"It was really great fun, lovely food, welcoming staff and, of course, an absolute essential for rock fans of any age."Review Rating: Reviewed by KimT
It was mid-week and summertime and I had a rare day off work to quietly celebrate my birthday. I’d spent the morning wandering down memory lane around Fulham – my home town. I’d met up with some work friends for an informal lunch and whilst I had considered a number of upmarket restaurants in the West End I felt I wanted to be in an environment that was relaxed and fun – and playing rock music.
Alighting from the tube at Hyde Park Corner, I was pleased to see that there was no queue. We left the bright sunlight and entered the interior which was so busy and exciting that I was stopped in my tracks. The friendly waitress showed us to a booth table that overlooked the street through the window but which was on an elevated section so that we could easily see across the entire restaurant.
Not knowing whether to study the menu or the amazing memorabilia (photos, clothes, guitars etc) covering every space on the walls, or indeed the non-stop rock music videos on the screens dotted around the place I ordered a mojito. And as it was my birthday I agreed to paying the extra £7.50 to receive a 40th anniversary (of the Hard Rock Café) glass to take home. It was, to put it mildly, a large mojito. My pals ordered Budweisers (£3.95).
In the Queen section of rock mementoes I spied a still of a Pink Floyd “The Wall” graphic which one of my friend’s friends had designed. He texted him a photo straightaway. On a trip to the loo I stood in front of a glass case containing an Elton John outfit – black with hundreds of white stars all over it (I really, really like stars!). Down here is also The Vault – containing lots more interesting things to see – but I was desperate for my lunch so I scurried back upstairs.
We shared potato skins (£6.95) to take the edge off our appetites (and those drinks). I opted for shrimp and chicken combo fajitas (£15.95) which were great – it’s so much fun constructing your own food and equally delightful getting thoroughly messy as you try to eat it. Another colleague opted for a New York strip (£19.45) – a massive hunk of steak with fries with mushrooms on the side (£1.75). I had eaten way too much so I didn’t dare look at the dessert menu.
But it seems that when I had taken my trip to the loo, the waitress and my companions had colluded. I was then greeted with a huge glass of birthday ice cream – with a candle on the top. I had to stand there while the rest of the diners sang “Happy Birthday”. I didn’t know whether to die of embarrassment or burst with happiness – who says you’re ever too old for birthday celebrations? Although I admit I felt a bit sheepish when the next lucky customer to be sung to was a pretty little eight year old. We lingered a while over our coffees (£1.95 espresso, £2.95 for filter) while we continued to gaze at the walls and even sing along (quietly) to some of the music videos.
To collect my glass I had to go across the road to the Rock Shop across the road. What a fabulous place! There were loads of tee shirts on display as well as bags and jewellery and other commemorative stuff. I bought my kids some guitar scarves (£10.50 each – one in pink, the other in black). And some red, black and white guitar picks (£5.25 for lots of them) as well as some small tins shaped like guitars as I was planning a themed party and thought they’d make neat favours. I chatted to the guys at the cash desk and we discovered a mutual love of Whitesnake and shared roots in Fulham. It was a delightful experience.
I fully intend to take my teenage kids – plus any other youngsters I need to entertain – there at the earliest opportunity. And I may decide to bring a bit of light relief to the occasional work lunch or dinner by hosting it there. It was really great fun, lovely food, welcoming staff and, of course, an absolute essential for rock fans of any age.
KimT reviewed Hard Rock Cafe on Wed 10 Aug 2011