2012 Review: Prices are high, ambience “totally lacking” and service “indifferent”, at the dining room of this 1000+ bedroom hotel, at the south end of Westminster Bridge; bizarrely, though, Joël Antunes’s Gallic dishes are often “excellent”!
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“You could be in any city in the world – except, bizarrely, for London” at this “terribly characterless” Internationalist hotel (but it’s great “if you wanted to pretend you were in Hong Kong or Chicago for the night”). There is “obviously expertise in the kitchen” and a “proliferation” of “front-of-house manpower”, but the meal walks “a fine line between falutless and characterless”. Despite “some quite punchy” crab, an “enormous” steak, “very good” scallops and “some fancy-pants puds” the critic feels “they know what they're doing … [but] I'm not vibing any blood, sweat or tears”.
Jay Rayner (12th July 2010)
Following the line of most reviews so far of Brasserie Joel, the critic feels "sorry for Joel Antunes. He is an accomplished chef." He questions whether this hotel and restaurant that "looks like a club class airline lounge" is "really the right place for a chef of this calibre?". "The food...for the most part, is good, in a very precise, French way." All in all - "an enjoyable meal, but ... enjoyed in the wrong place".
John Walsh (24th June 2010)
Food 2/5. Ambience 2/5, Service 4/5
The critic begins with the oddity of an hotel restaurant that charges a cover for “water (water!), bread, butter and amuse-bouche”, and is also surprised to find that the menu of this new mega-hotel by Tower Bridge is composed of “utterly predictable brasserie dishes”. The food has its ups and downs, but the conclusion is crystal-clear: “I'm sure Mr Antunes can do much better”.
David Sexton (4th June 2010)
A review of the dining foom of the dining room of “this vast spaceship that has crashed onto the roundabout just south of Westminster Bridge”, and finds a dining experience “a lot more rewarding and authentic than you would ever have predicted from the hotel’s exterior”, with chef Joel Antunes – who made a name in the ’90s at Les Saveurs in Mayfair – very much in attendance.