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Mar 7, 2012 03:36 PM

Dinner By Heston or Pollen Street Social - Strong Feelings [London]

I have a lunch coming up and I am torn between these two places.

Any strong comments or feelings between the two of them?

My gut after doing some research is that Pollen Street Social seems to get better reviews overall but they both seem controversial and both engender some hate....

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  1. I've been to both for dinner in the last few weeks, so am in a position to comment:

    Both are, given the price, good-to-great but not fantastic. Both feature irritatingly high wine mark-ups, with nothing exciting below the 50 pound/bottle mark.

    Both have real highs and a certain amount of ok when it comes to the food.

    My pick would be Pollen St, as the tasting menu enables you to sample a wider variety, the impressive cocktail list lets you stay away from the wine, and because they don't charge 5 pounds per head (plus service) for bread before you meal. I think you'll enjoy either, and the high points at Heston are perhaps a little higher, but it really charges for the privilege and I think other parts of the meal suffer as a result unless money is no object.

    1. No strong feelings, but so feel somewhat ambivalent about both. Probably more so for Pollen Street Social, where the outstanding technique seemed undercut by compositional issues -- individual parts are awesome, but somehow don't synergise. Dinner can be excellent -- we loved the pork chop there, one of the best of its kind. But on the expensive side for what one gets, I think.

      1. For me it would definitely be Dinner!

        Don't get me wrong - they're both great places and Pollen St., in particular, has a relaxed informality that enables you to be there just for a cocktail, or a dessert...or bar snacks...or a full meal...or any combination of the above. It's fun and it's inventive and, when the service is on form (which is mos often but not always) then it really does tick a lot of boxes for food and ambiance.

        But, for me, Dinner can take it to another level food-wise. It had more 'oh wow!" moments. Seductive, amusing, interesting and damn-near-perfect in execution plates but without the service or the vibe ever feeling stuffy.

        Sorry to split the vote and add to your dilemma!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gareth_UK

          I am with Gareth_UK on this one after having done both Dinner and Pollen Street Social in one day. Dinner certainly has more "wow" moments if you order right. That said, I liked both very much and recommend you do both as well!

          1. They are both very different - very good restaurants. I've been to dinner 3 times, PSS 4.

            Dinner has slightly more amazing food, esp given the historical context. However PSS make for a more enjoyable evening out, has great cocktails and a great vibe.

            Also - the PSS house white is quite amazing.
            301 Pollen Street Social Selection, Anjou, Clos de l’Elu 2009 33.50