Wednesday, July 23, 2008

L Restaurant, Kensington

I hadn't seen a friend of mine since she announced her engagement and, seeing a Toptable offer for 50% off food, I thought L Restaurant off High Street Kensington might be a nice place to celebrate.

It is an attractive place and, as it was a warm evening, they had set up tables outside on the pavement.  We asked to sit there which was no problem and sipped tap water whilst we chose from the menu.  Despite promising to give us a couple of moments to select wine, noone returned to take our order and eventually, after around twenty minutes, we gestured the waiter and ordered wine, sparkling water and food together.  The chicken breast I ordered would take about ten minutes he advised: 'Ok, well then may we have some bread and olives please?'.

The bread came (three pieces of average white loaf and some very hard butter) but no olives.  We asked again and then the most delicious olives I have ever had arrived: a mixture of black, green and a pale red variety arrived, marinated in lemon and garlic and so tender.  On top were three huge green olives, stuffed with warm goats cheese and breaded.  They were divine.  Still waiting for our main courses twenty minutes later Daisy asked if we could have some more of the goats cheese variety.

The main courses arrived before they did (I heard others complaining about the wait for food throughout the evening) and my friend had pan fried salmon - a fair sized portion, not huge, served with piquillo pepper sauce and normally with patata bravas but Daisy had requested to swap this for green beans.  Although this was done without fuss, I fear she may have taken away from the dish with her substitution - it was a bit dull she confessed.  My char-grilled chicken breast was in no way char-grilled at all and was two slices of breast and then a portion on the bone.  Sitting on a bed of very soft and sauteed leek and shitake mushrooms, it was surrounded by a grey thyme sauce that had a foamy appearance and tasted of very little.  When I ordered I asked if I needed any sides with it, to which the reply came "It's hard to say".  I was glad I decided on a salad of rocket with manchego cheese because this added some much needed variety of texture and flavour.  Mid way through the meal, our extra olives arrived.

We skipped puddings and had coffees, which were very nice.  The bill arrived without the discount applied, and I noticed we had been charged £6.00 for the olives - I think it's steep to charge twice when the second time we only had a few but once our offer had been applied the value wasn't too bad.

Bread and olives, one course, half a bottle of wine and half a bottle of mineral water: £27 per head with the Toptable offer

Value: 5/10

Service: 6/10

Atmosphere: 7/10

Food: 6/10

SCORE: 24/40

L Restaurant and Bar, 2 Abingdon Road, London, W8 6AF.  Tel: 020 77956969.

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