Nice smart generic clerkenwell-posh. But attentive, welcoming staff nonetheless - felt like posh resto attentiveness but in a local restaurant setting, which was nice.
Bar and restaurant area. Both fairly quiet - resto only four or five tables taken max. Next door was a couple back for the second meal - probably a good sign at this stage in a restaurant's lifecycle.
When you sit down posh restaurantly rather than neighbourhood cal-tal ambience - nice linen, heavy cutlery
Nice bread - warm - white and brown. Butter a bit soft.
Starter panfried foie gras with lentils and pancetta. Slice of FG very browned both sides - a bit overcooked? (not as melty inside as have had it) on a gorgeous lentil broth laced with slivers of pancetta. Nice.
Main crispy red mullet with chorizo and pastini. Three fillets er, crispy pan fried. Nice crispy skin - tasted kind of like chinesey dried shrimp in places. Came on top of green salad and generic chargrilled veg (red peppers, courgettes, aubergines) tm. Surrounded by diced chorizo and what looked like tiny orecchione (presume these were the pastini). Again well-executed. Felt a bit like generic brasserice faux-italien mediterranean though.
skipped pud and only a glass of water (quelle horreur) - will leave more for simon. Bill came to about 23 quid
overall food a cut above the clerkenwell-alike brasseries (but a cut below the haute places - as should be expected I guess). ambience again leaning more towards the haute - but was quite a quiet evening. An above-average neighbourhood restaurant. Good first date territory.
Only problem is the mighty St Johns is just opposite which, in contrast, is horrific first date territory but superb eating...