A customer walks into a restaurant twenty minutes before opening time. What happens next?
A bright smiling waitress approaches and says: “Welcome to Locale, madam.” *looks at her watch* “I’m afraid our kitchen only opens in another twenty minutes. Make yourself comfortable and let me get you something to drink while you wait.”
Throwing daggers with her eyes, an unsmiling waitress tells the customer bluntly that the restaurant is not open. An uncomfortable silence commences.
Feeling like a naughty child I apologetically told Ms. Sourpuss I’ll sit in a corner and stay out of the way. She just shrugged.
If that wasn’t enough, a few minutes later her colleague, Mr. Grouch, carried crates of beer bottles to the backroom. He stopped midway and told me that the restaurant is not open.
In total, the reception I received was colder than the Arctic winds blowing outside in the middle of May. I felt as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit. If I weren’t there for review purposes I would have turned on my heel, never to return.
(Once the manager realised why I was here, service took a drastic change for the better and soon my dining companion and I were ushered to a table.)
The establishment itself had a warm coloured interior, leather seating, wood floors and chirpy music playing in the background.
For starters we had Salumi Misti (Charcuterie board of select Italian cured meats, 12 month mature Parma ham and mixed Italian salami, shaved fennel, sun dried tomato dressing and homemade focaccia, £7.95) and King Scallops Wrapped in Pancetta, Pan-Fried and served with Kale and Butternutcorn with Garlic and Chilli Dressing (£7.95). The former was huge, good value and satisfying. For only three scallops I found the price a bit steep. It was well executed though.
I liked the fact that I was asked how cooked (medium) I would like my Calves’ Liver (£14.95) and it proved to be much better prepared than the one I was served at Bloomsbury St. Bar & Restaurant. The portion was very generous as thick, moist slices of liver were piled on top of a mountain of quite boring kale. My tongue was begging for something acidic to cut through the richness of the offal but nothing on the plate could relieve it.
My companion, a veteran pork eater, thoroughly enjoyed his Slow Roasted Suckling Pig served with Spring Greens and Roasted Fennel (£14.95). “Cooked to perfection,” he said.
The Watermelon Cocktail was definitely better than Cinful Mule but not very memorable. Other than being oversalted the Zucchini Fritti (£3.50) was addictive. What it lacked in crispiness the Herb Roast Potatoes (£2.95) made up for in flavour.
My Panna Cotta al Rabarboro (rhubarb) wobbled like a boob with two nipples to choose from: raspberry and blackberry. Sweet and creamy; fresh vanilla was used.
The Cinnamon Ice Cream‘s presentation was rudimentary at best. Luckily, the spicing wasn’t overpowering and actually made for a pleasant dessert.
6/10: The kitchen knew more or less what it was doing.
8/10: Very generous portions.
3/10: Nothing our sweetie pie of a waitress did could rinse out the bitter aftertaste of her co-workers’ cock-ups before the start of the meal.
3/10: Half of the toilets were out of order. No spare toilet paper rolls were available. Dirty toilets and dirty floor. Need I say more?
7/10: Loved the big windows and how bright light flowed into the room. It was very busy for lunch on a Saturday and had a light-hearted atmosphere.
4/10: The food is just not good enough to go back at the risk of being treated badly again.
P.S. I was a guest of Locale for lunch.
3b Belvedere Road