Monday, 9 March 2009

The Commander

I have a thing about waiting staff muttering indecipherable ingleesh in restaurants. There’s absolutely nothing positive about this ‘thing’; in fact I should’ve mentioned the word paranoia in the first place. I find it all too exhausting having to intervene or react to every statement that is uttered to me with either a ‘pardon’ or ‘sorry’! I mean I would love to say to the waiter (ess)- Hey this is Engerland so henceforth speak like Andy Pipkin does, but in this day and age that remark would be deemed beyond politically inappropriate. The lack of any Engerlish spoken can be witnessed at top dog joints like Hibiscus, Maze Grill and when I was there two years ago, the Fat Duck (an inconceivably beautiful French girl made Fleur Delacour sound like Fiona Bruce). I have a theory that the bureaupratts in Brussels are going to insist that diners bring their own portable translators to aid the linguistically disadvantaged waiting staff working in eating places within the EU. Mark my humble words, you read it here first. And to think, I haven’t even ranted about the rudeness, ignorance and condescension.

One decent thing amounted from my dinner at The Commander this evening. It was a waitress by the name of Nicole; very pretty, very blonde, very genuine, very efficient, very friendly, very pretty (so what it’s only the second time) and being from Vancouver, she spoke North American (that was somewhat decipherable and music to my ears). Nicole made a difference to what was otherwise a costly and very average meal.

The Commander is big, it’s got this (fishmonger) and that (florist) tied to it plus loads of rooms available for private functions and fat cats’ conferences. Although heavy on the wood detailing side of things the British pub-ness of it all is missing, it’s more of bar of indeterminate intention, the blurb suggested that an element of North America has been implemented. I call this a miscarriage of corporate identity and the menu soon confirmed this.

This ‘lost’ menu is in desperate need of a culinary compass, it’s confusing enough to work out whether one’s eating in a French, American or even Japanese restaurant. Sushi and Sashimi are on the menu and to confound matters more I see no signs of Japanese beers or sakes on the drinks list! I’m also surprised they didn’t include Thai Green Curry.

KC’s Pumpkin and Coconut Soup- warm, sweet and nothing much else to add.

My Linguine alle Vongole- I ordered this because The Commander kept reminding us of its resident fishmonger with its copious supply of the freshest fish on a daily basis.

Yes the clams were fresh and juicy, the pasta was undercooked and the watery sauce needed to be reduced more. This dish had an air of amateurish touch about it. If you’d tried it, you would’ve said I can cook this.

KC’s Fish Pie- all very small and very much a ‘ladies who lunch’ portion. One fish alone, salmon dominated the pie. Pricey and uninspiring.

My Chef’s Burger- all the meat here are allegedly supplied by The Ginger Pig. Nice plating, well cooked burger (medium) and huge skin-on (more like lazy!) fat chips.

No I can’t fault my mains but the one I had at a chain tasted better.

KC’s apricot and lemon sorbet- he didn’t say much but he did finish the shortbread and two out of the three scoops.

My Walnut and Banana Springroll with Vanilla Ice Cream- I have to be honest to conclude that those banana fritters you get at your local Chinese taste loads better. Disappointing.

The Commander is obviously impervious to the current climes, the prices that they charge for such average (or below) tasting tuck is outrageous. Tom Pemberton on the same road has no worries whatsoever. I’m not heading back.

47 Hereford Road
London, W2 5AH


Hollow Legs said...

Ouch - £57 and no booze? that's terribly pricy.

I also really dislike all this 'market price' business. Put a blackboard up and write the prices in every day, the 'market price' is just lazy and it puts me off ordering it.

bellaphon said...

Hear Hear! And no comparison to your lunch at Hibiscus!

Anonymous said...

What, that bill was for 1 person?! And you were saying my Hix meal was expensive? My meal looked much nicer than yours (and better value for money if we're going to compare bills!). But thanks for the review, and I won't have to add the restaurant to my wishlist now.

bellaphon said...

HYL- I've eaten my hat once for Lizzie, and now I'll have to swallow another one for you. The bill was for two, you'll be the first to know when I finally become two pigs in one!

Anonymous said...


Ok food.

However, coming to pay I found 170 pounds had been lifted from my wallet from my jacket on the back of the chair and my wallet on the floor under my chair (I know, I know...stupid place to leave your money but there were seriously about 5 customers in this place on a Sunday night and there was one person always at our table at all times). There are several CCTV cameras throughout the pub and so I asked to see footage in the pub office. When speaking to the manager, he didn’t even seem perturbed that one of his customers being robbed and calmly explained in full technical detail (read: prepared speech) about why the only CCTV camera that doesn't work happened to be above my table.

Not sure how a Oliver Twist from the streets would know about the only CCTV black spot in the pub though? Nor return my wallet and risk a hammering. Stolen wallets are for the rubbish bin down the street upon getaway.

Also strange how none of my cards were missing which made sure I could still pay for my meal. Nice food but 1 only star as £210 is too much for a grilled sea bass. Bag/wallet snatching is always a problem in London, but if it's the staff it turns a nice pub into a dump.