More, 104 Tooley Street, London SE1 - Reviews - Food + Drink - The Independent

More, 104 Tooley Street, London SE1

Livebait and The Real Greek are now chains –but is it third time unlucky for the team's latest venture, More?

To the casual observer, More may not seem like much. A small, nondescript café near London Bridge, it's the sort of place you might get a cappuccino from if the queue at Starbucks is too long. Hardly a destination restaurant, then – and not the sort of place you'd expect to see reviewed in a national newspaper.

But More is the brainchild of Theodore Kyriakou and Paloma Campbell, two of the capital's most successful restaurateurs. In 1995, they opened Livebait, one of London's first market-driven fish restaurants, and in 1999, they followed up with The Real Greek, which quickly became a Hoxton landmark. Both restaurants became successful chains, with Kyriakou and Campbell cashing out along the way, and they're clearly hoping to do the same with More. Can lightning strike for a third time?

Conceptually, More is all over the map. From the outside, it looks like one of those posh delis you might see in Primrose Hill – the sort of place Kate Moss might have "breakfast" in at 4.30pm. The window boasts an array of freshly prepared takeaway food, such as butternut squash, leek, feta and ricotta filo pie, and spiced black bean, vegetable and coriander soup.

Go through the door, though, and it looks like a greasy spoon, albeit one given a makeover by a Young British Artist. The L-shaped room is dominated by a long, curving bar, complete with red-and-chrome bar stools, while the main seating area is occupied by moulded plastic tables and smaller versions of the stools. You can take the restaurateurs out of Hoxton, but you can't take Hoxton out of the restaurateurs.

"The energy here is the same," assures Campbell, who is stationed at the bar to make sure things run smoothly. "We think Bermondsey is heading in the same direction." I find precious little evidence of this "energy" on my visit, though to be fair it is a Monday lunchtime. Only one other table is occupied, while a solitary man props up the bar. Nearby businesses include PricewaterhouseCoopers and Ernst & Young, but More may be a little too cutting-edge for the local accountants. In any case, why schlep 10 minutes to a café when they've probably got perfectly good canteens in their offices?

"We'd consider ourselves a restaurant, not a café," says Campbell, sniffily.

A glance at the menu confirms that More takes itself quite seriously. While it offers a set lunch for £12.50, the à la carte menu is ambitiously priced. A starter of taglierini with crab costs £9.95, while seared, spiced venison steak will set you back £16.50. That's £26.45 for two courses. If you add a dessert of Colston Bassett Stilton and St Tola cheese, the total climbs to £33.45. And there's a bottle of wine on the menu for £58.75. I pity the working man who mistakes More for a greasy spoon. It could be the most expensive place in Bermondsey.

I start with hare and pork rillette accompanied by gherkins and pickled mushrooms, followed by slow-cooked lamb shoulder with flageolet beans, almonds, prunes, saffron, cumin and coriander. The rillette has a suitably coarse texture, without too much fat, but the flavour is a little bland, requiring some mustard to bring it to life. The lamb is similarly unexciting, a bog-standard Mediterranean dish. At over £20 for two courses, I was expecting them to be better.

I ask Campbell to explain the concept, hoping for some enlightenment, but she just gives me the usual guff about the ingredients being fresh, local and seasonal. Doesn't every restaurant trot out that mantra these days? I've begun to long for a restaurant that boasts its ingredients are canned, imported and out-of-season.

I've eaten in both Livebait and The Real Greek, but only after Kyriakou and Campbell had sold them off, so I've no way of telling whether those restaurants were better than More in their heyday – but it's hard to imagine them becoming successful chains if they were this uninspired.

Conceptually confused, and with an unremarkable kitchen offering mediocre fare, More is unlikely to be coming to a high street near you soon. Less can be more, as we know from restaurants such as Polpo, Russell Norman's hole-in-the-wall bacaro on Beak Street. But in this case, More is less.

10/20

Scores: 1-9 stay home and cook 10-11 needs help, 12 ok 13 pleasant enough 14 good 15 very good, 16 capable of greatness 17 special, can't wait to go back 18 highly honourable 19 unique and memorable 20 as good as it gets

More, 104 Tooley Street, London SE1, tel: 020 7403 0635. Monday to Friday, 7.30am-11pm; Saturday 10am-11pm. About £50 for lunch for two without wine

More classy cafés

Glass & Thompson

2 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, tel: 0131 557 0909

A smart and elegant café/deli handy for New Town ladies who lunch, some of whom are happy to cite it as an all-time favourite

Café Royal

8 Nelson Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, tel: 0191 231 3000

Newcastle's Wolseley – this grand café is excellent for coffee, cakes and sandwiches and does good fresh bistro-style dishes too; good for people-watching

The Pump Room

Stall Street, Bath, Somerset, tel: 01225 444 477

Great for a tourist tea – this gracious Georgian chamber has been at the heart of Bath life for over 200 years. Its ambience makes the food almost incidental

Reviews extracted from 'Harden's London and UK Restaurant Guides 2010'. www.hardens.com

Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke's video for 'Blurred Lines' has been criticised for condoning rape
music
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Damon as Jason Bourne in The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
filmMatt Damon in talks to return
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Life and Style
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
tech(but you can't escape: Bono is always on your iPhone)
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig is believed to be donning skies as 007 for the first time
Arts and Entertainment
Fringe show: 'Cilla', with Sheridan Smith in the title role and Aneurin Barnard as her future husband Bobby Willis
tvEllen E Jones on ITV's 'Cilla'
News
i100
Sport
Tim Wiese
sport
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week