just got an email: The Gilbert Scott is opening
You can’t but applaud the restoration of this fine old lady. The entrance is particularly impressive – the bar is simply spectacular. The long curved restaurant is certainly planer than the hey look at me chutzpah of the bar and that’s not necessarily a bad thing - we are here for the food and company after all. I also suspect a full restoration might have been cripplingly expensive.
Anyway, 3 of us head off for a late lunch on Saturday and the place is virtually empty which is worrying for a place of this calibre. The menu is a little dullsville – all very nice and predicable and probably very well cooked but for someone of Mr Wareing’s reputation I fail to see any must have dishes. Of the starters only the crispy pigs head looks interesting. Everything is just, well, safe, dull and a little bit boring – same dishes that appear almost everywhere.
We order the crispy pigs head – cubes of brawn and hock coated in crumbs & fried – served with picked cockles and lavabread mayonnaise. Delicious although I can’t detect anything in the mayonnaise. The other starter of crab was fine – good flavours but nothing special.
As for the mains the monkfish with orzo was fine – crabmeat was mixed into the orzo which was lovely but the portion was a little on small size. The monkfish & sauce were delicious. Venison with walnut mash was also pretty good.
However, the dover sole “Colbert” was nothing short of disastrous. It was partly our fault for not clarifying what Colbert meant – it means being covered in breadcrumbs. This simply destroyed the delicate doversole flavour. My guest could barely get through half of it.
Desserts were fine but forgettable.
So – just who is Wareing trying to please? Surely it can’t be himself for these workaday dishes. It certainly is not a destination restaurant for foodies. Is it really just for the unadventurous eater? Not sure. But I suspect that one of the main reasons why it’s empty is the wine: far far too few bottles under £40 let alone £30. The wine aspires to fine dining which is at odds the perfectly cooked dull food. This puts locals like me off from having this place as a local eatery.