Andrew Edmunds, Soho

It was this list of Fay Maschler’s 50 favourite restaurants in London that pushed Andrew Edmunds to the top of my hit list. It’s one of those old boys, sitting pretty on Lexington Street in Soho since 1986, that is loved by all and is always busy.

It’s also dog friendly which is handy as we’re dog sitting Fred the pug.

It’s a gloriously sunny day and our table in the ground floor breezy dining room (think creaky wooden chairs and paper tablecloths) offers some welcome respite from the heat. They bring Fred the pug a water bowl which is a nice touch.

That’s as friendly as things get though. Service certainly lacks interest – the sort where they look anywhere else but you while you place your order. It feels like they are unhappy – and unhappy servers make for unhappy customers.

The food isn’t great either. Starters are probably the best bits we eat – but that isn’t praise. Potted shrimp and toast (£7.50) is nice, there is plenty of butter and the shrimps offer saltiness, but asparagus with hot butter (£7.20) is limp and watery.

A pork chop (£18.10) is large and its cooking is decent; moist meat, fat cooked through etc but the sauce has a consistency of water and flavour to match. No chef that enjoys cooking and eating would surely serve such a thing. The bitter chard beneath it is mush.

Bass (£21.50) lacks a fully crisp skin, and no-ne has ever enjoyed eating soggy fish skin have they? Saffron courgettes have a funny taste, we can’t put our finger on it, probably saffron overkill which drowns out any flavour of fish.

Maybe we caught the restaurant on a bad day. Or maybe we just didn’t see what all those who love Andrew Edmunds see. I got the impression that if you’d be going for years, you’d hold a special place for it in your heart. But for us, as new customers in 2017, it just didn’t cut the mustard.

It wasn’t all bad though, Fred the pug thoroughly enjoyed his water.

Would we go back? No.

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