This restaurant, on the site of what used to be an All Bar One, opened in May 2016. It serves food all day, and is the fourth in a growing collection of restaurants from a group called Darwin and Wallace (others being in Clapham, Pimlico and Marylebone). The atmosphere is casual and the food is “Antipodean influenced”, though that leaves plenty of flexibility. Starters were mostly around the £7-£8 mark, main courses around £11 - £19, side dishes £4, desserts £7. The head chef is a gentleman called Tomas Wezyk.
The wine list irritatingly omitted vintages and included selections such as A20 Alborino at £29 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £13, Margaux Close de Quatre Vents at £60 compared to its retail price of £27, and Veuve Cliquot NV at £78 for a wine that will set you back about £42 in a shop. There was a good selection of bottles in the £30 - £45 range and mark-ups were not excessive by the admittedly demanding standards of London.
Pate of smoked salmon, dill, and lemon was simply but pleasant, the lemon bringing some freshness. Rye crisps on the side were a bit hard but in principle went well enough with the pate (11/20). A trio of vegetarian tacos was fine, topping mainly black beans and avocado, the tacos base nothing memorable but decent (11/20).
Grilled sea bass and chips came with watercress, crème fraiche tartar and pea hummus, presumably as a nod to mushy peas. The pea hummus actually worked pretty well, having good flavour, and the fish was correctly cooked, though it was a very small fillet of what was almost certainly farmed sea bass, so did not have a lot of flavour. Chips on the side were edible but a bit limp (11/20). Chicken, leek, ham hock and tarragon pie was decent, the pastry topping reasonably delicate and the pie having plenty of meat filing, though the tarragon flavour was subtle to the point of shyness (12/20).
Service was friendly though of the “who ordered what” variety, but to be fair it is pitched as as a casual place. The bill came to a less casual £48 a head for two courses with a reasonable bottle of wine to share. If you headed down the wine list but had dessert and coffee then a typical cost per head might be around £49. This seems to me a bit high for what appeared, and although the food was perfectly decent there are alternative restaurants in the area that are trying harder. The restaurant is in an excellent location on the busiest part of the high street so doubtless will do fine.