Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sau`te*relle\, n. [F.] An instrument used by masons and others to trace and form angles

You learn something new everyday - I'd previously thought a Sauterelle was a mushroom, possibly by confusing it with chanterelle. The mushroom would probably have worked better since I don't think the Royal Exchange (one of my favourite London buildings) is Masonic. It sounds pretty, though.

I suppose the thing I have to say upfront is that I'm generally not a massive fan of D&D Restaurants. Having spent many an evening drinking at Quaglino's I've come to appreciate that unless you only eat air, D&D typically doesn't offer much value for money. The cocktails are normally great, but unless you can live on the canapes, food is normally pricey. For example, at Sauterelle the mains tend to be priced around £21-25 where I would consider £16-20 more appropriate for portion size and quality (all hail the gastropub revolucion). A glass of wine is between £9-15, which could reflect quality, but could just reflect the bracket the restaurant sees itself in (there was a vin de pays at about £8, but that seems silly). Still, it's a little like shopping at Louis Vuitton, you're paying for the brand.

Sauterelle itself does offer value for money to an extent. The set menu is nicely portioned and offers good choices. Decent half bottles kick around at about £17-25 and full bottles start around the £25 mark. The thing that kicks everything into touch is surely the presentation and the service. The food looks pretty, the waiters look pretty, the view of the exchange is pretty. Service was surprisingly good (especially for D&D). They didn't look at their watch and sigh when we rocked on after work (about 2145). The waiters didn't flinch when the Hubs had his 9th slice of bread (not exaggerating - the fig bread was good!). They brought us endless glasses of tapwater unbidden without sneering. They giggled at our jokes and joked about our M&S haul (hidden with the coats). They earned a 30% tip.

The food was ok. D&D salty. Still, it was a great place to unwind and we'll defo go back.

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