We dined here for lunch – very much looking forward to it as we had heard a lot about this place – reportedly a fine dining heaven, and really good service.
When we arrived, on a slightly chilly day, we were seated right next to an open window. Shortly after taking off my jacket, I put it back on again. Then it started to rain and I could feel the rain droplets in the air coming through the window. We decided to close it. It occurred to me that nobody asked if we minded being seated next to an open window, and none of the staff noticed that we were cold until we actually closed the window.
I ordered a strawberry and watermelon juice which arrived in a quirky chemical beaker and tasted very nice.
The menu was extremely limited – we could opt for two or three courses. The starters and dessert options were a platter (nothing else was on offer), and the mains were a choice of fish and chips, wagyu steak burger and chateaubriand with prawns. I did wonder what would be on offer for vegetarian diners.
The starter platter was quite large and consisted of charred bread, prawns with lime and mayonnaise, grilled halloumi with a pepper and tomato relish, olives, nuts, cheese and biscuits, and chorizo slices in a fruity tasting sauce.
This was not really the selection that I had hoped for, and I got the impression that the chef was making it easy for him or herself. Bowls of nuts and olives are a lazy option. The chorizo had quite a tough skin, although it did taste nice – I wasn’t sure about the fruity brown sauce that came with it. The cheese was ok, nothing special. The halloumi, again okay. The prawns were overcooked.
Having read the great reviews for dinner, I would have expected something a little more cheffy in the platter. I would have preferred smaller portions of nicer food e.g. a home made terrine or pate, some mushrooms with blue cheese, some mini arancini balls.
For main I chose the chateaubriand. I didn’t get an option of how well done I wanted it to be. I prefer medium rare. This was medium to well done.
It came with a ‘soil’ strip of coffee, which didn’t go with anything and I wasn’t sure why it was on the plate. The prawns were ok, but overcooked again, the tomatoes were nice, the wedges were ok, nothing special, the meat was tender but for me – overcooked. I was a bit disappointed.
My companion chose the Wagyu burger which came with the same brown sauce that accompanied the chorizos earlier. I asked if he could taste the quality of the Wagyu beef in the burger and he reported that he had tasted better burgers at Grill’d. He didn’t eat it all. He says he got bored with it.
The dessert platter consisted of a chocolate bavarois with three layers, raspberry sorbet, 4 mini macarons, strawberry, raspberry ripple and chocolate icecream, and elderflower jelly filled chocolates.
It looked amazing. The bavarois was quite heavy, the layers reminded me of a thick school blancmange, and I detected a hint of popping candy in the dark layer. It was okay, but I am glad that it was a small sample and not a whole dessert size. The dark chocolate ice cream was excellent – the best item on the plate. The other ice creams and the sorbet were okay, nothing special. The mini macarons were a little soft and not very flavoursome. I like my macaron shells to be crispy with a gooey middle. The chocolates filled with elderflower jelly were a bit strange to be honest, again okay, but not anything that I would rush to order again.
The waitress was friendly, but she only ever asked my companion if he wanted another drink or if his meal was okay, she did not address me at all, and during the meal the table became a little messy with a few drops of food on it, and at no point did the wait staff wipe down the table.
There was a tray of muffins left out to tempt diners, but nothing was covering them, and I saw at least two flies buzzing around – this is a failure of basic restaurant hygiene which should be second nature.
If the evening meals at Three five three are as good as everybody reports, then I am afraid that the lunch menu is sadly lacking. Will I go back to Three five three for dinner ? I don’t know – my experience does not bode well.