Things were certainly busy here, even though we came in late at 22:30 to eat. Both halves of the dark dining room were completely full. Some tapenade arrives as you look at the menu, which is Marco-style on a large card (same for the wine list). The wine list has plenty of choices below £30, a pleasant change, and some decent selections e.g. Chateau Musar at £34, Trimbach Riesling at £23. We had the latter, though were charged for the Trimbach Gewürztraminer, which is slightly more expensive; I think this was an innocent slip. Bread is very good (6/10) and is baked daily; this has excellent texture and good balance of salt. A starter of smoked salmon with horseradish cream had a generous portion of good smoked salmon. I had three excellent seared scallops, cooked in garlic butter and served with very fresh rocket salad. The scallops were fresh, plump and full of flavour, perfectly timed (6/10).
Grilled baby Dover sole is an old Nico’s favourite, and is still pretty good here. The fish is of high quality, served on the bone and timed to perfection. It is difficult to impress with such a simple dish, but this succeeded admirably. The tartare sauce, while good, was not as stunning as the Chez Nico version, but that is hardly to be expected (6/10). Crisp salmon was cooked well and served in slices on a skewer, cooked with ginger (though this was barely discernable) and served with a rather bland plum sauce (4/10). The salmon was farmed and so had relatively little taste. You order vegetables as extras here, which bumps up the price. Petit pois were disappointing, almost a mushy pea style, while French beans were distinctly soggy (vegetables barely 1/10). However a portion of chips was excellent. Dessert was a let-down. My chocolate marquise was fairly rich, but the Crème Anglaise had not one speck of vanilla (3/10) while Stella’s passion fruit sorbet was just poor. This had nowhere near enough sugar and so was very tart, and to compound things it had a far too crystalline texture (0/10). Coffee was fine. I guess 5/10 was a fair mark overall except for dessert, which were very weak. Service was reasonable, though the staff were obviously tired at the end of this busy Saturday night.