Il Convivio get two thumbs up and a big YUM!
Had a business dinner at Il Convivio (143 Ebury St, SW1W 9QN, 020-7730-4099) last night. All of us had a wonderful time and a terrific meal.
Started with a glass of Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano (sorry, missed the vintage) - a lush, mouth-filling white. The amuse bouche was a grilled slice of foccacia topped with herbed polenta and lardo, drizzled with pesto and topped with some tiny basil leaves. Things were looking pretty good.
Two of the gents had the fois gras and raved about it while I had a semolina risotto with spider crab and fennel cream. This was tasty but probably the lowlight of the meal only because everything else was so good. We drank a '99 A-Mano Primativo (Zinfandel to Californians) which was lovely. This was drinking really well despite its youth.
For mains the boys had the lamb in puff pastry (no offers of tastes and clean plates so presumed to be good - it certainly looked terrific - pink, succulent, and smelled divine!). I had the grilled veal cutlet with pumpkin and salsify. Glorious! To accompany this we had a silky '93 Il Poggione Brunello di Montalcino Riserva. This definitely did NOT suck!
Unusually for all of us (probably because we were on a roll), we all had puds. Three white espresso ice creams and one cassata with macadamia nuts and caramel (mine). While the cassata was very good and the caramel terrific, I'm not a great candied fruit fan (it was the macadamias and caramel that sucked me in). Fortunately, one of my companions had agreed to swap tastes with me and we both preferred the others choice - so a switch was made and supreme happiness prevailed.
All of us commented on the friendly service and nice atmosphere (spare but actually warm). Breads on offer were terrific (the walnut was exceptional).
The dinner is £23 for 2 courses, £28 for 3 (fairly typical central London dinner) with some supplements, depending on what is ordered. 12.5% is clearly added to the bill (although I imagine you could strike it out if you wanted to delete it). With the Brunello knocking up the price quite a bit, pre-dinner drinks, coffee and service, the tab came to about £270 for 4. Not cheap but well worth it.
The Bucks Belly
Howler, et al
Sorry, I should have said this like a year ago, but better late than never.
While I'm totally abashed at the ridiculousness of having one lonely board dedicated to the ENTIRE world outside the US, there's something you could do to help mitigate this problem. Can I ask UK chowhounds to PLEASE mention "London" (or "UK" if the topic applies to a wider area) in the subject header? That way, other international chowhounds won't have to face utter confusion when browsing this message board.
Though the organizational problem stems from the confessed inadequacies of our set-up (which was established before the site started getting popular abroad), I could REALLY use people's help with making things work in the meantime while we attempt to raise funds for a much-needed massive overhaul of our software and organization.
Also...can I ask for the help of regulars in mentioning this same point to new faces who show up and start threads without mentioning locale? I'm really hoping that those who value this community can help moderate it. We don't have staff to keep up with the growth, and gradually increasing chaos will result in a deterioration of the site's usefulness for us all.