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