1 Lombard Street Offers Enduring Excellence

By Paul Joseph

London’s Square Mile is home to a captive audience of affluent and discerning diners, seeking business lunches or post-work nourishment. As a result, this highly concentrated area of the city boasts a vast number of distingushed eating venues.

Many of these restaurants live off past glories, but an aspiring few continue to deliver to a level befitting their well-heeled clientele. One such establishment is 1 Lombard Street, a French brasserie located in a neo-classical building a stone’s throw from the Bank of England.

A spectacular glass dome serves as the venue’s centrepiece attraction, underneath which sits a large circular bar. The surrounding dining area was typically busy during our Friday evening visit, with a diverse crowd of city gents, doting couples and younger revellers evidence of the restaurant’s appeal beyond the bank and law brigade.

The reason why 1 Lombard Street continues to fill tables is simply that the food is very good indeed. Perhaps not at the Michelin level of fine dining that previously earned it a coveted star, but excellent none-the-less. A starter of squab pidgeon was tender and subtle, whilst my companion’s lobster spaghetti was equally well-cooked with a freshness emanating from the fleshy sea meat.

For mains, a grilled and deboned Dover sole was similarly good, full of flavour and with a flakey, crunchy bite. Sea bass with salsa verde also received ample praise, the fish moist and tender whilst still having a deliciously crisp skin.

We wrapped things up with a moist sticky toffee pudding that released a cascade of deeply rich toffee sauce on entry. An Apple Charlotte with custard and vanilla ice cream for my companion boasted a nice balance of acidity to sweetness, a perfect mix of soft and crisp texture, and was cooked to golden brown perfection.

In a city that is constantly striving to push gastronomic boundaries with fly-by-night food fads, 1 Lombard Street remains part of an ever decreasing band of restaurants that can be relied upon to deliver a hearty, uncomplicated meal made with expertise and care.

By Paul Joseph