This place was reputed to be casual and indeed its like there are a few tables in the centre of what might pass as a deli or bakery. Smart enough, but not in the slightest luxurious , almost to the point where you expect someone to sit down, order a coffee, and break out the laptop. In no sense was this disappointing or a surprise- especially for a restaurant that guides you to its somewhat more stylish sibling if you'd like to linger. However it must be clarified that no-one asked us to move on after 90 minutes and indeed it might have been difficult to eat what we ordered in that timespan.
The menu looked interesting , and there were a lot of dishes where it was difficult to anticipate what the food was to look like, never mind what it would taste like. The answer for our party of three at lunch was a lunchtime tasting menu comprising about half the dishes on the a la carte menu, and which worked out to provide 8 courses. In normal-speak this consisted of 5 dishes that you might consider starters, a main course and two desserts, all of which were brought to share , and all told there was certainly enough food for three decent appetites. I was delighted to see that they brought the food one course at a time throughout the meal rather than the frequent and unfortunate practice of cooking the dishes in pretty much random order and directly they are cooked, so that everyone spends the meal shuffling stuff around tables that are too small, the waiters hoping against hope that you'll say dish A is done so there's room for H that has arrived to everyone's surprise. The pace was just right throughout , and with the exception of desserts, they maintained the "one dish only on the table" style thoughout.
Whilst the style of cooking was undeniably contemporary, with lots of veg and much food served vaguely pickled, there was a lot of variation in what was served. A meat carpaccio, a fish tartare, broccoli in a piquant sauce, a single tasty scallop each, a pasta dish and a grilled meat main. So not a lot of repetition and to be frank I could name some national cuisines that would struggle to replicate the variety we had today. Everything we ate was cooked nicely and presented decently if never elaborately. Its not a fussy sort of place. Couple of disappointments:- the yellow foot chicken was nicely cooked but not as flavoursome as I'd have liked (and, by the way without a yellow foot anywhere to be seen- odd to name a dish after something you don't get?), and finally my espresso was very sharply flavoured /acid indeed. There's a reason why none of the big coffee chains serve espresso like that. All told though there was much more to like about our meal than to carp about.
The bill for the three of us, including bread, sparkling water, food and two half bottles of a pleasant Gruner Veltliner , and an equally flavoursome Refosco, came to £192. It isn't a cheap restaurant , though we did have quite a lot of food and eight different dishes. We left content, with a feeling that lunch had been highly satisfactory, and I'm sure we'll all visit again.