Sign up to The American magazine's newsletters (below) to receive more regular news, articles and updates on America in the UK.
Centre Point, 11 Saint Giles Square, London, WC2H 8AP
Reviewed by Michael M Sandwick
The idea of glamour peaked in the '60s. Sadly, I came of age just when it was over. Nobody equates glamour with the '70s. We were all too stoned. Oops. I didn’t write that! VIVI are Roman numerals for the year Centre Point was completed, (19)66. It so captures the glamour of the era, it hit me like a flashback. Oops, I didn’t write that! I saw my parents, my childhood and the cast of Madmen all at once. And my date bore an uncanny resemblance to Holly Golightly. Magic!
Centre Point has run the gamut from brutalist eyesore to grade II listed icon. With the new station at Tottenham Court Road near completion, it is a hot spot. Greeted at reception on the ground floor by a lovely hostess in a fab A-line skirt, we were directed to the 2nd floor dining room. Wow! Vast, windows running the length on 2 sides, high banquettes, spectacular bar and a brilliant chandelier. Reeking of glam, it alludes perfectly to the '60s. On one side are sharing tables (which weren’t invented in the '60s). On the other, the most glorious round banquettes in candyfloss pink!!! I must go back to sit in one.
The food doesn’t reflect the '60s as much as it might. Probably just as well. I’m not sure SpaghettiOs or spray cheese would be hot sellers today. Still, a plate of rumaki and pigs in a blanket would have been a happy trip down culinary lane. Based on the best of British produce, the menu is not particularly innovative, but the kitchen is absolutely solid. Everything was well prepared, nicely presented and served beautifully by an excellent wait staff.
A glass of Moët Rosé Impérial (£14.50) was a regal start with a lovely hint of cherry. Crusty, warm sourdough rolls kept me from getting too pissed. Oops, I didn’t write that. Tasty, trendy Cornish crab with apple, avocado and vinaigrette (£14.50) brought me happily back to 2019 while a Keen’s cheddar twice baked soufflé (£13.50) spawned another flashback. Served with Provençale peppers and Mornay sauce it nearly stopped my heart. I would have died very happily! Such a shame we can’t eat like this any more.
A 2017 Cotes du Luberon Blanc (£9) was a light and refreshing Rhone blend with pear and citrus.
Mains had me time warping again. Madras roasted monkfish with spinach and cauliflower bhaji (£24.50) was cooked beautifully and full of flavour. Chicken Kiev (£17.50) had me longing for The Russian Tea Room in New York. What a dish. One slice and there was butter everywhere. I sopped up every drop and asked for a defibrillator!
A glass of 2016 Trapiche Estación 1883 Malbec (£11) washed it down with plum and spice.
Treacle tart (£8) and Millionaires chocolate bar (£8.50) were both excellent desserts without reference to my childhood. I was more than happy to forgo a bowl of crappy jello! I did write that!