All reader reviews by Tony Little

The Wolseley

Oh dear. Have breakfasted here a few times without complaint. But took a colleague for dinner and the whole experience was distinctly average.

Yes, it was a busy night - aren't they all, here? - but that 's no excuse for lacklustre service; a steak that was requested medium but arrived almost raw (and tasteless, to boot); hake that was dry/overcooked and underseasoned; and five options from the menu that were unavailable.

And call me old-fashioned, but shouldn't a 'modern european' restaurant like this have more than one type of cheese on offer for dessert?

Now in fairness, we should have sent both main courses back straight away. What can I say? I'm British, I hate a fuss.... and I was hungry. When we did eventually complain, the steak was deducted from the bill without a murmur.

But even if the meal had been cooked flawlessly, the food just wasn't that interesting. Certainly, at £150 for 2.5 courses, 4 glasses of house fizz and a riesling from the shallow end of the list, there are many better places in town....even within walking distance.

The Wolseley is so 'scene and be scene' that it gives the impression of doing you a huge favour, merely for granting you the privilege of eating here. Sadly, on this experience, the very opposite is true.

Oh, and I've just noticed we were billed a £2 cover charge per head. So with service on top, that was £4.50 on the meter before we'd even sat down.

As a wiser man than I once said: the devil's in the details.

Thursday, November 01, 2007
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 5 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 4

L Restaurant and Bar

Took two food writers for lunch here and all of us were impressed by the relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and good value tapas. Baby squid with ginger and chile were a big hit, and grilled scallops with vanilla showed an ambitious and talented hand at work in the kitchen.

Bill would have been c.£35 per head for more than enough food and a couple of glasses of wine each, but after 50% discount, was surely a steal.

Everything one could wish for from a neighbourhood restaurant, but which still seems too hard to find in a metropolitan city like London.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 8 | Value for money 10

Via Condotti

Faultless service and a friendly atmosphere is the hallmark of the place. We were 30 mins late for a party of 8, at 10.30pm, but still nothing was too much trouble. Food centred on top end ingredients, prepared in an unfussy way by people who clearly know what they're doing. A real delight.

Monday, January 08, 2007
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 8 | Service 10 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 8

Livebait (Waterloo)

Oh dear. Have fond memories of this place from years back, but was hugely disappointed by a return visit. Service chaotic, food average at best. By sheer coincidence, a colleague was also eating there, and was similarly disappointed.

Neither of us shall be returning. Farewell, old friend.

Monday, January 08, 2007
Overall rating 5 stars
Food 4 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 5 | Value for money 4

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