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  • 4.0 star rating
    6/4/2012

    We arrived early for our dinner last Wednesday so it seemed rude not to wander upstairs to the bar and kill some time with a couple of cocktails. Evidently we were not the only folk to have had this idea as the room was fairly packed with only a couple of tables to spare.

    It's a nice stylish room with an old school "clubby" feel to it; leather sofas, comfy chairs, vintage cocktail books and pieces of antique drinking paraphernalia - all in all a classic toffs Westminster bar. The cocktail list was more of a novella than War and Peace with plenty of interesting combinations. Service was efficient and friendly and before long I was sipping on a stunning 3 Generations (based on a trio of Johnnie Walker whiskey) while B was luxuriating in the signature Pembury Cup.After our drinks, which came with a tasty little spoonful of Shepard's pie and a prawn mousse, we were in fine fettle and ready to tackle the menu.

    The restaurant consists of two rooms; the first is slightly larger and a touch more grand than the smaller room which is off to one side (in my mind this second room had a touch of the"breakfast room" about it). It's not quite as ornate as La Gavrouche but there is plenty of space between the tables, starched white linen and cutlery by David Mellor - very grown up but not overly fussy. On this visit the other punters were in the main cosy couples with a few groups of four dotted about; a nice atmosphere with lots of happy chatter. It seemed to be a city boy free zone.

    A decent selection of bread and some water, filtered in a nice bottle at no charge, arrived while I was still going through the wine menu. Unlike many "high end" London restaurants there was plenty of choice without having to take out a second mortgage. I think there was an entry level bottle at £20 with some pretty decent white and red around £30.

    We were dining from the tasting menu and throughout the evening we had a very fine selection of dishes; all skilfully executed, beautifully presented and just the right size of portion (plenty to get your teeth into but no so much that you feel bloated by the end of your seven course feast). Stand outs were the ballotine of confit of wild rabbit with a mushroom salad and truffle cream, the very tasty sardines on toast which came with a caponata dressing and the roast gunard with a ragout of violet artichoke, courgette and oyster mushroom.

    The waiting staff, of which there are many, are friendly and attentive. You will be served your meal at a gentle but fairly constant pace; not too rushed and no long waits between courses on our visit. By the time we had got to coffee and petite fours a very pleasurable evening had slipped through our fingers and it was time to get the last train home.

  • 3.0 star rating
    12/9/2010

    I was taken here for a business lunch as according to my host "there is nothing in the neighborhood besides this place".  My host was keen to point out what he considered to be late 90s decor.  This is an endeavor of Michel Roux Jr. of Le Gavroche.

    The lunch was rather pricey if I recall--I think we were looking at two courses costing £45.  I was not overly impressed with the options and ended up with pigeon, which was nice but was overly done up in the presentation and little bits of things.  The chef was definitely trying too hard.

    The menu tries to be creative and innovative, but I just didn't get the appeal, and although I won't be as harsh as my host, I can't say I was thrilled with the decor or atmosphere.

  • 5.0 star rating
    19/8/2010
    First to Review

    Went for lunch with 2 chums. The restaurant is inside the RICS building with a street entrance of it's own, on the corner of Parliament Sq & Great George St.

    We were immediately made welcome and felt it was a friendly place. The building is laid out as a grand residence and the restaurant consists of several rooms in it, with well spaced tables.
    We chose dishes from the good value set lunch menu, and wine by the glass from the list.

    Everything I ate was top class, particularly my fish which was cooked just as I like it it, done but not transparent....and it was good to eat too. The wine by the glass was modest but quality stuff and was very well chosen so we were able to enjoy without having a money man in the group.

    Will be going again.

  • 5.0 star rating
    26/7/2013
    1 check-in

    5 stars because it's 5 star dining and 5 star service at it's best.

  • 2.0 star rating
    9/7/2012

    I came here for a birthday and we all had the tasting menu. As this is quite a well known place, I was fairly excited and had high hopes. The front of house staff are warm and helpful, I can't fault them for their level of service and attention to detail. Kudos. Even the waiters were polite, helpful and accommodating.

    The decor is bland, be ready for some next level blandness. Imagine every wall painted white, with the odd dark-framed picture of something that is mainly white or grey. It was on the verge of starkness. It looks like the sort of limp, inispid, anaemic stereotype of the stuffy restaurant in England. Which, as I've mentioned, it is far from.

