Margaret Thatcher may have abolished the GLC, but County Hall, its Edwardian Baroque former home, has proved more durable. The building now houses both a hotel and an aquarium, as well as other leisure ‘attractions’. These have never included a restaurant of any note.

The site reviewed today – in a former banqueting suite – has already seen off one occupant: a Chinese place, called Four Seasons. Undaunted, Ozu – which previously languished in a more obscure part of the same building – has spent a lot of money on a new woody fit-out, which is on the dull side of restful. It does have a great view of Big Ben, though.

It’s early days, but our party of five comprised the majority of the customers the lunchtime we visited. For a business bite, this was fine, but we can’t help thinking they should be doing something to get more customers in.

Making the food more interesting would be a start. There is no à la carte at lunch, and our party sampled most of the set lunch possibilities. Practically all featured dishes – sashimi, chicken katsu, hot pot with udon noodles – are familiar going-on-trite to anyone with a glancing experience of Japanese eating, and were realised no more excitingly than at many budget orientals.

According to the website, the aim of this ‘restaurant japponais’ is a Japanese menu ‘presented and served in a distinctly French style’. Apparently this means the (charming) waitresses look Eastern European and seem to have been taught to whisper ‘miso soup’, or whatever, rather pretentiously as they deliver items to the table.

On the upside, there was one ooh-ah moment, which was provided by a pudding of sorbet and shortbread. Authenticity can be an over-rated virtue.

On the upside, there was one ooh-ah moment, which was provided by a pudding of sorbet and shortbread. Authenticity can be an over-rated virtue.

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