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5 Pollen Street


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The room..blah blah blah.....wallpaper....blah blah blah....Gary Hume...blah blah....the manager...harry's bar.... blah blah.

Focusing on the food, as we should, it was a shoddy affair. More Trattoria than fine dining. Burrata was served with a motley crue of grilled vegetables and oregano infused olive oil. It desperately needed more seasoning and looked like it had been plated by, well I can't actually think who would plate up like this in a restaurant. In the middle we have the Burrata, at 6 o'clock a thick slice of non descript tomato, 8 o'clock was a thick slice of red onion, between 10 and 12 were some unevenly sliced pieces of aubergine and from 12 - 3 similarly uneven slices of courgette. It was all rather "housewife who can't be bothered to cook". The Burrata itself was fine, the vegetables left a lot to be desired. On the other side of the table Carpaccio of beef was served at a good temperature with parmesan and celery, a lot more successful but still needing work on ingredient quality.

At this point I asked for a wine list as it hadn't been offered, I wonder if they determined that I wouldn't be able to afford anything on the wine list. The cheapest bottle was £25, if I remember correctly it then has a couple more offerings around the £40, more still around £60 and then a large selection upwards of there.

Papardelle with hare ragout, if you can imagine a big rich sauce, flecked with hare, cooked for hours while being lovingly stirred by a young chef dreaming of the day he will be able to produce a beautiful dish such as this with perfectly al dente pasta you would be way of the mark. A distinct lack of depth to the sauce and pappardelle that was cooked way too long. Pumpkin and chestnut ravioli fared a little better but was still overcooked, showed little evidence of chestnut and the filling was a little wet. Still it had decent sweetness that paired nicely with the sage butter. To brighten up both dishes we were offered parmesan - already grated in a bowl!!!!! Both dishes could have done with more seasoning. Strangely the hare ragout was on the standard menu but was also listed on the specials at £13.50 - £1.50 less than the ALC, you can guess which price I was charged.

The loin of veal (Scottish) was carved at the table, served with 3 reheated potatoes and a side dish if you have ordered one, very good broccoli in our case. It was ok but I couldn't help feeling that they had cut corners with the quality of the veal, again seasoning was an issue, a sprinkling of maldon sea salt after carving wouldn't have gone amiss.

By this stage I had lost faith in the capabilities of the kitchen and passed on dessert, £204 lighter including £25 for 2 glasses of champagne and £38 for Barbera D'asti Bava Libera and 12.5% service charge. Service was disorganised, lots of staff struggling in the narrow dining room and not attentive enough, we got our wine shortly before the main course! The seating is also rather cramped, so much so that the couple next to us felt obliged to say hello as we sat down.

Overall a very disappointing meal from a formerly talented chef, food like this needs top notch ingredients and they weren’t on show here. The lack of big name reviews for this place is curious, presumably their publicist is aiming at the non foodie crowd. If the publicist took that decision after eating here they are doing their job fantastically and deserve a bonus.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Unless it was on someone else's money I already had no intention of going in here. It was obvious it would be bad from reading all the pre pub. If a 'big name' does review it, it will be because he scents an easy piece of copy and I think I know just who that reviewer will be. Let's see if I am right, already I can hear his wings beating as he circles overhead!

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That review was about 5 minutes after the doors opened which is about par for the course for Maschler and is probably a little unfair on the restaurant. If she had waited a couple of weeks she could have really gone to town and with good reason. Does anybody who is serious about food listen to her any more?

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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  • 2 weeks later...

AA Gill in the Sunday Times to-day did not enthuse over it. Apparently tbe loo and the kitchen share the same stairecase. (I don't understand why Atherton seems to have gone for an Italian-style cuisine)

Petrus

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AA Gill in the Sunday Times to-day did not enthuse over it. Apparently tbe loo and the kitchen share the same stairecase. (I don't understand why Atherton seems to have gone for an Italian-style cuisine)

Petrus

Eh!? Atherton's place is going to be called Pollen Street Social, and is not due to open for another month.

Itinerant winemaker

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