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|Address:||1 Upper James Street, London W1F 9DF|
|Tel:||020 3145 1000|
|Price: £60.00||Wine: £26.50||Champagne: £66.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 12N-3pm 6-11pm Sat 5.30-10pm|
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Buzz and glamour? Classy and exciting? No, no, no!!! Not in this part of Soho. Was everyone away, including the entire bar staff? Was I in the wrong place (that is not a question). What is (not) going on here, in Holiday season? Last night, (a Wednesday) all the happening action had been shunted into the sidings.
I was early, the bar downstairs was closed (no explanation, so I don't know why), and thus I was shown straight to the table for a drink while waiting for my three companions. The decor is more fairground than true glitz, with appropriate music (ie to a fairground), which didn't drown out the deadly hush of empty dullness. The cramped, high-sided ‘railcar booth’ tables are cattle-class rather than first-class in my opinion, and anyone who was over-fond of their food simply wouldn't fit in. The space was constricted enough to feel claustophobic rather than cosy, and paper placemats just ain't luxe. I found it unwelcoming and uncomfortable. And a squeeze too far for four (slim) friends.
The service was fine, the food unmemorable, decent ingredients, cooked ok. Only glitch was when my man wanted chips instead of mashed potato. Po-faced waitress checked with the kitchen and said that wasn't possible (despite entire trainloads of empty tables – can't imagine the kitchen resources were exactly stretched – so more of a “computer-says-no” type of refusal). My man tries a different wheeze “I would like to order the veal holstein WITHOUT mashed potato on the plate, and a side of chips?” – problem solved. A tiny jug of delicious-smelling sauce arrived with the mains: “what is that? who's it for?”. Waitress depositing said jug said “oooh, I'm new, I'll have to ask…”. I saved her the trouble by (rightly) deducing it was veal jus with truffle from the look and smell and hence to go with the holstein – the rest of us were having seafood and fish dishes, so not rocket science to work out.
We drank an indifferent Chablis at an ok price and lots of water, the aforementioned flat atmosphere not conducive to alcoholic bonhomie – or chatting and lingering. it was a big relief to leave, to be honest. Very so-so for Soho.
Maybe our timing was bad: other recent reviews would lead me to understand that we missed a proper sniff of the Real Bob Bob Ricard Experience – but I won't be testing that theory out another day.