Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The small bar specialises in cocktails, features swirly wallpaper which on closer examination is patterned with naked women and is easily filled to bursting with office workers. Downstairs offers a restaurant with some form of live entertainment - from cabaret to poetry - every night. I was keen to check out Volupte as I love the idea of a nicer dinner to the accompaniment of live music, but few places in London seem to do this well (with the notable exception of Quecumbar in the depths of hard-to-reach Battersea). On our visit Volupte did music very well, with a very slick five piece band belting out jazz-bluesy numbers. However the nice dinner part of the equation failed to materialise. The leather bound, short menu is both pricey and uninspiring. My gazpacho was lukewarm and flavoursome - only rendered edible by the addition of some ice cubes from the water jug and copious sprinklings of salt and pepper (which we had to ask for). At £7 this was a shocking rip off. The chicken terrine (£7.50) was also flavourless, bordering on the unpleasant. For mains the sawed fish (sic) and sea bass were both OK, but certainly not good enough to justify the £15-ish price tags for the small portions with few accompaniments. The wine list is equally profitably priced, starting at £16. Out bottle of the cheapest rose (£18) compared unfavourably with many £3 supermarket bottles. Add on the service charge and may be some coffees and you would have very little change out of £100 for a very mediocre meal for two - and that's without the entertainment cover charge that applies on many nights (though not when we went). Which is a shame, because I wanted to like this place, and I still want to see some of their shows. But I probably won't unless I can figure a way of doing it while not feeling utterly ripped off.

Volupte Lounge, 7-9 Norwich Street, EC4A 1EJ; Tel. 020 7831 1622; Tube: Chancery Lane;

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