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5 Threadneedle Street,
The City,

(020) 7657 8088 / 8090

The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMichael Darvell06/02/2008
Bonds is the restaurant at Threadneedles, one of the boutique branches in The Eton Collection of small, well appointed hotels. It’s in the heart of the City within a coin’s throw of the Bank of England and Lloyds of London. The area may be all about money but Bonds provides cuisine of class without involving too much expense.

The Venue
The building housing Threadneedles and Bonds was originally (from 1856) a banking hall and subsequently the London headquarters of the Midland Bank. In recent years it was converted into a very smart hotel with modern fittings but retains the grandeur of the original building. The lobby has a huge atrium that will knock your eye out. Bonds has its own corner entrance with a small foyer and a long bar leading to the restaurant. Ceilings are high, so there is always that feeling of spaciousness and calm, while the many pillars denote a sense of solidity, a feeling that covers every aspect of the restaurant.

The Atmosphere
Lunch at Bonds is probably a time for wheeling and dealing over a good meal. If expense accounts are still alive and well, then the City is the place for them and it seems to be mainly gentlemen from the neighbouring banking houses and such like enjoying a lazy lunch, although of course no doubt they were making sure that the current credit crunch isn’t about to hit them. A sense of quietly serious enjoyment of good food pervades the air. Nobody is rushed and the staff are all exceedingly accommodating.

The Food
Head Chef Barry Tonks (ex-Dorchester, Landmark, Chapter One and Putney Bridge) offers a modern French menu that is eclectically different without being over fussy. A la carte it’s about £35 for three courses, but set menus are available for £20 for two courses and under £25 for three. The curried mosaic of smoked salmon is a welcome variation on a popular ingredient, a sort of layer cake of the fish with coriander, curry flavoured and served with cucumber yoghurt raita. The fresh Dorset Bay crab presents two little heaps of the white and dark flesh with a nicely flavoured tarragon mayonnaise. Presentation is impeccable: simple arrangements on big white plates.

Some good cuts of meat are to be found in the main course selection: vintage dry-aged beef fillet, roast duck breast, Denham Estate venison with chocolate sauce and cherries, and rump of Elwey Valley lamb. The duck is served sliced and fanned out on the plate with broccoli and a smidgen of turnip. Tender and full of flavour, this one is a winner. The Welsh lamb, deliciously pink and yielding to the touch of the knife, is served in its own cooking juices, and couldn’t be better. Fish also features in the Butter-roasted stone bass, the wild Scottish halibut and the market fish of the day such as salmon or cod.

For dessert, the caramelised apple tarte tatin for two is the best choice. It’s enormous, stickily delicious, hot but served with vanilla ice cream and quite irresistible. A fine selection of petits fours comes with coffee or tea.

The Drink
The wine list here is an award-winning one and includes bottles from all over the world. A very drinkable glass of Pinot Grigio (2006) enhanced seafood, while the meat course came to grips very nicely with a fine Rioja (2001). Bottles start at £16.50, with half-bottles from £10, but you can go all the way to £1200 for a bottle of Chateau Petrus, Pomerol (1985), depending on your expense account, that is.

The Last Word
You could spend a fortune on wine at Bonds, but you don’t need to and the food bill is not exorbitant for the area/ Amidst the City noise and business, Bonds is an oasis of civilised calm.
Bonds has been reviewed by 2 users
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Lunch: Salad & side from £15.00 at May Fair Bar

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