When I first visited E&O I said that… E&O is a restaurant that does not live up to the hype. It gets regular mentions as one of London’s top restaurants, with prices to match and a celebrity clientele (Gwyneth et al).
Since then I have been back to E&O twice and it was only on my most recent visit that I really enjoyed my meal. The difference was that this time we ate in the private dining room and so the service was much better than previous visits and even the food also seemed to be up a notch. If you dine at E&O in a group you have the option of a £49 “banqueting menu”. The price is high once you add in drinks and service charge but it does include so much food that we struggled to eat it all.
Steamed red snapper Sichuan style
In my initial review I said… E&O has one of those annoying two sittings for dinner policies that you come across in London so admittedly it was 7pm when we arrived, however the restaurant was sadly lacking in atmosphere. Nevertheless, we were in a celebratory mood so we ordered a round of mojitos. To be honest, it does not take much of a celebratory mood for a round of mojitos to be in order. When the cocktails arrived they were so strong that I could smell the rum on my breath the next day. While I may have welcomed such value for money in alcohol at a later stage of the evening, it was a bit hard to handle in my pre dinner mojito.
The food is a mixture of different Asian cuisines, however it is mainly Thai influenced and served in small sharing size portions. We began by nibbling on edamame beans then progressed to a servings of gyoza, prawns and chilli salt squid. The chilli salt squid was probably the highlight. It was brought to the table in a cone of Chinese newspaper and it was crispy and light with no aftertaste of grease. The food was good, however it did not meet my (admittedly high) expectations and as MTV boyfriend is always keen to point out, the serving sizes were somewhat on the measly side.
For something more substantial we shared a green curry. The curry was decent although there was not much kick to it and again the portion served was rather meagre. A large sashimi platter was also somewhat mediocre and it smelt slightly fishy which is not a good sign in sashimi.
When I ate at E&O last week the banqueting menu includes all the dishes I have had previously including the same chilli salt squid wrapped in Chinese newspaper. The stand out dishes from the banquet are the wasabi prawns and the black miso cod. The wasabi prawns are crunchy and spicy all at the same time. As for the miso cod, admittedly it is a bit of a standard on London restaurant menus ever since Nobu made it famous but E&O’s version is silky smooth. The dessert platter is also not to be missed, in particular the chocolate pudding and cookies and cream mochi.
In my initial review I said… Service was lackadaisical at best. It was clear our waiter had more pressing things on his mind such as scoping out whether Gwyneth had arrived yet. Our table of five was provided with only four water glasses, we were never provided with a cocktail list despite our requests and the Riesling we ordered as a dessert wine was served warmed.
It is a different story in the private dining room where you receive your own personal waiter so that there were none of the service issues I experienced previously. I have mixed feelings about E&O because my experiences there have been so varied. While my most recent meal there was top notch, I think at the prices you pay at E&O there should be more inconsistency. Still no sign of Gwyneth…
Details: 14 Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill W11 1NN (Ph 02 7229 5454) Tube: Ladbroke Grove
You may be interested in a nearby restaurant such as Osteria Basilica
or you could try this recipe for Pad Thai
if you feel like Thai.