Gosh it's been a while since I've reviewed a restaurant. Frankly, I'm not nearly enough of a food trainspotter - trying to think of a portmanteau - 'grainspotter'? - to form an opinion that anyone might find useful, as most of the time I kind of like pretty much anything as long as a. it's served nicely, b. I'm in a place I like the look of, and c. I'm drunk enough. So I tend of leave the ham reviewing to the others.
Well, since the recent blaggergate hoo-haa, I thought it only fair I should jump on the bandwagon and take advantage of the golden dripping honeypot that is freebieland and wave the flag for the good old hard-blagging blogger.
Lanes of London is of course the very place that started the most recent blagger storm: Jay Rayner's rant at 'effing blogger' @samphireandsalsify ended with his claim that their review of Lanes couldn't possibly be impartial.
Well, it seemed the best option to go back to the very place and give it my own review. And it wouldn't be a food blog review without it being free! So here, in all its freeness, is my free dinner at Lanes of London.
|Bloodhound & Garden of Edhen Cocktail|
Both cocktails were very good (obviously, being free), and while we were waiting for them, we had some spiced nuts and two glasses of water.
We had the Portobello road cocktail - Bloodhound : Bombay dry, Martini Gran Lusso, Martini dry vermouth, house made strawberry liqueur, Peychaud's bitters, and the Edgware Road cocktail, alcohol free - Garden of Edhen : Lebanese seven spice syrup, apple juice, lemon juice, egg white, rosewater. Being alcohol-free was quite apt, since they were also 'cost-free'.
|Edgware road - Kafta meshwi: minced lamb skewers, "babaganoush", smoked aubergine|
Dinner started with kafta meshwi, this dish wasn't very good, the babaganoush was too acidic. I will say however that being 'gratis' added a certain deliciousness to it, so on second thoughts would of course heartily recommend it.
Kingsland Road - Bun thit nuong : Barbequed pork skewers, Marinated pork, rice noodle salad, homemade sweet chilli sauce
|Portobello road - Beef brisket sliders : roasted bone marrow, horseradish cream|
The best dish of the night was from the Portobello section: (completely cost-free) beef brisket sliders served with bone marrow. In appearance it looks like a real burger, but when you bite the texture was like a pulled beef. Totally bang on! It goes very well with the (mine complimentary) horseradish cream sauce. My friend added the bone marrow inside the burger.
|Vegetarian- Apple & Celeriac salad: poached duck egg, walnuts|
After all those handout meaty dishes, it was a pleasure to have something light and fresh like the apple & celeriac, especially when it's 'on the cuff'.
|Meat - Smoked ham hock fritters : buttered cabbage, apple sauce|
Brick lane - Butter chicken: cumin rice and paranthas
Brick Lane butter chicken - have to disagree with Mr Rayner here. I'm no curry pro but have had my fair share of late night Brick Lane neon curries, and I thought this butter chicken was great, the sauce was not just the usual sweet/salt and fat yellowy instant-thigh-circumference-increasing fluent I'm familiar with. It had real flavor. Rice was...rice. I also loved the paranthas.
According to the waitress, this dish is the chef Anshu Anghotra's family recipe. Now whether or not this recipe would have tasted awful had I paid for it, I cannot say.
So, of course Lanes of London is never going to please London's food bores who guff on about the sodding authenticity of everything.
It's aimed at international hotel guests (which it seemed to be populated with on my visit) who on a visit to London, I might imagine would find it all quite fun.
'Oh, but you can easily go to the actual places and get the real thing'
Yeah, why don't you just go down to the arse end of Dalston on a rainy tuesday night after a boring conference in a city you're not familiar with, or dodge bullets in Tottenham searching for that authentic Turkish, or shlepping over the river just to find some mythical hamburger.
No, you've got it all right here, neatly packaged and 5 minutes from your bedroom.
Anyway, what do you care? Being 'in the pay of the restaurant' as a freebie taking food whore means no-one will take a word of what I say with any integrity in any case.
140 Park Lane
London W1K 7AA
I was invited to eat at Lanes of London.