No 1 Lombard Restaurant
On the whole I don't bother with London Business Dining Venues because they are:
- very expensive
- pretty much always excellent
- quite samey.
Because of 1, I don't go to them very much (I don't have any business that requires dining in such venues) and because of 3 when I do, there is not much more to say.
However, on this occasion I was accompanied on each arm by two gorgeous dining companions who were both in the mood for a good time – this alone made the evening stand out. Not being completely green, I had hunted out some deals and spotted that No 1 Lombard St regularly runs a £25pp five course tasting menu if you book online. Throw in a bottle of wine at £30 and you are set for a good night out.
One of my companions has the good fortune to require a strictly gluten free diet and, given a preference, prefers to socialise in areas with good, echo free acoustics. Unlike the bar and Brasserie in the outer area, the restaurant is carpeted and quiet, even when it is quite full of people. Conversation is a breeze.
The food was from a fixed menu and was all gluten free (there was even gluten free bread in the selection offered to us). Generally there is no reason to cook with flour unless making bread or cakes and I find it a sign of pre-packaged cost saving, second rate cooking when food unnecessarily has gluten in it (cereals are generally very, very cheap so bulk food processors tend to use them rather than the ingredients a decent cook would choose).
So not only were the ingredients good, the food itself was really, really nice. Lots of small bits of tasty things nicely presented, things like raw tuna with ginger bits, smoked haddock with a beautifully softly boiled quail's egg or a gorgeous bit of beef. It was something of a testament to the chef that both of my gorgeous dining companions loved their steak despite the fact that they habitually avoid eating cow.
The staff were especially interesting. I have never been flirted with so outrageously since the last time I was in the Mars Bar on Gouger St. There was shoulder heaving and eyelid flitting a plenty. And it wasn't just me – my companions and I manage to cover the main sexual categories inherent to the human condition and all of us were treated to our own special moments. Obviously this made the service quite uneven but it certainly made our night more fun.
Getting There: Have your back to the Bank of England, the Royal Exchange on your left, Bank Tube station beneath you and the Lord Mayor's Mansion House on your right – it should be bang in front of you.
Who should eat there: Business types impressing each other and couples enjoying each other.
Price: £35 each with a bottle of that something to share.
Quality: First Rate.
Would I go Back: My life has a No 1 Lombard niche that needs to be filled only very rarely.