Saturday, 6 November 2010
I think Corrigan has cracked it with this little lot – or as near as damn it – because this was such a slick, competent and sassy team of people who moved so effortlessly around each other that it just made you sink into your chair, in a secure fold, feeling like you were in large, cupped hands. From our charismatic Romanian waiter Octavian, (well informed by a passionate kitchen team and a sense of humour more Richard Corrigan than Ceausescu,) to the chirpy sommelier who, having decided on Riesling or Vertliner, had a change of heart when this 'lady', ‘moi’, mentioned ripe, lush fruit. Before we knew it, his double-act, a mature and self-assured bar steward stuck his comical two-penneth in and we landed up with a biggish, flavoursome Verdicchio from Marches, which pulled and tugged at our taste buds in a surprisingly unexpected way.
My DP moved on to steamed plaice (in its seasonal pomp) with wilted lettuce, artichokes and Chanterelle mushrooms, which was very good, if slightly virtuous. No doubt the chef had slipped a knob (or two) of butter to cook the mushrooms, but felt the plaice itself was almost too fresh, too plump and too pure to dress up! £24 for my half a lobster, (even a native) another veritable heap of rocket (!) and chips, seemed a bit rich, like the pungent garlic butter that accompanied it indulgently. But somehow this dish is indicative of what this place is about; it feels special and posh like lobster, but it’s just as down to earth as chips! And if you’re used to eating chips without cutlery, nobody looks at you like you’re a throwback. No time for dessert, I’m rather embarrassed to say but we managed to scoff a few hand-made chocs with our coffees; incredibly moorish and not a strand of rocket in sight.
Bentley’s is a great advert for London dining and almost an institution in the mould of Sheekey’s and Le Caprice. It has a corner for every occasion, from our cute little two-seater by the window, to a snug booth with friends, or the formal dining room for ‘important people’ (my words, not theirs) upstairs. I’m not so sure they’d want me up there though, because I do have a tendency to eat chips with my fingers.