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|Address:||30 Almeida Street, London N1 1AD|
|Tel:||020 3589 2075|
|Price: £47.00||Wine: £19.95||Champagne: £49.50|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sun 12N-2.30pm (Sun -3.30pm) Mon-Sat 5.30-10.30pm|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
The dining room at the Almeida is one that others trying to do the whole “French brasserie comes to London” thing could learn from. Tables are large, well spaced and there is a mirror running the full length of the room, so that not only can everyone get a good gawp at what is going on around them, but the room feels far bigger than it is.
That is the good news. The food is another story: it is not bad, but it doesn't live up to the expectation that the lovely, welcoming room gives. The charcuterie plate that we shared was perfectly fine. This is advertised as a trolley service, but, we were told, the trolley couldn't get to our table, so the waitress would chose for us. As we were on an outside table, rather than in the maelstrom of the innermost tables, this seemed a little odd. Her choices, however, were fine: some nice Bayonne ham, some smooth (and really a little sweet) foie gras pate and some really wrong rillettes. Rillettes should be fatty and shredded lovingly (and boringly) by hand, using a pair of forks, so that it retains a certain fibrous quality. The tasty pork and rabbit varieties that we were given were too dry and had been whizzed in the food processor, so were way too smooth.
Main courses too proved a bit of a let down, as, whilst the venison was still on the menu, the advertised accompaniments had all gone, so the dish was offered with the same as one of the other dishes; the duck. That would generally have been fine, but, as the duck was what my companion had ordered, it meant that we had identical meals, other than the main protein piece. Of the too, the duck was the better; properly fatty, properly pink and served with a nicely piquant pepper sauce.
The wine list is good, with many good quality, good value wines at reasonable (by London standards) prices.
Service is hit and miss: the waitress was very friendly, but didn't know the wine, got distracted by another table and then took an age to get the bill (which, when it came, was sans the wine. Alas, a mistake not deliberate).
The really good thing the Almeida has going for it, however, is that it is directly opposite the theatre of the same name: the night we were there, striding in as we left was the luminous Gemma Arterton, resplendent in high heels, with her modesty covered by a pubic pelmet.