Meal courtesy of The Portman, attended by Verna
Location: The location of this place is central. Just a 5 min walk behind Marble Arch Station at the end of Bond Street and next to Hyde Park.
Venue: Upon arrival, the place was visibly busy on a Wednesday, as downstairs was a pub set-up and had a bustling crowd of locals and white-collars enjoying an after-work beer. Upstairs was quaint, nicely decorated and had a slight feel of somewhere completely unrelated to the pub downstairs.
Service: Unfortunately I was not met by anyone upon arrival and expected a little more attention from the restaurant staff. During the meal there was also minimal contact from the waiter which might serve better for some guests if they prefer this service approach. The service in general took a while and left us feeling famished by the time anything was served.
Menu: After sitting down, the waiter provided us with the wine list and the A La Carte menu. The menu looked pretty extensive, with a good selection of starters, mains, salads, sides and desserts, designed to cater for all crowds. There was also a children’s menu, meaning that the adults will be able to dine and remain assured that the kids will be looked after too. Additionally, there was also a seasonal menu, with a handful of items featuring seasonal products.
Drinks: The wine list was also extensive, though we were not in the mood to order any alcoholic drinks, but one refresher, which was perfect for the hot weather.
Food: To start, we went for six oysters, which were large, fresh and juicy, served with lemon, shallot vinaigrette and tabasco sauce. We also ordered some Moules Mariniere, which were marinated well and has a tasteful sauce that was creamy and well-seasoned. Additionally, we also tried the Parfait of Foie Gras, Chicken Liver & Armagnac, Pear & Tomato Chutney with Toasted Brioche. The chutney was a little bland, but the Fois Gras was seasoned well, and had a smooth texture, which went well with the toasted brioche slices, though a little greasier than we would have liked.
When mains were served, we were more than stuffed already (due to our large appetites with the starters). While I went for the Pan-Fried Lemon Sole with Tender Stem Broccoli, Cherry Tomatoes, Capers and Butter Sauce, my guest chose the Braised Rabbit Ragout Pappardelle, Tomato Sauce & Parmesan.
My lemon sole, I was not hugely impressed with and felt a little let down by, as it was very oily, and there was hardly any flesh on the piece of fish. It was very thin, and I was not able to enjoy much of it, other than the butter sauce that it accompanied with, as well as the stems of broccoli and tomato.
With the rabbit ragout pappardelle, it was also disappointing. The pappardelle, we felt, was overcooked, hence it was too soft and lacked texture. The sauce itself was a little strange, not sure if it was because it was rabbit, so it tasted a little off to us, nothing like how we imagined rabbit to be like. The portion of the pasta was substantial, however, which is a plus as it was not cheap, at £17.95. But overall, the dish was not exciting as we would have hoped, and would probably not be on our recommended list of items to try at this place.