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|Address:||47-51 Great Suffolk Street, London SE1 0BS|
|Tel:||020 7768 6113|
|Price: £45.00||Wine: £18.50||Champagne: £50.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-3pm (Sat-Sun -4pm) 6-11pm|
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Mr Ramsey, you either love him or loathe him, I am off the former. Union Street Cafe is Ramsey Holdings first addition to London's ‘Souf East’. Lots of hype in the papers, divisive reviews and a non-existant Beckham. At the end of a hard week at work, I was not expecting much but I was completely and utterly smitten. First impressions are important and the cavernous space, industrial chic, exposed piping and mid century design had the wow factor. The tables are widely spaced out, reminded me of sitting A-levels in the school gym, desks spaced so far that you couldn't copy. Similar feeling, but it just meant we could have a very private conversation and still feel part of the buzz.
Within minutes, I was bowled over by the service, genuinely friendly, accommodating and charming. The menu on the other hand was like reading Sanskrit (complex Hindu language), as it was all in Italian, curly wurly writing and dim lighting. However, the waiter seemed to pre-empt this and was by our side, elegantly deciphering.
Food is Italian heavy with primi and secondi dishes. I had the calamari fritters, delicious and light with capers but needed some acidic garlicky aioli (I know, wrong country). My rabbit tagilioni was perfect comfort food on a friday night , al dente buttery pasta, rich deep chunks of tender rabbit, I could have licked the plate clean. The duck was also crisped and ducky. There are a good range of dishes, with interesting seafood (grouper) and polpo and a few pasta dishes, although I kept forgetting the translations.
We then popped into the bar downstairs for a final brandy, which is a destination in itself (a bit like Hix's bar in Soho), lots of inviting leather chesterfields, sultry lighting, cool ‘toons’, amazing bar staff (a special thanks to Abdul, bar manager and a very helpful waitress).
I was at Merchant's tavern, the previous week and it just did not have that ‘X-factor’ feel, reviews say GR did not create a Brooklyn vibe here but what ever vibe he has created, works and the food matches it. I liked it so much, I have booked our xmas do there. Give Gordon another chance.