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|Address:||3 South Place, London EC2M 2AF|
|Tel:||020 3641 8331|
|Price: £41.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £50.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 7-11am 12N-10.30pm|
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I've just checked my receipt for 3 South Place and can't quite believe I spent £58 on lunch here! They say a fool and his money are easily parted but I'd like to think I fell prey to the sort of subversive (I can't say inspired but that's what I mean) tactics which would catch out the cleverest of clogs. It's deceptively easy-going in here with its squashy leather sofas for informal dining, the long central table perfect for office parties or wagamamma style “make friends with your neighbours” seating, the New York style cocktail bar stretching the second half of the room, the clattering kitchen just visible beyond. Linger here, it says! Have a lunchtime tiny carafe of wine, what harm can it do? It doesn't look an intimidatingly expensive place, so why not have 2 courses and hang around for a coffee too? But it's also sharp: the bar & grill menu offers more than the homey name suggests. You could be tempted into steak at all sorts of price points but there's more refined City dishes like Loch Duart salmon steaks too (not just any old salmon here!). So, go on, treat yourself because your'e worth it! I started with salmon, a fine piece of light, smoked fish with, here's the upmarket touch, lemon wrapped in muslin so picking out those annoying pips won't spoil the day. Then I had pasta, yes, but my pasta was a crab pasta with an intensely rich lobster-bisquey sauce, classy. Relaxed but professional service ensures nothing jars (until you get the bill). Two lovely courses, bread, water, wine, coffee, service charge etc , nudged the bill up from intended casual territory to well, 58 quid- business lunch territory. The fact I didn't notice at the time is testament either to their smoothness or my foolishness. This place should rake it in. It's Stella Artois. Suits will come here because it's reassuringly expensive. Everyone else will come here because it's still just beer after all. I can't help but admire it.