24 June 2013

Windows of Opportunity

Finding a restaurant in the West End suitable for Sunday lunch with the family today — i.e. one that takes bookings — proved relatively easy. As it turned out, we probably didn't need to book our table at Heaton, Butler and Bayne, which opened a few weeks ago in Covent Garden, as there were only a few other occupied tables throughout our sitting. Still, it did mean we got 50% off our food, thanks to TopTable.

Heaton, Butler & Bayne, Floral Street.

They used to make glass here. Now they fill glasses.

On the site of a former stained glass factory, which was run by the eponymous Heaton, Butler and Bayne, the restaurant is on the relatively unassuming Floral Street. The lack of footfall may have contributed to the lack of bums on seats, which is a shame as we had a really nice lunch (it may have been slightly less awkward if they had turned on the music earlier). It's a nice space, with lots of interesting nooks and crannies, although no stained glass that I noticed. I really liked the design and also the crockery — the milk for Maman's tea came in a tiny milk bottle, and I was eyeing up the bowl for my chips.

To try to fend off a burgeoning cold, I decided to order a cocktail rather than wine, and the Spring Breeze (sloe gin, basil, lemon and Prosecco) certainly blew away a few cobwebs. It was strong and very fruity — my ideal cocktail, in short. The wine list is fairly extensive, with a number of wines available by the carafe.

Spring Breeze cocktail.

In an attempt to save some room for a potential pudding, I skipped the starter, although The Bro's gazpacho with basil pesto looked good. Most of us had the roast beef for our main course. The beef was cooked really nicely, and came with a lovely crispy Yorkshire pudding and green beans. This meant that I could also try the triple-cooked chips as a side, rather than roast potatoes (sacrilege, I know). The chips were great, actually. Crispy on the outside and moist and soft on the inside. I ate far too many of my portion. The menu does vary slightly from day to day, depending on what's fresh. Unlike many other central London restaurants of its ilk, the menu is also relatively unfussy: simple combinations of ingredients cooked really well.

Roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. With triple-cooked chips.

Happily, I did manage to order a pudding, although I was pretty full (the main course portions are plenty big enough for me, but aren't huge, as a warning). It was tough deciding between the doughnuts with a caramel cream filling and the frozen Dime bar cake, which was technically on the set menu rather than the à la carte. As I had had some great doughnuts recently, courtesy of You Doughnut!, I went for the Dime bar cake, which was creamy and delicious, complete with crunchy, Dime-bar-esque pieces. It took me back to my Dime Bar Crunch days at G and Ds in Oxford.

Frozen Daim Bar cake.

With the discount on the food, the bill was pretty reasonable, although it might have started feeling a little too pricey if we'd paid full price, especially because the atmosphere wasn't the greatest — it's nice to have at least a little bit of bustle, and if not, do put some music on! I hope more people discover Heaton, Butler and Bayne, because it's a beautifully designed spot, with great food and interesting cocktails. I'm not saying that I want to have to queue for two hours to prove how much I want to eat there, but a few more filled tables would have gone a long way.

Heaton, Butler and Bayne. 27c Floral Street, London, WC2E 9EZ (Tube: Leicester Square or Covent Garden). Website. Twitter.

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