Tuesday, 5 April 2011


"I know a chef who used to work there. Yeah,  apparently it's gone downhill..." I wish our taxi driver would shut it and confine himself to the usual repertoire: idiosyncrasies of the one-way system/traffic/drunks on a Saturday night etc. It's T's birthday and we are on our way to Restaurant 22 on Chesterton Rd in celebratory mood. Weirdly you don't see much press about this place, but it wasn't easy to book a table on a Friday night - maybe their popularity is such they don't need to market themselves. With that optimistic thought under our belts - along with a few glasses of pre-prandial Champagne - we knock on the front door of a nice looking Victorian terrace. It looks and feels excitingly like a secret supper club as we step through to a cosy, candlelit  dining room with tables arranged in fairly hugger mugger, but not crowded fashion. 

I  certainly feel in a congenial frame of mind (no, that's not a euphemism, and yes, I had necked a quantity of Champagne). While we are mulling over an interesting wine list an amuse bouche of carrot velouté arrives. I really, really wish I could put my critical faculties on hold just for tonight, but sorry to say this dish set the tone for the evening. As those two thugs on Masterchef would say, 'We need big, bold flavours'. They aren't in evidence tonight. A Crab Bread and Butter Pudding starter sounds interesting but tastes less so. Our main courses - rump of lamb and pollock are perfectly ... well, ok I suppose. The chocolate torte is rich and delicious but, honest to God, if they want themselves to be taken seriously and ranked alongside Alimentum, Three Horseshoes et al they need to raise their game. The moral of the story: ignore the ramblings of taxi drivers at your peril...

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