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Pollen Street Social.


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General Manager Michael West told me the bar was absolutely rammed on Thursday and Friday. Can't remember if he mentioned anything about the restaurant proper.

The bar alone must contribute big chunks of revenue into the pot. So no complaints there from the management I suppose.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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"Hope you post a report on Moro, another place I,ve not been too".

I've been to Moro a couple of times (a few years ago now) and it is one of the very few places(fingers on one hand) where I think the meal was completely faultless. Some acoustic problems when it is full though.

Edited by MacD (log)
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I suspected something had been said when I read Jason's tweets this morning. He's clearly not amused.

I used to subscribed to The Times, but decided that as I mainly only read the restaurant reviews it was not worth the money to me.

Can't even be bothered to pay £1 to read his review. Although I may change my mind later on :wink:

Jason's Twitter

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Interesting to see the dishes here and compare them with those in Jason Atherton's rather nice (but slightly misleadingly titled) book "Gourmet Food - for a fiver".

Its a bit misleading, because the basic premise is a materials cost of £5 per head for a two course meal, for four.

You'll probably spend over the £20, because its a 2010 book, because you are unlikely to have ell the sundries in the cupboard, because sundries like cooking wine and saffron aren't included in the costings, and because you will have oddments left over (half a batch of aioli, 3/4 of a lime, half a cabbage, etc).

But the budget isn't really the point - though there are no silly-expensive ingredients.

Its about low-stress home preparation of starred-restaurant-style food. Recipes are written restaurant-style 'prep & assemble' without assuming the assistance of a brigade working alongside you.

"Home Entertainment" might have been a better title.

I haven't seen the Maze book, but this one does seem to be very close to Pollen Street Social.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Interesting you should make reference to the book. I have been tempted before to buy it, but refrained. I popped into WH Smith last week to have a look with a view to buying it, and guess what, it was not on the shelves.

I have just ordered it online from Amazon for the princely sum of £7.70 including free super saver delivery.

Will definitely try those dishes out and report back.

Edited by david goodfellow (log)

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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...

I have just ordered it online from Amazon for the princely sum of £7.70 including free super saver delivery.

Will definitely try those dishes out and report back.

Mine is (newly-arrived) on-loan from the Library, but it definitely looks like one to buy.

Haven't spotted any direct usages, but there's some VERY close connections.

As with the "Jersey Royals with avocado, smoked trout and horseradish cream". Though the presentation is different ...

Notable is that the recipes just end (or peter out) with the last 'cooking' instruction. However there are large 'final dish' photos with an overlaid paragraph explaining how the plating was done - and, praise be, the photos actually illustrate exactly what is described!

As a seeming fan of this place, I think you will be well pleased with the return on your investment of £7.70p ... even though you might not find dishes exactly from the menu, the same themes are very obvious, and its very home-doable (an ice-cream-maker is about the only special kit that I've noticed to be needed).

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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I suspected something had been said when I read Jason's tweets this morning. He's clearly not amused.

I used to subscribed to The Times, but decided that as I mainly only read the restaurant reviews it was not worth the money to me.

Can't even be bothered to pay £1 to read his review. Although I may change my mind later on :wink:

Jason's Twitter

I think he captures it well.

Good on Dave read the article it may provide you with some balance. I know it may hurt to hear negative comments, but it will help you in the long run. Honest.

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I suspected something had been said when I read Jason's tweets this morning. He's clearly not amused.

I used to subscribed to The Times, but decided that as I mainly only read the restaurant reviews it was not worth the money to me.

Can't even be bothered to pay £1 to read his review. Although I may change my mind later on :wink:

Jason's Twitter

I think he captures it well.

Good on Dave read the article it may provide you with some balance. I know it may hurt to hear negative comments, but it will help you in the long run. Honest.

What an utter load of cack.

No, not you Robin, honest :laugh::wink:

I spent my hard earned £1 to read that bile. A whole load of pointless diatibe done for effect.

Fifteen paragraphs of hot air with barely two touching on the food. With no actual detail as to what he found objectional about it.

Its interesting that now you have to enter a search for his reviews, whilst Coren's are headlined. Is he to be put out to grass?

The kitchen would have known Gill was in the place, even if he booked under another name. He's so full of his own self importance he probably barked it out. For that reason and that alone, the onglet he so skillfully rubbishes simply does not whatsoever stack up. Its a work of fiction, again said for effect.

Far more interesting is the fact that more and more positive reviews have arrived by the day, making this completely out of kilter with them.

I know who's palate I trust, and its not AA Gill's.

Interesting that Aiden Byrne, himself no stranger to criticism, offers his support via twitter.

Its here

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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I have to confess I find Gill very amusing for the most part and do think he knows food, even if he's always had a bias toward bold classicism; if only I had a pound for the amount of times he's written, 'this is food you want to eat'.

