NO 20 @ SANCTUM: NOT VERY KING LEISURE(LY)
I've never been very Rock and Roll, more of a quiet rebel, fighting n
man from a box bedroom which I shared with HS whilst inflicting upon him the likes of PFM and Gentle Giant. It made him the man he is today (thanks, don’t mention it).
These days things haven’t changed much although the prog has now been replaced by gentle electronica played at a reasonable volume and a steaming cup of cocoa.
When I heard then that Mark Fuller (Sugar Reef, Embassy, Geales) had opened the first Hotel for Rock Stars in London’s fashionable Soho I just had to go along. I would (I imagined) be hobnobbing with Mick and Keef while knocking back bottles of Champagne, ingesting copious amounts of drugs and most importantly of all, having amps that went up to eleven.
Of course, good sense prevailed and realising I had to be home at an early hour so I could go to work in the morning, I settled for a table in the Hotel’s restaurant, No 20.
When I tried to confirm my table I rang the restaurant several times but got no answer. When I turned up I saw why. There was nobody around . No one to meet and greet, no front of house, nada. Maybe they were all cavorting with Iggy in the Jacuzzi.
Eventually someone turned up and showed me to a big banquet for four. I sat there in an empty room with some noodly music playing quietly in the background. All it needed was a ticking Grandfather Clock and it would have been The Athenaeum.
I ordered a Dry Martini to get myself in the mood a bit. Maybe I could party with myself (again). The order seemed to cause a bit of a stir at the bar and when it eventually turned up it wasn’t cold enough and not very dry. Obviously Krug should have been the order of the day.
I was pleasantly surprised with my starter of Pressed Ham Hock. The shredded meat had good texture and it came with a sprightly, acidic Piccalilli. It would have been even better if it had been allowed to come to room texture.
A quick game of hunt the Scallop was next. How and when the idea of slicing up these blameless shellfish instead of serving them whole came about I don’t know. I do know it’s not a good idea and especially stingy in a dish costing £12.50.
The Scallops were of decent quality although overcooked. The bacon was à la Gordon Ramsay i.e. pre-prepped. It was dry and tasteless. There were some peas and pea shoots and some blobs of puree dotted around but really the main ingredient let the dish down.
If there’s one dish says Rock ‘n’ Roll it’s the burger. It can be proletarian, it can be fine-dining or it can be crap like at No. 20. As soon as my Wagyu Burge arrived I could see it had been cooked by someone who’d either never cooked or eaten a proper one before. It had developed a nasty, hard skin and the meat within, although medium, was dense and tough. I sent it back.
In an empty restaurant I then got to hear the chef bitch all about how he’d cooked it properly. A manager appeared from nowhere and got involved. Maybe it was all going to kick off and Liam would belt somebody.
What with all this kerfuffle, the duff Burger and not forgetting the crap French Fries I was feeling rather tired so I walked out and went to wait in the lobby for my Limo. Hey, how fucking Rock and Roll is that ? *
I’m sure Ozzy and Co. and other trainee Princes of Darkness will really like the Sanctum and its “anything goes” attitude, it’s just a shame this extends to the restaurant. Then again, Rock Stars don’t eat – well the old school ones don’t – so the idea of the hotel spending a significant amount of money and effort on the food wouldn’t really be in keeping with its ethos.
*Not very - I paid my bill before leaving