The English Restaurant also serves breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, but we visited in the evening, when the wood panelling and booths are shown off to most romantic effect by tabletop candles. The atmosphere was winningly discreet, with a hint of whispered assignations, but the food disappointed. From the à la carte, seared scallops arrived with over-sweet pickled cauliflower rather than the advertised purée, and the pleasantly crunchy herb risotto cake was too dense and combined oddly with an underpowered ratatouille and punchy red pepper mousse. The three-course set dinner was more successful: potted duck lacked flavour slightly, but was perked up by gherkins, onion marmalade and toasted raisin bread, while guinea fowl had suitably robust accompaniment from dauphine potatoes and sauce forestière. Our waiter was charming, but evidently new: we had to call him back to take our drinks order; a salmon mousse amuse-bouche arrived breadless; and there was a (swiftly rectified) mistake with the bill. Still, topping up the tap water without being asked always gains points. The former Market Coffee House has potential (the bar area was buzzing), but when a restaurant is charging City fringe prices, it needs to show more accomplishment.
|Venue name:||English Restaurant||Contact:|
50-52 Brushfield Street
|Opening hours:||Meals served 8am-11pm Mon-Fri; 9am-11pm Sat; 8am-7pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Liverpool Street tube/rail|
|Price:||Main courses £11-£19. Set lunch £14.50 2 courses. Set dinner £28 3 courses|