The menu is well constructed and while offering lots of stuff you know and love, there's usually something extra going on to lift it just that little bit more. One starter 'tartare of veal with smoked anchovies, pickled radish, capers, raisins and quail's egg' has clearly gone that little bit further than your average neighbourhood restaurant to make veal tartare even more interesting but when it arrives, it has been thoughtfully, and artfully, plated, and it all points to a kitchen that combines skill with caring.
These are all also hearty plates of food, my raviolo of Cornish lobster is substantial, and substantially covered with other things, but never too much so; the result is to keep every mouthful interesting without feeling plates have been over laboured. And the lobster in the raviolo, Cornish as noted, really came through nicely so despite everything else, there was never any doubt what the point of, and star of, this plate was.
And so the meal continued in this fashion. Mains were all very enjoyable, usually the most difficult of the courses to prevent diners becoming bored but we breezed through easily enough and whether it was turbot, or rump of veal, no one had any complaints. But it was when dessert came, and we were recommended Roasted Hazelnut Parfait with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, Chocolate Soaked Brioche and Praline (apparently the most popular dessert on the menu), well, had the rest of the meal been bad, we would have forgiven them everything. Since it was not, this was a crowning glory. Chocolate Soaked Brioche? Oh yes, no holding back there, and a big slice of the parfait, no skimping on portions but a dessert you can never get enough of. Very much the moment of the meal. For some variety around the table, I ordered the banana ice cream with thyme caramel, milk chocolate and crushed pop corn and this too was very good, so much so that I was only a little jealous of the chocolate soaked brioche, which is some praise.
This was accomplished food and extends well beyond what most would think of as a 'neighbourhood restaurant', though the venue itself is somewhat beige. Prices are not so you'll be looking at around £50 for three courses before drink yet it didn't feel out of line given the quality. Service was always friendly, though felt a little absent at times.
As most will know, Phil Howard of The Square, is a partner in the restaurant, though doesn't, as far as we understand involve himself in the kitchen. Nevertheless, the team are doing him proud and overall, our view is that this is among the best of the London one star restaurants.