A globally-inspired casual restaurant near Leicester Square from well-known chef Marcus Wareing.
Bad feng shui, misbehaving ley lines – call it what you like, some restaurant and bar sites seem doomed to fail. No perfectly central location or huge budget can save an address that has seen owner after owner pour fortunes into a project only to have it go belly-up. Number 4a Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, has long been one of those blighted sites, going back to when Samuel Pepys popped in for a stewed coffee and a stale bacon butty after clubbing in Leicester Square.
If anyone can make a bad site work, it must be chef-restaurateur Marcus Wareing. He’s one of the golden boys of London gastronomy, picking up Michelin stars the way most of us collect Nectar points. Now he’s aimed his sights on Covent Garden’s tourists.
Part of the problem with number 4a is that it’s a huge concrete box, partitioned by a mezzanine floor. As a result, the noise levels are like a carnival sound system. Every hoot and holler is amplified up along the front of the building and into the upper floor. Even at lunchtime the noise levels were offputting.
But we liked our dishes. Slim aubergines had been glazed with harissa and grilled, served with dollops of yoghurt and ground peanuts, coriander and chilli – appealing to both eye and palate. Toast slivers were served with a chorizo spread, simple and very tasty. A disc of olive oil cake was topped with blackberry jam and a pipe of pâtissier’s custard – a novel combination, but it worked.
The above dishes remain on the menu. Others we tried are no longer there because the menu was overhauled as we went to press. Such a change, just weeks after opening, suggests a kitchen lacking in confidence. But the menu isn’t the problem – it’s the oddly oppressive space. Moving elsewhere would be the best thing Tredwell’s could do – and take appreciative diners with them.
4a Upper St Martin’s Lane
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon–3pm Mon-Wed; 5–11pm Thur-Sat; noon-11pm; noon-9pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Leicester Square|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £80|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3 / 5
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- 4 star:2
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- 1 star:1
Marcus Wareing couldn't care less about his clients. We booked with some colleagues 7 weeks in advance only to to be told a few days before the reservation that our booking was cancelled as Wareing had allowed someone to take over the whole restaurant. This was conveyed to me in a very casual telephone call as if this was a normal everyday occurrence. Perhaps it is with Wareing's restaurants. The Guest Relations Manager didn't even bother to reply to my e-mail. Go somewhere where they value their clients.