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Magdalen restaurant on Tooley Street - sounds good!

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Saturday 20 January 2007 10.24am
Am going tonight- only available table was at 9pm and they were fully booked last night.Will report back!
Sunday 21 January 2007 9.57am
So, Mr Sarahmc and I went there for dinner last night.
Everything brand spanking new, but a bit characterless. Could do with some pictures on the walls or something- as you go in there are sofas and lamps and it looked a bit like a hotel reception. They needed some candles down there as the lighting was neither one thing or another.
Upstairs was a more successful space with a lovely chandelier. To start with I had snails with bone marrow on toast. Snails were dry and chewy, one of the bone marrows was overdone and the toast was charred. Mr smc had cuttlefish with chickpeas and mussels which he liked.
Main course he had roast middlewhite with purple broccoli which was a bit cold, and I had a delicious smoked haddock with choucroute and morteau sausage- the flavours were divine.
Mr Smc asked the owner if they did side dishes as his main course was quite small- he was told that they did but they didn't put them on the menu- we were a bit puzzled by this.
Mr Smc had gingerbread icecream for pud and this was really really good.
Nice wine list too.
Only other niggle is that we had to wait a long time for our food, and there is only one loo (unisex).
With wine the bill was 64, (70 with a tip) including the opening discount.
We'd go back in a while when they've settled down a bit.
Sunday 21 January 2007 8.04pm
We went last night and liked it a lot. Our bill was about 50 with the discount including a couple of drinks beforehand and a bottle of wine.

The food was good - the portions were not huge, but I quite like that - I hate it when you leave a restaurant and feel like you're about to pop!

The duck ham starter was really good, and I had the pigeon and partridge terrine which was delicious but maybe not quite as good as the duck ham - I'd never even heard of duck ham before but it was lovely. We shared the pheasant for our main course, and the chestnut and bacon sauce/stuffing that it came with was really good. There were some vegetables on the side but I agree that side dishes would have been a good option - we didn't even think to ask though. Pudding was good - chestnut millefeuille, and chocolate cake with hazelnut icecream. Lastly the coffee was excellent. Drinks and wine were good and fairly well priced too.

In terms of atmosphere - when we arrived, and came in downstairs, it looked like the place was deserted. I wouldn't have thought it looked good from the street - mainly because there were tables laid by the window on the ground floor, but they weren't using them, so it looked empty. Also, there were 4 staff including the owner standing chatting in the downstairs/bar section, and there was no music - it felt a bit as if we had just walked into someone's house! For such a small space I think they had too many 'welcomers', it felt a bit awkward to talk because it was so quiet and there were so many staff standing right there. All of the tables they were actually using were upstairs. The atmosphere was a bit formal for the area, the staff treated you very formally, and I would have preferred it if it'd been a bit more relaxed and friendly, but that's obviously a personal thing.

The tables were very close together - I'm not sure if the people at the next table knew that we could hear every word of their arguments!

Overall I really liked it though, especially for the reduced price, a really good deal.

I would go back if only to try the gingerbread icecream, that sounded great!
JQL
Monday 22 January 2007 10.50am
Went there over the weekend and was not blown away. I think they have improved the space a lot since it was Fina Estampa but then again it did take them ages. Tables are too small, too light and too close together and the chairs are pretty poor and too cheap for the look they are going for and, as another poster mentioned, the paper tablecloths don't impress.

The wine list is fairly good and is reasonably priced...however they don't have proper red wine glasses. If I am going to order a high-end bottle of wine then I am not happy to drink it out of a narrow, pumped up tasting glass that really does the wine no favours.

For starters the duck ham was good and the pears balanced the dish nicely. The soup was below average and lacked both depth of flavour and texture. My real problem with the place was the main course of milk fed shoulder of lamb for two. This came in a le crueset like pot with a great carving knife and fork. Granted the meat was tender but there was not enough to feed a family of ants nevermind two hungry adults. This was accompanied by a tiny portion of tasty potato served in another pot with only enough potato to cover the bottom of the dish. This dish is normally 33 for two...this is far too much for some skin and bone with a couple of carrots in a stock when you consider that this is the price of a chateaubriand for two.

Anyway, the chocolate cake was a nice end to the meal. I really wanted this place to be better but I will go back in a couple of weeks and not order the sharing meals.
Tuesday 23 January 2007 6.48am
I went to this on Friday with my wife - we had a fantastic meal. The staff were friendly and wanted to ensure that you have a good time - unusual nowadays!

The wine is reasonably prices and the carafe option is great for people who like to try the different options rather than plump for whole bottles!

The food was excellent, pumpkin soup was delicious as a starter, and the longhorn beef (2 to share) was very tasty, finally the desserts are very good.

Overall I think that this is a great addition to the area, and we will be dining there in the near future. On my ratings this beats the rest of the London Bridge competition!
Wednesday 24 January 2007 6.30pm
There was a brilliant review in the Metro today! Made me want more of that lovely pheasant :)
Wednesday 24 January 2007 8.08pm
JaneS wrote:
There was a brilliant review in the Metro today! Made me want more of that lovely pheasant :)

Yep, it was certainly singing it's praises! Peering through the window though those little dishes of salt and pepper on each table put me off somewhat. What's wrong with the usual dispensers? Everyone putting their fingers in to take a pinch of salt or pepper is very unhygienic. I remember seeing a the results of an analysis of nuts left in a dish on bar - among other things found were traces of human excrement and urine from people who don't wash their hands. Lovely.
Tuesday 30 January 2007 7.16am
My friends and I all live in SE1 and work at Guys Hospital. We LOL at Jonathan K's comment about the salt and pepper dishes (lots of other restaurants use them by the way), especially from a bloke who was only 'peering through the window' (like some poor little orphan in a Dickensian novel). Doesn't Jonathan realise that the same people that don't wash their hands and who he is terrified of, put them everywhere else, on chairs, tables, bars, door handles and even on salt and pepper pots. Are you one of those that walk around with antiseptic tissues wiping every surface before you touch it. Please Jonathan K you'll be just fine, now relax and get a life!!!
Tuesday 30 January 2007 10.59am
henrythev wrote:
My friends and I all live in SE1 and work at Guys Hospital. We LOL at Jonathan K's comment about the salt and pepper dishes (lots of other restaurants use them by the way), especially from a bloke who was only 'peering through the window' (like some poor little orphan in a Dickensian novel). Doesn't Jonathan realise that the same people that don't wash their hands and who he is terrified of, put them everywhere else, on chairs, tables, bars, door handles and even on salt and pepper pots. Are you one of those that walk around with antiseptic tissues wiping every surface before you touch it. Please Jonathan K you'll be just fine, now relax and get a life!!!

Many thanks for your kind and thoughtful words. I will now no longer be concerned with people wiping their arse and then sticking their fingers into my food.
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