This is the perfect place to take your mum for pre-theatre dinner, or to sit outside drinking cocktails. Its lovely inside – all can-I-take-your-coat and chandeliers and chrome and candles and uniformed staff – and the service was brilliant. Fab toilets. My only complaint was getting told off for taking photos inside – apparently the artists who’d painted the wall art don’t approve, hmm. I ordered a main of monkfish and scallops and it was beautifully and delicately done, as was my mum’s pork. We were surrounded by American tourists and bankers, so it wasn’t quite the romantic atmosphere that screams date night, but it was perfect for me and El Madre. It feels quaint and old-fashioned and elegant – I’d definitely like to go back with a wad of cash and try a bit more of the menu, or treat a friend on their birthday. The early evening menu is pretty good value – and they do special offers for pre and post theatre supper, and for lunch – check out the website.
So I cycle past this little slice of France every day on the way to work and I had le soft spot for it – I love French bistros with their candles and white tablecloths and wood, the nice wine and the simple tasty dishes. It reminds me of naughty lunches with girlfriends, weekends in Paris and Brussels, and old-fashioned dates.
I tried it in a *slightly* different way – I went on a hen night of 21 girls in their awesome sound-proofed (thank God) private dining room, beautifully decorated with pink stuff, personalised menus, balloons and table names. What followed will stay amongst us 21 although I should say thank you (and sorry) to our lovely waiter Roman. The food was lovely too – fairly simple but great quality and really tasty – a lovely set menu of warm salt cod brandade, chicken with lemon and garlic with gratin dauphinois, followed by cheese - although the main restaurant was really quiet by the time we left. I’d put it down as a fantastic posh lunch place and I do recommend the brilliant private room – you can even play your own iPod – who’d have thunk behind those solid brass doors we were grinding to Rihanna? (Actually I think the hostesses thunked it – we got fantastically dirty looks on entry and exit – might have been the wigs and cork hat that did it).
I have literally wanted to go to Andrew Edmunds for YEARS, ever since Lady B recommended it after a romantic evening with her now husband, and Time Out said it was a great place to take a long distant lover (Lady B had obviously done her research). I’d heard people say it was overhyped, that the tables were too close together and the food was pretty average, but its a Soho institution, filled with media types, and as I’ve said before I love romantic bistros – candles in empty wine bottles and chalked menus on blackboards here, it didn’t disappoint - and booked a table for late supper with The Chef who used to take people there in his wine merchant days.
I was *so* excited about going there that my camera stayed resolutely in my bag – partly so I could savour the meal and enjoy the romance of it all, and partly because I was worried about the tables being so close. Sadly my work had other ideas and I was pestered pretty much non-stop throughout by a demanding client and a beeping blackberry - such is life.
Distractions aside, I really liked it – we got a booth and I did think it was a romantic, pretty restaurant, as did the other diners who were pretty much exclusively made up of couples. It is certainly one for date night rather than the girls. Service was friendly but pretty quick and although I don’t think The Chef was too impressed by the food (but then again if it isn’t Sechuanese at the moment, he’s likely to complain), I really liked it – a simple but tasty bowl of mussels to start, potted shrimp, stuffed rabbit with mash. It reminded me of the food at Vinoteca - homely and traditional and simple and really tasty, with a really good wine list. Our 2 course meal plus wine came to £35 each so it was decent valud too.