This week I was tasked with selecting a venue for a work lunch, the suggestion of a colleague that we go to Nando's did not appeal and we ended up eating at Belgo. I used to go here quite often when the girls and I were going through a moules phase and we were able to leave work early enough to catch the beat the clock offer where you pay the monetary value equivalent to your time of arrival (before 7pm) for your meal.
Nothing much has changed, I've not been to any of the various other locations around London, always the Covent Garden outpost which is their largest and for me, most conveniently located close to my office. It's always busy but I've not once made a reservation and have been seated within 5 minutes. The room is large, split into two with the kitchen in between and consists of mostly bench style communal type seating.
I shall not rave about this place because the food is fairly ordinary, I had the goats cheese salad and it was tasty but unexceptional, I did feel a little hard done by, this being the least generous of the express lunch options. Those opting for mussels or chicken did much better in terms of portion sizes, they both come with chips. I felt the 3 tiny slices of cheese on toast (essentially what this dish is) sitting on top of a bed of rocket with roasted peppers (from a jar most likely) was an utter letdown, seriously, Pret's salads are better. The 3 strips of cucumber, which I'm assuming appear for decorative purposes, were slimy and warm.
The good thing about it is the inclusion of walnuts doused in honey, again 3 of those, and the glass of white wine. I'd definitely not choose this again but selected it because it's the only non carb heavy choice. With the service charge that is added to the bill, this came in at a little under £10 each, I resented paying it to be honest, usually spending around a fiver on lunch and feeling that I'd not doubled up on quality, only price. We asked for tap water and this was forgotten, we asked again and it arrived shortly before the bill.
Belgo's thing is value for money (or the variety of Belgian beer if that's your bag), the lunch deal is good in that a glass of house wine, cristal lager or a soft drink is included but you do have to choose carefully from the limited menu. Also available is a beef casserole, salmon with mash or sausages. They also have a deal on lobster over the coming months. Go here if you're in need of a simple, unfussy and speedy meal but don't expect to vowed.
50 Earlham St, WC2H 9LJ