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Something in the City: "10" makes a big splash

10 Cutler's Gardens Arcade

In the manner of Mrs Beeton, first catch your restaurateur, in this case Terry Pullen, a city entrepreneur and partner in J. Rothschild. Then take a keen young chef like Richard Ross ex The Lanesborough and The Ivy and mix well. Carefully fold in a well known and experienced restaurant designer - Julyan Wickham, responsible for Harvey Nic's Fifth Floor, Bank and the former Le Champenoise - bake together in a hot oven and what do you get? Two sooty businessmen and a very sweaty chef? No, a smashing new restaurant in the City, the place that's suddenly sprouting serious restaurants - at long last!

"10" has been reborn out of the earlier Le Champenoise, whose brilliant murals by Wickham have been added to by the artist himself. There's a marvellous new one that depicts the terrace of a hotel looking over what must surely be one of the Italian lakes. The effect is breathtaking, and it certainly helps to recharge the batteries when you go in for lunch after a dreary morning squinting at the dealing screens. (Not that I would know anything about such a vulgar occupation! Dream on...).

There's a great big bar, with people just enjoying a drink or perhaps eating a light lunch of a few fines claires French oysters or double fried eggs on bubble and squeak (£6.75).

The Carte is large and has just about something for everyone. But whether it's a light snack or a more extensively prepared gourmet dish, it struck me that intelligent and creative culinary thinking had gone into the planning and design. For starters we tried the Caramelised Onion Tart (£6.50), which came on very crunchy pastry, the flavours of the slow cooked onion softened and complemented by a rich filling of cream and Gruyère cheese - delicious! We also strongly approved of the Artichoke ravioli (£8.50 or £13/50 for a main course portion). The delicate little pasta parcels were filled with the purée of artichokes in a Mediterranean sauce of tomatoes, herbs and olive oil.

There is a terrific selection of fish dishes, ranging from the simple but classic, like Char-grilled Dover Sole (£22.50) or Fish Cake (£11.75) made from a base of poached salmon, to Seared pepper crusted tuna with spiced corn fritters and mango salsa (£15.50) or Tempura Lobster and chips (£19.50). Now that's posh fish 'n' chips for you!

Meat eaters suffer no want of provender at 10. I tucked into a fabulous slow cooked ham knuckle (£13.50) that would have fed a family for several days. The meat was tender and glutinous and fell off the bone with voluptuous ease. I loved its spicy ginger and soy coating and also the well browned potato wedges. A breast of cornfed chicken (£11.25) was perfectly chargrilled and came on a bed of roasted aubergines with a colourful red splash of tomato concasse.

All the dishes were well presented with an arresting sense of colour and contrast, the various components well differentiated yet harmonious. The wine list is modern and wide ranging and starts at £11.50 but with good value New World wines like the Chilean Casa Lapostolle for £16.25. For £24.25 you could enjoy a bottle of the very reliable Medoc Cru Bourgeois Chateau Graysac 1996.

I'm glad to see so many chefs cooking traditional English puddings, like Summer Pudding and Apple Crumble. Actually, the apple crumble was a tiny bit too refined. The best ones have a certain amount of the granny factor, which is something ineffably more than just the Granny Smith apples. There's a rough and ready perfection about certain home cooked things that are like lilies that require no further gilding. But I wouldn't press this minor criticism too far because what I experienced from Richard Ross's kitchen was a real delight. And the service was friendly, slick and quick. By the way, the puddings cost round about a fiver.

One of London's current great bargains has to be the special dinner menu at "10". In the City everything is on its head. The lunch trade is the thing, and dinner is the Cinderella. Thus for £15.95 at dinner, you could have had all three dishes I tried at lunch, or amongst other things say, asparagus and shaved parmesan followed by the fish cake. A baked lemon tart would be a fitting finale.

Dine Online highly recommends "10"

"10" is at 10 Cutler's Gardens Arcade, Devonshire Square EC2
Tel: 020 7283 7888
Open Monday - Friday 11.30am to last orders at 9.30pm

Directions: "10" is about two minutes walk from Liverpool Street Station.

UK Restaurant Reviews – The Best Of The Dine Online Restaurant Reviews 2001 - 2010

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