It was my first time at Daphne’s for about 15 years, but I won’t leave it that long again as it was a thoroughly nice experience.
We went on a damp October evening when it was dark and just a little cold outside and were seated in the conservatory, only this time of year the ceiling is tented and there is a lovely open fire and the room has a distinctly Mediterranean feel with warm yellow walls, tiled floors, trees, wooden seating etc.
The atmosphere is thoroughly pleasant; it feels like a local restaurant rather than the slightly precious air that some restaurants in the area can affect. All the customers were smart and professional, with the possible exception of the middle aged man with his Estonian ‘niece’ in her early 20’s – who had perhaps slightly misjudged the dress code.
The staff and service were great; everyone was polite, nothing needed to be asked for a second time, there weren’t any mix ups with orders, the bill turned up on time, there were no awkward or uneven waits between courses – in short it’s as good as anywhere in London and I can’t commend them enough.
The food is very nice, not truly exceptional but better than several places that have had a star from Michelin. One thing that does let every dish down is the un-inspirational presentation – nothing looks as good as it tastes. But in terms of taste I started with pumpkin tortellini which could have been startlingly bland but wasn’t; it managed to be light rather than stodgy with a warm taste of summer turning to autumn. This was followed by meatballs with roast potatoes and tomato sauce, real simple comfort food, accompanied by some deep fried courgettes – spaghetti thin strands in tempura batter that were wonderful. For dessert pear tart with Zabaglione ice cream – think tarte tatin with pear instead of apple and you’ve just about got it. My parents also both enjoyed their food, and they are people who eat out on a very regular basis, both rated the whole experience as at least 8 out of 10.
Value for money is pretty good (I paid the bill) coming in at £175 for 3 people, each having 3 courses, a decent bottle of Italian white wine, water, coffees and service at 12%.
I really enjoyed it and will definitely be returning and next time I won’t be waiting 15 years.