We visited the restaurant for a special occasion, and overall we were pleased with the outcome. The restaurant is in a small street off a main road in Hampstead and we were lucky with parking, as the road it's in is resident-only until 10pm, something to be careful about if you're driving there. It's clearly sign-posted, but even people familiar with the area may not be aware of it, as it is - as the name suggests - in a cellar. You walk down some steep steps to get to the restaurant, so if someone has difficulty with stairs this may not be the best choice.
Inside, the restaurant is very unpretentious and the decor is a little dated and perhaps tired, but the atmosphere is cosy, welcoming and as other reviewers have said, reminiscent of restaurants of the 1970's/80's. Indeed, it reminded me of a small family-run italian restaurant I used to visit many years ago - warm and wecoming, without being overly fancy. The restaurant is small and the there is not a huge amount of room, but we didn't feel crowded, despite the fact that it was full.
The menu is not huge or particularly varied, but neither of us struggled to find something to eat. It's a set price for two or three courses, with supplements for certain dishes. To start my partner had a pancake stuffed with salmon and spinach whilst I opted for onion soup, both of which were good, if not spectacular. Main courses were steak in a mustard sauce and rack of lamb. The steak was asked for Medium-Rare and was exactly that (a pet hate of mine is when it's not cooked for as requested - why ask if you're not going to listen?) and the sauce was delicious. The lamb was a little over-done for my taste - I prefer it pink - but to be fair I didn't ask for it that way and I know many people prefer it well done. In no way was it overcooked and once again, it was served with a delicious sauce. I could easily have eaten more of it. The mains were served with a small selection of fresh vegetables and lyonaise potatoes, which were good.
I'm not a dessert person, but my partner (who is from Belgium) had crepes in Grand Marnier and, as something of an expert, pronounced them "good, but very boozy!". It's the sort of dessert I would have expected to be flambeed, but in truth there wasn't room to do it at the table and judging by the state of the plate at the end, I don't think there were any complaints!
All in all, it was good, simple food, well prepared and served, at what were reasonable prices, particularly given the area. My only real gripe was with the wine list. The choice wasn't extensive and the prices were rather rich. I was driving so wasn't drinking and there were no options of wine by the glass, only a small selection of half-bottles. Being charged £20 for a half bottle of (admittedly nice) wine did seem rather excessive and this was by no means the most expensive choice on the menu. In this day and age, with so many people not drinking and driving, this was probably the only aspect that did disappoint.
Overall - a lovely restaurant with good food and good service, at reasonable prices - if you're not drinking wine.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.