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|Address:||1a Bedford Street, London WC2E 9HH|
|Tel:||020 7768 0258|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £16.00||Champagne: £50.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 5-10pm|
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I feel I have just discovered Bedford & Strand, albeit a bit like Colombus discovered America. No doubt the bar was always there but I walked through the doors for the first time on Friday so I claim it for my own like any good colonial. I must have walked past the entrance a hundred times before without noticing it and only searched the underground bar out thanks to a Squaremeal email so I admit I'm no gastronomic Captain Cook (although I did use a map, an old-fashioned A to Z indeed, to get there). Anyway, now I've discovered it I shall never let it declare independence. It was the perfect venue for a long-awaited post Christmas catch up with 2 girlfriends. Fairly full at the restaurant tables and rammed by the bar, there was plenty of background noise to drown out any inappropriate turns in our conversation, but thankfully it never got rowdy as the crowd is a civilised bunch. The decor is unremarkable, happily in my opinion, with straightforward bistro tables and chalkboards. The menu has a good range of solid staples with some interesting (but not “quirky”) options. I had a juicy potted crab followed by tender salmon with shared greens, chips, and potatoes. The food was well thought through and well executed but not so amazing as to distract from the important business of gassing with the girls. The wine list is a bit disappointing (heavy on generic grapes and confusingly split up by purported quality rather than colour) but I enjoyed my glass of Picpoul. I thought service was spot-on for the venue: friendly, casual, honest about recommendations, effective. The meal came in at £50 a head which felt a bit heavy as we had been reasonably restrained but was probably fair enough given the location in Covent Garden. You don't actually need to be Ranulph Fiennes to find it: corner of Bedford St & Strand, obvs. Even I should be able to find my way back.