Absolutely fine. I had really high hopes for this place, and all it managed was absolutely fine. To be fair, my high hopes were probably misplaced; I can’t actually remember why I expected this to be delicious, classic food for a reasonable price in this smart but cheery part of town. And I really shouldn’t try to scoff down three courses in a lunch hour, even if the waiter says it won’t be a problem. But if your three-course lunch set menu is £19, and the portions are small, and the menu is brand new, and the chefs aren’t bitter yet because the place has only been open for four days, the food should be delicious, and service should be fast. But sadly, this food was not delicious. And we ran out of time for dessert.
My smoked chicken caesar salad was a bit greasy, tasting more of calories than anything else in particular. The smoked chicken wasn’t especially smoky, the dressing didn’t pack much punch. The egg was beautifully soft-boiled, which is actually quite tricky, but I can’t bring myself to give gold stars to professional chefs for their egg-boiling skills. The pork belly was nicely cooked in the middle, but its lovely salty top that looked so promisingly crispy was a chore to chew through. There was not enough sage.
The building is lovely, with bright (if boring) decor and smart (if ambitious when it comes to timing) service. I think that perhaps I didn’t get the best of Heaton, Butler and Bayne, and certainly didn’t manage my own expectations, but I would never send someone to a restaurant where the food, in my experience, was only absolutely fine.
Heaton, Butler and Bayne
Floral Street, Corner of Garrick Street, WC2, 020 7379 1432