Home United KingdomLondonEC2 Lena


by Krista


66 Great Eastern Street

Date of Last Visit: Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

The Victim: Charles

The Damage: £35 for two

The Background: My hot water has been acting up for AGES. It's very inconsistent. Some days, I have hot water. Some days, I don't. At all. And some days, I have something in between.

Luckily for me, I have two things going in my favo(u)r:
1. I used to go camping a lot as a child. Particularly here. Where my parents convinced me I had my own horse. We visited my horse every summer. This ruse worked well, until the summer all the horses disappeared. Yes, insurance reasons. (Brownie, wherever you are, I still love you.)   
2. My fair share of time on U.S. Navy Bases. Military showers.

So this is my usual long way of saying I was stuck at home, waiting for the electrician to come fix my boiler.

Now see, I know that an electrician is not going to fix my boiler. He (or she) will fix my timer, some fuses, some electrical things.

But this no hot water thing? I don't think Pete the Electrician can fix it.

And I'm right. He can't. So I've spent the morning at home for nothing.

Well, there is lunch with Charles

The Entrance: Lena is empty when I enter. Very empty. Except for some workman, still putting the finishing touches on the light and white dining area. They offer me my choice of seats, and in comes Charles, with his VERY fabulous hat. It's like he's Russian. But he's not. (But maybe he is. I didn't ask.)

The Food: Chickpea soup for me. Smoked mozzerella for him. My chickpea soup is…a bunch of chickpeas, in some broth. I honestly feel like someone just opened a can. It's a bit lame.

Then, I got some sort of ragu for my main. That's it in the photo. Maybe it was oxtail. A very creamy oxtail ragu. I don't know. It's all lost. All lost In the memory of the next 24 hours. Because you see, something that day made me ill. Very ill. Me, the stomach of steel. I won't go into details. But suffice it to say, I sat home on Wednesday morning thinking, "Crap, what do I do? I just worked from home yesterday morning so I could wait for the electirican, and now I have to wait for the boilerman this afternoon, but I'm going to call in sick??? Even I wouldn't believe me."

I debated calling the restaurant and talking to them. But having experienced my own fair share of U.K. customer "service," I could imagine their reaction. There was nothing to guarantee the exact cause of my illness. It could be my weak stomach (but really, it is of steel), my breakfast, my dinner (I didn't eat any, just for the record), my something.  And besides, I was too ill to call anyone. Plus, I'm a wimp.

So I didn't call anyone. But I did Google what I had for ages and ages. And I learned all sorts of things that you really don't want to know. Really. And then I went to Superdrug.

But I will tell you, although the service at Lena was a little uninformed, it was sweet and responsive.

The Verdict: Umm. I just can't say.  

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Joel Brazil December 3, 2008 - 8:24 am

Oh I feel your pain, have had many holidays in Mexico and Spain, the worst pain ever.

Alex December 3, 2008 - 9:07 am

I think that’s a little harsh – you’ll tell the whole of the internet how sick the food made you but not bother with a simple phone call to the establishment?

Kake December 3, 2008 - 10:19 am

Report it to Environmental Health (for the borough that the restaurant is in). If it _was_ caused by something you ate there, then other people would have been ill too. The only way to really be sure that it was the restaurant’s fault is to see a pattern, and Environmental Health are the people to do this.

Ally December 3, 2008 - 3:03 pm

Oh dear. I hope you are better– but to be sick like that and have no hot water is double misery.

What is it about London flats and temperamental boilers?

Gourmet Chick December 4, 2008 - 9:57 am

Knowing that you got sick from eating that food makes me look sort of sick looking at the photo of the food – am tipping that you cannot look at the photo without feeling slightly nauseous as well.

Charles December 4, 2008 - 12:19 pm

OMG!!!!! I can’t believe you were ill – that’s shocking. Wow I’m glad I didn’t try any of your food hahaha no seriously that’s awful!

I’m not Russian. My surname is Olive which I used to think meant I was italian but my Dad said it comes from Olaf which is an old Viking name so I’m kind of descended from Vikings. They’re like a less literary version of Russians I think.

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