Classy setup let down by shoddy service
“Berners Tavern at The London EDITION is a new kind of gathering place for all day dining and entertaining, breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea and late supper. Under the direction of London’s own Michelin starred Executive Chef Jason Atherton, this gastronomic gem offers a contemporary British menu that is simple yet elegant and features the very best produce that the British Isles has to offer.”
I spotted Berners Tavern while taking some back roads on my way to Oxford Circus one evening and couldn’t help but notice the stunning interior and lighting coming through the windows. I hadn’t heard of it before so looked it up as soon as I got home and booked a table for Saturday brunch at 10:30.
Antonia and I arrived just behind a group of 5 girls and found ourselves waiting for over five minutes while the lady on the desk went off to set their table in slow motion. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone move so slowly, it was quite something and well worth looking out for if you go. Once they were seated we were shown to our table in one of the back corners. A nice place to sit as you get a great view of the impressive room with it’s ornate frame covered walls and lavish, high ceiling.
We were then left alone for about ten minutes before being asked if we’d like to order. I was starting to get the feeling this is not the place to come to if you’re under any kind of time pressure or having anything else to do that day. The reasonably priced breakfast menu covers all bases – croissants, granola, waffles and pancakes as well as plenty of egg options and a full english. There’s also a decent range of smoothies, teas and coffees on offer. You can check out the à la carte menu here.
Antonia went for the Eggs Royale (£8) which almost looked plastic when it arrived because of the silky smoothness of the hollandaise and I had the Full English Breakfast of poached eggs, pork, garlic and herb sausage, middle white back bacon, tomato, Portobello mushroom and Stornoway black pudding (£12) with an extra portion of sausage (£1.50). When our food arrived we noticed that I didn’t have any cutlery, or a napkin. The cutlery was sorted out straight away (but I never did get my napkin). Both dishes were very nice but we both preferred the full english at Duck & Waffle and The Wolseley and I hadn’t noticed that my full english came without any beans, which would have given me a nice sauce to mop up and there wasn’t an option to get any as a side.
To drink I ordered a Virgin Mary (£6.50), which wasn’t on the menu but they were more than happy to make one up for me and Antonia went for a Flat White, which was steep at £3.50 and a Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry & honey smoothie (£5). All very good, especially my virgin mary which was near to perfect as I’ve ever had.
I asked for the bill and our coats, passing the cloakroom ticket to the restaurant manager only to find it brought back to me by someone else with a question “Is this your coat ticket?”. After replying “Yes” she put the ticket down on our table rather than than getting our coats. Useful. To add to the generally poor level of service the bill came with an extra £20 worth of stuff on it that we didn’t order and after some faffing I had to cross the items we hadn’t ordered off the bill myself as the staff clearly had no idea what we’d ordered. I should have just left a side portion of sausage as the only thing we ordered… I doubt anyone would have noticed.
Berners Tavern had all the promise of being a place I’d go back to over and over again but all it did was highlight how important good service is and how much it affects your experience and feelings about an establishment if it’s well below par. On the flip side, the food was good, the space is stunning and assuming you get better service than we did it’s a lovely place for breakfast / brunch in central London if you’re looking to impress.