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Jan 23, 2013 12:04 PM

Which Tasting Menu to do?

I've seen a lot of good things on chowhound about The Square. So trying to decide between that, Gauthier, Pied a Terre, or Pollen Street Social. If I should consider some other options, please share. Thanks!

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  1. IMHO, out of that list, definitely The Square. But also have a look at sister restaurant The Ledbury, its slightly cooler sibling, and my favourite London restaurant.

    2 Replies
    1. re: helen b

      Apparently The Square and Ledbury are fully booked. What's the next best place?

      1. re: pgwiz1

        Pollen Street Social is great -- heard Gauthier is a bit of a mug off, and my experience at Pied a Terre was awful (rudeness of a very high standard -- walked out, though obviously this cannot be a standard experience as it's quite a well regarded restaurant).

    2. Out of that list, if the Square is fully booked definitely go to Pollen Street Social. Pied a Terre is not worth it.

      I really liked Gauthier, it's very intimate and friendly. Brokentelephone's comment was the first person I've heard who didn't like it. I didn't have the tasting though.

      Also maybe consider Alyn Williams or Texture.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ManInTransit

        I hear Restaurant Gordon Ramsay has really started to regain it's reputation for very good food. It's "Menu Prestige" may be interesting. Any recent experience from anyone?

        1. re: PhilD

          I've not been for a couple of years. I remember enjoying everthing at the time but equally (and especially with hindsight) being conscious at the total lack of any innovation whatsoever.

          If you google Elizabeth on Food she went there recently and wrote a glowing blog report.

      2. Thank you all for your response. We ended up going to Pollen Street Social. The food was fantastic. The service, not so much, which is disappointing, especially when you pay greater than 300 GBP for a dinner for 2!

        11 Replies
        1. re: pgwiz1

          That's a real shame, what was it about the service that was disappointing?

          My brother in law went last week as well and came back singing about how great the service was. I suppose a single staff member can completely change an experience.

          Glad the food was enjoyable, it is a top class restaurant in my opinion.

          1. re: ManInTransit

            Well, it started out on the wrong foot. We sat down and the very prompt staff memeber came over to ask for our drink order. We asked for a cocktail list, since we didn't have any menus on the table yet. Then we waited, for about 20 minutes before anyone came back to take our drink order. Same thing happened for our dinner order. The greatest disappointment however, was that I'd made a note in my reservation that we were celebrating my husband's birthday. I called back the day of, to make sure the note was present in our reservation, and the lady ensured me that they'd do something special. I wasn't expecting much, but a candle in his dessert or something along those lines. They didn't do anything. And lastly, the chef came by to multiple tables to greet guests, and it surprised us that even tho we got the tasting menu, he didn't come by (maybe it's a UK thing? In the US, typically if the chef is making rounds, they almost always come to the tables that have gotten the chef tasting menu).

            1. re: pgwiz1

              I'd be peeved if I waited 20 minutes for drinks orders to be taken.

              I wouldnt regard a lack of candle or word from the chef as a service issue as such. Recognising a birthday by way of a candle (or similar) would be a matter for the kitchen. There may be cultural differences about this between the UK & the US - whilst I have seen candles and the like at our chain restaurants, I've never seen such displays at the likes of a Michelin starred place.

              1. re: Harters

                It's pretty standard to stick a candle in something at most good places I've been to in London. If they told you they would then it's pretty poor form not to.

                To be honest I can live without visits and small talk from the chef but I don't like the two-tier thing where they come and greet certain regular or high-spending patrons and ignore others.

                At the Kitchin Tom Kitchin came round and spoke to every single table and was very friendly - and at Akelare Pedro Subijana spent about an hour with some regulars laughing towards the end of lunch but he made sure he came and checked each other table was ok before he did. It only need take 60 seconds but it means you don't leave 25-50% of your customers feeling like second class citizens.

                1. re: ManInTransit

                  MT - I second that. As to the "birthday treatment" I believe if they ask then they need to deliver.

                  Last week I arranged a birthday lunch for my wife at a two star, pre-ordered a bottle of champagne to be served on arrival etc etc. And then received nothing else . No candle in the sad single dessert, not a sign of a piped chocolate greeting, and definitely no sign of he kitchen brigade serenading her wit ha few choruses of happy birthday.

                  I generally hate a fuss, but am pissed off to be asked, have an expectation built up, then find they don't deliver. Hate to say this it aligns with my PSS experience and more recent Atherton experience in Asia.

                  1. re: PhilD

                    I think if they say, then they should. We had a double celebration at Marcus Wareing for my son's A Levels and my birthday, and we got an extra pudding each with Congratulations and Happy Birthday piped. No charge. Really appreciated.

                    1. re: helen b

                      Yes I had a totally unnecessary extra chocolate dessert at Marcus Wareing on my birthday which was nice. I don't think restaurants should be obliged to offer anything extra (surely in a lot of these places most people are celebrating something) but promise and not deliver is bad form.

                      My worst service experience was at a birthday at the Square - my boss at the time, having discovered where we were going, called ahead and bought us two glasses of champagne in a lovely gesture. They brought them to the table when we arrived but NEVER TOLD US that someone had bought them, we thought it was a wonderful birthday gesture by the restaurant.

                      Cue hugely embarrassing exchange the next morning which made me look immensely ungrateful. Fortunately I cleared it up with her when I realsed what had happened but can you imagine if I'd said nothing and she'd let it slide. Awful, I should have complained really.

              2. re: pgwiz1

                I join the others in thinking you've been treated rather shabbily. I've noticed since living over here that there's nothing wrong with signaling to someone on the wait staff if one thinks they want some service. My husband often just calls someone over if we're ready to order. To be honest, I can't remember having to do that in the States, but I've been here quite awhile now and do forget how things were.

                Are people in the UK too shy to ask for help or mention something that's gone wrong? I leave that for others to comment on.

                1. re: zuriga1

                  There's a certain class of restaurant where you don't expect to have to be craning your neck trying to flag down a passing waiter but I'd always do that if I felt I'd been waiting too long.

                  1. re: ManInTransit

                    I totally agree. One shouldn't have to 'beg' for service. I've had some of the best service in the underclass of restaurants. :-)

                2. re: pgwiz1

                  I wanted to add....I contacted the restaurant an expressed my dissatisfaction in their service, and they invited us back in for dinner as their guest, and treated us to a wonderful tasting menu dinner with wine pairing. I will certainly hold a restaurant in high regard that goes the extra step to make a customer happy. Pollen Street Social certainly gets my vote now.