"a lot of romantic and tragic history to the place"Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
Anyone who works around the Holborn, Mid-town or Hatton Garden area will know this trio of eating establishments. They are in a hidden yard on Greville Street (just off Hatton Garden) and there are three choices:
On the road – The Tavern Bar that serves food
To the left of the yard – A classic French bistro
To the right of the yard – A more formal restaurant with upper and lower levels
I have eaten in all three and the choice will depend on the formality of the occasion and your wallet. I have even attended a rather glamorous private dinner and dance in the magical, candle-lit crypt in adjoining Ely Place.
Yesterday, I met a business colleague in the bistro (to add to the confusion this is sometimes referred to as the brasserie). I walked across the charming cobbled yard and looked at the optimistic folk sitting at the al fresco tables (there were monsoon like rains shortly after!) and followed a group of elderly tourists.
The authentic French staff greeted me with a cheery “Bonjour” – so it’s a good place to practice your conversational French skills. I spied my colleague at the back of the room and weaved my way through the numerous tables. The tables are quite close together so you may have to speak in code if you have confidential business matters to discuss – the place is usually full of business folks at lunch time and yesterday was no exception. There’s a rather different feel to the place in the evening though.
For my starter I selected the Mousseline of Goats Cheese with roasted Baby Beets and a Hazelnut and Honey Dressing (£7.25). The mousseline was as creamy and light as expected the salad leaves were just enough – the beets were firm and cool and the dressing and nuts proved excellent accompaniments. My colleague opted for the Smoked Salmon Mimosa with Blinis (£7.95) which he ate whilst dipping into the basket of crusty bread that was provided.
I had spied the Seared Yellow Fin Tuna on a Salade Nicoise with Green Beans and Vine Tomatoes (£14.95) being eaten by the folks on a nearby table and it looked very good (a huge slab of tuna) and I was sorely tempted. But instead I choose the new season Asparagus and Pea Risotto With Pea Shoots and Pecorino (£11.95). A good, creamy risotto although I would have liked a little more pecorino cheese. My colleague opted for the Salmon and Cod Fish Cake with Spinach and Parsley Sauce (£10.25) which was absolutely huge. We had both ordered side dishes of Salade Verte (£2.95).
There is an extensive wine list – over 450. And the restaurant owns the acclaimed New Zealand vineyard Trinity Hill in Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of the North Island, in partnership with top New Zealand winemaker John Hancock.
But as it was a working lunch we had lots of sparkling mineral water although I did take a glass of the house wine – I was offered Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. The latter was excellent – properly chilled and light and a perfect match for my cheese themed meal. And I thought it a bargain at just £3.95 a glass.
There’s a lot of romantic and tragic history to the place – apparently, the yard takes its name from a 17th century beauty – Lady Elizabeth Hatton – who was found murdered there (possibly by a European ambassador) after a ball with her heart still pumping blood onto the courtyard. The place also gets a mention in Charles Dickens’ “Little Dorrit” and he also told a story of a young woman being imprisoned there by her father for remaining true to her lover. No wonder there were a few tourists amongst the business folk!
KimT reviewed Bleeding Heart on Thu 12 Jul 2012