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|Address:||8-10 Pollen Street, London W1S 1NQ|
|Tel:||020 7290 7600|
|Price: £73.00||Wine: £24.00||Champagne: £60.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-10.30pm|
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Well obviously we were excited to be going to Jason Atherton’s recently opened restaurant, the amount of media hype, rave reviews and our own love both Maze and Maze Grill, first impression were astounding, a lovely space and a menu that seemed to combine the best of Maze and the Grill.
The menu seemed to be spawned from Jason’s recent past restaurants, which was no bad thing. Having read the reviews here and reading the restaurant’s own web site we asked about how many starters we should have and about making them into a tasting menu as the menu itself suggested, however we were told that they were really a traditional restaurant and that we should have a starter and main only.
So we plumped for the full English and the foie gras, for starters. The full English consist of a poached egg yolk, which to be fair was super yummy, with a tiny bit of bacon on top and a little mushroom and tomato puree but due to its lack of size was gone in less than two spoonfuls. The foie was a little more generous, two nice slices of foie pate with toast, a safe but perhaps boring choice.
For mains we had halibut with paella, which was by far the highlight of the evening, a succulent moist piece of fish, and the paella was perfect and an absolutely gorgeous seafood flavour. I myself went for a steak with duck fat chips and salad. As steaks go it wasn’t bad and nearly as good as Gaucho.
Desserts started with disappointment, with all the “you must visit the dessert bar” talk prior to our visit we thought this would be an interesting take or twist on serving desserts. But given how it has 6 seats and the restaurant has 100+ covers at a guess, it is never going to work as planned. So we were given dessert menus at table and both opted for the cheesecake, which was served with a cheffy take, the cheese topping in a long square strip on the plate with the biscuit ‘base’ crumbled around it. A good taste but I would have preferred it served in a more traditional style.
Whilst dining we were however a little perplexed as to quite what it was that the restaurant was trying to achieve in terms of style, but looking at the restaurant’s web site now it describes itself as “A contemporary bistro offering deformalised fine dining” which I think they failed to pull off. The menu varied from deconstructed English breakfast, 60c poaching to steak and chips, I think it was a little too eclectic trying to merge the high end dining with bistro dining. While I originally said the menu seemed to be born of Maze and Maze Grill it was unfortunately proved to be in an illegitimate back stairs sort of way. The mains were all served with an array of unneeded props, for a bistro, my 9 chips were served in a small silver vase, the steak on a bread board and salad in a bowl, nothing actually arrived on the plate! Similarly the paella was served in a small copper pan, which might have its place in a fine dining restaurant but not a bistro. Not only that but the tables aren’t huge so with all the paraphernalia on the table there isn’t a lot of room for anything else.
The petit fours was a similarly over the top kind of affair, that would have been at home in a fine dining restaurant but in the confines of the “contemporary bistro” was again a little stuffy and out of place. After at least three waiters coming and going from the table to nudge plates and moving bottles away from the table a huge cantilevered box turned up full of chocolates, a large tray was placed on the large cleared area in the middle of the table, my greedy gene was twitching wildly at this point but that was brought to quick arrest as a tiny platter was placed on the tray. Chocolates were then put onto the platter, a few put back in a taken out again as the waiter apologised as he “struggled with the light” and the identity of the chocolates. Incidentally petit fours (£4) weren’t offered when coffee orders were taken, it was only when we remembered to ask for them having seen them listed on the dessert menu.
The Pollen street social tried its best to be the best of both of fine dining and bistro experience, but unfortunately failed on both, although did of course succeed on fine dining prices with our meal coming in at £255.95, although £168 was the drinks bill.