Bites: Tucked away above pubs and behind unprepossessing doors, Caroline Stacey discovers dining rooms of quality and style
Saturday 21 November 1998
The Cow Dining Room 89 Westbourne Park Road, London W11 (0171-221 0021). Dinner daily, Sun brunch. The restaurant above Tom (son of) Conran's Notting Hill Irish bar serves some of the best pub food around at prices that correspondingly raise it way above pub dining levels, although the setting is simply rustic. Main courses start at pounds 12.90 for an open lasagne of wild mushrooms and courgettes, up to pounds 15-odd for seared tuna with chargrilled polenta, baked tomato, olive and parsley salad or John Dory with roast Jerusalem artichokes, which illustrate the emphasis on seafood echoing the bar downstairs where Guinness chases fruits de mer. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings there's a menu for pounds 18.95, the rest of the week three courses cost around pounds 25.
French House Dining Room 49 Dean Street, London W1 (0171-437 2477). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner. An intimate, smoky, slightly raffish air wafts up from the French House pub to the boxy, mottled-walled, first-floor dining room. It makes a comfortingly familiar habitat for a more genuinely old boho Soho crowd than slicker neighbours, and drawbacks such as the basement lavatories shared with the pub keep it that way. Which is not to say this isn't a tight little ship, with its splendidly to-the-point, generally English and offal-rich food at relatively keen prices. There might be sweetbread fritters with green sauce, smoked eel with beetroot and horseradish, then rabbit with chicory and mustard or baked plaice with samphire and parsley, with chunky veg priced separately. Puddings such as chocolate pot bring the bill up to pounds 20 for food.
The Dining Room 59A High Street, Reigate, Surrey (01737 226650). Mon- Fri lunch and dinner, Sat dinner. Anthony Tobin (from Ready Steady Cook) is executive chef at this Surrey restaurant that doesn't advertise itself with a flashy exterior - it's upstairs on the first floor, which gives an impression of exclusivity. The cooking has gone from strength to strength in a menu that fashionably and exuberantly mixes influences and bold flavours. Spicy marinated salmon with crisp popadoms, turmeric and caviare dressing, seared beef with mustard leaves and horseradish dressing or Moroccan spiced chicken with courgette and squash tagine. On the a la carte, starters are pounds 7.50, mains pounds 16.50, or there's a two-course menu for pounds 16.95 during the week, pounds 18.95 at weekends. Lunch is pounds 10 for two courses, pounds 13.50 for three.
Life & Style blogs
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
The Last of Us: Ashley Johnson says she would play Ellie in a sequel
UK police to start seizing drivers' mobile phones after all crashes
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Feminist artistic underwear gives a biology lesson in women’s internal anatomy
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star dies at age 45
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - NICHE DEFENDANT FIRM - Defendant Pe...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...
£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...
£475 - £550 per day: Progressive Recruitment: MDAX / Dynamics AX / Microsoft D...