Le Rendezvous, 121 Charterhouse St, EC1M 6AA; Tel. 020 7336 8836, Tube: Barbican www.cafedumarche.co.uk
Friday, March 30, 2007
The shaker-style wooden tables and high-backed chairs are squeezed into a well-stocked deli, so you can lust over the inhabitants of the shelves while perusing your menu. The menus are dated, suggesting frequent changes and seasonal produce. The tea selection features Marco Polo, a delightful fruity blend from Mariage Freres, which to us smells of Paris.
But unfortunately, at least on our visit, the hallmarks proved deceptive.
The tea arrived European-style, with the teabag on a plate next to a pot of hot water. It tasted lovely though, and we settled in with the weekend papers to wait for the food... And we waited...
About half an hour after we ordered, a waiter appeared to say they had no rocket salad, and would I like ieberg lettuce with parmesan instead. I said I would not, and resisted the temptation to point out that they'd had more than enough time to nip out to Sainsbury's round the corner and buy the rocket.
So we cancelled the side salad and waited some more....
After another quarter of an hour, starving, and we were considering leaving and heading to the aforementioned supermarket for a sandwich.
The food arrived, unapologetic, just as we were about to leave.
The small artichoke, goats cheese and courgette risotto (£7ish) was actually quite generously portioned. But that was its only good point - the rice was watery and gloupy, lacking flavour. It went unfinished.
The steak baguette (£10ish) was lined with flavoursome mature cheddar, topped with caramelised onions (these would have been easier to eat if they'd chopped them up) and a decent cut of steak. It was actually pretty good -- despite needing some salt -- but it was too late to redeem the meal.
No one asked if everything was alright. So we deducted the optional service charge from the bill and left.
Flaneur, 41 Farringdon Rd, EC1M 3JB; Tel. 020 7404 4422; Tube: Farringdon www.flaneur.com
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Sutton Arms, 6 Carthusian Street, EC1M 6EB; Tube: Barbican
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The Waterside Cafe, Barbican Centre; Tube: Barbican www.barbican.org.uk
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Famished we ordered everything from the short tapas-style bar menu (skipping only the £55 sevruga caviar - may be next time!). It turned out to be a variably, beautifully presented feast. A jar of juicy red fish roe, served on a bed of ice, with a jug of sour cream and encircled by cute little blinis was well worth the £18 price tag. The tender smoked salmon came with yet more blini. The cheese and meet platters were generous and varied (I particularly loved the salami with a hint of truffle), served with warm mini-baguettes. There were also two large chunks of pate, a nicely flavoured croque monsieur (though admittedly done more in the Belgian cheese toastie style than the French way), dinky crostinis with various toppings and lashings of salad, olives and sun-dried tomatoes to garnish it all. In my first cocktail, the mix of basil, lemon juice, limoncello and prosecco was sharp and unusual, but delicious. My second choice though accidentally contained whisky (which I don't like). For the feast, and two rounds of drinks for four people, the bill came to under £140. Not cheap, sure, but given the opulence of the decor and the menu it's a pretty good deal. I'd choose for a glamorous treat or somewhere to take to show off in for visitors.
Loungelove, 1 Whitby Street, E2 7DP, www.loungelover.co.uk; Tube: Shoreditch (when it reopens, otherwise bus, walk or taxi)
Friday, March 02, 2007
St John, 26 St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY; Tel. 020 7251 0848, tube: Barbican, Farringdon www.stjohnrestaurant.co.uk