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|Address:||1 Leicester Street, London WC2H 7BL|
|Tel:||020 7768 6102|
|Price: £46.00||Wine: £20.00||Champagne: £60.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 8-11am Tues-Wed 5.30-9.30pm Fri-Sun 12N-3pm|
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I booked 1 Leicester Street for dinner after an earlier cinema show knowing nothing about this establishment apart from the commentary on the Square Meal website. My wife and I were therefore curious to find out whether this restaurant would make it onto our list of regular reliable haunts.
The restaurant is on the site of a former fish restaurant whose name I cannot recall but which was very traditional in décor, ambience and cuisine but which nevertheless had quite appealed to us when in the mood for a fish lunch or dinner.
By contrast 1 Leicester Street is modern in décor and design, and although comfortable, it verges on being minimalist. I seem to recall the dining area being somewhat larger in this restaurant's previous incarnation but this may well have been the effect of my other impression which was that too many tables had been crammed together in the available space. I also seemed to recall that there was more exposure to outside light in the previous establishment and I wondered whether one of the windows had been covered up. I could well imagine the dining area being somewhat claustrophobic when full of patrons. It is for these reasons that our rating for atmosphere is not as high as it might otherwise have been.
The food was reasonably good but we found the menu confusing and limited. It was categorised into fish, meat, and vegetarian but the only indication of what were starters and mains being the price. There was only 1 fish main course which was restrictive of choice. We shared a starter of strips of marinated fennel rather like tagliatelli, mingled with crab meat and served on very thin crispbread. Nice enough, but the crab was more remarkable for its absence than generosity of the serving.
My wife had the fish course which was baked cod which again was good but not remarkable, whilst I opted for what was billed as lamb sausages. What emerged was a quite highly spiced melange of pieces of sausage and indeterminate vegetables. All perfectly edible but rather unexpected from the menu description, and I doubt that I would have recognised the sausage filling as lamb if it had not been identified as such on the menu. I did not have dessert and I cannot remember what my wife had, which rather sums up the overall experience as being quite satisfactory but hardly memorable.
The menu boasts an extensive wine and spirits list including a wide variety of gins but it was regrettable that it did not feature my favourite choice of gin. The waitress reassured me that they did have the brand I requested and duly produced a glass containing gin but I am reasonably certain it wasn't what I asked for, but at least the tonic water supplied was my preferred brand. Although the wine list was comprehensive it was also very expensive including for relatively modest wines, but I suppose we have to remain resigned to the fact that there is no escaping that in the centre of London.
The one outstanding bright spot was the level of service which was indeed excellent: very attentive and friendly without being intrusive, and prompt. Now we know what to expect we would dine there again but mainly on the basis of the convenient location and the level of service.