239 Brompton Road
Tel: 020 7584 4477
Date of Last Visit: Sunday, 19 November 2006
The Victims: Al, Louise + 1/3
The Damage: £45 per person (LOVE my newkeyboard with the £££££ sign!)
The Background: Al and Louise are master organizers–they are so good at the brunch thing, you’d think they were from my country. They have the dubious honor of being "myfriends." They’re lovely. They are also EXPECTING which is very exciting, and which I suspected many months ago when Louise and I went to the theatre in Richmond. "We" had a drink at the Orange Tree and I did not write about it; you see, Louise did not drink at all, and let us just say that that is just a wee bit abnormal for her so I was immediately suspicious.
The Arrival: I arrive–early, despite visiting my Anya Hindmarch bags at Harrods–and am left in the doorway. A gentleman takes my coat and proceeds to stand there. He cannot seat me. I tell him I have a booking, but that does not matter. He cannot help me. No one can, except for the one man at the bar who is too busy serving the 7 customers seated. I am peeved!!! A couple walk in behind me. They too are left standing. The odd part is that there are 7 customers seated and THERE ARE 8 WAITSTAFF. And no one besides the guy holding my coat seems to give a damn that I’m there. Holy crap, I must be in France!
Finally, the head dude comes over and I tell him I have a booking and I say it’s for at least 3 at 12:45 and then he assumes that the people behind me are all with me and this just annoys me further. But finally I am shown to my table.
Sitting: And I am further ignored! I try to make significant eye contact with all 8 waitstaff, but despite the lack of customers, they all seem terribly busy. They walk to the front of the restaurant and then the back. Finally, I catch the eye of a young boy (he is, really, but a boy) and I request a glass of Riesling. Finally. Things pick up from there.
The Clientele: I must be in Paris. Everyone is!
The Food: Al & Louise arrive and we go for the French Onion soup (but of course!) and the deep fried corn fritters (I could be SO wrong on this). My soup is good–deep and dark and onion-y. It’s not the unbelievable French Onion experience I had in Paris with Michael and his friend Jenny at midnight when we were lost, but it is still very respectable.
The Mains: When I was a child, my father was in the Coast Guard Reserves. One year, we went to Virginia and went camping while he did his active duty (two weeks). We ate at the mess hall on the Navy base most every night for dinner. Except for the night they served RABBIT. Us Yankees hightailed it off that base faster than a, heck, I don’t know. But it was fast. We had dinner at Wendy’s that night. (Aside: One of my fave memories from childhood is seeing the opening of A View to A Kill on that very same base–we were the only family in the place–it was all soldiers in their uniforms, and man, were they excited to see James Bond!)
This is a very long way of saying that I had rabbit for lunch at Racine. Rabit with mustard and stringbeans. And you know what? It tasted like chicken. Heck, it’s possible it was chicken. I have no idea. It was like white meat. I was expecting duck-like meat. But I guess I should have realized that chicken is fowl and rabbit is not.
Al liked Louise’s dish so much that he ate his (the beef) and hers (the stew). Us drinkers washed it all down with a lovely chalky Sancerre.
Dessert: I love it when they set my dessert on fire. I don’t know what it was, but it was flammable.
The End: The restaurant filled up around 2 p.m., and the 8 waitstaff were fully utilized. Everyone who waited on us was very kind and decent, so I cannot complain except for that blip at the beginning where everyone ignored me.
The Loos: Not so bad. Clean and neat and very closet-like.
The Verdict: My father would like it here.