Friday, 9 April 2010

Restaurant Review: The Victoria

Children in restaurants should be nicely behaved, they should have it explained to them that the other guests have paid for their lunch and want to enjoy it, and if they can't manage to behave then don't take them out.  Sadly not one single parent in the Victoria had observed this perfectly sensible and quite obvious bit of advice.  Chaos abounded!  Some kind of wind up propellor was fired across our table, something climbed across my girlfriends chair and of course there was shouting, and crying... sometimes separately, sometimes at once.  Nor was it just one set of kids, literally everyone else in the whole place had some in tow.  Oh and the food is pretty average too.  You have been warned!

The Victoria is a gastropub run by celebrity chef Paul Merit, who you may or may not remember from a BBC program called The Best.  In that he competed against one home cook, and another chef who liked big simple flavours, he was the refined one.  That's very much what he's trying to do here, although it didn't really match the atmosphere when we went, though that was a weekend lunchtime.  The food was, however, pretty off the mark.  My starter of new season broccoli bruschetta tasted of not very much except quite greasy bread, the promised salsa verde tasted of nearly nothing at all, the broccoli was nice, but I can boil broccoli and not pay £7.50 for it.  My main was nearly as disappointing.  After a long wait the tiniest piece of pork shoulder arrived with another tiny bit of bread-crumbed and deep fried pork cheek, in a Provençal jus.  The mash we ordered on the side took another 5 minutes to arrive.  Both bits of meat were under-seasoned and the shoulder was dry.  We didn't bother to get a pudding.  When the bill came we saw they'd brought us the wrong wine, something we didn't notice because of all the screaming, it was double the price of what I ordered.  The food's pretty as you can see from the pictures.  That's the only nice thing I have to say, I never want to go back to the Victoria.

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