Monday, July 14, 2008

The Commander, Westbourne Grove

If only the right management could get hold of The Commander it would be a great gastro pub.

It is situated just off Westbourne Grove in a quiet street and has been very tastefully refurbished with sofas and booths in the front bar and wooden tables and chairs in the more formal restaurant.  There is also a conservatory, closed for a party when we went, and a patio garden reserved solely for eating in (except for the gang of smokers hanging around out there when we went).  We chose to eat in the restaurant as there were eight of us and no table was large enough at the front.  

As we perused menus the only other table occupied, a group of three, were complaining over the wait for their food.  Not ideal as we only had our lunch hour.  The menu is at the higher price bracket of gastro pub food.  I had called before we came here to check prices and as an example had been told that a burger was about £8.95 and fish and chips similar.  The burger was indeed £8.95 but this was for a 6oz, listed without cheese.  The fish and chips were £10.95 and all other main courses about the same.

Four of us chose the burger, two medium well and two rare, all with cheese except one of the rare, one of us went for a croque monsieur, one fish and chips, two sausage and mash.
There was about a thirty minute wait for food but eventually the lad serving brought out two burgers, both medium well and both without cheese.  We asked about the missing dairy element and he became flustered saying perhaps the other two would be right and scuttled off.  The next two arrived both rare and both with cheese.  One person was happy, one accepted the rare with cheese anyway and the two remaining requested some cheese be brought out.
The croque monsieur was served open - two slices of white bread laden with two slices of ham and absolutely smothered in melted cheese (must have been where ours went).  It was so overfacing Mel had to scrape the majority off but said it was quite tasty.  The fish and chips looked good and were well received.  One sausage and mash arrived along with the disconcerting question to my remaining colleague: 'What did you order again?'.  Needless to say the remaining sausages arrived once the rest of us had finished.  Both diners proclaimed these delicious, though.

The burger was good.  It was small and the cheese that eventually arrived was cold sliced Edam I suspect.  The meat was delicous and cooked as requested.  It came with a small bowl of wedges that I enjoyed but the others thought were soggy.

It was, overall, a very disappointing lunch when it really shouldn't have been.  The Commander's food is good but it is too expensive and the sizes are not uniform.  The staff are friendly but incompetent.  The bar and restaurant are attractive but too quiet.

So nearly there, but yet so far.

One course and a glass of wine: £14.50 per head

Value: 5/10

Service: 4/10

Atmosphere: 6/10

Food: 6/10

SCORE: 21/40

The Commander, 47 Hereford Road, London, W2 5AH.  Tel: 020 72291503.

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