What's odd is he's dissed Pollen primarily based on the fact he doesn't like the concept, much of it the smaller 'tasting' plates, yet raved about El Bulli, the undoubted grand-daddy of the bite sized course, and Noma (which I note he now claims to apparently have 'discovered' btw. Adrian - if you're reading, here's a hint, the place already had 2 stars and the gastro-blogosphere was ablaze at the time of your review...). OK, both were/are undoubtedly brilliant, but then so is Atherton as we know from his past CV. The style at Pollen maybe a bit different to those lofty temples, but we're not exactly sitting in a different ballpark here, so considering his past reviews Gill's criticism did appear inconsistent.

I do feel sorry for Jason though. By way of social messaging he's been very visible and honest about the time, thought and effort that's gone into the new venture from the entire team. Having someone of Gill's stature arrive and give a review that clearly swims against the tide of opinion and obviously isn't a true reflection must be very frustrating. Still, I doubt it will do them any harm, in fact, it appears the review was so off-base it's stimulated even more PR as we, who sit here typing about it, are proof positive of!

Edited by marcusjames (log)
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I'm amused by the various 'Gill's review is out of context' responses as his meal/opinion in many ways was similar to ours, so not buying it was an outlier, and PSS have changed the menu and dish compositions markedly since the opening weeks, so there must have been something wrong there?

Also if you dined at PSS on 18/19th April and paid using a card on an old school streamline paper slip you may well have been charged twice, we have. They are aware and arranging refunds but you may need to check with your card company.

you don't win friends with salad

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Chefs website Staff Canteen in association with Bonnet who installed PSS kitchen have produced a very good video. Jason explains his idea for the place and puts the "social" part into perspective.

He also cooks Dingly Dell pork belly and cheek which is currently on the menu.

Looks dead simple really, but you will need some sous vide kit. Which I do not possess :sad:

ITS HERE

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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...

I have just ordered it online from Amazon for the princely sum of £7.70 including free super saver delivery.

Will definitely try those dishes out and report back.

Mine is (newly-arrived) on-loan from the Library, but it definitely looks like one to buy.

Haven't spotted any direct usages, but there's some VERY close connections.

As with the "Jersey Royals with avocado, smoked trout and horseradish cream". Though the presentation is different ...

Notable is that the recipes just end (or peter out) with the last 'cooking' instruction. However there are large 'final dish' photos with an overlaid paragraph explaining how the plating was done - and, praise be, the photos actually illustrate exactly what is described!

As a seeming fan of this place, I think you will be well pleased with the return on your investment of £7.70p ... even though you might not find dishes exactly from the menu, the same themes are very obvious, and its very home-doable (an ice-cream-maker is about the only special kit that I've noticed to be needed).

image_0002.jpg

This just arrived this morning, and I must say that I'm most impressed. Your right about the Jersey Royals, Smoked trout dish, it is a variation on a theme, and about as close to what he is cooking at PSS.

The photography is lavish, and at last one of the few cookery books which shows every dish next to the recipe, as it should be served. Also from what I have read so far, each and every dish is doable with impressive results on the plate.

Should be able to get loads of dishes out of it.

Dead easy this cheffing lark, eh. :wink::laugh:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Went on Saturday. I really enjoyed it. The atmosphere is great and the service is efficient and friendly. The restaurant itself is stunning and has been fitted out to a very high standard. Did the alc with splitting two main courses into tasting sized plates. The portion sizes even at half portions are extremely generous.

There is a lot of skilled cooking going on and I think this place will remain a massive success after the hype dies down. The pricing is right and the wine list is is good value, especially given the Mayfair location. I'll definitely be back.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Four of us had a rather disappointing meal at PSS last night.

It started badly when we were shown to our table in the bar, so we missed out on the experience of seeing the dessert bar and the open kitchen. It would been nice to have been warned where we would be sitting at the time of confirming the reservation.

The foie gras to start seemed to be slightly muted flavour-wise, while my quail was erring towards the raw side of rare, though the flavour was good.

For mains, I had the pork dish, the meat elements of which were rather good, but I was less convinced by the hops, seeds and grains. I didn't enjoy their texture and thought the after-taste slightly overwhelming, to the detriment of the pork itself. I saw but did not taste the bream but it was described as very salty. The cote de boeuf was smaller than we expected but beautifully cooked with a deep char on the outside and medium on the inside, but didn't quite have the extreme beefiness of a Hawksmoor/Goodman equivalent.

I don't know what this says about the meal overall, but my favourite bit was the salad that came with the cote de boeuf and comprised some of the tastiest, greenest, saladiest leaves I have ever had and somehow tasting dressed without appearing to have been so.

We got the golden key - a gimmick which over-promises and under-delivers.

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Had similar thoughts Cheekymunkey

4 of us went last night - The first thing that surprised me was that the menu seemed very much a standard 3 course type affair. I noticed there was a note at the bottom saying you could make a tasting menu from the starters if you liked, but there wasn't that many that stood out on the menu compared to the mains.

I ended up going with the quail with chicken liver which was excellent, followed by a main course of ox cheek & tonuge. The ox cheek was rather dissapointing - it was incredibly tender but it didn't have a great deal of flavour. The cote de boeuf that 2 of my friends shared was more impressive (and contrary to the above, it was pretty big!) and I quite enjoyed the pork.

