All reader reviews by AliceT

St Clements Cafe & Bar

I find it hard to write this review because I don't want to let anyone else know about this wonderful place! I go at least twice a week for lunch, and have held a number of evening events there, too. It's not cheap, but the food's amazing. Recent lunchtime highlights have included venison salad with roasted sweet potato and the best lasagne I've ever eaten, and in the evening, amazing cheeseboards and addictive chips. There's a good wine list, and I preferred one of the cheaper whites we had to one of the pricier ones - always something to be grateful for. They also have proper flat white coffee, which few places know how to make well.

Decor is gorgeous - stripped floorboards, bunches of seasonal flowers from the garden, and mismatched chairs. Shabby chic can sometimes come off as either chilly or pretentious, but here it just feels simple, stylish and comfortable.

Service isn't always perfect - waiting times in the evening can be a little long, and some staff know what they're doing better than others - but the previous reviewer who was so scathing was being phenomenally unfair, IMHO.

Monday, October 12, 2009
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 9

The French Table

This place is totally extraodinary, and not just for a suburb, but for anywhere! My husband and I are real foodies, and aren't squeamish about spending lots of money eating in lovely places in London, but now we've found this place, we've pretty much stopped going into town for special occasions - we just eat here.

The food is amazing. Last night, our third visit, we had the best beef I have ever eaten - Argentinian fillet with braised shank, served with celeriac puree, wild mushrooms and red wine sauce. The meat was so soft and tender you could have happily eaten it with a spoon (I'm actually not exaggerating), the flavour was amazing and the sides were perfectly teamed. The vegetable sides are chargable (which I don't usually like) but really generous and very good indeed. I'd also highly recommend the trio of pork - a masterpiece! Puddings are amazing too, with lots of choice - we really enjoyed their trio of chocolate, which is always on the menu, but the items change each month (we had white chocolate icecream, chocolate gateau and chocolate ganache). For me, they slightly fall down on their starters - they're usually more imaginative and complicated than the mains or puddings, and I think the flavour combinations don's always work. I have to say this little quibble hasn't ever made any difference to my enjoyment of the place, though.

They do all the tricky things restaurants often fail at really well: portions are generous without being heavy; they change their menu monthly and always have specials, which keeps it interesting; the service is absolutely professional without being obsequious, over-zealous (e.g. topping up wine every 15 seconds) or snooty; they have a long, well-explained and reasonable wine list with seasonal specials and do many of them by the glass; they have lots of choice on the menu and don't do a fixed 3-courses so you can have what you like (and they're fine with you sharing a course - they even bring an extra plate); they only have one sitting a night, but they stagger it so the restaurant feels busy and has atmosphere all night, plus you feel like you can linger over coffee for hours.

Every time we've been, it's been a special occasion, and they always mark it. Last night was my birthday, and they wrote 'Happy Birthday' in chocolate on my dessert plate, as well as giving us two complimentary glasses of lovely pink bubbly. We recognise one of the waitresses by now (another sign of a good place - they have regular staff, so there's good continuity), and although she wasn't serving our table, she came over to wish me a happy birthday and ask how we were, and came to say goodbye when we left.

I don't think I could be more effusive if I tried...

Friday, September 21, 2007
Overall rating 10 stars
Food 10 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 10


A really nice place to eat. The ambience is smart but welcoming - all dark browns and creams, with funky jazz playing quietly. The service was professional, quick without being oppressive, and very friendly. We ate from both the a la carte and prix fixe menus - there was no difference in portion size like you often get with prix fixe, everything was freshly cooked with quality ingredients and excellent value. The house white was of a gooid quality, but not terribly interesting - a good wine with food. We'll definitely be returning.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 8 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 7

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