It was a similar set up as on my previous visit. They do very slow business at lunchtime, it seems, as my arrival appeared to be quite unexpected. It felt like my presence was an unwelcome hindrance to the staff members being about their other tasks. Given this was precisely what I’d raised with them as a weakness previously, this was a particularly poor show.Anyhoo, the menu had a completely different feel to last time, when their lunch was a sort of odd tapas selection. Things were of a more straightforward nature with two courses of staples for £14, which sounded potentially decent value.
I ordered their soup of the day, which was leek and potato, then followed with a seared fillet of sea bass.Soup arrived promptly, garnished with radish and watercress. The soup was quite delicate and elegant, so the garnish was rather a mis-match, but on its own, the soup showed very good potential.
The main course was better. Again, radish and watercress garnish added little beyond colour, but the fish was beautifully cooked with shard-crisp skin. It was accompanied by nice leeks, mussels and potatoes, and a flavourful broth.There was no spoon for the broth, but this was just the sort of lack of care and attention to detail that I’d come to expect from the woeful service. They brought one, upon my request, and I wolfed down the tasty liquid with considerable relish.
So overall, I’ve rarely seen such a wide disparity between service and kitchen quality. There were signs of real flair from the chef. The main course fish was cooked to a better standard than I experienced on my recent visit to Gamba, which is high praise indeed. However, the front of house people are entirely disengaged and too busy doing other things. This created such an unfavourable atmosphere and impression that I would struggle to recommend a visit, which is a considerable shame as some of the cooking on offer is impressively good.
Blythe scores No 11 Brunswick Street
3.5/5 for food
3/5 for presentation
1.5/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 11.5/20
I ate: leek and potato soup; seared sea bass fillet
I drank: water
I wore: www.tieclub.co.uk tie
Total bill: £14