Posted on Monday, 18th March 2013
D&D London is one of the largest UK-based restaurant chains, with a reach that extends to 30 restaurants around the UK and other major capital cities such as Paris, Tokyo and New York. Plateau is one branch of the D&D family tree, and the décor of the restaurant is suitably attired to serve the likes of a Canary Wharf business crowd. It’s shiny and polished, with a slick city feel to it. Located on the fourth floor of Canada Square, right above Waitrose, the restaurant grants wonderful views of Canada Square. On a long sunny summer’s day this would offer a true spectacle of the hordes of people gathered around to enjoy the warm weather.
Plateau is divided between the Bar & Grill and the main restaurant. The former offers a more casual dining menu, whereas the latter bears a more contemporary French theme. In addition to the à la carte there was a three-course £25 set menu available on the night of our visit. It’s one of the things that D&D London does quite regularly – offering set price three-course menus through TopTable or The Evening Standard. In this day of austerity, these fixed-price options can be an attractive proposition for those wishing to seek out an opportunity of dining at a reasonably budget price in the swanky type setting that is a trademark of most D&D restaurants.
Well we tried both options – three courses from the à la carte menu, and three courses from the £25 menu. Starting with what we ate from the à la carte first: a risotto cooked with a Jerusalem artichoke stock (£9) was nicely done, although the rice could have done with slightly less time for a more al dente finish. A red wine reduction served as a finishing touch and added a nice sweetness to the risotto, but the flavour of a promised garlic and parsley butter as listed on the menu was not discernible. Furthermore, the braised Aylesbury snails that topped the dish were overcooked and bland.
Best end and slow braised shoulder of Colne Valley lamb with sweetbreads, boulangère potatoes and rosemary sauce (£21.50) was rather average. While the lamb cutlets were very tender and reasonably tasty, they were also extremely fatty. The slow braised lamb was very dry and the sweetbreads were overcooked. The potatoes were also underdone, and to top it off, there was not enough sauce on the plate.
Tart of the day was a pear and frangipane tart (£6). It was a generous slice, but the balance between the sugar and almonds was not quite right. There were not enough almonds and the tart was a touch too sweet.
To the set menu: a beetroot cured Scottish salmon was served with marinated cucumber and grain mustard dressing. The salmon was reasonably tasty, but the accompaniments proved rather lifeless and dull.
The main course was a slow braised chicken with Alsace bacon, button mushrooms, mashed potatoes and tarragon jus. The dish looked really good but turned out to be a huge disappointment. The chicken was extremely dry, as if it had been heated up over and over again. It had also attained the quality of meat about to go rancid with a slightly acrid aftertaste. It really did not taste good. Only the mashed potatoes provided any level of enjoyment.
Caramelised bananas with chocolate ganache and peanut powder was decidedly average. The banana was essentially raw with a little bit of colour. Not that I have a problem with raw banana, but this lack of caramelisation meant that it hadn’t attained that soft delicate sweetness that could have made this pudding really good. The ganache on its own was tasty, but the dessert as an entire composition was unsatisfying.
There are occasions when you go to a restaurant and you are left with a bad taste in your mouth. Well, dining at Plateau embodied this ‘bad taste’; (1) because the food wasn’t any good, and (2) because you felt like you had wasted your money. And it wasn’t just the set menu that was average. The pricier à la carte menu wasn’t that great either. Plateau has an air of pretense to it with its nice decor and good food presentation. But it is a restaurant run on a tight monetary leash and the food standards tasted as if they have been compromised. Simply put, the food did not live up to the mark.
This was truly a negative, diabolical experience, not helped either by a very noisy dining room and slow service from both the kitchen and lack of staff. To be fair, the staff were rather nice and apologetic about the slow service, and a complimentary glass of champagne was something of a saving grace for this.
Ultimately my advice to you is this – eat at home rather than at Plateau. You’ll probably enjoy it more and it’ll also be cheaper.
Food rating: 2/5
Prices: Set menu was £25. Three courses from the a la carte – about £28 to £52. Excludes drinks and service.