For some reason I selected Che in St James Street for a dinner for four. There are several large restaurants on the strip - Just St James which looked huge and empty, Petrus which looked too severe and I had been recommended Che, which was dreadful.
We arrived an hour early hoping to have a drink at the bar but found it about four deep with braying chartered surveyors. It would have been impossible to get served so went to The Stafford hotel across the road for a very civilised drink or two. Back to Che and it is a very strange space, up to the restaurant via escalators then a large room with the kitchen in the centre seeming to take up about three quarters of the space, so the tables were on the outskirts, it was only three quarters full and no-one seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The menu is brief and unardorned and we were told that several things were off the menu including the tomato side salad, now it must be pretty careless to run out of tomato by 8pm. Also vastly expensive - Dover Sole for £38 anybody? I started with a 'tarte tatin of baby onions' which sounded promising but arrived cold, hard and tasted absolutely foul - I left half of it. Other starters of Smoked salmon (does what it say's on the tin) and spicy prawn salad (over salted) were mean and cooked by someone who wanted to go home or perhaps had a hangover. Main course of Chateaubriand (£50 for two + potatoes etc)was tasteless, grey and boring and accompanied by hard parsnips and hard potatoes. The wine list had little under £100 and just a handful of wines under £50.
We couldn't really be bothered to have any deserts, coffees etc, we had just lost interest in the whole thing so reluctantly paid the bill of £327 for four not so much for food and services rendered but more as a fine for having the temerity to visit St James's Steet and expect something of quality. What fools we are.
The whole evening was somewhat redeemed by a couple of outstanding martini's at Dukes Hotel, an oasis in a very wicked world.