The Terrace is hidden away in a porta-cabin-like hut overlooking the tennis courts in the green haven of Lincoln's Inn Fields in the heart of lawyers' London.
I had been on my list since I saw a good review in Time Out some while back, and a sunny lunchtime (a rarity so far this summer) seemed like the ideal opportunity to visit.
We sat outside, on funky yet reasonably comfy plastic chairs, shielded from the bouncing balls by a tall fence. As lunching settings go it was pretty idyllic, and there's a two course set menu for just £14.50, and yet the terrace (both with and without the capital T) was at best half full during our leisurely lunch.
(Increasingly, it seems, people are tightening their belts -- how else would you explain that on a recent night out in Canary Wharf all the swish bars along West India Quay were empty, yet the Wetherspoon's hidden round the corner was heaving, with besuited city types fumbling for money off coupons to further reduce their bar tab?)
The set menu focuses on traditional European dishes, while the a la carte draws more on Caribbean influences. As it was too hot and sunny for jerk chicken (for my tastes, anyway), we opted for the former.
The starter of smoked salmon and crayfish salad was prettily served in a glass, though in practice this made it rather hard to eat as the salmon was not in bite sized pieces. It was pleasant, but no more than that.
For the mains, the husband's chicken breast was moist enough, but pretty bland. Plonked on a large pile of mash and sploshed with gravy (sorry, jus), it didn't look hugely appetising. Also, it really needed some veg/salad -- something the waiter didn't point out when we ordered.
Luckily I had plenty of roasted Mediterranean-style veg sprinkled around my giant fritter of goats' cheese and aubergine, and was willing to share. The fritter wasn't bad.
We washed the lunch down with a light, summery prosecco (£24) and tap water (which arrived after a couple of promptings).
I looked the place up in Harden's when I got home and think they are pretty much spot on -- the setting aside, it was a nice enough experience but definitely nothing special.
The Terrace in the Fields, Lincoln's Inn Fields, WC2A 3LJ; Tel. 020 7430 1234; www.theterrace.info
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