This restaurant is above a converted pub in a side street in Belgravia. It is a light, airy room with plenty of natural light. The menu is very appealing, and the wine list has some good growers. There are a few good choices here that appear to be “only” around three times retail price e.g. Au Bon Climat Wild Boy Chardonnay was listed at £39 for a wine that retails at around £12. However Vintage Tunina at £85 is steep for a wine that costs around £26 in the shops.
Here are brief notes from a recent meal.
A starter of scallops with a citrus salad and black pepper vinaigrette worked well, the scallops fat and sweet (from Loch Crinan), the dressing not too acidic but just enough to balance the inherent sweetness of the scallops (14/20). Also very good was a dish of char-grilled Atlantic prawns with courgette and mint salad (15/20). A Dover sole was served whole, with a grenobloise sauce (i.e. butter, capers, lemon, vinegar, parsley) that was a little more acidic than ideal, while the fish itself needed seasoning (13/20). Chips on the side were thin but lacked crispness (13/20). Rhubarb and ginger trifle was enjoyable (14/20).
What follows are notes from a meal in May 2008.
“Fish fingers” with quail egg and baked beans (£7.50) was a witty take on the comfort food classic, the fish in a crisp batter, the haricot beans in tomato sauce tender, the fried quail egg working well with the dish (15/20). Smoked wild halibut with a pink grapefruit dressing (£9.50) was even better, the dressing a finely judged complement to the excellent halibut. Tomato consommé (£9) was delicate, served with a solitary tender langoustine.
The main course was more variable. My tuna fillet with a salad of fennel and white and green asparagus salad (£19.50) had excellent asparagus, but the tuna that initially arrived was seriously overcooked and had to be prepared again. Once it made it back to the table it was rare in the middle and tasted very good. A large lobster (£32) tasted fine but was a little overcooked, as so often happens with lobster. Whole Dover sole was grilled and served simply with watercress and melon. The fish was timed very well. A side of samphire (£4.50) was robustly salty, Jersey Royals (£4) were tender while chips (£4) were thin but could have been crisper.
Dark chocolate marquise (£7.50) had a pleasing rich chocolate taste was served with honeycomb and pistachio ice cream. A banana tarte fine (£7.50) with sea salt and caramel parfait was well balanced with good pastry (indeed the pastry chef used to work at Foliage). Service was friendly, and overall this seemed to me a strong 14/20, with some dishes better but also a few slips (the tuna, the lobster) dragging the overall score back down. The restaurant was already full on a Monday night a week after opening, which gives a fair indication of its early success.