The Vincent Rooms is staffed, front of house and in the kitchen, by students training at Westminster Kingsway College, but they are overseen by experienced chefs and maître d’s, and they operate in a sophisticated, beautifully appointed venue with its own entrance. Sit at one of the well-spaced, plain wooden tables and look through picture windows on to Vincent Square, where the gilded youth of Westminster School have their playing fields. Keen, smart, faintly nervous staff soon appear to take your order. The Mod Euro menu reads well, and the prices, for central London and for food of this quality, are divertingly low. Small wonder local business people bring their togged-up clients here. The separate haute-cuisine Escoffier Restaurant offers a £25 tasting menu, but it’s the brasserie’s daily changing menu that attracts most custom. Start, perhaps, with crab and prawn bisque or salad of medium-rare mallard breast, handsomely presented with toasted oats and nuts, rocket and a few berries. A main course of grilled sea bass fillets was faultless, as was the accompanying creamy risotto, buttered curly kale and a slice of fennel in light tempura batter. The well-priced wine list adds allure, but it’s the eager-to-please staff that are most refreshing.
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