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We decided to go to Forty Dean Street as we wanted a restaurant in a central location which was also reasonably priced. We noticed that there was a deal ‘two courses for £12. I know, I know reader, I should know that this is going to end in tears but what can we say, we felt like ‘living on the edge’.
Forty Dean Street is an Italian (although we met the owners who are Arabic) and is an incredibly small place that tries to fit as many people in as possible. The room itself was golden cream in colour and rather bland,; there was a large bar that seemed to dominate the restaurant and as it was first and foremost a restaurant this seemed a little out of place. It is a little crowded but as it was a nice day the balcony doors were opened and gave more of an airy feel. Having said that, we were lucky enough to be given a cushioned seat in the corner that had far more room and was directly opposite the bar.
We had previously checked out the menu of the set menu on the restaurant and we have to say there was very little resemblance to that on the set menu we had in our hand. We asked the waiters why this was and they feigned ignorance. On this limited menu there was little we liked. We argued our case and they eventually gave in and changed the sides and dressings for us. And so they should!
In the end we decided on the mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado salad along with minestrone soup and white bait. There was only one waiter in this small but packed restaurant so we had to wait a long while until we could order – but we have to note that the waiter himself did have time to do Lemoncello shots in between!
When the food finally arrived the salad was good; it included milky buffalo mozzarella, perfectly ripe avocado and meaty beef tomatoes however the soup was rather watery and the onion was rather intensive but the portion size was not to be sniffed at. The white baits however were a triumph, crisp, light and juicy. These were served with a small side salad which lightened the rich fish dish.
Again we had to wait a while to have our starters cleared away; to be honest this was not an issue as we were old friends that wanted to catch up but for a quick meal would hardly be ideal. For main course we ordered the chicken breast with green beans. The chicken looked as though it had been waiting under a warm plate for a long time and as the delivery of the food was much faster than the service we suspect this was the case. The chicken was rather thin and was in a basic thick tomatoes sauce that tasted basic. We also ordered fish and chips Italian style and the zucchini rigonti pasta which was slightly over cooked but came in a delicious sauce which clung onto the pasta. Our meals were not piping hot and we even saw a waiter having to take a dish back from the couple sitting next to us as it was barely warm.
Forty Dean Street for the atmosphere, food quality and taste was a let-down and not recommendable. The slow service worked in our favour this time as we got a chance to catch up friends but this would not normally be ideal. Again we think the Arabic owned restaurant take on a family run Italian was poor and a scattering of Italian chefs did not add to the authenticity therefore we can only award Forty Dean Street:
Food Atmosphere Service