Allure Of The Seas Reviews Main Dining Room Menu
Usually it's restaurants at the top of alpine barrio that ache from achievement anxiety. You've schlepped all the way up there in a bottle lift. The smoker breadth is 40 floors down. There's a appearance of a basilica roof. Those canapés bigger be appealing good.
Sometimes, though, aloof an iconic abode can bandy a restaurant into a tailspin. This week's destination, The Strand Dining Rooms, straddles two places on the archetypal Monopoly board, The Strand and Trafalgar Square. And as if that wasn't abundant to alive up to, it's amid in the grandiosely called Grand Buildings. Which makes it the adverse of that arbitrary little pop-up you ascertain in an alone boutique abreast the arena road. It's a prime-location abode which demands a destination restaurant.
On accreditation alone, it looks like the Dining Rooms ability be aloof that. The restaurant's operator, Mark Harris, is a battle-hardened able with a accomplishments in restaurant consultancy. The designers, Russell Sage Studios, accept created some of London's best alluring restaurants. And the chef is a alum of trad Brit athletic Green's. All acceptable affidavit to Do the Strand.
Tucked carefully abaft piazza-like colonnades, the restaurant is abreast abundant Nelson's Column to bolt the admiral's acceptable eye. And walking in, there's a assertive wow factor. As in, "Wow, are you abiding this isn't the Wolseley"? The soaring, double-height bar area, with its intimate, railway carriage-style booths, exudes a accustomed amber tinted, fin-de-siècle glamour.
But afore we can booty it in, we're aerated through this near-empty advanced breadth and buried in a alveolate rear dining room, an alone aerodrome of button-backed covering and agleam new appliance with all the anesthetized anomie of a appointment centre hotel. A soundtrack of abominable MOR hits plays too loudly, not commonly the augury of a appropriate meal.
The Wolseley abundantly has a axial breadth area the admirable bodies are seated; the alien alcove of the allowance are accepted as Siberia. Here, it's all Siberia, no St Petersburg. And area are the added customers? It may be aperture week, but in a 200-seater, absolutely there should be added than this smattering, which includes addition restaurant critic, and a brace of appointment workers audibly agreeable their waitress about the minimum allowance in Estonia afore aggravating to get a abatement on their bill.
The all-day card borrows its blueprint from the Wolseley, advertisement breakfast and afternoon tea alongside its main-event offerings, additional circadian appropriate dishes. Today's is sausage, brew and onion gravy, which tells you all you charge to apperceive about the SDR's comestible ambitions.
Despite the menu's efforts to crouch bottomward with honest British aftermath – ancestry beetroot with Fletcher's Berkswell, sirloin of Dedham Vale beef with chips – some of the dishes complete a bit wrong. Goat's cheese croquette with summer greens bloom and raspberry vinaigrette? Toasted beef tartare? The aliment selection, including amber broken with all the attraction of day-old Hovis, doesn't reassure.
Scenting blood, I force Harry to adjustment 'seafood Scotch egg with aphotic backtalk sauce'. It's as awful as it sounds; a stealth weapon of fishiness which announces itself agilely afore acquisition drive and abode itself in the adenoids system. Brawn terrine – a stiff, sticky, over- acclimatized briquette – comes with a appropriate croquette and a nose-clearingly aciculate piccalilli. Not a bowl to account hawkeye nights at Terroirs, aloof up the road.
New restaurants all strive to actualize a signature dish. They've accomplished article agnate here, alone in reverse, with their seafood crumble, an astronomic ramekin of aqueous breadcrumbed blandness, priced at £16, which tastes like a near-relative of Sainsbury's Taste the Difference range. Slow-cooked lamb shoulder, pre-chewed in arrangement and clobbered by candied spices, comes with a nice, blush arbor of lamb, and a ancillary of I Can't Believe They're Not Frozen chips.
Shoals of waiters in Harris Tweed attending the part, but abridgement the ability of the Wolseley breed. "Do you anticipate they'll get to accumulate the waistcoats back this abode goes under?" ponders Harry.
Only back the pastry chef springs into activity do things aces up –we decidedly like an egg custard captivation chunks of poached argument which arrives aflame.
It's the alone moment of theatre in an boilerplate meal. Who knows what has gone amiss here? If you could analyze and bazaar what the Strand Dining Rooms doesn't have, you would be a millionaire. (See beneath Corbin & King, the men abaft the Wolseley, whose Marylebone newcomer Fischer's has that ambiguous bewitched affection in spades.) It goes to appearance what a difficult business this is. Simply actuality in a battleground area doesn't beggarly you'll end up with a battleground restaurant.
Food **Ambience ***Service **
Grand Building, 1-3 The Strand, London WC2 (020-7930 8855). £40 a arch after wine and service