Vermillion’s website suggests that you make “an entrance on the red carpet between two statuesque lions, a moat of still lit-up water stands the three storey labyrinth restaurant and bar glowing with reds and golds. Enter the magnificent world of ASIAN CHARM” [sic]
On the other hand, it’s an overblown tart of a place with some of the most uncomfortable seating I can recall in a restaurant for a considerable time. It occupies one end of a very large commercial building, next to a cash & carry and wholesaler fishmongers, also under the same ownership. There’s an upper level cocktail bar which the website claims attracts a “high profile clientele” and, apparently, the Prime Minister was here in January for an “event”. Mercifully, there was no DJ playing the “blend of ambient Eastern and Western fusion music”. No, me neither.
If this massive restaurant was in the city centre, there’d have been more than four tables occupied on a midweek evening. Although possibly not that many more. It’d still deter customers by its confused mix of Indian and Thai dishes, with a bit of sushi thrown in, along with some bog standard “modern Brit” desserts. It’d deter some more by the dilatory service – everything happens at snail’s pace. And more would be deterred by pricing that doesn’t even nod towards “value for money”.
As for the food, a som tam salad was as expected – a refreshing plate of shredded papaya, green beans, cherry tomatoes, lime juice – and searingly hot from chilli. The other starter brought four king prawns in a perfectly light and crisp tempura batter and a little bowl of sweet chilli sauce..
Aloo gobi was well sauced and well seasoned but was overcooked, the vegetables on the point of becoming a mush. Pad Thai was, frankly, quite boring with no kick from the expected tamarind, coriander or fish sauce. It’s topping of just three king prawns was certainly more miserly than one might have hoped for.
But it is when you reach dessert that they really see you coming. Desserts are mainly uninspiring Brit bistro affairs. A “warm chocolate tart” simply wasn’t. It was neither warm nor was it a tart. With no pastry, this was just a blob of chocolate mousse with another blob of ice cream adjacent. And, at £8.90, they’re just taking the piss.