Harden's survey result
This smart D&D London conversion of a Modernist 1920s car showroom on a prominent King’s Road site leaves reporters impressed by the venue if rather underwhelmed by the cuisine – “beautiful restaurant and nice service, they just need to up their game food-wise”. Situation normal, then, at this large space, which has never really capitalised fully on its potential.
With its “buzzy ambience” and “stylish interior”, this D&D London bar/restaurant prominently situated in a large and elegant building (built in 1923 as a car garage) on the King’s Road attracts feedback that’s far more good than bad. On the downside, the food is no better than “OK”, and the atmosphere can seem “lacking something… perhaps the room is too large”.
“Like the new look!” – This D&D landmark has just had “lots of work done refurbishing it” and, with its “very spacious and pleasant” interior and contemporary cuisine that’s “not cheap but value for money”, it seems to be emerging as the “lovely” venue it’s always had the potential to be. Can it be that after 20 years, they’ve finally sorted the place out?
“Never again!” is still too often the verdict on this prominent D&D London landmark of nearly 20 years’ standing on the King’s Road whose airy interior should be “good for all occasions”, but too often falls short when it comes to the “snooty” service or “limited and mediocre” food. In September 2016 it relaunched after a £2m refit – perhaps they will have finally sorted this one out.
|Wine per bottle||£26.00|
Conran Restaurants is dead. Long live D&D London. That's the clear message broadcast by London's largest quality restaurant group since its recent (partial) MBO. What's most interesting is that the two Ds concerned -Des Gunewardena and David Loewi - have even been explicitly distancing themselves from the conveyor-belt style with which, they now admit, the group had come to be associated. (This may be contrasted with the position as stated by their erstwhile boss, Sir Tel, which was always that such allegations were a monstrous calumny, cooked up by wicked people such as ourselves.)
The 'new' Bluebird (just re-launched in the restaurant's tenth year) is the first acid test of the new régime, so we were particularly interested to check it out. Our first feeling - as we were left hanging around while someone was found to show us to our table - was of the here-we-go-again variety. Thereafter, however, everything looked up. Service was personable and on the ball. The setting is now more comfortable, and less anodyne. And the British cooking imported by Mark Broadbent from the formerly adjacent Bluebird Dining Rooms was often impressive.
It's still not cheap, though. A spicy crab starter, with hot 'scones' (more like blinis), was - for a tenner - rather of canapé proportions. But the meal included stand-out successes including a dish of deceptive simplicity: fish, chips and peas. It was a textbook - respectively flaky, crisp and sweet - performance. Incidentals such as bread and coffee were also impressive. A cheesecake, though, would have benefited from a bit longer in the oven.
So, it's early days, but the signs are hopeful. Maybe a leopard really can change its spots.
350 King’s Road, London, SW3 5UU
|Number of Diners:|
|Monday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||11 am‑3:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Sunday||11 am‑3:30 pm, 5:30 pm‑9:30 pm|