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|Address:||34 Threadneedle Street, London EC2R 8AY|
|Tel:||020 3641 1890|
|Price: £50.00||Wine: £19.50||Champagne: £60.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Fri 7.30-10.30am 12N-3pm 5.30-9.30pm|
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A table for 15 in the City on a Friday lunchtime is a very tall order. Even with weeks of notice rather than a few hours, a request of this type is more than likely to be met with a quiet snigger. In an act of simple cowardice I delegated the role to someone else and observed from a distance, waited for this short telephone call to end. But there was a smile and a nod and we were on – lunch for 15 at The Mercer.
Not only were we offered the private dining room, there was to be no room charge, no abridged menu, no forms to fax back, questionnaires, threats of legal action or credit card guarantees. We were even called back an hour later to be offered the option of the table in the main restaurant as we may ‘enjoy the atmosphere’. By the time we arrived at 1.30pm lunch service was well under way, with just one long table at the back of the restaurant awaiting our occupation. Drinks were served (Chapel Down) and menus dispatched. There were big smiles all afternoon, particularly once the dishes arrived, this was faultless British cooking – no foam, no pretention, just big, bold flavoursome dishes that didn’t fail or falter once and were met with unanimous approval from a rather tough crowd.
Suddenly it was 5pm and despite there being no bar area, the staff offered to designate one in order that we could continue our extended lunch. I have rarely felt more welcome. However, we did sensibly decide to end on a high as we had already cleared their cellar of the Katnook Estate, which comes as highly recommended at the restaurant itself and represents similarly excellent value. Top marks x 15.