All reader reviews by Lesley

Hibiscus

We visited Hibiscus for dinner on 15th August, having read the good reviews and we weren't disappointed. Despite booking three weeks in advance we could only get a 9.45pm table. However, when the restaurant called to confirm the booking they asked if we'd like them to call if they could accommodate us earlier and they could and they did.

We chose the five course Summer menu and it was absolutely delicious, as were the accompanying wines. However, at £62.50 for the food with the accompanying wine at £50, I would expect it to be! Each course was beautifully presented and the combination of flavours was sublime.

Was it perfect? Just a few tiny niggles. Presumably because we were their last booking, the service was a little rushed with the first 3 courses served within 40 minutes. However, there was no problem when we asked for a little more time before the main course. Next time we'll wait until we can get an 8pm table so that we can really take our time. Secondly, I agree with the reviewer who criticised the atmosphere - it just feels a little formal and sterile. Finally if, like me, you don't enjoy foods such as tripe, sweetbreads and fois gras, you might struggle with the a la carte menu.

Sunday, August 17, 2008
Overall rating 8 stars
Food 10 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


L'Etranger

I found L'Etranger through london-eating when looking for somewhere to eat near to the Royal Albert Hall. My friend and I chose the Early Bird set menu dinner there last night. I often find that these set menus have little to tempt me but this was different - all of the dishes looked really appealing. The warm chicken salad starter was excellent, as was the stir-fried beef main course. Terrific value at £16.50 for 2 courses. There are few restaurants within easy walking distance of the Albert Hall so this was a real find. Just one word of caution - champagne! We ordered a couple of glasses as an aperitif and then, as we were on tight timing, decided to have another couple with our main course rather than ordering a bottle of wine. However, when the bill arrived I was rather shocked to see that I had been charged £15 a glass - so with service our quick pre-theatre supper cost £105! I would have expected to pay £7-8 but this seems more than a little excessive - one glass of champagne cost almost as much as their two course menu.

Saturday, June 21, 2008
Overall rating 7 stars
Food 9 | Service 8 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 3


L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon

We went to L'Atelier tonight for our wedding anniversary. We have dined there three times in the past year and have always enjoyed a wonderful experience. However, although tonight the food was sublime, as always, the service was aggressively rushed and pushy. Our table was booked for 8.30 but due to traffic problems we didn't arrive until 8.50. The waiter seemed particularly affronted by our tardy arrival. We were pressed to order promptly and while the amuse boche was being served, he rudely interrupted to offer the wine for tasting and poured it before my husband had signalled his approval. We were just enjoying our aperitifs with bread and butter when a waitress whipped our butter/olive oil away while we were still eating. Our starters arrived seconds later. They were absolutely delicious but, as the service seemed particularly speedy, we asked for a 20 minute break before our main course. This arrived on the dot. We had not been offered any vegetable side dishes so we wrongly presumed they were included in the meal. However, the truffle mash we'd ordered was orgasmic as always. As soon as the plates were cleared the dessert menu was proffered. When we asked for a 15 minute break before ordering dessert the waitress was clearly unhappy. I don't know if the table had been booked for a post-theatre dinner but the demeanour of all members of staff was rushed and stressed. Not what you expect when you are paying top dollar for dinner. We felt so pressurised that we didn't bother ordering a dessert and just had coffee and left. The food in this restaurant is probably the best in London but if you are looking for a leisurely, enjoyable meal, I suggest you try somewhere else.

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Overall rating 6 stars
Food 10 | Service 2 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 5


The Capital

Ignore the more recent reviews below - we had a fabulous dinner at The Capital last night.

It was my birthday and when my husband told me that he had booked a table, I looked on London-eating to read the reviews. As a result, it would be fair to say that I approached the evening with trepidation. My concern was totally unfounded.

The restaurant is surprisingly small and intimate but tables are well-spaced. The food was sublime. The amuse boche consisted of a shot glass of coconut and lime soup plus a tiny chilli duck kebab, both mouth-wateringly good. The selection of breads was innovative and tasty. We had starters of toasted fois gras and langoustine and then both chose Lamb with cous cous for our main course - all were delicious. While portions are rather 'nouvelle' (though exquisitely presented) they were the perfect size to ensure that we had enough space left for pudding.

Service was terrific, not too 'in yer face' but atttentive. The house champagne is excellent and the wine list varied.

It's not inexpensive but we had one of the best meals we've had in London for a while and would unreservedly recommend it for a special occasion meal.

Friday, August 04, 2006
Overall rating 9 stars
Food 10 | Service 9 | Atmosphere 7 | Value for money 8


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