Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Little Bay, Farringdon

Little Bay
171 Farringdon Rd
London EC1R 3AL


I met up with a friend of mine in the Jerusalem Tavern near the Farringdon tube station. The pub sits unassumingly on Britton Street in Clerkenwell and one could easily walk past it. It is straight out of Victorian London and on a foggy night, you wouldn't be a bit surprised to see Sherlock Holmes or Bill Sykes coming out of the premises.

Inside, the pub does not disappoint with its wooden floors, odd nooks and crannies, balconies and a small bar serving excellent stout and grapefruit beer. I recommend it (both the pub and the beer.)

From there we wandered up the road, past the Guardian building and on to the Little Bay restaurant. My friend described it as looking like MacDonald's gone Greek, but that's probably a bit unkind. The interior is fairly cosy, with the tables fairly close and the decoration is mostly red and gold with many Mediterranean motives (including a huge golden Zeus head) around the walls and ceiling.

Now, onto the important stuff – the food.

There isn't a lot of veggie stuff on the menu – a couple of starters and one main, but what there was, was very nice. As for the prices, we'll come to that later.

For starters I had flat mushrooms, stuffed with spinach & blue cheese. They tasted fine – much like you'd expect really. It was presented really nicely on the centre of a large plate and the surrounded by a drizzle of oil and balsamic vinegar.

For main course I had baked aubergine with grilled vegetables, chick peas and goat's cheese. Again, this was presented really nicely. A long slice of aubergine was laid along the centre of the plate, the grilled vegetables were laid on top along with the chick peas and finally a couple of rounds of goat's cheese were laid on top. It tasted great, the vegetables were cooked just about perfectly and the cheese topped it off nicely.

For dessert I had spiced pears in red wine with vanilla pannacotta which was lovely. The pears were nicely flavoured and the pannacotta was very smooth with a 'melt in your mouth' texture. My friend had the apple cake which I had a taste of and it was divine. I shall have a full portion on my next visit.

So, what would you expect to pay for beautifully presented really tasty food like this? At Little Bay it depends what time you get there. Before 7pm, at the time of writing, starters and desserts are £1.95 and mains are £5.95. After 7pm, the starters and desserts are a pound dearer at £2.95 and the mains are £7.95. My friend and I had three courses plus drinks and coffee for around £20 each. For a London restaurant as good as this, that's amazing!

Little Bay has several restaurants around London in addition to Farringdon, in Battersea, Kilburn, Fulham and Croydon. Looking at the website, the menus in each are subtly different, but the prices are the same. I'm quite keen to give one of the others a go.

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