A fresh ray of hope in the garden Perhaps I'm in a minority of one, but I've never found a restaurant in Covent Garden that I especially care for.
I don't count Christopher's because, to my mind, it's more Aldwych than Covent Garden. The Ivy, too, I've never thought of as Covent Garden proper. I mean the area in the streets near the Piazza where crocodiles of teenagers on school outings block the pavements and tourists from the North of England regard buskers with awe struck wonder. There was Neal Street Restaurant, but however Antonio Carluccio tried to hide the fact with his prices, a mushroom, however wild, is still a mushroom. Of the rest, they've always been too cramped or noisy, or both. At last, there comes hope in The Forge. It's on what has long been a dead corner, directly opposite the front door of the Garrick Club. Indeed, the very spot it occupies once held a London favourite called Inigo Jones. The Forge is the third in a coterie comprar ray ban of Covent Garden restaurants owned by Robert Siegler (he also has Le Caf du Jardin and Le Deuxime). Like them, it's modern but not too much. The decor is light and airy. There are Gothic architectural notes, and from the front door to the high ceiling and some of the original features, it has the feel of being inside a vestry. Siegler, to his credit, has avoided emasculating the interior, adding some fetching, comfortable blue green banquettes, and resisting the temptation, so prevalent elsewhere in London and not only in Covent Garden, of cramming the main room with tables. It is possible to sit and not overhear snatches of conversation and therefore, to not be overheard. He's gone, as so many have done, for the bare brick look. There are niggles. The Forge is new and so that means the waiters are untried and untested. I went with Dave, once a newspaper colleague, these days ensconced in the world of PR. He used to be a trencherman but no longer. He's there before me and orders a Virgin Mary, asking for it to be spicy. It comes flat, straight out of the carton, with a sprinkling of something tepid on top. Mine is the same. We ask for still water and receive sparkling. Later, when the waiter brings our mains he gives Dave my order and vice versa. I request French green beans on the side and get spinach. The wine list is an absurdity. For reasons only known to the management you have to turn to page 12 to find wines by the glass (a former two bottles man, Dave the corporate spinner now opts by the glass). It also comes in a black folder, ray ban glasses cheap of the sort that may be smart in Eastbourne or even across the road in the Garrick. The menu, though, is up to the minute in an Ivy, Wolseley fashion. There's everything you could ever desire and much more besides, all contained on one side of card. There's a lot of British and a dash of French so there's Welsh rarebit on the starters, alongside French onion soup. The new Dave opted for crab on toast with lemon and mayonnaise. In words I never thought I'd hear him utter, he said the mayo was "fresh and I can taste the olive oil". Mine was tempura of smoked haddock on parsnip tabbouleh with pea shoots and carrot salad (see, I told you it was modern). The batter was light, the fish delicate and flaky. It worked. His main course was fillet of sea bass with Nioise ray ban glasses cost garnish and basil oil. The fish was firm and plump, the vegetables al dente there was no suggestion of a wholesale collapse into a mushy heap. My selection was "leg of lamb 7 hours" with pomme fondant and rosemary. A traditional French recipe, the seven hour roasted lamb has been given a dust down by Anthony Bourdain in his recent Les Halles Cookbook and is now popping up everywhere. That isn't to knock it. The meat literally falls apart and is so moist and tender as to require virtually no chewing (it would go down a storm in the Garrick). My only quibble was that the portion was vast. While I struggled, Dave, who confessed that in the olden days he would have gone for the beer battered fish and chips, picked at his sea bass. A decent tarte ray ban 3364 tatin and a crme caramel followed. With two glasses of Dillon's Point Sauvignon and coffee, the bill was 113.62. We lurched outside. Opposite, the old boys were also staggering, contentedly down their steps. The Forge 14 Garrick Street, WC2 9BJ Click the Adblock/Adblock Plus icon, which is to the right of your address bar.
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