Walking into the restaurant, it’s immediately obvious that this is a great place to bring your parents. Impressively designed, The Living Room goes for a sophisticated Soho vibe with cream leather sofas, white orchids in abundance and a low lighting that makes you want to feel your face and check you didn’t accidentally put your sunglasses on in an over-zealous fashion effort. There were only about eight other diners in the restaurant, which might sound uncomfortable, but was great on this occasion as it left room for a friend and I to chat at ease without the risk of anyone we knew overhearing.
The waiter was charming, although I didn’t quite understand the motivation behind his capping our coke bottle lids onto the floor. We awkwardly tried to appreciate his panache in such a display of masculinity, but having bottle tops strewn around the table didn’t do anything to enhance the aesthetics of the place. He did, however, show an extensive knowledge of the menu and was very forthcoming about his own favourites, championing the sea bass in a Grey Goose vodka sauce. After some deliberation – the menu is long and has several attractive choices in each category – I went for moules marinière to start, whilst my dining partner chose the scallops with sweet potato purée and prosciutto. I also ordered two sides of home-baked breads in order to assess the different varieties (no point doing a job half-heartedly) and was blissfully content dipping the squidgy, warm rolls into rosemary infused olive oil and balsamic. The marinière sauce was exquisite; a real creamy, buttery delight with sweet little shallots that forced me to finish both the breads in soaking it up. Although the flavour of the scallops wasn’t quite as impressive, they were still very nicely presented.
A bathroom break mid-meal highlighted a potential problem. Two floors of stairs raises issues for women in heels – firstly because they’re steep, and secondly because the clomping sound that reverberates from the solid oak wood makes you well aware of your own body weight and hardly provides incentive to order dessert. Luckily my hunger returned after the trek back up and the sticky beef that I ordered for my main course was an oriental delight topped with fried ginger, peanuts and sesame seeds. My friend’s Thai green prawn salad also went down a treat, with a sweet mango taste infused with the spice of the curry. The dessert menu will again leave any indecisive person with a serious dilemma – white chocolate cheesecake or sticky toffee, or maybe a brownie…
With regards to the bill, prices are perfectly manageable on a student budget to go for one course. My advice, however, would be to take your parents and go for all three. They’ll be thoroughly impressed at your sophisticated tastes in eating out. Make Dad order two puddings to save time decision making. And wear flats.