A lovely little restaurant down one of the many alley ways in Covent Garden, this is a great place to come for a bit of reasonably priced dining in the heart of central, or a great place to go pre- or post- theatre. I have had the pleasure of dining in this restaurant several times, and have rarely seen a table left empty. Booking for this well priced restaurant is essential – its popularity is thanks to the superb service (always helpful, kind and welcoming) and the multitude of offers it often has available. I for one have never paid full price for a meal in here, using either a Taste Card discount, a seasonal offer they sometimes have on (a free bottle of wine when dining late and ordering two courses) or a birthday deal (a free round of puddings or champagne when celebrating a birthday!) – and yet, the low price of the meal definitely does not mirror a low quality of the dishes. In fact I would go as far as to say there aren’t any wrong choices that can be made on this menu – they are all really quite good.
When it comes to your starter, you simply cannot go wrong with the Seared Scallops with Crab Risotto (£11.50), or the Steak Tartare with Hard Boiled Quail’s Egg (£9.50). Both are prepared and seasoned perfectly. The scallops are cooked well and go wonderfully with the crab risotto, while the Steak Tartare is rich and indulgent. When it comes to main courses on the other hand I find that the Homemade Pumpkin Pappardelle, with Sage butter sauce with a Rocket salad and pinenuts (£15.50) is filling but not overly rich, with the pumpkin flavour coming through nicely to add a taste of Autumn to the dish. Alternatively for a meaty option the Calf’s Liver, Spinach, crispy Pancetta with a tasty jus (£18.50) is great, with that solid homely taste that many of us love. However I think my favourite main dish is likely to be the duck confit, puy lentils with baby carrots and shallot, duck jus (£17.50) – the textures of the lentils mix well with the tender meatiness of the duck which is rich in flavour and complemented well by the jus.
However, while the starters and mains are each fantastic, the thing that makes this place so great is the chef’s selection of 4 (£16.50) or 6 desserts (£22.50), which contrary to what the name suggests, is your own choice from the fantastic dessert menu. It’s the cheapest and most indulgent way to experience as much of this menu as possible, and there are some items which simply MUST be ordered, including the indulgent Soup Au Chocolat with black pepper ice cream; this is quite literally a bowl of chocolate soup – incredibly rich and delicious, but somewhat sickly after several spoonfulls, and so I recommend you also order the marinated strawberries with pink muscatel sorbet. This dish is refreshing and sweet with a small undercurrent of tartness, which balances the richness of the chocolate soup nicely. And finally the last must try dessert has to be their Vanilla Cheesecake with Fig Coulis. It’s creamy, sweet, and with a lovely texture that sits nicely on the pallet. The others are your choice, but with the above, you simply cannot go wrong.