All reader reviews by David Ashton
My partner and I visited London last week, to come and have a very luxurious time, see the capital in the best possible light, and to do everything with ‘gusto’ as it were, spending a lot of money in the process. I was surprising my partner for the whole trip in that she didn’t know where I was taking her. Bonds was how we started the day after vacating the tube, and what a start it was!
Upon arriving through the doors of the beautiful building, service was impeccable as we were ushered to our tables and made to feel very comfortable, and despite not conforming with the usual clientele of this restaurant, who were obviously businessmen and not students like us, we were treated both nicely and courteously. Beautiful décor, with a contemporary feel in a renovated bank hall – best of both worlds. The staff were efficient and friendly, always serving you with a smile on their face.
We got some water as a drink to start off with, which I will come to later.
Menu’s were brought – pricey, but I knew that before I went. Very good choice available – we opted for the barbury duck. The atmosphere was quiet to begin with, but grew louder as the businessmen of the city district arrived about noon for their lunch break, leading to a better atmosphere. I can guarantee I would love to be lucky enough to dine here on my lunch break everyday!
The bread was delicious – the rolls served slightly warm and perfectly soft with a rich flavoured butter to accompany them which was also warm. A brilliant appetiser. Then the food came and what arrived, despite what has been said in some of the other reviews, could only have been described as amazing. The duck was the right amount of tenderness, not too soft or hard – and came with the most flavourful vegetables and sauce which were exquisite. The carrot puree was bursting with flavour, same with the pear on the side, and the stick of cabbage was about as nice as cabbage can be (I’m not a big cabbage fan). Also, there was something else, which was probably the highlight of the meal as we couldn’t decide; firstly, what it was, and secondly, what our feelings towards it were. It has a very light and fluffy texture and a strange taste – and we couldn’t stop talking about it for hours afterwards because it was just so different to anything we’d experienced before. In conclusion, the meal was really was very good, and good value even at £20 per head, just for one course, excluding service and drinks.
A trip to the loo was a pleasant surprise – wonderful marble floors, floor-length mirrors, towels and luxury hand washes – a world apart from the toilets where I usually dine. They even had a place to shine your shoes if you felt like it. It isn’t usual I would talk about the toilets when reviewing a meal, but I feel the need to here.
However, the meal wasn’t completely without it’s faults, although it did manage to maintain a high amount of quality. Firstly, I’m not sure whether this is usual in London, but we were charged £5 for two glasses of tap water that we were given to accompany our meal. Usually when you ask for tap water this should imply that you don’t want to spend extra money on drinks, and thus this wasn’t very nice to be charged £2.50 a glass I didn’t think. Also when I enquired to the waitress about what the wines were like as we aren’t very knowledgeable ourselves, and we went through the list asking what they were like, she replied “quite fruity” for every one, showing that her knowledge was limited. We opted for a Chardonnay on a sort of ip dip doo basis, which turned out to be anything but ‘medium and fruity’ as she had said, which wasn’t what we wanted or what we asked for, and tasted dry and sharp which we didn’t appreciate or want, especially at a hefty £6.00 per glass.
All in all however the meal was fantastic for only one course, and memorable. I thanked the restaurant manager when he brought the bill and he was very kind and gave us an extra business card on request. Will definitely consider returning next time I am in the capital with money to spend! Quite expensive though, so make sure you realise that before you come or you may be in for a shock!
Friday, January 27, 2006
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 7