Having used Taberna on a number of occasions for what were very pleasant lunches, it did not seem too big a risk to book a table for a pre-festive catch up with a friend. On arrival my heart momentarily sank to see the restaurant set up for so many larger size parties with a handful of smaller tables haphazardly wedged in to what limited space remained. The first table we were shown to was not only placed in the main walkway but was also so close to a neighbouring table that neither occupant would have been able to move without the explicit permission of their neighbour! Fortunately we spotted a slightly better positioned table a deux and our request to move was accepted. Whilst I still had to hang on to my wine glass whenever the serving staff attended to the adjacent table, at least we did have to be on first name terms with our fellow diners. We opted for the a la carte menu and whilst our meal of squid, crab risotto, sea bass and a shared plate of cheese is unlikely to have any top chef shaking in his boots, it was relatively tasty, good size portions if a little carelessly presented; my risotto was accompanied by four prawns, but rather than make a feature of them they were just left submerged in the beigeness of the dish, with not even a sprinkling of chopped herbs to raise its appearance. What really lets this place down though is the utter disinterest and lack of engagement of all the waiting staff; they gave the impression that they really could not be bothered with any of their customers and basically just went through the motions of taking orders and bringing dishes to the table. Having experienced first class service with lively and fully engaged staff at the nearby Temple & Sons earlier in the week (and notably paying a similar amount for both meals, so it’s clearly not a case of you get what you pay for) it was a sharp contrast between the good, and not so good, of eating out in the Square Mile.