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109 Marylebone High Street
Peter Gordon’s double-decker fusion palace is supposed to be fun, and readers confirm that it’s a blast. At street level, there’s the no-bookings Tapa Room (named after a Rarotongan tapa cloth, which decorates the space): this noisy rendezvous is perpetually rammed with crowds who gather for breakfast (brown rice, apple, maple syrup and miso porridge with tamarillo compote, perhaps) and all-day dishes. Upstairs, the eponymous dining room pushes more boundaries, delivering multi-ingredient combos with a little more formality – think smoked Dutch eel with coconut and tamarind laksa, green tea noodles, soft-boiled quail’s egg, girolles and sweetcorn followed by Creedy Carver duck breast with figs, walnuts, grapes, sherry vinegar and membrillo. Every day’s a school day here, so ask if you’re not sure what something is (the staff are used to it) and reserve some time, money and attention to explore the seriously Kiwi wine list.
SquareMeal Award - Best New Restaurant
London's best restaurants and bars for dates
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109 Marylebone High Street
Bond Street Tube Station 547m
Baker Street Tube Station 561m
The Wallace Collection 194m
Dorset Street 316m
Mon-Sun 12N-3pm (Sat-Sun 10am-) 6-10.30pm (Sun -10pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Had a pleasant meal here. Bit overpriced but ok. Then the bill came. On it was a 12.5% Service Charge, which unfortunately, seems to be a tax across London but also a £1 charitable donation, which was marked as optional. Interestingly, it had already been added and the service charge had been applied to it, making it quite hard to decline.
As a matter of principle, I decide where and when I donate to charity, so I asked for the £1 to be removed.
I had the most incredible response. Edith, the waitress said "so, you don't like giving money to children then?". I had to confirm with her that this is what she had said, because it it astounding that she believes that it is for her to assess my moral position and assume that the £1 I declined to pay meant that I was some sort of mean person.
When I asked her why she said it, she did not comment, so I asked for the service charge to be removed. After a large sigh and raised eyebrows, she did eventually do this.
What a shame. What could be a nice place was completely ruined by staff who feel it is their role to judge the morality of the public.
I do wonder who gets the 12.5% service charge on every £1 donation. I doubt it is the charity.
Food + drink: 4
Had a lovely, relaxed business lunch here. Tapas (especially the squid and the ham hock) was excellent.
I thought it was all going to go horribly wrong when I walked in. We battled through the crowds in the downstairs troughing zone, upstairs to our table booked in a somewhat clinical dining room. The waitress looked slightly askance at us when asked if there was anything other than a brunch menu (no, apparently) and seemed slightly miffed at having to give us time to actually choose the food. The brunch menu seemed to contain a lot of unfamiliar and unappetising plates with seemingly random groups of ingredients. A long table hosted the one thing worse than a rowdy office party: a muted office party.
Luckily, it all went uphill from there. The service warmed up and actually was fine (although they did forget to bring the orange juice now I think about it); if you're a bloke, they are very pretty so that might take off any edges! Most importantly the food was delicious. I had some french bread stuffed with banana and nuts and generously heaped heaped with bacon and drizzled with some deliciously sweet syrupy sauce; sounds standard but my description doesn't do the innovative combo justice. One friend had a tortilla made with an unusual panoply of ingredients, whilst the other ordered a very normal scrambled eggs on toast. We finished with what was a reasonably sized cheese plate between the 3 of us. At £40 a head it wasn't the cheapest, but that did include a few glasses of fizz and the food was worth it.
Don't think I'll be rushing back but I might run the gauntlet of downstairs if I happened to be in the area.
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