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‘Folksy’ was one reader’s description of this enterprising concept – a ‘Farrow & Ball country kitchen’ tapping into a bucolic, rose-tinted past with its deliberately homespun look. Muriel’s is
named after the owner’s ‘no-nonsense’ grandmother (the logo is her real signature), although the old girl would be completely nonplussed by most of the stuff on the menu – nori-crusted char-grilled
salmon with miso and ginger sauce, gran? Beef lasagne is a fixture and there are always soups and salad combos such as radicchio with blue cheese, pickled fennel and toasted pecans to go with the
monthly line-up. Breakfast/brunch deals including creamy omelettes with excellent ‘WI-style’ chutney get the nod, the mood is chatty, and ‘responsive’ staff know how to look after their customers.
Takeaways are available, and an online shop called Muriel’s Pantry is in the pipeline.
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26 June 2013
Arranging to meet a colleague in London's museum quarter, I tiredly stumble into the first place I come to, folksy new brunch and lunch place, Muriel's Kitchen.
Named after some venture capitalist's grandmother (who obviously had a smart eye for a roll out and a chain concept). It's as British as only South Kensington can be, like a plastinated theme park recreation of a fictionalised remembrance of a bucolic rose tinted past. See also Irish pubs in airports and Michael Gove's education policy.
The look goes for Farrow and Ball country kitchen, the menu farmer's market chic. If there's a limit to the number of times they can reference fresh and local and ‘fun’ I can't find it. It's been designed by a focus group consisting of the wives of Tory grandees and former prison guards.
The staff are joyless and borderline scary as they contemplate table turn and space yield in a way that would impress the most ruthless of bankers. We're all crammed in closely and efficiently despite the space being less than half filled. I pitied the poor sods who followed after me and, unhappy with their allocated seating at the apex of two, cold windows attempted to move. “All of the chairs are assigned to a table… Please don't move them. No, no. Those tables are for four people only”. This is ‘fun’… with deliberate quotation marks.
Despite that oh so jolly treatment, the food genuinely isn't that bad. My cheese omelette was borderline undercooked (in true French style) but fresh, light and creamy with a good hit of sharp cheese. The chutney alongside is just as I remember from my mother's WI days. Poached eggs are blisteringly golden, melting across acres of blushing toast that crunches with seedy goodness. Only anaemic coffee lets it down, I could be taking the line on parsimony too far but it tastes like the second time the beans have been used.
It's generally a fine breakfast, with fine ingredients, albeit for a fairly ‘fine’ price. As it is removed we are upsold more tea, coffee or additional pasties. Declining, we are immediately presented with the bill and practically cleared with the table. Despite a decent breakfast, sometimes you remember why eating out is not just about the food…
23 February 2013
There were 4 of us for lunch. Not able to book but the queue was just a few minutes. When you enter, you are enticed by the cooking and by the display of food behind the glass faced counter. Here take-away orders are dealt with. The ambiance was ‘busy/chatty/friendly/homely’. The portions were large and the food delicious. The staff was attentive, responsive and professional. The service was effective. We all felt well-fed and well-looked after. I had chosen this restaurant after having read a few reviews on the restaurant's website (all very positive) but I might have been dissuaded by TripAdviser, which have very varied comments! Anyway, we were all glad to have eaten there.
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