Bank on Green’s for top-notch nosh
Green’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar
14 Cornhill, London, EC3V 3ND
Tel: 020 7220 6300
Cost per person without wine: £35
THERE are precious few dinings rooms in the City with the “cor blimey” factor, so the news that a new restaurant was opening in the old Lloyds Banking Hall set us nodding like the dog on the Churchill adverts in this neck of the woods. It wasn’t just the location, either, but its pedigree. The proprietor is Simon Parker Bowles, who also owns Green’s restaurant in the West End and which has been going for 27 years – in this industry, that makes it immortal.
The first and most attention-grabbing part of Green’s is the Banking Hall with its massively high ceilings and pillars. On the floor is also the black horse mosaic, which was the symbol of the goldsmith who owned the hall before the bank and which it adopted. It’s breathtaking, and a brilliant place for a drink or for a snack.
But our focus was on the mezzanine restaurant, with views over the hall from one side, and Cornhill and the Royal Exchange on the other. It is an understated room, almost spartan with its white walls and ceiling, silvery fixtures and fittings. Stripy chairs, green booths and swooping, patterned banquettes stop it being boring.
Oysters being the name of the game, we plumped for nine of the little beggars, from Carlingford Lough in Scotland. They were plump and had the tang of the sea, just as they should. At £24.75, they were not cheap – let’s hope those expense accounts are still going strong.
The other food is basically posh English, with a whiff of the public school dining room about it, although with oodles of refinement. Soused herrings come with rosti, ham hock with piccalilli, calves’ liver with sage mash. My bubble and squeak was seasoned beautifully (although it was, oddly, made with carrots rather than cabbage) and the poached egg was perfectly done, while the hollandaise was superb. My friend’s “smoked haddock Parker Bowles” came with mash and a champagne sauce, no less. She loved it. She’d eaten the lamb with parsnip and potato the week before which also got the thumbs-up.
Other eye-catchers from the mains menu included halibut steak with wilted spinach and hollandaise, a “well-hung steak” and, curiously, “open lasagna of Totnes brie with spiced English grapes, wild mushrooms, wilted rocket and butternut squash mousseline”, which sounds eccentric to say the least.
Desserts include some British lovelies, including Damson Cambridge burnt cream with tuile biscuit and Green’s sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Tempting, but we had to get back to the office. The wine list is also tempting, with glasses of red and white South Africans at under a fiver, and carafes from under a tenner. It’s a long list with representatives from most parts of the world, and prices are good.
It’s a cracker of a City restaurant, and the people behind it clearly understand how to appeal to Square Milers. The only hiccup was with service. Wine that we hadn’t ordered was brought, and the wrong bill presented. Staff were friendly and helpful, so it was a shame that they made these (small) mistakes. Overall, though, this is going to be a winner. Book soon.
In a Nutshell: A cracker of a City restaurant in an absolutely stunning space, with high-class, turbo-charged comfort food and a tempting, well-priced wine list.