|Last Orders||10.30 pm|
Originally owned by Lee Chapman, Soho's Teatro had more than its 15 minutes of fame when it opened in the late '90s. As a member's club, the Teatro name sails on, but the adjoining restaurant - having lost its way badly - has now been re-launched by new owners under this new moniker.
Its first floor site is an awkward one. It lacks street presence (especially when, as on our first week visit, there is not even a menu outside). The room - entered via an oppressive corridor - is glazed all down one side, and the view from all the windows - principally of the Chinatown fire station - is unimpressive.
The press material makes much of the effort that's gone into creating some sort of Art Deco haven. Well, if that's Deco, we're Dutchmen. International-hotel-brasserie perhaps. Deco, no. But it's comfortable enough, in a nondescript, clubby sort of way: an ideal setting for food which, by and large, could be described in just the same terms.
Well, perhaps that's unfair: the cooking does have its moments, We enjoyed the crayfish cocktail, for example, presented between the claws of a scarily-large whole crustacean. Service is up-and down. Our hapless waitress brought a fishcake (unremarkable) instead of the fish pie we had asked for. And failed to point out that it came garnished with samphire (very good), when the only 'green' we'd ordered was - yep, of course - samphire.
Pudding leads us to a cheesecake-metaphor. That dessert came as three separate items ('base', filling, fruit), which largely robbed it of its point. Like the rest of this operation, someone seemed to have forgotten that the individual ingredients may be perfectly good but, at the end of the day, everything needs melding together.
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