For desserts we were offered to sit at the dessert bar, but given there were 4 of us we couldn't really see it working very well given we'd have to sit in a row, so instead had them at the table. The tiramisu was nice, but the berry cheesecake was a little dissapointing - I found the ginger a bit overpowering.

What did annoy me though was when we had finished our mains, a couple came and sat at the next table and upon delivering the menu, he explained that you could have half portions of the main courses for half price etc. and create a tasting menu this way. We didn't get anything like this - the menu was just given to us with no explanation, and they didn't exactly make it clear on there what the situation was. It's a shame as I certainly would have liked to have tried some of the other main courses.

So overall, a bit hit and miss. And I didn't really get the whole golden key thing either!

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  • 2 months later...

Lunched at Pollen St on Saturday. I have not been to London for a while and I had wanted to eat here since it opened. This was the first time I had been able to manage to go. I had wanted to try Jason Atherton’s cooking at Maze but never got around to going there so I was looking forward to lunch a lot. We decided that we would take the £23 three course lunch option as we had plans for dinner.

In the end I am not really sure what to make of this place. The food was ok, perhaps not as good as I had expected but certainly not bad. The dining room was a bit noisy to say the least and a bit of a tight squeeze. A few less tables would make it more comfortable for everyone. I didn’t much care for the low backed chairs either. It was busy, not full but plenty of customers. It would be a good place to go with a group and it is not bad value at lunch time. My expectations were maybe too high.

So for £23 we got breads, a baguette or sliced brown served with salt cod brandade and butter.

Starters

Cornish crab mayonnaise, nashi pear and cauliflower sweet and sour dressing. I like crab and liked this.

Slow cooked egg, home smoked haddock, curry puffed rice and congee emulsion. The haddock was subtle, the rice not really so good as the frothy stuff on top made it all a bit soggy. Not bad.

Mains

West coast hake was switched to cod. It came with smoked mussels, cabbage and cod cheek. Not a bad piece of fish. It came piled on a tiny bit of mash, cabbage and mussels. It was served in a smallish bowl so it wasn’t so easy to separate out the elements but It was nice enough.

Pork belly came with razor clams and Spanish bean and chorizo stew. This also had a little mashed potato. Not sure that there were any razor clams. The stew came in a lidded pan and there was quite a lot of it. The pig was a tad flabby but tasted good. The crackling was far too salty so mostly got left behind. Decent, but not as good as I had imagined.

Desserts

Chocolate 'black forest', fondant, liqueur sponge, cherry sorbet

Pistachio financier, Pistachio ice cream, English strawberry salad

Both were nice, not amazing but not bad. The chocolate was boozy and chocolaty and the pistachio was ok too.

We washed this down with a couple of tasty glasses of albarino. As a whole it was not bad but I expected better, as I said earlier, my expectations were maybe too high.

Martin

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  • 1 month later...

I'm debating add Pollen Street Social to my agenda for a quick London trip next month. I will be traveling solo and it seems that on the reservations page you can reserve a seat at the bar - however I'm not clear if this is the regular bar or the dessert bar. Also might anybody know if the full menu is available at the bar?

thank you!

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I think you can order from both menus at the bar which is where i imagine teh reservation is possible for as they have a Bar area with quite a few seats whereas the dessert bar is smaller. I really recommend it, i had a simply stunning meal there.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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  • 4 weeks later...

Pretty poor meal here last night, hurried service put me off straight away, we hadn;t even ordered our drinks at the bar (we had been asked if we wanted a drink first) when the waitress tried to whisk us away to our table, she returned 5 minutes later when we had our drinks and gave us no choice, she already had one of the drinks on the tray before we could complain!

The Starters were dreadful, they arrived about 5 minutes after ordering. Escabeche of quail, chicken liver cream, nuts and seeds tasted like it had been cooked last week and reheated to order. The dressing reminded me of a cheap, sweet chinese sauce. Really awful and nearly but not quite surpassed in its awfulness by my wood pigeon with Jerusalem artichoke soup and various bits and bobs that were unidentifiable due to their lack of discernable flavour (I think it was trompette de la mort). The two small pieces of wood pigeon tasted as though they had been cooked at the same time as the quail.

Halibut was decent enough, served with purple sprouting Brocolli and catalan paella which had a nice subtle fishiness to it. My Cod with broad beans, peas, cockles and squid, parsley emulsion came with an overworked mash potato which was walking the tight rope between "creamed" and "split cement". Slightly over cooked fish which wouldn't have been saved if it were cooked properly.

Glutton for punishment we shared a dessert of Wild strawberry & vanilla cheesecake, strawberry sorbet, nut crumble, some very tired strawberries and grainy cheesecake with a base that barely existed.

Overall this was such an ordinary/bad meal I couldn't believe the adulation some have heaped upon it. It really could be any number of restaurants, nothing that makes it stand out from the crowd. Sadly Atherton was in the kitchen which makes it all the more annoying.

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a wonderful meal at Pollen Street Social my first night of my mini London vacation last week. I had the tasting menu at the bar and though the service was excellent (although always very different at the bar) and the food really great. I don't know if it has been mentioned in another thread, but I had lunch the next day at Ledbury and was very surprised by the similarity of a few dishes on both menus.

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