1 Lombard Street is a stylish restaurant, brasserie and bar based in a beautiful old building on the doorstep of Bank Station. They seem to be having a bit of an identity rethink – unsure of how they fit into the City lifestyle they have introduced a live DJ to help create an inviting atmosphere for city boys (and girls) who may otherwise choose the West End for their Friday night celebrations. I understand the concept but the house style beat was very loud and in danger of ruining the sophisticated feel of the venue, it didn’t help that we were seated directly under the booming speaker.
The service was impeccable, several different waiters came over to introduce themselves, and I was flattered by the trouble they went to to please us. We were brought amuse-bouches between every course: comforting Jerusalem artichoke and truffle soup, red mullet with chorizo risotto, raspberry granita and a few petits fours to finish. Our waitress offered appropriate wine pairings for each course, which I always prefer to choosing a bottle.
After an exotic tropical cocktail, we ordered food from the extensive list. Though we were eating in the brasserie, dishes are surprisingly sophisticated with prices to match. My warm crispy duck leg with puy lentils starter was delicious… a generous portion and a lovely piece of meat with scrumptious crispy salty skin, the lentils were the perfect healthy accompaniment. My dad chose Fish soup with saffron mayonnaise (a rare treat for him as he rarely gets to cook fish at home) he seemed satisfied with the steaming bowl soaking up the juices with the accompanying fresh herb bread.
Mains were rather more difficult to choose from the list of tempting dishes. After our waitress described the Wagyu cow’s lifestyle (the animal is treated well and massaged) I was sold, and chose this luxurious beef rib-eye option. This kind of steak is very specialised… the meat is marbled with the fat to give a more tender and flavoursome taste. It was quite an experience, the taste was divine, though it was noticeably more fatty. As a steak lover, I am glad to have tried it. My dad chose the Veal Holstein, an escalope with anchovies & fried egg. It is a classic dish that is apparently the owner’s absolute favourite on the menu. It was a bit of a disappointment, sitting in a pool of oil and lacking any exciting flavour. Luckily we ordered a side of fresh spinach to freshen this rich dish.
Intrigued by the cocktail menu, I asked for a lychee and rose petal martini. It was amazing, presented in a stunning glass, with a sunset colour and extra sweet taste. The desserts were good, not sensational, but good, and certainly dealt with any sugar craving. I tried the crème brulee which was delicately flavoured with vanilla bean and my dad had the Mocha & Nougat parfait with chocolate sauce and banana and raisin compote. The parfait was delicious, nutty with a good texture but the mushy banana was unappetising and unnecessary, a strange addition. We finished the meal with fresh mint tea and strong coffee.
I certainly think 1 Lombard has the potential to be great – I’m just not sure they have worked out the perfect formula yet. I’d love to try the smarter restaurant soon and see how the food and atmosphere compares.
Visit the website here to book.