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Byron, High St Kensington, a thoroughly miserable visit, not their finest branch

Being a parent for the first time I have had to rethink our dining preferences. We can't now go to a lot of the places we onced loved and we often fit eating around our son. Having said that he has allowed us to eat at old favourites "Langan's Coq D'or", "Sophies steakhouse", "Maximini" and "The Royal China" which is pretty good. However these are places that know us so I am less worried about the reaction if he starts crying. Going to new places is a bit more problematic as you never know how child friendly they will be. Maybe with time we will become a bit more bullish about taking him into new places.

So yesterday we were faced with the ultimate conundrum we had taken Baby G out shopping on High St Kensington. Shopping was completed and my lovely wife and I were distinctly peckish, problem was so was baby G and boy was he letting the world know all about it! I really didn't want to go in somewhere with a screaming baby certainly nowhere nice even though a cuddle and feeding would have settled my son. I then remembered that there was a "Byron" nearby. I have often passed it at the weekend when it is rammed with buggies. We thought this was the least worst option.

On entering we were greeted with indifference by the bored looking manager who nevertheless showed us to a small table for two down the side of the open kitchen with not a great deal of space for the pram. We did have a view of Holland Park but it was such a grey charmless day and the aircon was set to Siberia inside that it all felt a bit Soviet era. Matters improved with the appearance of a nice waitress who got us some hot water to heat the little ones bottle. He fed quickly and was out like a spark for the next two hours. We ordered our lunch. Byron burger for me with a side of courgette fries and a cheese burger for the missus with some fries. We shared some a iceberg wedge side salad. My wife ordered a chocolate milkshake and I went for a small glass of cab sab.

The drinks came first my wife's milkshake was very nice indeed, my wine was dreadful, the sort of stuff you got in pubs before All Bar One made everyone raise their game. The food arrived and my burger was good but really no fireworks. It was well cooked but still far short of the "Sophie's Steakhouse" Black Angus version which remains the daddy in my book. My wife liked her cheeseburger and polished it off quickly. I still prefer the GBK burgers which are more substantial. The sides were variable. The fries were of the standard cooked from frozen variety whilst the courgette fries though they looked nice the fresh clean taste of the courgette was marred by the old oil they had been fried in. The iceberg wedge was covered in an inferior blue cheese dressing so really stodgy. All in all it was food that may have nourished your body but not your soul.

Service was best exemplified by the oreo milkshake I ordered to get rid of the taste of the bad wine. The guy behind the bar made and it stood on the counter ignored for some time until he saw the waiting staff were too busy elsewhere and had to deliver to me himself. It wasn't really worth the wait. The bill came to £33 which was expensive for a meal that fell far short. I know this isn't a michelin starred place but their are plenty of fast food and snack places that would have made a better fist of lunch than "Byron". I really can't understand the positive reviews it garners as to me it was cold, clinical looking and extremely average. The Ikea of burger joints! I really wish the baby hadn't been crying or we had been brave enough to go somewhere better.

Friday, June 11, 2010
Overall rating
Food 5 | Service 3 | Atmosphere 1 | Value for money 5

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