Can't believe I've never been to Ransome's Dock before. Martin Lam (owner & chef) is a charmer - a man who clearly likes his job and goes about it with creativity and cheer. Went there with a party of four, and we brought our own wine (£9 corkage ouch - but their own wine list is extremely good so I can understand). There's no "theme" to this place - catchall would be "modern European I guess. But everything is well-prepared with top-notch ingredients (i.e. the best in class). They had a large enough choice that I think anyone could find something they'd want - at least two steak and lamb preparations; duck, partridge & chicken; several fish; and one or two non-meat/fish/poultry options (gnocchi was one of them, a cheese omelette was another)
I had seared scallops as a starter - just enough to get the tastebuds going - and Trelough duck with mash and brussel sprouts, which were buttery and al dente - not broccoli-esque as they usually are. Date had griddled (sic) saddle of lamb; and friends had sea bass and chicken. Puddings were fantastic: I had a "jaffa" chocolate mousse, a dense but not cloying square of chocolate mousse with mandarins & orange sauce squiggles; friend had rhubarb fool which was a lovely pink colour and had just enough bite; I know someone had goat's cheese and I can't recall what the other pudding was because I was so busy gobbling mine.
Decor is festive but unobtrusive - I even liked the artwork. The staff really mingle, as if they are hosts at a party and want to make sure the guests want for nothing.
It is a bit out of the way though - across The Albert Bridge, in Battersea, with no easy public transportation route...you could get off at Sloane Square and take the 319 I guess...or walk.
Prices are standard for an upmarket bistro - mid-to-upper one digits for starters and puddings, and mid teens for mains.
Ransome's Dock Restaurant 35 - 37 Parkgate Road, Battersea, London SW11
Noura Brasserie on the other hand, located in Victoria, was somewhat disappointing. Food is OK but nothing special and prices are high for Lebanese. I was hoping to go to Al Dar on King's Road but for a variety of reasons it didn't work out.
The decor and atmosphere reminded me of the dining room for mid-level executives - not as posh as the Exec VPs' but not the cafeteria of the drones, either. Noise level is pretty high. Portions are not generous. As mentioned, everything ordered was fine but not outstanding in any way. And my glass of Syrah wine (can't recall the vineyard, but it's one of two reds by the glass) was really bad stuff. I do have to say, though, that service was very nice and attentive. I'll bet lunch is a much better experience - you could probably make a lunch of the plate of mezze for under £10 which are a la carte at dinner, and end up being nearly £20 for the same amount.
Also it's in the Enron building, and my friend's mobile phone picked up a signal from Enron that was displayed on his phone's screen. Scary!!!!!!!
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