It’s the first week of September and the social set have just got back from mixing with zillionaires on yachts in St Tropez, Mykonos, and Montenegro. So now is the time to bag a table at the Michelin starred restaurants, who usually have waiting lists stretching past Christmas and will be delighted to see customers that show a real appreciation of their efforts.
As a special treat for two special clients, I booked the Pollen Street Social, a favourite of a great client, the much missed Simon Harding (Lee Baron). Lunch was with Ian Massa Harris, who has just finished singing at the Holland Park Opera season and Geraldine Larkin, the renowned textile designer who produces fine work for the leading international fashion houses of Paris, Milan, New York, and London. Her work can also be found in some of the most important private houses around the world. I knew I was in for something special when my handbag was given its very own small stool to sit on.
There are three things that make the Pollen Street Social a fantastic restaurant. The first is the food, the second is value, and the third is the staff. As this is a restaurant review it is the food that matters. We managed, by taking advice and ordering from the set menu of three courses, to consume six courses of the freshest and tastiest dishes. Being foodies, we all ordered something different so we could comment on each other’s selection. Before each course little treats were presented: slivers of smoked salmon and a tiny cup of a delicious soup teasing you into excitement for what is to come. The starters carried on the good work. My whipped Staffordshire goats curd salad was so full of flavour – and Ian polished off his pressed ham knuckle in a nanosecond. My roast South Coast cod was soft and glossy; you could almost taste the sea in the seaweed butter sauce. Geraldine’s chicken had a silky, shiny sauce poured with such style from a small chicken shaped jug. The strawberries and sorbet tasted if they had just been picked from the field near my village farm shop. Yet another tray then appeared: a treat with ice cream cones and a tiny tart, which melted in the mouth. It is the small touches which one remembers.
It was the mint tea trolley which made the whole thing so very special. An elaborate Moroccan style urn was surrounded by a selection of mint plants in terracotta pots, offering a choice of mint leaves for the fresh mint tea. I was in heaven.
Sadly, lunches can’t go on forever – work calls. We retrieved our handbags from their stools and wished the smiling and very professional team (who we would love to add to our new best friends list) a fond farewell. Despite the six courses for the price of three, we were able to trot along to Oxford Circus and smile with contentment as we boarded the Central line. My only gripe about the Pollen Street Social is that we will probably have to join a long waiting list for another table, which makes it impossible to surprise and delight a client. But – we will be back!