The dining room has a pleasant, airy feel to it, with white walls and plenty of natural light. The menu is brasserie food, which depends for its success heavily on ingredients, a bold move in England. Starter of warm prawns with garlic had correctly cooked prawns in a pool of olive oil, but the prawns themselves were ordinary. Similarly crab and lobster salad was overwhelmed with herb flavour, which perhaps was wise given the ordinary shellfish (12/20). Onion tart was better, nicely made with a soft base and plenty of onion flavour (14/20).
Main course was a whole chicken served with some foie gras. The chicken was a good blackleg chicken roast correctly, but I did not understand the foie gras addition, which was too rich for the dish and lacked any counterpoint of acidity (13/20). Served with the chicken were decent French beans, fair chips and rather watery dauphinoise (12/20). Desserts were a decent tarte tatin of apple with not enough caramelisation, and a pleasant orange ice cream (13/20). Perhaps the best thing was the bread, crusty country bread from the London Bakery (16/20). Coffee was fair.
The wine list was naturally mostly French and had some good producers e.g. Mas de Daumas Gassac 2006 was £55. Service has been criticised in some reviews but was fine tonight. The issue I would have is value. With a moderate bottle of wine, a pre-dinner drink but no dessert wine we managed to run up a bill of over £90 a head. This seems a lot for what is essentially decent bistro food.Book