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|Address:||224 Piccadilly, London W1J 9HP|
|Tel:||020 7930 0488|
|Price: £53.00||Wine: £22.00||Champagne: £47.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-2.30pm 5.30-11.30pm (Sun- 9pm)|
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The Criterion is, without doubt, one of London's most beautiful restaurants with its gold mosaic ceiling and its perfect proportions (despite being located right in the heart of a part of London where natives never go).
I used to come here quite a lot in its Marco Pierre White days and it invariably delivered (it later veered seriously off course), so a pre-theatre meal suggested a re-visit.
we booked for 5.45pm (heaven forbid!). We were eight, with two youngsters and arrived in two groups of four – the staff rather ill-advisedly sat one four in the bar and suggested drinks, which needless to say turned up just as the next four arrived. But having checked the curtain-up time of our show we were seated at 6pm.
The pre-theatre/set menu offers two courses for £18 (£22 for three). It delivered a smallish portion of smoked salmon with buttered bread and a carpaccio of salt beef. The mains included skate wing – the menu should have said ‘portion of skate wing’ as one skate wing was clearly made to serve at least three people. It came with a tomato and onion salsa and some green beans – in short, it would have made a reasonable starter! (Some of our party went ‘off piste’ and had a nicely seasoned sirloin steak and a good trio of pork.) A decent Stellenbosch Mourvèdre blend (£34) eased the disappointment.
We finally managed to pay after traumas with three credit-card machines and took our seats in the theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue with two minutes to spare before curtain-up – not good for the blood-pressure.