Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Status: Quo Vadis - a London restaurant review

A pleasant tuesday evening, at the footnote of May and I was invited to dine at Quo Vadis, in Dean Street.  With keen anticipation, I climbed Hungerford Bridge (heading from Waterloo towards Soho) as my last visit to Quo's upstairs club, for a cocktail event, had been a true delight.  At 8pm, the restaurant was buzzing - impressive for the day after a Bank Holiday, considering reined-in times and the surrounding competition.

No vast menus to peruse but seemingly a decent choice, although I was denied the grilled fish I would have chosen.  (Informed by the charmless, unsmiling maitre d', that it was only possible to grill meat as "fish would fall through the grill plates"  - hmm...)   Desiring something light, I opted for two starters, instead. 

The first was the pretty, circular creation, you see above: a sea bass ceviche (interspersed with avocado, tomato and oh-so-trendy micro herbs). The cubes of sea bass were larger than I anticipated (finer slices would have been more fitting, in my opinion) but it was quite tasty - without making me crave more.  I had to ask for my glass of Vermentino, as it had still not arrived by the time I was mid-way through the plateful.  The wine, when it finally came, was good: refreshingly aromatic, perfectly dry with light acidity.  My companions both started with artichoke vinaigrette - which they enjoyed - the dressing more akin to a hollandaise, in appearance, the taste deeply mustardy.

My next starter (as main) of a petite crab salad - included a couple of 'bonus' stray shards of dangerously crunchy shell - scattered with the omnipresent micro-herb garnish.  I must confess that I was considerably more impressed by the Marks and Spencer crab salad, I enjoyed, at home, last week... My fellow table diners had the spotted ray, with curly kale and the battered haddock, with mushy peas and chips.  The ray was pronounced delicious, the kale optimally dressed with lemon - healthfully tasty; the haddock very mediocre - properly cooked in parts and undercooked in others.

We decided against dessert, selecting instead a mini sweet-mouthful, in the form of the Petits Fours selection (for which they cheekily charge £3.70, for four little pieces).  Overall rating 6.5 out of 10 - not appalling but a disappointment - could do (much) better, especially in the area and at the price...

June Serenity by the river

An image of riverside serenity to welcome-in sunny June... Taken on the towpath, between Hampton Court and Kingston, it looks out onto the house I admire most, from a distance, each time I wander that way.