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Passione


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A couple of years ago, when I worked round the corner from Charlotte St, I once dropped into Passione with a colleague on the offchance they could squeeze us in for lunch. They turned us down so, well, offputtingly (nothing they said, nothing even obvious abut the way they said it, just the insubstantial aspects of the interchange) that I haven't been back. Until lunchtime today, when we did exactly the same thing and this time were seated. The food was good. Rocket/parmesan salad was as good as it could be, if enormous and featuring about a kilo of cheese. (Actually dressing, added by waitress after showing me plate, could have been very slightly better done, but I niggle.) Wild sorrel risotto was delicious: soupy, subtle, generous. Times two, with water and one coffee, £38 all in. But man: the atmosphere, again. Nobody took our order for 20 mins, and when I made to do so the waitress practically slapped my wrist. This is the only concrete example I have. Otherwise, everyone seemed very friendly (one waitress was actively trying to be nice). Even ol' Gennaro (Jamie father figure) himself came round genially. Yet the place felt somehow strained, even, um, passionless. Those aforementioned insubstantial aspects continue to weird me out.

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Yes ditto.

I went there the last time I stayed at The Charlotte St (very, very convinient).

Overall we had a great night, and the food (particularly the squid starter, the pumpkin ravioli and the pungently garlicky rabbit casserole with sauteed potatos) was really very good. The service though was patchy and cool to the point of being brusque, creating a slightly uneasy atmosphere.

Really did like the food though.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Hotel is very good indeed. The food sounds decent on the menu but was pricey (that's hotels for you), and competent if not inspiring. Service can be a little strained, as the whole place tends to get hammered by 8:30.

The best thing to do is to stay at the hotel itself, and then you can leave the braying proles in the front bar, and retire to the comfort of a wing backed chair and a roaring fire in the residents bar at the rear.

As well as being pretty well stocked and a pleasing space, it operates as an 'honesty bar' - Black Russians and Cognac a go-go, and then shakily write 'one small sherry' next to your room number.

Not that I'm advocating etc etc...

The other good reason to stay at the Charolotte St is that you get little flat screen plasa TV's in the bathroom. This means you can watch Popstars, Fame Academy, Celebrity Big Brother or other fine reality TV programming of your choice whilst enjoying a good soak.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Who's the good soak you enjoy?

Actually I spent a rather romantic night at TCSH recently and the staff were teriffic and the Residents Bar was a good hidey hole

Also when my sister stayed there with my little nephew, they let me wait in there for her, poured me an unfeasibly large cognac and gave me a paper to read.

This chain ( it is the same people who own the Pelham, The Covent Garden Hotel and The Rookery isn't it? ) is one of my favourites in London, certainly not cheap, but good value

S

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Simon,

Yep it is a small group of high quality individual hotels (hmmm... interesting concept) called Firmdale Hotels. Website is http://www.charlottestreethotel.com/.

The FOH staff at the hotel are excellent. Very efficient, very polite, very pleasant - a seemingly simple but all to rare combination. The front bar is great, but I find it does get a little too busy at times. Better in summer when it spills out onto the street.

As well as being spitting distance from Passione whilst at the Charlotte St, you are also a stones throw (unless you throw like a girlie) from Pied a Terre. As previously discussed on a seperate thread I have had an outstanding meal there, but others seem to have had some bad experiences with the service.

Don't worry Simon. I'm sure you have some worryingly patchy memories of drink and debauchery at the Charlotte Street Hotel, but I can categorically state that you never ended up in a bath with me watching Jamies Kitchen.

Hope that puts your mind at ease.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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Don't worry Simon. I'm sure you have some worryingly patchy memories of drink and debauchery at the Charlotte Street Hotel, but I can categorically state that you never ended up in a bath with me watching Jamies Kitchen.

Hope that puts your mind at ease.

Cheers

Thom

wouldn't be the first time I have woken up in a West End Flophouse next to a journalist!!!!!

I still have a soft spot for Elena's Etoile on Charlotte St. She is such a charming woman and although the place is very VERY old school, I recall the food being pretty good. I mentioned once before a time when on a date, I had a supper there and forgot my wallet. I left the table and spoke with elena who just said that if I left my card she would send the bill on. It arrived the next day at my office with a handwritten note saying she hoped we had both enjoyed our meal. Not sure you would get that in many places these days

S

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It may be a rare thing in the hard edged and cynical big smoke, but you can still find similar levels of trust (naivety?) out in the styx.

At my last meal at Mr Underhills in Ludlow (excellent rare beef, foolishly potent wine, and the smelliest cheese I have encountered upon a restaurant board - even the server seemed intimidated by it), I did the old 'forgetting my wallet thing'.

Rather than spending a night at the sink or even receiving a swift beating followed by a one way trip over the weir, she simply asked if I was staying locally. I said I was (Number 28 actually -good breakfasts), and she just said oh pop in tomorrow and sort out the money then.

Very sweet.

Cheers

Thom

It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.

I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".

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  • 11 months later...

had a very poor lunch at Passione yesterday.

Service all over the place: each drink/course served by a different member of staff. In the inevitable confusion, drinks went AWOL and our order was muddled up with the adjacent table's.

Carpaccio starter was okay, but lacking in flavour. The seasonal mushroom risotto was again lacking in flavour, and over-salted.

I remember having a great meal there a couple of years ago - has it gone downhill?

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  • 6 months later...

Lunch today - a bowl of broad bean and pea soup, four (superb) raviolli stuffed with ricotta in a lemon sauce, delicious braised rabbit with rosemary and garlic served with saute potatos, gnocchi with (almost certainly canned) tomato sauce, a tiramisu and lemoncello and wild strawberry ice, a bottle of sauvignon, water and 2 coffees - £109.00.

You have got to be kidding. £75.00 maybe. £109.00? Run to the hills.

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A couple of years ago, having chatted with Gennaro at a Guild of Food Writers do, I took a party of six to Passione and had a first rate dinner with excellent friendly service -- took our own Barolo with us and left a bottle for the staff, didn't get charged corkage. He was out that night, but the kitchen functioned perfectly without him. And the bill was very reasonable.

For the past year I've heard nothing but bad reports, including from friends who used to go regularly. I count myself lucky to have ridden the crest of the wave.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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Yes, so sad to hear. I almost want to go back to make sure I'm not hearing wrong! I celebrated my birthday there once as a student living round the corner, so the place obviously carries fond memories for me...

Edited by Ai Leen (log)

Fresh from London. Eating as always.

http://www.artisanedibles.blogspot.com

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