Where do you lunch your editor? Should you – say, like us – find yourself writing a restaurant column for a daily business newspaper, and have the pleasure and honour of taking your editor out for lunch, where do you go? That was the question.
Not somewhere too flashy – obviously, expenses must be kept in check. No point in slumming it though – that would be to protest too much. Reasonably convenient for the office, but not just boringly round the corner’. Businesslike, but not too ‘grey’.
Judged on this basis, our visit to Lanes – five minutes walk from Liverpool Street – must be accounted some sort of success. Well-spaced enough for not-too-serious conversations? Yes. Quite efficient service? Yes, it sailed through all the basic qualifications without difficulty. Is the atmosphere possibly just a little bit too missing on the ‘spark’ front? That is definitely the weakest link: the room just somehow doesn’t feel sufficiently polished. Still, it’s not that it particularly lacks taste, it’s just rather dull.
Any way. On to the food. That’s probably at about the right level. Some dishes – a crab cocktail, for example – come attractively presented, and with real depth of flavour. Spaghetti and lobster ticks all the boxes – not bad for £13.50. Other dishes are a bit less successful. A halibut portion is very well prepared but rather on the small side. And the boss did leave some of her risotto. Shame about that one, but overall pretty fair food.
So, not a bad place by any means. But possibly not worth crossing the City for? Sorry Ed. But, hey £125.27 for three, including some pleasant (but not extravagant) Reisling, and service. Surely nobody could complain about that?