Lanes, 109 - 117 Middlesex Street, E1 7JF; Tube: Liverpool Street; www.lanesrestaurant.co.uk
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
This is one of the nicer options in the suit-filled overpriced City of London, just round the corner from Liverpool Street station. The restuarant is in the basement, with a small bar area by the entrance. The lighting is low, creating a cosy warm glow. There are some interesting paintings on the wall. The ceilings are quite low and the place is quite small, so it doesn't feel to empty when quiet. Unlike many city places it could even pass for romantic. The service was very friendly - they brought tap water at the first request and we were offered numerous helpings from a selection of fresh breads (including very yummy sour dough bread). There is a good value supper menu at £15 for two courses. But even on that deal, the place isn't cheap - bottles of wine start at £15 (at which price the South African Chenin Blanc is very drinkable) - so you'd be hard pushed to eat here and spend less than £50. But it is good food. We went for the a la carte, where mains are in the £15-20 bracket, and starters about half that. I started with a trio of foie gras and it was very interesting to compare the different types, all perched on thin slices of toast (way more pate than toast), and acompanied with some slightly over dressed salad leaves (to my taste, but then I am not much of a salad dressing fan). The terrine was wonderfully creamy, the gallette (?) was too sweet for my taste, and the traditional stuff was the best. My companion's scallops came in a very generous portion of about 8 and were deliciously rich. My main course was the only disappointment - I had ordered the salmon because I was curious to try the accompanying squid ink lasagne. Unfortunately they ran out (and told me too late) so I had to make do with buttery french beans and saute potatoes. It was good, but to simple for this sort of place and these sorts of prices. The other main was meaty swordfish served with a calamari ring stuffed with chorizzo, which worked beautifully. All in all, we'll definitely go back - ideally when someone else is paying.