A haven of calm in the heart of Covent Garden (at least on quiet weekdays), the light and airy, bijou dining room attached to the boutique Henrietta Hotel has been re-branded following the departure of chef Ollie Dabbous and furnished to resemble a Mediterranean space – lots of terracotta tiles, a slight faux-rustic feel and some very comfy sofas.
Unsurprisingly, the food plays to this theme and everything on the menu is designed for sharing, which provides an opportunity to sample across the board. Food-wise, it’s a mixed bag: the kitchen’s take on ‘pan con tomate’ was greasy and lacking in flavour, while our chipirones (baby squid) were so slathered in batter that it was almost impossible to know what we were eating. By contrast, grilled octopus was superbly tender and paired well with yoghurt and herb relish, and a plate of marinated lamb cutlets with aubergine and black olives was wonderfully flavoursome.
Although some of our dishes missed the target, any shortcomings were mitigated by the charm of the staff and a genuinely inventive list of wines and cocktails. With the food perhaps best described as a work in progress, our advice would be to drop in, escape the crowds and enjoy the drinks at the mezzanine bar (courtesy of the guys from the Experimental Cocktail Club).