Thursday, 2 January 2014

Restaurant review: Merchant's Tavern, Old Street

This bar and restaurant has been designed with such an eye, you imagine that every single little piece of detail was agonized over.

Perhaps not – perhaps it came together most organically – but if it did, then that’s tribute to the very talented team of people at the helm.

Everything is right. 
Everything you’d like to think you’d do if you opened your own restaurant.

So, I give you a dog-friendly, warm and snug bar, giving way to a large airy glazed-roofed restaurant. Both environments sublimely fit for respective purpose. 
I give you the most shit-hot waiters I’ve experienced for a while - who knew about everything, talked intelligently, could read the mood of the table (none of that barging into the middle of a conflab you and your dinner partner are having, never to be resumed again from quite the same point). 
I give you no music in the restaurant but fantastic jaunty reggae playing downstairs in the bathrooms acting as soundproofing.
I give you the right lighting – not as my father regularly bemoans, an atmosphere so dark that he has to get out his torch app in order to make sense of the menu.
I give you an imaginative and appealing selection of beers at the bar.
I give you chatty but not chummy waiters.

It’s all here.
The praise its had from the critics felt richly deserved.

Angela Hartnett presided over the passe all night, and tasted absolutely everything before it went out. (Perhaps not giving her boyfriend all the space in his new venture that the press would have you believe). 

I had cerviche to start followed by the most delicious pork belly of the year. 

You must make it a new year’s resolution to hit the Merchant's Tavern as quickly as you possibly can. The gym can wait. 

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