Following a recent visit to see “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”, Young Jim opined that she was neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed by the experience, but just “whelmed”. For me this is a pretty good description of eating at Bumpkin – it's just too hard to get very excited about it either way. There were some good bits and there were some ok bits, with the emphasis on the latter. There weren't really any bad bits. It just struggles to rise above the mundane in a Darren Bent playing for England kind of way – capable but not really enough class for these kind of prices.
We ate at the Westfield Stratford City restaurant, having had a look at the menu on our first visit to the true Olympic legacy – a hell of a lot of “shopping opportunities”. On the face of it Bumpkin is an attractive proposition, promising the best of British seasonal produce (but doesn't everybody these days?). I started with a salad of pigeon breast and bacon which was robust and full of flavour but at 7 quid we're jumping on the Central Line and heading West to see if anything there can justify the price tag. Mrs. Lunchie's vegetable soup was a winner, earthy, warming and satisfying, much like myself (apart from the last bit, obviously).
Mains were a bit of a let down, Mrs. L's chicken charter pie being an uninspiring all-in-one effort and presentationally challenged, though this didn't stop her from finishing it. My rib-eye tasted like a steak should but suffered from ocular enlargement which led to the ultimate sin of the flesh (there wasn't enough of it). Once again, neither quite lived up to its billing. Nice skin-on chips with the steak, though.
A review elsewhere described the wine list as “eye wateringly pricey” which is more than a tad unfair. There's a sound selection and they offer wine by the glass along with some carafes and half litre options etc. Service was fine if a little bit pushy at the end when encouraging us to enjoy liqeurs and coffees, but no real complaints here apart from the fact that our waiter believed himself to be the most amusing Frenchman alive which, on reflection, may well be true.
Given its location out on the “Street” area of Westfield Bumpkin will no doubt benefit from the high volume of footfall generated by hungry shoppers. However, it would be very surprising if it generated much return business, not because there's anything particularly wrong with it but due to its ordinariness and poor value for money. It's charging medium range West End prices for decent East End gastropub food. Well and truly whelmed.