The event of my Dad's 50th birthday brought about a celebratory lunch in Maida Vale this weekend. The venue (selected by my sister) was The Warrington a Gordon Ramsey restaurant/pub.
Service was good, the restaurant is nicely decorated and it was a beautiful day, following the meal we had a few drinks downstairs in the large garden, many of our fellow drinkers were munching on a pint of prawns, which looked very good, but we were full from our lunch.
The bread rolls were served swiftly after we sat down, nice they were too but what's with the no side plate thing? It seems a bit inappropriate to make a mess of the table but surely the point of the bread (when served so quickly) is to provide something to nibble on pre starter?
Anyhow, they were good rolls and it was nice for me and Sven to wait and have the roll with our starter of French onion soup. This was really very good, plenty of chunks of onion in the bowl, it was perhaps a tiny bit too hot and required careful eating to avoid tongue burn and it was such a hot day. There was no topping of bread and gruyere either which I heard a neighbouring chap loudly expressing diappointment about. It would have been a nice touch but the soup itself was delicious, good choice I thought.
Thomas and Lee both opted for the country pork pate with sourdough and pickles. I thought all elements of this dish were a bit on the stingy side, the accompanying 'sourdough' looked remarkably like regular sliced white bread to me. Thomas said it tasted like regular white bread too. There was with little pot of 2 types of rather boring looking pickles. I thought they could have done a lot better with this.
The Kid fared well with her choice of starter opting for the bubble and squeak with a poached egg. The egg was cooked perfecty and when broken had that satisfying golden run of yolk. The bubble and squeak was nicely charred on the outside and this was the most visually pleasing of the starters we sampled.
Onto mains and of the 5 of us, 3 went for the chicken and mushroom pie. A nicely golden flaky pastry sat atop each individual serving of chicken and mushroom. The Kid's pie was mostly chicken while Lee's had a lot more mushrooms but the filling was rustically simple and nicely done, although I didn't try it I can say it went down very well, everyone cleaned their bowl.
I went for the whole plaice with lemon and parsley butter. Their plaice is sourced from Rye, a beautiful little bay town in East Sussex where a fishing fleet lands fish daily, and I loved the subtle intensity of this fish. This was cooked very well and the parsley sauce was a beautiful complemeting flavour. I've been opting for whole fish a lot lately when dining out and this was one of the better I've had. I ordered a side salad and some green beans which were pretty expensive for the measly portions but were good.
Thomas ordered the pork belly. A dish he'd never before tried and he felt that the fat hadn't rendered out of it adequately. I remember the first time I had the same cut in a restaurant and I was rather overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of fat and the relatively poor fat to meat ratio. But it is a belly. The crackling was good and the bramley apple and onion puree was a nice partner. Sides of chips and mashed potato were also good.
There's a seasonal set menu offered here, 3 courses for £22.50. Some of us went for this option and most of us wanted to try the puds. I had the rhubarb and frangipane tart with creme fraiche. This was nice, soft pastry and flavoursome fruit but the frangipane element was barely recognisable, it was more discernable as a texture than as a taste.
Thomas had the steamed treacle pudding with custard, a heavy choice for a hot summer day but it was wickedly good. This classic dessert was spot on, very good quality custard and a sticky and deeply sweet pudding which, whilst being a hefty dessert, remarkably manages to remain reasonably light due to the steaming, if done properly. That said, Thomas was beaten but very happy with it.
Sven and Lee both went for the apple crumble and custard which actually arrived with ice cream instead. Rather a small portion but both were happy, another british classic cooked well.
So, Gordon might not be doing so well as reported here, but we all enjoyed almost everything we ate here and I would venture back were I in the area, I like Maida Vale and the atmosphere of The Warrington is welcoming and unstuffy. They also have my favourite white wine Cloudy Bay on the restaurant menu, at £40 a bottle I didn't partake this time but the house white was adequate. It's worth mentioning that the same menu is offered for lunch and dinner but I think this was brilliant value at a little over £30 a head including wine and service.
Do excuse the quantity of images in this post - I got a new blackberry and have been a bit snap happy.
93 Warrington Crescent