132-136 St John Street
Te: 020 7608 1550
Date of Last Visit: Friday, February 2, 2006
The Victims: Conrad, Laura, Rob
The Damage: £16 each + Drinks (paid for separately at the bar)
The Background: We were over at Conrad’s place, making plans and drinking red wine. Our stomachs started talking to us, so it was time for sustenance. Cicada is right down the road from Conrad’s flat and he is a not infrequent visitor. I had heard mixed reviews about Cicada, but good company always wins out, so off we went.
The Arrival: Rob was waiting for us at the bar, and we quickly put our name in for a table and got ourselves some beer. The staff there had just turned away a party of two–they told the couple that they couldn’t take them for another 45 minutes or more. We put in for a table of four and almost immediately after placing our drink order at the bar, we were seated.
Now this brings up an interesting conundrum: when I was a hostess in the US, if we had an unreserved table available, it went to whoever asked for it, regardless of party size. If that meant sitting two people at a "four top," that was fine. So I felt bad for the couple who were turned away because if they had just adopted a random stranger from the bar (and becoming a party-of-three), they totally could have eaten. I’ve also noted in my "career" there are lots of parties-of-two who will out eat, out dessert, and out drink a party-of-four. So why pass them over for the unknown? And you know the really sad thing? I looked around the restaurant 30 minutes later and there were a bunch of empty tables. Those 2 people totally should have had one.
The Food: We ordered a bunch of things and had them delivered randomly to the table. There was edamame, of course. And some squid in a paper funnel that was quite nice. And some great pad thai. I ordered the duck pancakes and they told me it was available, but then they later told me they were out. By that point, it would have taken too long for any additional food to arrive, so I got a beer instead. This was sad because I left the restaurant just a little too hungry still.
The Service: It was her second shift. A little more menu training and she’ll be fine.
The Verdict: You know, I liked Cicada. I’d be interested in knowing what people disliked about it, because I thought it was pretty decent.