Larder, EC1M 4NU
- 91-93 St John Street
The information below is retained for people who want to know what it used to be like.
Some menu items highlight good ingredients cooked simply and well (e.g., the grilled whole seabass, which was served on samphire flavoured with lemon), while others seemed to aim for a blending of traditional/British and modern/European influence (e.g., the baked egg with machego and chorizo). The results were satisfying, but not amazing: the flavours generally worked well together, but they did not always seem quite balanced, and nothing really sparkled. As of July 2007, the a la carte evening menu has starters mostly around £6, and main courses mostly £12–15 (there were two vegetarian options at £9, and the steak was £18). At those prices, it was good value. (Actually, we were using an offer from toptable. I don't think that saved us much, although we did get a complimentary glass of prosecco each.)
The wine list was extensive, if a little daft in places (one section was headed "multi-layered, structured, complex reds", or something like that), and covered a sensible price range.
The room is large, and simply yet classily decorated. The tables are large and very well-spaced. If anything, the place runs the risk of feeling too austere, at least when it is quiet (as on our visit on a Tuesday evening). The kitchen opens onto the restaurant, but not obtrusively.
The staff were friendly and informal, but could have been more attentive (our waitress took our food order and offered to bring our free prosecco while we mulled over the wine menu: our starters arrived before either the fizz or anyone taking our wine order, and we had to collar someone).
The Larder also features a bar and a shop. I didn't visit the bar, but it looked comfortable and my companion had got a bottle of Black Sheep beer while waiting for me. The shop was shut (it opens until mid-afternoon).
The owner/chef is Nick Male, who used to be executive chef for Conran.
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