Happy New Year! I hope you had a fabulous New Years Eve. MTV boyfriend and I spent New Years Eve in London at a beautiful old pub called the Prince Alfred in Maida Vale. Meticulously preserved the bar of the Prince Alfred is still divided into tiny snugs which reflect the division between classes and sexes in Victorian society. You can get between the snugs by tiny waist high gates and it is quite fun to pop up from one snug to the next.
We celebrated New Years Eve with a group of 30 for dinner in the adjacent Formosa Dining Room then we progressed into the bar once dinner was over. Despite the delightful surroundings and festive atmosphere our meal was a little disappointing especially at £65 for the set menu with a glass of champagne.
Things started well with goat’s cheese bruschetta with tapenade. The creamy goats cheese was a delightful counterpoint to the gutsy tapenade. However, the following palate cleanser of apple sorbet with Calvados tasted like an ordinary scoop of vanilla ice cream rather than a sorbet with apple and brandy flavours. There was a really long delay before our mains were served which I suppose is always a risk when you are eating in a large group however it meant that everyone was half sloshed by the time the mains arrived from the combination of too much champagne and too little food. Despite the wait, venison medallions with foie gras, truffle, croquette potato and port wine jus (pictured) were overworked and overcooked. The half lobster on top of linguine with spicy lobster bisque got a similarly tepid reception.
The dessert offering of pear and frangipane tart with cointreau butter was fine but it lacked any flair or impact. So, the food didn’t live up to my expectations but we did have a brilliant New Years Eve surrounded by friends and some lovely champagne. Next time I am in Maida Vale I will have a drink in one of the charming snugs at the Prince Alfred and then I will walk around the corner to the superior Idlewild for my meal.
Details: 5A Formosa Street, Maida Vale, W9 1EE (Ph 020 7286 3287)