Originally posted at Fake Plastic Noodles
For the entire month of February, Little Bay’s Farringdon location has told people to ‘pay what you think the food is worth.’ ITCEC, this is the best idea EVER. Think about it: at first you’re like ‘Awesome! I’m going to get a good deal for once!’ And then you go there and are truly force to scrutinise every single aspect of your dining experience, which why I’m actually reviewing the restaurant instead of just talking about the PR tactics it took to get people in the door. And, boy, were they in the door. I was actually lucky to get a table at 1:45 on a Saturday. They must have turned away 12 parties who didn’t have bookings during my meal.
I’m going to apologise up front that I didn’t have my proper camera with me. I had to take pictures with my top-of-the-line circa 2006 1.3 megapixel camera phone.
Starter: Crab Tartlette with Saffron Creme and Mixed Leaf Salad
Not the most appetising thing I’ve ever seen. It was just ok. The crust was nice and the saffron creme was wonderful, but the filling was kinda eh, and unfortunately that’s the whole point of the dish.
Main: Duck Breast with Sweet Potato, Creamed Leaks and Duck en Croute
Ah, the sweet taste of redemption! This was lovely. When I ordered this medium rare, the server’s eyes lit up. “Yes, that’s the way we suggest”. I was confused why he seemed so surprised, but then I remembered by English grandmother’s tendancy to overcook every type of meat imaginable and the fact that I’ve rarely had anything here cooked under medium well unless I’ve asked it to be such (and even then I’m lucky if it’s medium).
The sweet potatoes were perfectly cooked through, the creamed leaks weren’t too rich and the duck en croute was amazing amazing amazing. Perfect pastry, perfectly cooked duck, perfect amount of salt and spice. Yum! The duck itself was a teensy bit chewy, but nothing to truly complain about. There are very few places where I’ve had it cooked perfectly. I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt considering everything else in the dish was wonderful.
Great service. Very attentive. I didn’t have to wait long for drinks and there was a respectable time between courses. One of my pet peeves is when the entree comes while I’m still eating my first course. Full marks.
So what did I pay? I decided on £3.50 for the starter and £13.50 for the main. What’s funny, is that this is one of the few instances where I converted into dollars to decide if it was worth it. I’ve not been out to very many nice places since I got here, so my only basis for comparison is all the places that I went to in America. I paid $5 for the starter and $20 for the duck. Add in my wine (Drinks are the only things on the menu that have prices on them) and tip and it was £27. For the record, this is WAY more than I ever pay for lunch. I figured if I was already over budget for Febraury, what’s the harm in £27 more?
Side note: I really have to stop thinking like that.
So, yes. It got me in the door. Will I go back? Possibly. If I find out I overpaid, I probably will. If I find out I underpaid, I’m not sure. After all, I paid what I thought it was worth, so there’s not much point in going back and paying more. I will find out tomorrow and get back with you. I’m sure this is no help to anyone reading this, but the promotion was for the month of February. After tonight, you’re out of luck. And if they were fully booked at 2 on a Saturday, I shudder to think what they’ll be like tonight.
Only other thing I can think of to mention was the decor. It was a little scary. Imagine eating while this was staring at you the whole meal: