St Alban – Lower Regent Street, London

4 – 12 Lower Regent StreetSt Alban
London, SW1
Tel: +44 20 7499 8558

Well, well, a new place in town, and *yawn* is it ever so boring.

First, let’s talk food – some squid on a bed of wilted rocket, the squid having been charred thus leaving a rather unappetising layer of soot on the bottom of your plate. It’s hard to look hip when your napkin looks like its been used by a transvestite prom queen for drying her eyes after a major mascara destroying crying fit. Good points for squid? Well, it’s squid right? It’s kind of hard to mess up squid.

For a main course, it was the risotto primavera. Hmmm. Allow me to sidetrack here for a moment. Do you remember your first “wow, what an amazing risotto” experience? For me, I think it was probably the first time I had the risotto primavera at Finzi’s on Boulevard Haussmann. You probably have your own place. For all of us, this is a unique moment in time.

Meanwhile, back at St Alban’s, the risotto primavera was just, well, it was just risotto primavera. No “wow!”, no “shazzaaaam”, it was just some rice, gently cooked, with a few sad sprigs of asparagus on top. By this point, I was ready to head home, so when the dessert menu came, it remained closed on the table, no coffee thanks, just let me outta here.

Some commentators have noted that St Alban’s has an excellent wait staff. I’d have to say that was probably true, considering that these poor folk have to make up for the food that they serve. And their general coping mechanism seems to be trying to be almost invisible. This is a good thing. They are unobtrusive and efficient. Thankfully.

This is a restaurant that will not make it past the Michelin inspectors. They will hand out a fork and a half and that will be it. The Gault Millau people will shrug and say “dix”. The eurovision voters will say “deux points” and certainly not “douze”.

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