With a number of business lunchers taking up the main part of the dining area, a la carte diners were tended to in a smaller, more contained area of the smart restaurant space, which was fair enough.
The menu was promptly brought and looked liberally peppered with tempting dishes. I started with their beetroot and whipped goat’s cheese, then followed with some braised beef shin.
The starter was soon with me and looked incredibly bonnie. It comprised cubes of golden and purple beetroot, walnuts and a central cheese element. It was as good a starter as I’ve been served in a good while, with excellent flavour and texture combinations coming together for hugely satisfying mouthfuls. I was more than impressed.
That spectacular opening made what followed really very disappointing. The main course beef looked decidedly odd on arrival. The meat had been fashioned into a cylinder that put me immediately in mind of that thing that eventually talks to the humpback whales in Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home.
It was charred on the outside and dry on the inside; a huge let down and a poor use of a high quality ingredient. The potatoes were supposed to be truffle-crusted, but that didn’t really come through. The sticky brown jus was suitably rich but couldn’t save the dish, nor could the acceptable green beans.
To put the cherry on the top of a dining experience that was fast unravelling, they added an extra £12 – for something called 2 course lunch, on top of the cost of my two dishes – to the bill. It was soon rectified but it left a final sour note.
So overall, after a hugely impressive start, things ended up being a really mixed bag at Elliot’s. Our scoring system would unhelpfully average out the highs and lows so doesn’t seem appropriate. Instead, I’ll offer no score on this meal and give them another visit on the next day when hostile weather keeps me near to the office at lunchtime. I hope they can carry through the momentum from their excellent starter much more effectively than on this occasion.
I ate: beetroot and whipped goat’s cheese; braised beef shin
I drank: water
I wore: grey and black
Total bill: £23