|Last Orders||11 pm, Sun 10 pm|
"It is so difficult to fault this restaurant. The ambience in the conservatory is superb with a magical lighting level and superb attention to details. Service is always attentive and the knowledge of the sommelier is wonderful when confronted with such an enormous wine list. Every visit maintains the experience."
"A really delightful place. Lovely staff and they made our 2 young daughters feel at home (and even gave them a box of petit fours to take home)"
"You don't have to eat in the conservatory to enjoy a wonderful lunch."
"Like many of your readers, this is a favourite of ours and so well located for lunch when in covant garden. The food always pleases us by being better than we remember - this time their fois gras was up to par as was pickled herring starter. Mains of haddock and rabbit were well presented with plenty of vegetables - hundreds of tiny tomatoes -to make it pleasing to view and eat. Deserts less strong this time but still good - too subtle panacotta and interesting semolina. Wine comes with the lunch menu at an excellent prices as is the whole event. Only quibble is that tables are very squashed so not for secret discussions. But diners are quiet and well behaved.. So far, they are not taking advantage of their popularity as do nearly everyone else - may it continue and we will be back. PS - this time amusing side show of a "strongly" canoodling couple just in front of us to an extent not seen before in an upmarket restaurant. Amusing at forst but after an hour not so nice. We said nothing but manager noticed and was furious that this was "in his restaurant" so he apoligised and moved us well away. The couple carried on for another hour...then left separately..."
"It might have been a let-down because we had such high expectations from earlier reviews, I guess. Nothing to complain about, just it felt a bit cramped with large groups at nearby tables, so not as romantic as I'd expected. Having said that, we did book the night before!"
How's your Valentine's booking coming along? One excellent choice - though for next year I'm afraid, given that it was fully booked by the end of January - is the subject of today's review.
From the outside, Maggiore's gives every impression of wanting to 'fit in' alongside the mass-market outlets of Covent Garden. By looking like any other pleasant enough tourist trap, it seems largely to have escaped serious critical consideration. The Good Food Guide omits it. Michelin does find a place for it, but their inspectors - in spite of their supposed eye for detail - somehow fail to comment on its truly remarkable secret: a wine selection over 2000 bins strong.
The presentation of said list is baffling (even for the relatively initiated), but those who really care about these things - the US magazine Wine Spectator for instance - have fêted the selection here with a rarely-bestowed clutch of awards.
The interior of the restaurant is another shock. In particular, the rear room - decorated with greenery, a glazed roof and a baronial-style fireplace - is as pretty a dining space as you will find in London. In terms of obvious romantic appeal, it's a knock out. (Perhaps in 35 years time it too will be a 'classic' like La Poule au Pot, reviewed yesterday). Service is very charming too,
If there is a reservation about this place - and sadly, there is - it's about the food. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with the cooking, but rather that it can sometimes live up (or rather down) to the simplicity of its menu descriptions. If you choose that great and rare bottle, the food is unlikely to be its equal.
As a prelude to an evening at the Opera, however, the pre-theatre dinner here - with a well-chosen bottle of wine - would certainly be a hard act to follow.
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