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|Address:||16 Endell Street, London WC2H 9BD|
|Tel:||020 7768 1688|
|Price: £39.00||Wine: £19.00||Champagne: £37.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-11pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
We found ourselves at The 10 Cases only as the other restaurant that we had booked failed to come through on the reservation and I’d seen this reviewed in the FT and it sounded much more fun anyway. There are rules to making reservations, but they are simple: the restaurant has to honour the booking, and so too does the booker. I am sure that many places overbook, like airlines do, as they believe that there will be a certain number of no-shows.
So when I reconfirmed the other place, I told them that, although the reservation was for four, there would only be three of us. This shouldn’t make any difference to the size of the table but, when I called back to say actually we would be four after all, I was told that I had originally only booked for three and it was impossible to change now. I was even told by the haughty receptionist that she had taken the original reservation, so she knew that I had only asked for three. Whatever: I had used that new fangled interweb thingy to book (and indeed had the email confirmation). So I used the self same digital manner to cancel, not trusting the analogue, and once again getting email confirmation.
The 10 Cases couldn’t have been more different. Having booked on-line, I had a call to confirm and said that, although booked for 10.00pm, we might be late as we were coming post theatre. “No problem”, I was assured “come whenever works”. I immediately had a warm feeling towards the place.
The first thing to note is that the restaurant is small. It has a counter and, this evening, a table of eight and a couple of tables of four. Another of my rules of restaurants is that the biggest table will always make the most noise, unless one of the other tables is a party of French, Italians or Spanish. One of the other smaller tables was French, so the rule applied (although of course it did mean that there were lots of cigarette breaks, when the noise level became bearable again).
Waiting staff are as friendly as the receptionist; ours claimed that our choice of red was her favourite too, and that she’d ordered a case for herself. It is an odd concept only to buy ten cases of any wine then discard them from the list. Why? Yes it is great that you are getting new wines through constantly and yes it means that your overheads are lower as you are not keeping vast quantities in storage, but what happens when the last bottle of the most popular wine has gone? You replace it with something that you think will work, but might prove disastrous. What I would say, however, is that the prices for the wines are ridiculously low (by central London standards): of the still wines, only one crept above the £30 mark, and then only just. And, to be fair, the list has been well thought out: it is short, but has some great wines, with varied styles, from all over the world.
The menus are chalked on a board on the wall, which is fine in itself, although meant that those facing into the room from the banquette couldn’t actually read them. Fortunately, they also put the menu on their website, so a quick look on the iPad showed us what they had. Or actually it didn’t, as they were out of the mushrooms and, inexplicably, the green salad.
What they had left was perfectly adequate, but there was no real sparkle to it. The razor clams were very nice, the lamb cooked well and the chicken perfectly fine, if a little bland.
T10C is the same sort of style as both the Polpo grouping and Duck Soup, but it fails to have the style of the former or the cooking of the latter. Which is a real shame, as it is a super friendly place, with great wines at superb prices (although why spoil it with a cover charge: just charge for the “free” mineral water instead?).
As a follow up to the other reservation, in the cab on the way home I picked up a message from the other restaurant wanting to know if I still wanted my table. Maybe the interweb isn’t all that it is cracked up to be, although I am pretty sure that it will catch on.