Monday, 9 February 2009

The Princess Victoria

There are instances when I feel wholly incensed and I find it all too difficult to put it in words to describe a horrid experience. Well I shall but persevere with tonight’s expensive mistake. My first visit to The Princess Victoria (PV) was at a time when they first opened and I was more than impressed with the food, in fact that elation only prompted an acknowledgement of thanks to Andy Hayler for his review.

Dinner tonight at this well respected gastro pub was looked forward upon with heartfelt expectations. Despite being a Sunday evening, it was just as well that we booked as the dining room was rapidly filling up by around 7.30. The room was large and airy, but dark, in fact too flipping dark! This might as well be the West London branch for Dans le Noir; reading the menu or let alone trying to inspect what you’re eating in here is challenging at best! Restaurants that strive on this lack of lighting during dinner must have something to hide, is it the less than pristine furniture or the cracked crockery or has the tomato sauce turned vivid pink instead? Ok let’s be fair to PV, maybe the whole ambience is best suited to couples who might be able to sneak in a snog or two, or customers who believe in the food follow booze (‘tis a pub after all) ethos. On tonight’s account alone, this place I regret to instill, is inappropriate for savvy foodies.

The companion’s Parsnip and wild mushroom velouté and cep oil was lukewarm! ‘Waiter! Help, this soup is not served at the right temperature!’ Waiter had to consult the kitchen and came back approximately four minutes later to explain that this kind of dish is meant to be served neither hot nor cold (you see, the waiter was as blurred as us on this); so be a good boy and finish the soup. I hope my mentioning of savvy foodies is not going to suggest that I’m pig ignorant; honestly this is the first time I’ve encountered soup being served lukewarm in the middle of winter when the temperature outside is barely 4ºC!!! Oh the soup tasted ok, but unlike Oliver Twist, companion certainly wouldn’t want anymore.

My Terrine of jellied pigs head and smoked ham hock with celeriac remoulade was under seasoned. I’ve been hankering after some brawn but sadly this simply stalled at the lights. With regards to stirring the proverbial this block also looked positively unappetising in the dark dining room, thank gawd for the flashlight.

Oh dear this beautifully plated Pan fried fillet of sea bass, shellfish and coconut risotto, wilted gem and green peas was companion’s second course. That fish wasn’t fresh, it reeked of fishy rigor mortis. You see companion is not one to complain, bloody British sensitivity I call it, he’s one of those peeps who will always answer ‘Yes dinner was lovely, thank you’ to the waiter, irrespective of the outcome.

I, Spartacus, took the matter up with the manager/owner of the place and as roses are red and violets are blue he came up with a textbook reply of ‘I’ve spoken to the chef (cook more like, I’d say) and he assured me that the bass is the freshest possible…and on and on’. I find all this rhubarb condescending at best. To be fair to the guv, he did offer to remedy the complaint, but companion had nearly gorged his entire unacceptable fish dinner by then. Companion loves reminding me on, ‘look old boy, never send things back to the kitchen as you never know what might…’

My foggy (it tasted like that anyway) pic of my mains of Smoked haddock and sweetcorn chowder, dauphine potato and poached egg was an extravagant dish. It was the most expensive dish on the menu and it redefined ‘you’ve been had sucker!’ I start to weep when I think of Wild Honey’s take on the Bouillabaisse for three quid more. The lack of perceived value on this chowder is woeful, despite the wonderful aroma and succulence of the haddock, this dish was gone in precisely five mouthfuls (don’t worry mine isn’t hippo sized). Not that I intend to come back here again, but for the benefit of other diners who order this dish in the future please include a spoon and not a bloody knife! On hindsight, I should’ve ordered the rib of beef or belly of pork instead, damn it.

The annoyingly non-complaining (well directly at least) companion’s sweet of tangerine crème brûlée and chocolate chip cookies was deemed creamy and custardy, but he couldn’t detect any hint of tangerine flavours.

Despite the orangey coloured (once again with thanks to the flashlight) custard I too couldn’t detect any citrus notes. Why don’t use Seville oranges instead when they are just about in season now?

As with most fiascos and misadventures, there’s always a smidgen of saving grace lurking beyond the horizon. Well for tonight’s dinner it was the toasts or to be more precise the Welsh rarebit. A perfect amount of both cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce lifted the melted cheese wonderfully.

This has gotta to be most expensive cheese on toast I’ve ever had. Supplied with fork and bloody spoon, when a knife would’ve been more useful than the latter.

Catalogue of errors and amateurish cooking sum up this place. It’s expensive and quite obviously flawed, a £25.00 hallowed lunch can be had at the two starred Hibiscus or £19.00 for an early dinner at the one starred Wild Honey. I’m angry with myself that I chose to come here tonight, I’m so
freakin’ PV’d off!


Erroneous first bill showing a bottle of wine ordered when we’re both teetotallers. Mr owner/manager/organ grinder, a little sorry would be nice.

217 Uxbridge Road
Shepherds Bush
London W12 9DH

Happier and certainly brighter past visit-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I went not long after they opened and struggled to find much on the menu I wanted. What we did order was ordinary. Don't know what the fuss is about. Nice riesling by the glass though.