All reader reviews by BellEnd
Battersea may be famous for the dogs’ home but it is now also home to London’s newest 5 star hotel. Hotel Verta is a new build and part of the von Essen group of hotels. The hotel adjoins the London Heliport complex - London's only commercial heliport. Verta stands for: Victor Echo Romeo Tango Alfa.
The Patrisey Restaurant serves traditional British and modern European cuisine and and boasts views of the river from its outdoor terrace and of the heliport from the inside. However, you will get a strong smell of aviation fuel on the terrace so you would need to be very enthused by the whole helicopter novelty to stay outside. I was served a cracking Chateaubriand with peppercorn sauce, even though it was served rare when I had asked for a medium cook. My fiancé had lamb which was sent back as it was raw inside. The hand-cut chips were tasty but due to the small size of the bowl they represented a stingy portion. There were only six other people in the whole restaurant so the staff were very attentive and friendly, as you would expect from an empty restaurant and from a 5 star hotel staff. However, the atmosphere was lacking. The Panacotta for dessert was rewarding but my fiancé had the sticky toffee pudding which was outstanding. Whilst sitting by the window, we thought how the hotel could have paid more attention to the bleak outside environment, such as adding a few flower pots by the window.
I was left wondering how the place could drum up business as it is almost impossible to find. There are plenty of expensive flats nearby but I suspect that the new Marketing Manager at the hotel has her work cut out.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 4
Fancy an affordable curry in central London in a new place that tries to break the mould? Situated on Upper St Martin's Lane, close to Leicester Square, Dishoom is sandwiched between Jamie's Italian and Cantina Laredo and is also close to Stringfellows and the celebrity hangout The Ivy.
Rather annoyingly I knew in advance that the restaurant did not take bookings so it is advisable to turn up early to bag one of the black leather booths providing there is more than two of you. Bear in mind though, that there is a policy of not seating parties at tables until all in the party are present. I was, however, offered a glass of hot chai to enjoy whilst waiting for the rest of my party to arrive in the waiting area by the newspapers. You would struggle to hear each other if sat in the two seat tables close to one another elsewhere in the room.
The dishes arrive quickly, and pretty much all at once, akin to tapas style. We tried the lamb chops which were rubbed with black pepper and chillies and though well charred tasted tender and succulent. The house black daal is to be recommended although the Bombay sausages were perhaps not overly exciting. The house curry of the day, the “Ruby Murray”, was chicken curry and tasted fine if un-spectacular. Check out the roti being made in the open kitchen. We had to send back undercooked chicken Tikka, however, for which the manager apologised profusely and in recompense, offered us free desserts. Filtered water is available in Dishoom-branded bottles priced £1, 20p of which goes to helping to provide clean water for Bombay slums. The Chocolate Fondant with cinnamon ice cream was a highlight. Try the “Thums-Up” for a unique Indian tasting cola drink. Service was efficient and friendly and I liked the glasses used for serving the tea and coffee for their attention to detail.
Attention to detail is everywhere here and I applaud designer Afroditi Krassa’s efforts. Yes, there is perhaps a carefully contrived corporate image management at play here that has a transportable design which could easily get rolled out across to a high street near you. I would, however, welcome any such expansion compared to the bland and often dingey curry houses that litter the high street at present. I liked the hanging lights, the overhead fans, the replica station clock, the high standing mirrors that give all diners perspective and the novelty of the old style “rules of the house” which are displayed on a blackboard on the wall by the waiting area (including the statement that “all castes are welcome”) with copies of the day’s broadsheet newspapers. You will even notice the level of detail in the toilets, which are located in the basement, with the numerous mirrors on the wall, the retro Indian toiletries encased in the cubicle, the burning incense and the old style basins. Now it is not my thing to want to rate the state of the loos, you understand, but I do appreciate the effort on the part of the establishment in that area when the temptation can be to offer a functional bland space. The stairs are well lit with small spotlights on each step when returning to the main part of the restaurant, just another example of the attention to detail on the part of the house.
The restaurant has started business with a promising start - there was a queue out on the street for most of the evening. This should be alleviated with the opening for business of the basement floor. There was a good percentage of Indians dining and queuing up outside which I took as a positive sign for a curry house. Overall I would recommend this restaurant for good food at affordable prices in a lively atmosphere with efficient service that is, however, not appropriate for a quiet special occasion meal.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Food 8 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 9