All reader reviews by Bob

Coq d'Argent

I took some overseas colleagues last night (a Thursday) as I wanted to impress. I was very disappointed. We arrived early so thought a quick drink on the terrace would be nice. From order to drinks delivery took over 15 minutes. We were then under immediate pressure to go to our table as our allocated time had arrived so the relaxing drink became a quick gulp.

The restaurant was packed with very little space between the tables. The density of people packed in meant it was extremely noisy making conversation very difficult. It was like having dinner in a tube train at rush hour.

The staff were attentive - but too few to provide the level of service the price indicates. The food was good and well presented but not stunning. I can name a dozen restaurants in London where the food is as good but 50% of the cost. The wine list was good and the bottles we had seemed well kept and the Sommelier knowledgeable.

We had a good evening - but it was in spite of, rather than thanks to, Coq d'Argent.

In summary the restaurant should be avoided by romantics (too dense and noisy to be intimate); people who want to be stunned by the food (try Michel Moore in Marylebone instead); people who want a sense of value for money (though OxO tower is even worse). In fact I can think of no reason to go when there are so many better options - unless of course being seen somewhere crowded and expensive is your sole purpose!

Friday, April 25, 2008
Overall rating 3 stars
Food 3 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 2 | Value for money 1

Smiths of Smithfield Top Floor

I wish I had read the reviews here first. Having chosen the restaurant from the hype in 'Square Mile' I took 5 colleagues last night. It is a poor restaurant that is very over-priced. The evening started badly when the wine waiter insisted that Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra "should be sour". No it should not! It was badly kept wine that had turned. I eventually got it replaced - but only after a struggle. The food (I had 'seared tuna' and a rump steak) was frankly very bland. The underlying product seemed well sourced but no effort had been made to do something special with it. It was also tepid at best. Service (apart from the stubborn wine waiter) was fine - but a little slow. What amazed me most was that the place was packed to the rafters, when there are many, many restaurants that serve significantly better food at a third of the price! What a shame that people care more about where is fashionable than the quality of the food, as this gives the owners no incentive to produce quality. Come on Smiths - have some pride - you should be embarassed!

Thursday, December 07, 2006
Overall rating 4 stars
Food 2 | Service 5 | Atmosphere 6 | Value for money 1

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