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|Address:||21 Romilly Street, London W1D 5AF|
|Tel:||020 7494 3111|
|Price: £64.00||Wine: £21.00||Champagne: £49.00|
|Opening Hours:||Tues-Sat 12N-2.30pm Mon-Sat 6.30-10.30pm|
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Our first visit for a midweek lunch saw us at this converted townhouse with a dark stairway and spaces that make it obvious that the place wasn't designed to be a restaurant. Things started off well when we arrived 40 mins before our reservation (too hot for more walking round Soho) and were seated right away. Things then went downhill when we had to wait an age for menus and then another age till the young maitre D came to take our order, despite quite a few empty tables. I just can't see the sense in this. Why do you seat people and then keep them waiting for 15 minutes to let them see a menu? And why another 15 minutes (at least) to take our order from a relatively short and uncomplicated menu? The knock-on effect of this was that our three course meal and coffee took well over two hours even though the pace of the food itself was as you'd expect. And trying to hurry things along doesn't work. Trying “excuse me” to a person walking within three feet of you in a quiet restaurant simply results in him walking right on and blanking us completely. Clearly here's a man who considers that customers will get attention when he thinks it's time and not before.
Enough of that. My wife chose the set lunch; I chose three courses from the a la carte . All of these courses were at least good, and in each case the cooking was pretty much spot on. My halibut fish course was perhaps the star turn- nicely flavoured and beautifully cooked. I probably would have preferred my main course of lamb three ways without the quinoa and apricot which added a strong (too strong) flavour to the dish in total as quinoa gets everywhere. A touch that in our view didn't work. All the remaining accompanyments to all our courses were fine. We drank a very slightly off dry Cotes de Gascogne from the lower end of the list which was a perfect choice for lunch on a hot day.
Our bill for two, including wine, coffee and service, came to £111 and we thought this pretty fair, if only we could get the service thing out of our minds. But as there are a good selection of restaurants offering food of this quality in London at about these prices there is no compelling reason to return. Certainly I don't think the food here beats that which you'd get at Murano, or Pollen Street Social, or Trompette, or Kitchen W8 or others where I can eat in nicer surroundings and more importantly served by people keen to give good service.