My wife and I shared three meals here, Friday night dinner and two breakfasts.
The refurbishment of the fabric of the building has worked very well indeed (we liked our room too, for that reason), there is bare brick and there is exposed wood, but there is also a likeable openness and vibrancy about the place which is pleasing. By comparison with London, the food prices are very fair though the margin on the wines offered must (in my view) be large – which is not to decry the wines, rather the prices at which they are sold. We had a beetroot carpacio which my wife enjoyed, though she found it slightly sweeter than she would have preferred, followed by a risotto which she really did enjoy. I had started to wonder when our food would come after we'd been sitting for 45 minutes, at which point the two starters arrived with the explanation that the chef did not like the seared tuna nicoise he had first produced (as he felt he had overdone the tuna) and had started again, hence the delay plus apologies. It was worth the wait, as the version produced to me at the table was just right, both in cooking and flavour. Well done, chef ! The Tuna was was not only perfectly seared, but the portion was generous. This was followed in my case by a delicious piece of haddock, fresh and neither too small nor too generous, in the most delicicously light batter. The chunky chips were SUPER, crunchy outside, soft and melt in your mouth inside.
Where this restaurant, like the Hotel, lets itself down is attention to detail. In the hotel, that meant me reporting a non-funtioning blind and that receiving no atendion at all, an the towels in the bathroom being badly (BADLY) frayed. In the restaurant, both breakfasts were horribly understaffed, which led to tables being left dirty and unmade for new guests, unacceptable waits and every single cup I saw coming out of the washer with coffee grounds visible inside. The buffet was really quite sad -and expensive – so we gave that a miss. My wife asked for the multi-grain toast on the menu, but was given sad, standard brown toast. When she pointed out that there had been available the previous evening a wonderful, chewy, seed bread, our server immediately obtained a slice of that and toasted it – again, well done. Both mornings, I ordered a wonderful eggs florentine which was served hot, with eggs that retained runny yolks and which at £6.50 represented outstanding value. One other piece of praise, the young male manager in the evening showed genuine good will and enthusiasm, and was therefore a good person to have front of house. So there you have it, great setting, good food, expensive wine and a bit chaotic !