Situated in the basement of a spa and and health club, you might not necessarily know that this place existed unless you were popping by to be pampered. The food is good though, and walk-in lunch diners are welcome.
Take the lift and enter a world of calm in cream and brown. Situated next to the spa, the high ceiling restaurant has a small relaxing area with chocolate brown sofas, a communal high table for reading the papers or enjoying a bite to eat, and then the restaurant proper, with seating for around thirty. There is also a lounge area here with more squishy sofas, modern art on the walls sporting primary colours and plenty of white-framed mirrors to add to the feeling of airiness and light.
With no background music playing, there's just the pleasant background thrum of customers chatting, and although it’s in the heart of the City, there are no braying suits shouting into their iPhones. In fact, there are no suits at all; it’s nearly all white fluffy robes. Once you get used to some of the diners wearing these, it’s actually a pleasant, relaxed and friendly space.
The menu changes monthly and features light, fresh, healthy food, with a few naughty things thrown in. The focus is on locally sourced, seasonal food; organic and fair trade where possible. A deli menu is available all day, as well as three hot mains, five salads and three sweets from which to choose.
The generous portion of leek and potato soup, attractively served in a geometric white bowl, is well flavoured and accompanied with fresh bread and butter. Although grilled duck with pineapple salsa, the roast pumpkin risotto or mint marinated sardines may tempt you in the hot options, the salads are so interesting (if that's not an oxymoron) that you may well find yourself opting for one of those.
The superfood salad with quinoa, French beans, broccoli, roasted squash, pea shoots and toasted seeds is surprisingly satisfying. Presented in a large, fat bowl and served with its own oil and vinegar to add according to your taste, this is actually a healthy option that not only leaves you feeling a little smug, but happy too. Quinoa is so often over-cooked; here it is perfect. Similarly, the man-sized portion of warm roast mushroom salad with creamy almond dressing is light but appetising, the sweetness of the almonds working well with the earthiness of the mushrooms.
At this juncture, the health-conscious would choose a fresh fruit platter; others will be tempted by the home made cakes. The brownie is a disappointment as it's rather dry, but the Desperate Dan sized marble cake – a worthy recommendation by the waitress – is a hit. Moist Madeira-style sponge with echoes of orange is decorated with lashings of chocolate ganache.
Champagne is available by the glass or bottle. Reliable rather than exciting reds, whites and roses are sold by the glass, half carafe or bottle. Fresh fruit and vegetable cocktails are a feature of the restaurant as you might expect, so try dispelling your preconceptions and sample the carrot, ginger and apple juice. If you are after a caffeine fix, the full-flavoured coffee is an excellent way to round off the meal.
The Last Word
Only a short walk from Bank station, this is an ideal place to meet a friend for a catch up but you won’t feel out of place if you are on your own either; it’s a welcoming place. Nerves of steel are needed to resist the temptation to book a spa treatment though - those covered in white fluffy robes do look very relaxed, after all.