ONE08 Marylbone Lane
More from GT Scene
Soft string music - an obvious choice when it comes to enhancing a diner's experience, yes; but the theme tune to Twin Peaks? C'mon now!
Yes, it was the sound of Angelo Badalamenti's iconic and supremely eerie handiwork, synonymous with the cult 90s supernatural drama that greeted GT upon on visit to 108 Marylbone Lane (or ONE08 as it's chosen to brand itself), and it didn't go unnoticed. Admittedly nobody else at the restaurant seemed to notice, and at face value the music perfectly suited ONE08's soft, classy ambience. But there's no getting around the fact that it thoroughly creeped ME out.
I was even more unsettled upon my arrival to learn that somehow, be it the actual fault of ONE08's accompanying website or mine, I had been completely misinformed as to the level of formality of the place. What digitally presents itself as a breezy, laid back eatery ("the most relaxed dining in Marylbone Village"), boasting a simple, competitively priced menu of classic dishes and quick bites, was in reality far more suave affair than anticipated. This is hardly a criticism - basically what's on offer here is a little piece of affordable luxury - just don't turn up in jeans and trainers like GT did. Perhaps the website needs to rethink the message it's trying to put across?
These two minor gripes aside though, dinner at ONE08 was a splendid experience. The food was lovely - the roasted Mediterranean vegetable bruschetta was a fresh, flavoursome start, served plentifully on a large bed of deep green rocket, but light and fluffy enough to encourage the appetite rather than pacify it.
This was followed by another summery, thoughtfully presented dish: a sea bass fillet pan friend until it was the perfect consistency, firm and crispy in places but melt-in-the-mouth elsewhere. It was served with a bright, zingy lemon cous cous plus a delicious tomato and caper sauce that I might have benefitted from a little more of.
My guest informed me his choice of lamb was cooked just as expertly, to his very specific request, and was very soft and tender, served with Lyonnaise potatoes and rosemary sauce. Dessert wasn't quite as big a hit: a delicious toffee pudding was very quaint in size, while more than half the fruit that made up my guest's platter was unripe. Lastly, a few cakes served with coffee were near-inedible having been, I suspect, kept in a too cold fridge. But all of this is a merely an afterthought, I took with me positive feelings about the high quality of the food in line with the price structure - most of the mains hover around the £12-16 mark.
But the most striking aspect of the evening was the service. An awkward request to order a side dish from the bar menu as opposed to the dinner menu was happily accommodated; my struggle to select a beverage to compliment my fish course was dealt with with unerring patience and good humour, and at our invitation some were happy to stand and chat.
Indeed GT was so charmed by the waiting staff, including one cheerful lady who we were informed had been happily waiting tables at the restaurant for many years, that when a spillage occurred - yes, she spilt food while clearing our table, while we were on a restaurant review: just the thought's enough to make you cringe - we felt immediately inclined to forgive her. She was lovely and made our evening.
ONE08 Marlybone Lane,