The Thomas Cubitt is more ambitious than most gastropubs. Named after a 19th century builder who built much of Belgravia, the downstairs is a busy pub, the upstairs a rabbit warren of dining areas. The area in which we sat was cosy, having a marble fireplace, skylight and rather eccentric Victorian prints of wild animals decorating the taupe coloured walls. The menu has starters ranging from £7 - £10.50, mains £16.50 - £24.50 (with vegetables £4 extra) and desserts at £6.50 - £11.
Breads are bought in from a bakery called “Maison du Point”, which is a new one on me, but were pleasant: rolls of onion bread, cereal bread and sourdough (3/10). The 11 page wine list is well above gastropub norms, with selections such as Trimbach Cuvee Frederich Emile 2003 at £58 for a wine that retails at around £21, Gladstone Pinot Noir 2007 at £36 for a wine that costs about £12 in the shops, and even a selection of dessert wines.
A soup of cauliflower and wild mushroom with pea shoots and truffle oil (£7) was very pleasant, with reasonably clear cauliflower and mushroom flavour and decent seasoning (4/10). Scallops with celeriac puree were nicely timed, the puree itself rather lacking in intensity, the dish augmented by some rather thin lobster bisque (4/10).
Venison was cooked carefully, served with soothing creamed sprouts, a few assorted wild mushrooms and a cherry sauce, which worked better than I was expecting (4/10). Red mullet was nice in itself, but suffered from mushy potato, rescued somewhat by a decent fennel and bacon salad adding a nice flavour combination, finished with a lemon and caper dressing (3/10). A portion of chips were rather soggy, while mash was smooth but really needed something richer (more cream or butter) relative to the potato.
Tarte tatin tasted better than it looked: the apple pleasant though hardly caramelised, on a thin and soggy layer of pastry. Caramel and winter spice ice cream with it was smooth enough but had a drying effect that tasted odd to me (2/10). Sticky toffee pudding was not moist enough, served with pleasant butterscotch milk ice cream (2/10).
Service was friendly and capable if a little stretched at times. The only real complaint would be the price. If you have three courses you will end up with a similar bill per head to somewhere like La Trompette, which has a Michelin star, and this does not feel right. I slightly preferred the Thomas Cubitt’s sister restaurant Pantechnicon, enjoyable but itself no bargain.