Monday, July 21, 2008

Daylesford Organic, Pimlico

So often I intend to eat at one place yet end up at another and so it was on Saturday when my cousin and I planned to eat at The Ebury before she caught her train home.

Upon arriving though I felt that the gastro pub term had been stretched to the limit in describing this place: red rope on silver stands marked the entrance, which displayed a framed menu - the cheapest option being £12.50 for one course.  The interior looked austere and every table was laid up as a restaurant, which frankly is what it looks like.  It just looked too formal.  We moved on.

A short stroll down the road brought us to Daylesford Organics.  As it was a sunny day the tables outside were full of well heeled locals eating Eggs Benedict for brunch or sharing fabric baskets of rustic breads.  There was space for two at the long marble bench that runs the length of the window inside, affording a view of the lovely street outside.  A couple next to us chose expensive furniture from a brochure over coffee and further down another couple sipped champagne.  Despite this it did not have a snobby or overbearing atmosphere at all and we were brought menus by a very pleasant waiter.

We ordered drinks - a fruit juice and a sparkling water - and food.  I decided on a crab salad and Arabella went for a wild rice and quinoa salad.  The food arrived about ten minutes later and was beautifully presented.  The crab was shredded and mixed with thinly shaved vegetables and a light seafood sauce, moulded into a cylinder, drizzled with olive oil and served with a long slim slice of French toast and a side of green salad.  Arabella had a very large portion of her salad in a simple white bowl.  I had to try some and it had a lovely delicate flavour, hints of lemon and coriander contrasted with the earthy brown wild rice.  Mine too was so lovely - no flavour overwhelmed another and it was just enough.  I savoured every mouthful.  Whilst we were eating we realised we had no drinks.  I summoned the waitress and she hurried over with them.  No detail was overlooked here either - the glasses were chunky and tall with a blue rim.

Slightly distracting were the various complaints we could hear going on down the counter - one couple had been overcharged, another had things on their bill that they hadn't had.  Indeed, when our bill came we had been charged for a freshly squeezed juice, not the bottled one we had, and a larger size of water.  I pointed these out and the waitress said "Oh yes, the bill's wrong" in a very matter of fact way, as if it happens all the time, which I suspect it does, and she whisked it away without apology.  She returned with our amended bill, and the amended bill of our neighbouring diners, and I studied it again, noticing that the juice was now a different price again, slightly more expensive than it is listed on the menu.  Upon enquiring about this, she looked puzzled, looked at the bill, looked at the menu and then just looked at me.  "Erm... this price is right." she said.  "So the juice is actually more expensive than listed?" I said.
"Yes."  Again, no apology.
As it was only 25p more, and we were now in a rush for the train we left the cash and left the building, slightly irked about the 12.5% service charged.

Even so, we would both return - the building and food were stunning, and we will give the sporadically smiley staff another chance at good service.

One course and a soft drink: £11 per head

Value: 7/10

Service: 4/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Food: 8/10

SCORE: 28/40

Daylesford Organics, 44b Pimlico Road, London, SW1W 8LP.  Tel: 020 78818060.

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