A grand and agreeable brasserie, handily located in the heart of the City; it offers good (and reasonably-priced) wines and friendly service, but seems to us to ‘miss’ fractionally on the food front.
The look and feel of a classic brasserie is, for our money, very difficult to beat, and this lofty former banking chamber – right in the heart of the Square Mile – has been nicely got up as a sort of brasserie de luxe (with tablecloths, and so on). It’s also open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so this makes a handy rendezvous for City types at any time of day.
Other attractions include a fair degree of space and comfort, a good range of reasonably-priced wines (available by the carafe), and service that’s trying very hard. On the basis of a lunch for one, though, the food – which is as much British as French in inspiration – struck us as rather incidental to the place’s other attractions. The cooking, notably consistent, was never positively disappointing, but never quite rang any bells either.
Overall, though, this was in our view a pretty reasonable ‘package’, on which basis the attendance the Thursday lunchtime we visited was perhaps a touch disappointing (though we did visit before a recent rash of positive reviews elsewhere).
We do wonder if the name helps, as it’s wrong in every way. For most Englishmen, ‘The Mercer’ probably suggests a gastropub, which this is no sense is; for NyLon hipsters, the name may evoke the mega-trendy SoHo hotel, with which it has equally little in common.