"It's not much but it's ours"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


In truth December is not a great time for visiting restaurants. The presence of big parties of loud-mouthed diners wearing funny hats palls somewhat and when it’s not French tourists then one has to contend with the British Office Party Outing. Why, in heaven’s name, would anyone spend an evening in the company of people they've spent a whole year avoiding in any sort of social setting ? Beats me.

Luckily, before our visit to new gaff Albion, HS had the wizard idea of popping in to Lounge Bohemia, an oasis of sanity in our nabe and bereft of any bad behaviour (shouting, being an arse, putting feet on the table - that sort of thing). After some inventive and pleasingly strong cocktails we pimp-walked our way up to Redchurch Street - currently the hippest street in London (and hence the known World).

I’m not sure how much Tel, sorry Sir Terence Conran, still owns of the D&D group to which he sold his restaurant portfolio, but the manager at Albion was very keen to emphasise that this was wholly a Conran operation. It’s an ambitious mix of restaurants, deli and hotel of which only the ground floor canteen and shop are up and running.

Of course all this matters naught to Dos Hemanos (that’s us) who are just looking for a good meal and despite mixed experiences at Conran joints in the past we were pretty impressed with our meal.

Albion has an uncomplicated menu of what is essentially British short-order cooking but what initially stood out for us were the reasonable prices – there’s nothing over a tenner. This could have translated into cost cutting in the quality of the ingredients, poor cooking or miniscule portions. It could have but didn’t.

Bread was homemade and good and yeasty. Over a bottle of Meantime Pale Ale we munched on a plate of excellent Pork Crackling. So excellent in fact that we had to have another.

Welsh Rabbit was probably the weakest dish. It needed a bit more Cheese and perhaps some extra mustard to give it some oomph. However, a salad of Beets and Goats Curd was perfectly judged: nicely dressed, tasty beets and a superior mix of interesting leaves.

Devilled Kidneys was a decent pile of the organ which had that slight whiff of the farmyard, ma non troppo. They were nice and pink inside and came in a good gravy that had us engaged in an unseemly scrap to mop up the juices (it was ever thus).

I was even more impressed with my Skirt Steak and Chips. The portion was a little petit for avowed carnivores like ourselves but the taste was great: Offaly and requiring a little extra effort to chew - a much underrated virtue and a good contrast when much food seems to be designed for people without teeth.

Chips were proper.

The fact that the cooking was pretty clean and non-greasy meant we could indulge in a couple of puds (ok – we would have had them anyway). HS’s crumble was the winner here. A bowl of Apple and Blackberry crumble was textbook stuff and came with a big spoon of clotted cream. Homemade Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream was not the best I’d ever had but did the job (of fulfilling my daily ice cream quota). Coffee was (like everything else) sensibly priced and much better than the tepid, brown, swill that’s usually dished up.

With friendly and efficient service and bottles of HP Sauce on the table we couldn’t really find anything to quibble about and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I really can’t say any more so I’ll just shut up now and let you enjoy the pics.

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Blogger Chris Pople said...

Right I can't find any info about this place at all on Google. What's the address?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 10:52:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

Corner of Redchurch St and Boundary St, hence the name of the hotel, The Boundary


Wednesday, December 17, 2008 1:28:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pictures as always. Are those pork pies in the second-last picture? They look wonderful. My kingdom for those to be available in my frozen corner of the world :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008 2:15:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Yup - a big pile of Pork Pies. If we buy some we'll report back.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008 8:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I ordered cold poached salmon. It was as raw as sushi, inspid colour, looked like it had been bought from Tesco and microwaved, and for £9.50, came with nothing other than a tiny sprig of watercress. I sent it back.
All the food is boringly presented, completely unseasoned, like it was made by a very poor 1950s housewife on war rations.
The staff are twitchily over-attentive, then disappear on you when you need them.
There is nothing for vegetarians.

Thursday, May 21, 2009 4:31:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

You should have gone when we did back in December - it was great !


Thursday, May 21, 2009 7:46:00 pm  
Blogger dan said...

I am afraid i agree with anonymous above. Having had a couple of great meals in january, I have had two absolute stinkers. Last night comedy service and a disgusting pie have convinced me never to return to the restaurant. I would say, however, that the game pies are still lovely and well worth a carry out.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 9:15:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 2 said...

It certainly seems to have suffered a fairly typical Conran style "good opening, quick decline" curve.

Shame, the first meal was very good


Wednesday, June 24, 2009 9:22:00 am  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

One of the biggest problems with London restaurants is consistency. I sometimes feel that when I go to a restaurant when it opens that is as good as it will ever be.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009 8:23:00 pm  

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