anyone - I think we ended up grabbing the sommelier) to take our dessert order. When dishes arrived the staff generally didn't know who was having which one - something I'd expect a seriously good restaurant to get right.
    And Cafe Anglais believes it is a seriously good restaurant and has clearly put a lot of money into making a quality venue. We were greeted beautifully and the room is lovely - but you need some luck with your table. We were placed in a row of small tables on a curving banquette that were so close together, you had to pull the table out to squeeze past your neighbours and I seriously worried about other diners catching fire as I watched them inch between candles on adjacent tables - honestly, my local greasy spoon has more room!
    And how do restaurants allocate tables? We'd booked this over two months ago. We did ask if we could have a different table but were told all the others were for four. Well, fair enough, but then we watched several other couples being seated at them and at least one couple being accommodated when they made the same request to change that we had. That didn't do much for our evening either.
    In fact rather than the celebration it should have been, I had to console my partner who was so dismayed that her choice had been such a let-down. A restaurant on a bad night? Well, you'd think they'd be making a special effort for Valentine's Day! It certainly didn't feel like we went to the same place as all the people who've given such glowing reviews.

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