jamie goode's wine blog: Long lunch and a walk in the park

Friday, March 07, 2008

Long lunch and a walk in the park

So Fiona and I, now with time to spend together without the kids, decide to take lunch together. We head off to Edwinns, a brasserie in Englefield Green, next to Windsor Great Park. The sun was shining and it was all very spring-like.

It was really nice to have lunch together, but the lunch itself was not good. I enjoyed it because it was nice to be with Fiona. But I don't want to go back to this place again.

Edwinns doesn't have a set lunch, and has the same menu for lunch and dinner. The first think that struck me was that it was expensive. We're talking London restaurant prices, with starters £6-8 and mains hovering around £15-20. That's fine, if the food justifies it, but our food today was pretty ordinary pub grub standard, of the sort that doesn't require a skilled chef. My main of slow roasted pork was overcooked, with an overpowering, rather gloopy, treacly sauce. It tasted like it had been cooked, and then reheated. Fiona's starter of scollops and pancetta consisted of pureed peas, overlaid with some salad, then with three crispy slices of pancetta on top and three over-done scollops round the outside.

The winelist was upsetting. It was really short. All the wines were perfectly adequate, drinkable commercial offerings, but that was it. There was nothing I felt even vaguely interested in trying. It was so predictable and dull. All the wines by the glass were 250 ml servings, which is one-third of a bottle (there was no option to have a 175 ml glass).

Maybe Edwinns is serving its target clientele well. Perhaps their punters aren't usually very discriminating, and don't have high expectations for their food and drink.
Looking at the website (http://www.edwinns.co.uk/) I see that it's part of the Bluebecker restaurant group. My guess is that the dishes are prepared centrally and then put together/reheated/simple elements cooked at each restaurant, thus alleviating the need for skilled kitchen staff.

After lunch we had a nice walk in the park.



At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Mmm. I wonder what "Chablis Grand Cru Reserve, Joyau" means? Not even a vintage there.

This is absolutely the sort of place that gives restaurants a bad name. I suspect you're right to believe that there's more money than sense in that neck of the woods, but thanks for the warning (which I shall assume applies to the entire group)

At 8:32 AM, Anonymous Keith Prothero said...

Soundslike a typical bog standard London "ripoff" joint to me Jamie.
Have been to this place about 6 years ago for Sunday lunch and I seem to recall a similar experience to you.
Actually,I could number on one hand the restaurants in SW London that offer decent food with a good wine list at fair prices.

At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Alastair Bathgate said...

Never, never, never eat at chain restos. Formula food. Cooks not chefs. Eastern European waiting staff (they are the best bit and once they learn the culture will outshine the Brits but for now they don't know what a macchiato is). Usually the resto tries to double tip you. Chez Gérard is the epitome of such places (including Livebait, Bertorelli etc - yuk).
I would rather watch Man City lose at Reading than eat in such a place.

At 10:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It rings a lot of bells. Just sounds like sooo many other places. I'd say 90% of eateries in the south east. I'll save my money, I think.

At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

I disagree that all chains are bad. If complaining that they're really awful, there's always the question "compared to what?".

Given that one might be wishing to eat in an area one's unfamiliar with, my experience is that some chains are quite reliable (note I said "reliable" rather than "good") and a better bet than some unknown non-chain. So I'd eat at a Pizza Express or even a Browns (but don't order anything clever, like fish - stick to burgers) in preferance to a "Chez Kevin" type independent.

Of course if you've got time to do your homeworks...


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