Monday, July 02, 2007

The Green

Recently we were musing on the fact that there are so many perfectly good restaurants in London these days that many never earn a return visit - despite being perfectly good. So it is refreshing for once to review a place that was perfectly terrible and has fully earned the right not to be returned to. The Green is perched on a corner at the bottom of Clerkenwell Green, in a building which once housed a rather pretentncious outpotst of Jean-Christoph Novelli. Its current incarnation features a cosy, light bar downstairs and a restaurant area upstairs. The beer selection is good, including ales and a German wheat offering on tap. Posters outside promised live music and it seemed like a good place to while away the Sunday evening. We didn't fancy the roasts chalked up on the board (£14ish, but apparently including a free pudding), and opted instead for the "Tasty Tapas" menu on the opposite wall. The thin chips (£3.50) came in a generous heap with an unusual accompaniment of peppercorn mayonnaise (not bad, but not a patch on aioli). They chips could have been crisper but all in all they weren't bad. The green olives (£2.30) were small and unexciting, but edible. But that, it turned out, was as tasty as the tapas got. The chorizo (£3.80) was cooked - probably in a microwave - to within an inch of its life and then some. It also tasted strongly and unpleasantly of pepper (and not of the advertised "red wine and herbs"), securing the "worst chorizo I've ever tasted" rosetter by a very long margin. The bean stew came cold in its terracota pot and was sent back. The second attempt was scalding, straight out of the microwave (which in fact may well have been used for the entire cooking process). For £5.50 the pot featured two types of beans, slices of raw onion, tinned tomatoes and no discernable herbs or spices. There was no bread to be had because, apparently, the organic loaves are delivered daily except Sunday. The "live music" also proved somewhat of a let down - a couple of young men set up their gear under the clock and one of them strummed his guitar for a couple of songs before settling down to a large serving of tapas. They were still eating when we left 45 minutes later.

The Green, 29 Clerkenwell Green, EC1R 0DU; Tel.020 74908010;; Tube/Train: Farringdon

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