Local Reviews

From Monet to Malaise.

Returning from an enjoyable evening at the Evening Standard sponsored lecture and tour of the Impressionists by the Sea exhibit at the Royal Academy, my wife and I decided to have dinner at the Formosa Dining Room (#7 Formosa Street). "Ho Hum" had been our last experience but perhaps it had improved.

We were seated immediately, which turned out to be the harbinger of things to come. While my wife and I were making our choices from the menu, we ordered the Bread and Olive Oil and drinks. The drinks came but no bread. After 5 - 10 minutes, I reminded the waiter about the starter only to be told that the restaurant was out of bread. When asked why the waiter had not informed us of this, he explained that it was his first shift and he did not know he should do that. So we ordered the olives (12 small specimens for 2.75 or 23p an olive).

My wife selected the Duck and I the Rump of Lamb (rump of lamb, salad nicosia, potatoes wrapped in Parma ham and a poached egg). A few minutes later another waiter returned to say that the lamb was not 12.50 as stated on the menu, but rather 16 (a not insignificant and instantaneous 30% increase in price). Given the other selections, at who knows what price, and the embarrassment of having to make a new choice solely for 3.25, I stayed with the lamb.

Our orders came and I was presented with a plate containing the lamb, one small potato wrapped in overcooked ham, and a few cold tomatoes and cold green beans floating in the lamb gravy. I took perverse pleasure, in response to the obligatory question about our selections, of pointing out that a.) potatoes were plural and the one I received, cold; b.) there was no poached egg; and, c.) a "salad nicosia" consisted of not only tomatoes and green beans but also hard boiled egg, olives, anchovies and tuna fish, preferably not mixed in with lamb gravy. The plate was returned to me with an explanation that they were out of eggs and an argument in Latvian English that the bean/tomato combination was a salad nicosia. At that point my English wife asked that I not send back her serving of boiled new potatoes when she has asked for potatoes lyonnaise. Whichever chef is in charge of vegetables shouldn't be!

That said, the lamb and the duck were delicious.

And to these injuries was added a 12% "discretionary" service charge with no way to remove it from the credit card chip & pin machine.

Dinner at the Formosa Dining Room is best enjoyed in a state of advanced inebriation brought on by several hours in the adjoining (and highly recommendable) Prince Alfred Pub.

James Roosevelt