Date night for my lovely wife and I so we decided to go old school with a trip to the cinema. However as these night’s off from being dutiful parents are few and far between so we upscaled our night out by watching a film at the Lounge in Whiteleys. As a teen the newly done out Whiteleys was the de rigeur hang out place in West London. It was busy, fun and the cinema offered a nice change from the west end flea pits of the 90’s. These days a lot of the sparkle has worn off, the Westfield is the new Whiteleys and though Queensway had been threatening to gentrify itself it has now reverted to cheap Chinatown with random shops selling tat. Whiteleys has tried to re-brand itself as a more upmarket shopping/leisure experience so you have a branch of All Star Lanes and half the cinema screens have been converted to the upmarket Lounge format. When looking at the in movie dining option for the Lounge I was reminded that “Le Café Anglais” provided all the food. It’s on the same floor as the cinema so I suggested we give it a go.
The off street entrance and lift up to the second floor restaurant is possibly a touch unnecessary but possibly an effort to separate the restaurant from its surroundings. However once you step into the dining area you cannot help but be impressed with a beautiful airy room with a great view out over West London. The evening we went was quiet but it didn’t detract from being sat in somewhere that felt special. We passed on a meal in the café where a vigorous game of backgammon was taking place in favour of the main ding room. We had a nice table with a view, starched table cloth and a slightly uncertain waitress. I was taken with seasonal spring set menu so went for a Coronation chicken salad and roasted cod with samphire, my lovely wife when for old school parma ham and melon and cod and chips. It had a good wine list but we settled on an Austrian Gruner Vertliner. We also ordered a side of onion rings to go with the mains. It was a rare sunny evening so it was great to relax with our nice crisp wine to take in the view in a light cool atmosphere.
The starters were very nice, the parma ham that came with the melon was top notch, really tasty - a sign of good sourcing. My salad was light and tasty a good set up for the mains. My roast cod was excellent a good substantial piece of tasty cod perfectly cooked, really very nice indeed. However the fish and chips were a big let down. I am always suspicious of pieces of fish that come surrounded in huge amounts of batter, it often hides a small or bad quality piece of fish. Alas here this was the case, the piece of cod was big enough but badly filleted and cut off near the bone so it was all gristly (if you can get that with fish) my wife left a good third of it. However what saved the situation was the afterthought order of onion rings which were incredible. No stodgy rings in batter here but thin individual slices of onion tempura fried in a chilli batter, simply wonderful. We skipped dessert in favour of something whilst we watched the film. The bill was about £80 for two which was OK-ish but possibly not great when I consider that one of the mains wasn’t up to standard. However on the whole we liked the restaurant and are keen to come back, in fact our neighbours mentioned how good their seafood bar there is. It’s obvious a lot of effort has gone into getting this place looking and feeling right, they just need to ensure they don’t cut corners in the kitchen.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Food 6 | Service 7 | Atmosphere 9 | Value for money 7