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BARBICAN LIFE


Chefs to the forefront Restaurant REVIEWS


Lawrence Williams visits Gordon Ramsay’s newest restaurant in One New Change, while Stephanie Ross samples the area’s latest Michelin starred restaurant in St. John Street and a brand new offshoot of another highly rated restaurant in St. John’s Square and then, with her family, partakes of a great Sunday roast at a local hostelry.


Bread Street Kitchen main restaurant area


C


elebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant in the One New Change development, Bread Street Kitchen, may have taken a


long time coming (reportedly it was a year late opening), but seems to have already become a resounding success with good crowds at lunch times and in the evenings. No mean feat given that it occupies a misleadingly large space. It now joins Madison (which we covered in the last issue of Barbican Life) and Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa as being relatively upmarket, but trendy, eating and drinking places in the new city shopping centre along with faster food and drink offerings such as Nando’s, Byron, Zizzi, Wasabi – and the Searcy’s Champagne Bar.


Indeed One New


Change seems to be becoming a place for socialising as much as, if not more so, than a place for shopping!


‘Kitchen’ seems to be the buzz title word for new bar/restaurants in the City with open cooking areas – and Bread Street Kitchen doesn’t disappoint. You can either enter at street level, on Bread Street, directly into a downstairs bar area, or on the first floor into the main restaurant (and bar) and here the space occupied is large, busy, noisy depending on how loud management has set the music volume, and modernisitic in decor following the trend of exposed air conditioning, ventilation and heating ducts, tiled flooring which reflects the buzz etc. Indeed the designers have probably spent a lot of money trying to make the space look more like the inside of a warehouse rather than the old plush style restaurant which may be considered too boring for today’s young executive who has the money to spend on eating and drinking out on a regular basis. Tables and chairs too look like they might have been remaindered from a sale of canteen or garden furniture but are not uncomfortable for all that.


In truth the atmosphere is lively and, lest 20


you feel we are being perhaps overcritical above we did have a very enjoyable and tasty meal, but sometimes it was difficult hearing what one’s dinner companion was saying, but that can be pretty common nowadays.


The restaurant describes itself in its publicity as an exciting new restaurant and bar, home to a relaxed dining experience set in a large warehouse-style room which draws inspiration from the East London aesthetic that surrounds it. At its heart is an informal approach to dining where you can meet, eat and drink from early morning until late at night with a menu that includes a raw bar, a wood-burning oven and dishes from the open kitchen. The all- day restaurant offers an extensive wine and cocktail list alongside a seasonal menu. While eating and drinking from early morning until late at night may perhaps be only for the truly liver-hardened, and wealthy, the opening hours are very much all-day – from 7.00 am to 11.45 pm Monday to Friday, 10.00 am to 11.45 pm on Saturdays and 10.00 am to 10.00pm on Sundays with specific breakfast, lunch, late lunch, dinner, bar and kids menus. The visit to the restaurant was for dinner, shortly after its opening and there


had been some horror stories about slow service as it was starting up – but not something we found problematic at all. Service was friendly – not over-so – and prompt and the food itself was very good if not outstanding. But then the aim is probably not to go in search of a Michelin star but to attract a regular clientele in search of an enjoyable evening out in a surrounding which appeals, in which aim it was very successful.


In a venue like One New Change with, presumably, pretty high overheads, restaurant prices are not particularly low, but not ludicrously high either. Main courses with a menu that includes dishes from the raw bar, wood-burning oven and lively open kitchen, come in mostly at around the £15-30 level, with the lowly hamburger at £11.50 for those on a more careful budget. Wine can also be a little pricey. There are a couple of bottles available at a reasonable (nowadays) £17.50 a bottle – but then range from about £20 upwards for whites and £22.50 up for reds with the sky the limit!


The meal we had was served reasonably promptly and was certainly not disappointing. There is a great selection of starters, particularly if one includes the


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