No need to ask where it is then

IT DOES MAKE very good sense to call a restaurant 11, Abingdon Road: saves people asking where it is.

Abingdon
is one street east of Earls Court Road, a few houses down from
Kensington High St, and it is nice and welcoming and the staff are
young, while the clientele is as desirable as you could find:
attractive, nicely dressed and classless as the new leader of the
opposition.

The menu is simple, like a choice of half a dozen each first and main courses, of which “slow roast hare”

with
creamed polenta (£6.95) looked an interesting starter. I asked the
Polish waitress how slow the hare had been. Silly question; it was very
good: tender and nicely seasoned. My guest had an organic smoked salmon
on a potato pancake. Not a good idea; not much salmon to go with the
heavy mix of spud and uncooked flour.

Nice staff, and they serve Badoit, which is my favourite mineral water.

The
place began to fill up: the atmosphere was pleasant, no-one whispered
and when our pheasant turned out to be tough and not very hot, they
were really sorry and replaced it with nicely prepared fresh halibut. I
had a daube of beef, wondrously cooked to the consistency of double
cream, with a sauce that was reduced by a bit more than it needed to
be. Vegetables are extra – such as £2.75 for spinach.

Contentedness
filled the air; customers had clearly been there before and came back,
and the manageress, a tall lady from Nottingham, ran the place with a
light hand and a steady presence.

Wines under £20 a bottle were
available, and a £16 Valpolicella in a bottle with an ugly label was
well-suited to the beef; a bit fuller than the halibut deserved, but
then the fellow was going to be pheasant.

We had a chocolate mousse with St Emilion pears.

Now,
I know a bit about pears: there are at least 5,000 named varieties, of
which 20 or so are cultivated on a large scale. I had not come across
St Emilion, and I rather suspected on tasting the fruit, that the name
was that of the wine in which it was poached.

The chocolate mousse was of a high order, but then £6 for a very small portion is a stiffish price for what we got.

Were
one to award points out of 10, I would give 10 for service; 10 for
atmosphere; 10 for the quality of my fellow diners; and seven and a bit
for food.

I would go again if I were not going to hospital for
three months to get new knees. As so often happens, the food at
neighbouring tables looked better than mine. Our bill, including
service, was £90.

I had expected it to have been less.

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