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“Great food, served in informal surroundings but lacking in service”

Pollen Street Social
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Ranked #129 of 22,367 Restaurants in London
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: European, British
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Large groups, Business meetings
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Full Bar, Private Dining, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Neighborhood: Mayfair
Description: Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social is British chef Jason Atherton's flagship restaurant. A contemporary bistro offering deformalised fine dining in Mayfair, the menu places emphasis on fresh British seasonal produce. The restaurant houses not only a cocktail bar but also a dessert bar, where guests can watch the pastry chefs as they cook. A private dining room next to the wine cellar seats up to 12 guests.
Crawley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
16 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 44 helpful votes
“Great food, served in informal surroundings but lacking in service”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 28, 2011

Visited the restaurant twice within a four day window, the first with business acquaintances the second with my partner who was keen to see what all the fuss was about. The first visit was for dinner, the second for Saturday lunch. On both visits there were a couple of stand out dishes, the food was was beautifully cooked and presented on the plate (perfect sized portions in my book as well), but the service was impersonal and somewhat lacking as different eastern European waiters/waitresses attended to our needs.

Went for the Full English Breakfast, Grouse (a special) and the Wild strawberry & vanilla cheesecake for the dinner (washed down with a couple of cracking Barolo's) , whilst the lunch consisted of Pressed tete du porc, rack of Cotswald lamb & The Tiramisu ( and an acceptable Sauvignon Blanc).

The Full English, Grouse (exceptionally well cooked, beautifully moist and succulent!), lamb and Tiramisu proved great choices - but I was equally very disappointed with the bland pressed porc.

The service could have been bettered by ensuring we only had one or two waiters/waitresses, they spoke English a little slower and with less of an accent, and they explained a little bit about what was on the plate instead of simply putting it down (or handing it across!) before finding another table to attend to. The service certainly didn't warrant the ubiquitous 12.5% service charge.....

All in all, good food relaxed environment (great for Saturday lunch - think upmarket and trendy Browns) but definitely go somewhere else for somewhere truly special.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
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Thank Mobysan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
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Date | Rating
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English first
Brixham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
349 reviews
233 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 264 helpful votes
“Okay...”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 21, 2011

It sounds like damning Jason Atherton's new venture with faint praise, but that's how we felt. It was okay. The food wasn't bad, the service was all right, the room (which we liked for its brightness and sense of space) was perhaps the highlight. But there wasn't any excitement; there wasn't the same excitement we used to get at Maze, and there are many restaurants in London I'd return to before this one. The food: my wife liked her cured salmon starter; I thought my chilled tomato soup with crab and a grain mustard ice cream was unexceptional, other perhaps than for its small size (really too small). Her belly of pork was a bit of a mess and served tepid, as was my good looking halibut, although a paella that accompanied the latter dish was both hot and very good. We think they'd left these dishes standing around. The tiramisu, which one national newspaper's restaurant critic had so raved about, was pretty awful: deconstructed, yes, but it completely missed the point of what makes tirmisu so good. We were disappointed that the champagne we'd ordered didn't arrive until after some time after the starters had arrived, and whilst the (deputy) somellier was good, the young man who first came to take our order needs to learn more about his (rather good) list. We thought the gimmicks (the key, for example) were tiresome. In their favour, the staff noticed we weren't exactly enthusiastic and - without being asked - removed the service charge from the bill. Good for them. It wasn't quite enough, though...

I very much wish I could be more enthusiastic, but I've eaten recently at so many better restaurants (eg Paul Ainsworth's at Padstow and Tom Kerridge's at Marlow) and I just wasn't excited at Pollen Street. Unless we were very unlucky this place is about reputation, not what's going on in the kitchen.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank MontrachetJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Level Contributor
132 reviews
81 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Great, but avoid the bar seating”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2011

Having dined at Maze and eaten there at the bar, we accepted a booking for the same at Pollen Street. Unfortunately, unlike Maze where the bar is within the main restaurant and therefore has the same ambience, this is not the case at Pollen Street. Here the bar is a reception room to the main restaurant, and is noisy and bustling. The seating is not bar counter style, as at Maze, but small and cramped tables in the busy bar. This was a big disappointment.
However, the food made some amends for that. The chilled tomato soup with crab toast and grain mustard ice cream was sublime, but a dish of quail, chicken liver cream and nuts/seeds was visually rather bizzare although delicious.
For mains the roatsed halibut was moist and full of flavour, but rather overpowered by the catalan paella which accompanied it - both were excellent, but did not belong on the same plate. The lamb served 2 ways - 2 chops and some slow cooked braised shoulder, was outstandig -some of the best lamb I have ever tasted.
Nice range of wines on the wine list, and at reasonable prices.
Overall, excellent food and we will defintily be back, but only if we can get a seat in the main restaurant.

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank Azure55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london, uk
Level Contributor
69 reviews
59 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“FLAWLESS”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2011

From the moment we walked in we knew we'd hit the jackpot. WODERFUL bar, with exotic gins, friendly knowledgable barstaff. The main dining room is quite intimate and very nicely laid out, the food was excellent and the service immaculate. We had 3 courses each and the food was totally superb, well thought out and beautifully presented. We chatted with Jason before, during and after dinner and what a delightful man, not to mention masterchef, our bill £340 for 2 was well worth it, Jason and Michael, we'll soon be back. Thank you for such a lovely evening, Heston's Dinner has much to look up to...

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank surfersimon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Great food but let down by poor service”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2011

It's been much hyped and for my partners birthday we just had to go. On arriving we were greeted by a nice lady who found us a seat at the bar. We waited 5 min to be acknowledged by the 'rather up themselves' bartenders. The drinks were good but a gin and tonic for £11 should be! On arriving at our table the waiter immediately soured the evening; rude, brash and arrogant. He did not explain the dishes and instead literally plonked them on the table like a motorway cafe. We asked about how the taster menu worked and were mocked. The food was good, not Marcus Wareing amazing, but good. For £264 for two people we expected to be blown away. Unfortunately, unlike Petrus or Marcus' we just came away with a slightly let down feeling inside, shame as it promised so much...

  • Visited August 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank sidodd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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