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|Address:||The Westbury Hotel, 37 Conduit Street, London W1S 2YF|
|Tel:||020 3641 1877|
|Price: £74.00||Wine: £30.00||Champagne: £59.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-2.30pm Mon-Sat 6-10.30pm|
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Why sell a reasonably-priced set lunch menu if the restaurant is then going to make the diner who chooses it feel cheap? When we got to our table, full menus were placed before us, and after a pause, the cards with the lunch deal were literally slipped underneath. The range of menus was run through extensively, but the lunch menu only mentioned as an afterthought. If you are going to offer it, encourage the diners to take it because it's a great deal and you're proud to sell it – don't steer us away from it.
Unfortunately the whiff of cheapskate lingered around when the food arrived and we saw the portion sizes: the oxtail starter had no more than 10g of meat, and for the main, a single chicken breast had rather pathetically been divided between the two of us. It came without a sauce and just a poached egg and tiny slivers of vegetable garnish. This wouldn't be an issue on a tasting menu but I did actually want to get fed; you know things are bad when you reach into the bread basket for the third time.
And it wasn't like the food was first class either. In fact I would level the ultimate insult at the kitchen: it was lazy. The mains of chicken breast were served on a deep green smear of pureed vegetable, but they'd evidently made the smear some time earlier and left it under a hot lamp: parts of it were glued to the plate and needed scraping off. The consomme that accompanied the oxtail starter had one single flavour. And dessert of cider spiced jelly had so much gelatine in it, it was actually chewy; I guess nobody bothered to check it before sending it to our table. The granita on top was flavourless; why send that at all?
Service was generally excellent – there are maybe ten staff for max 30 covers in the joint – with two exceptions. The French lad who introduced our food had such a strong accent that he was impossible to understand; I gave up asking him to repeat himself. And the poor staff were so bored that they were looking for work: we shared a single bottle of wine but someone came to top my glass up no less than eight times during the meal. I got to the point of looking out for them in order to tell them to stop; something has gone wrong when you're preoccupied with telling a waiter to go away.
On the positive side, the room is absolutely stunning. Windowless yet high ceilinged and furnished beautifully, it is luxurious. It is very quiet but the tables are spaced and oriented in such a way that it feels like hushed reverence rather than deathly silence. And despite my complaints about the cheapskate factor when it comes to portion sizes, they roll the red carpet out with the fine dining details: beautiful cheese puffs when you arrive, a superb basket of breads including a gravity-defying potato-flecked sourdough, a pre-dessert and a cute little box of chocolates at the end of lunch. Nonetheless, it was a three course meal we signed up for and I'd much rather they had just delivered on that.