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10 Covent Garden
Louise Elgin found tons of attitude - and had battered ears - the latest in techno cuisine!

The busy Covent Garden area on a Saturday night, especially with rain lashing down, can be quite oppressive. It was therefore a pleasant relief to enter the haven of the Kitchen @ 10 Covent Garden, a relaxingly spacious restaurant, although a touch brightly lit. Then again there was a lot to see: suspended cleverly from the ceiling were several large wire mesh torsos of male and female bodies, (this image was also pictured on the backs of the menus), all very artsy and stylish, which worked well in the airy space. At one end of the room, two large rotisseries constantly turned rows of chickens: apparently organic, free range and GM free, all the caboodle that is demanded these days. At the other end was a large, well stocked bar which looked very inviting!

This all contributed to an atmosphere which was cool, almost a little edgy and nervous. There was the feel of a new establishment testing its image, hardly surprising as Kitchen had only been open about a week. Meanwhile, senior management type figures hovered about in sharp suits, while the checked shirted waiting staff, serving what appeared to be mostly groups of 'Friends' lookalikes, flitted from table to table. This was obviously a restaurant where one could wear anything as long as it was donned stylishly.

It's not often I feel out of place, but here I felt a little on the wrong side of 30! The music didn't help - definitely not me. I don't like Techno at the best of times, but at full blast I like it even less. But when I asked them to turn it down, (now I really did feel old!), they did so quite obligingly.

The table we were given was very much on the small side, and once we had food, water, bread and wine, it was anybody's guess what would crash to the floor first, but we managed admirably. Our waiter was pretty cute, from somewhere in South America, perhaps he was here to learn English, the only trouble was he must have just commenced his course! I think Spanish would have been an advantage when ordering, but we managed to get across what we wanted and he was very eager to please, and what he lacked in his language skills he made up for in his looks.

I was a bit at a loss as to what to order, as I found the menu rather unusual. It was split into main headings and sub-headings. To begin there were plenty of salads, and various char grilled focaccie. Main courses included specialities, which ranged from massive steaks for carnivores to grilled vegetable and halloumi brochettes for veggies.

It seems that sauces are a big thing here as on the menu there were twelve different ones to choose from. The formula is that you order your food and choose one or two sauces to go with it, and together with that comes a choice of mash or thick cut chips. Sauces came to suit all palates, you could go round the globe with your taste buds, from Europe to The Far East and back again! This is where some expert help from the waiting staff in flavour matching would have been of considerable help.

We both commenced with Caesar salads, plain for me and with chicken for my guest. I am a Caesar salad fiend but I rarely order it in a restaurant outside the States as I find there's only a 30% chance of it being authentic. But this was a pretty good attempt (70% say?) For those of you who are in the dark, it's a combination of cos (Romaine) lettuce, anchovies, olive oil, coddled egg, lemon juice, garlic, parmesan and croutons. This may sound a rather odd mixture but it's addictive when made well.

To follow, I plumped for pork and herb bangers served with mash, and chose the red onion gravy to go with it. This, again was good without being sensational, but my dining partner thoroughly enjoyed his fish of the day which turned out to be, surprise, surprise, salmon, grilled and with a very good aniseed flavour. He had chosen a candied lemon, thyme and garlic butter sauce, a perfect accompaniment, he felt, to the food.

With the wine waiter's help we selected a bottle of Volnay '95 Pinot Noir, not the cheapest on the menu at about £35.00 but it was perfectly delicious, and a very good match to our meal. There was no pudding menu to speak of, possibly due to the newness of the place, and here they certainly let themselves down, as what we did order, lemon tart and bread and butter pudding, were both very synthetic. I'm afraid it was one bite and that was enough as both arrived with the same very sweet, cloying vanilla sauce.

Dinner at Kitchen is fairly priced - a starter, main course and bottle of house wine would start from around £40.00 for two. Of course, if one goes for the more expensive dishes and, like us, a quality bottle of wine, it could all get quite costly. But this is the perfect venue for the young, free and single groovy set. It even has a night-club downstairs, so there's no hassle involving finding taxis and moving venues, leaving more time for boogying away the calories afterwards!

Louise Elgin - February 2001

Kitchen @ 10 Covent Garden
61-65 Great Queen Street London WC2
Tel 0700 444 1010

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

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