So long hey thanks my friend
I guess I'll try my luck again
I visited One-O-One about a year ago with my late much missed dining companion Tony Finch. From memory the room was hideous, the service ok and the food confused, over-complicated and served on odd plates which meant you couldn’t see the food. Worst of all they overcooked my fish. Given that this place is predicated on the life aquatic it was quite a big flaw.
So here I am a year later chugging on a ludicrously large grappa and pondering on the changes after the restaurant’s big refurb. Well, they serve things on white plates now which is a definite improvement. Er…that’s it, Ed. The decor is now less Servisair more BA Club Class but it’s still pretty blah and you just know it cost loads and they will have to recoup their money somehow.
The menu takes the form of several petit plats - and they really are petit - priced at a very un-petit and scary level. So that’s the bill for the refurb taken care of. Not a problem if the food is spectacularly good. Unfortunately, though better than a lot of London fine dining restos the cooking fell somewhat short of somewhere like Rhodes W1.
There were some elements of a good dish to be found in each plate that I had but the tendency to over-elaborate spoiled things, So a fantastically sweet Norwegian scallop paired with some unctuous Pork Belly was let down by the addition of quail eggs, truffle potato moussleine and Citrus Jus Gras (phew) which served just to muddle and mute the flavours.
A good Nantua sauce was the base for some overcooked Halibut but there was also a swirl of some unidentifiable green sauce with yet some more liquid with the Coco beans.
The tendency to throw in the kitchen sink culminated in a car-crash of a dish of Lobster and Veal Sweetbread. The gland was a good size chunk with a pleasant honey glaze sitting in a bit of jus merging into a sea of Vanilla Emulsion washing up on a shore of Saffron Carrot Compote. And just for good measure some segments of citrus fruits thrown in. The microscopically small piece of lobster didn’t stand a chance.
Funnily enough the best part of the meal was the pudding where a sort of cherry soup was topped by ice cream and came with scrumptious, warm churros.
In spite of the failing of the food I still had a good time. The staff were very friendly (although if you do go on about the home-made foccaccia it’s probably not a good idea to serve rock-hard bought-in rolls alongside ). The wine pours were extremely generous especially the aforementioned grappa which was more like a quadruple and took me a good half-hour to finish.
I really wanted to like this gaff more than I actually did but ultimately it’s just another disappointing London expense account fine-dining experience. Everything was probably “just good enough”. I’d probably return if someone else was paying (unlikely) as I only ate a quarter of the menu and there may well be some better dishes in there. Although somehow I doubt it.
Anyway here’s to you Tony. Glug.