    The main problem here is that the food is quite expensive and the restaurant carries the weight of the Roux name. But it does not live up to the hype in any way.

    The pre-dinner snack came with slivers of toasted bread that were too fragile to be dipped or spread onto- which is a problem because it came with something that looked like potted crab. There was no real way of getting the two to mix.

    Then to the tasting menu. This was designed and planned, surely this would be better?

    Unfortunately not.
    There were seven courses and I won't go through them one by one because quite frankly they blurred into one long pretentious line of emulsions and foams and jus and fussy garnishes, smears of puree and drizzles of whatever.

    A few of my particular annoyances:

    Tasting menu or not, pollock should not appear at a restaurant like this. It is a crappy fish that is usually seen as a cheap alternative to cod. The fish itself was overdone, even a little rubbery though the skin was flabby rather than crisp.
    The short rib was overcooked. There is no excuse for this. The meat was tough, it was like trying to eat a shoe.
    The risotto was massively oversalted. It was basically rice in brine, none of the flavours could come through because of the overpowering saltiness.
    The 'mojito' style dessert was too cold, everyone at the table was left clutching their mouths in pain. The jelly layer was like a rubber seal; impenetrable until the dish had stood for a while. It would have done well to stand for a few minutes before being served.

    Lastly I don't know what on earth was going on with the dessert course. A flabby, flavourless lump of marshmallow sitting in a puddle of tart, acidic sauce with odd shreds of cucumber and gooseberry. It almost worked but failed miserably. The marshmallow had nothing to counteract the sourness of the gooseberry. The cucumber was bizarre as there was no hint of cucumber flavour.

    Underwhelming. For the location and the hype they really must do better. I've had better food at River Cottage, a place that doesn't pride itself on perfection and technique.

    Here it seemed to be about presentation and reputation rather than the food itself which is a horrible shame. A lot of work had gone into the technical construction or planning of each dish but I wish that same fastidiousness had been applied to the execution. I won't be back and I wouldn't dream of letting a friend go there, given the cost.

    • Qype User Nunhea…
    • London
    • 213 friends
    • 183 reviews
    4.0 star rating
    6/4/2012

    We arrived early for our dinner last Wednesday so it seemed rude not to wander upstairs to the bar and kill some time with a couple of cocktails. Evidently we were not the only folk to have had this idea as the room was fairly packed with only a couple of tables to spare. It's a nice stylish room with an old school clubby feel to it; leather sofas, comfy chairs, vintage cocktail books and pieces of antique drinking paraphernalia  all in all a classic toffs Westminster bar. The cocktail list was more of a novella than War and Peace with plenty of interesting combinations. Service was efficient and friendly and before long I was sipping on a stunning 3 Generations (based on a trio of Johnnie Walker whiskey) while B was luxuriating in the signature Pembury Cup. After our drinks, which came with a tasty little spoonful of Shepard's pie and a prawn mousse, we were in fine fettle and ready to tackle the menu. The restaurant consists of two rooms; the first is slightly larger and a touch more grand than the smaller room which is off to one side (in my mind this second room had a touch of the"breakfast room" about it). It's not quite as ornate as La Gavrouche but there is plenty of space between the tables, starched white linen and cutlery by David Mellor  very grown up but not overly fussy. On this visit the other punters were in the main cosy couples with a few groups of four dotted about; a nice atmosphere with lots of happy chatter. It seemed to be a city boy free zone. A decent selection of bread and some water, filtered in a nice bottle at no charge, arrived while I was still going through the wine menu. Unlike many high end London restaurants there was plenty of choice without having to take out a second mortgage. I think there was an entry level bottle at £20 with some pretty decent white and red around £30. We were dining from the tasting menu and throughout the evening we had a very fine selection of dishes; all skilfully executed, beautifully presented and just the right size of portion (plenty to get your teeth into but no so much that you feel bloated by the end of your seven course feast). Stand outs were the ballotine of confit of wild rabbit with a mushroom salad and truffle cream, the very tasty sardines on toast which came with a caponata dressing and the roast gunard with a ragout of violet artichoke, courgette and oyster mushroom. The waiting staff, of which there are many, are friendly and attentive. You will be served your meal at a gentle but fairly constant pace; not too rushed and no long waits between courses on our visit. By the time we had got to coffee and petite fours a very pleasurable evening had slipped through our fingers and it was time to get the last train home.

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