London Larder was devised in 2012 to bring you the ultimate eating and drinking guide to London. It was borne out of a need for up-to-date, quantitative and whole-heartedly recommended places to eat and drink.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Factory House


We first visited The Factory House, just off Leadenhall Market in the City, on its opening night when the wine and cocktails were flowing and every bit of attention had been paid to each individual canapé; making sure that we would be making another visit again very soon. And that we did, a few short weeks later, to see if the success of the opening had continued.

The Factory House, billed as “a refuge for the modern day industrialist”, is an underground retreat where stylistically industrial elements are combined with traditional-looking Victorian furnishings. Large silver air conditioning ducts hang above from the ceiling above simple wooden tables and chairs and neutral leather and fabric furnishings.

As we entered, a member of staff greeted us and handed us a clocking-in card which was then inserted into an old-fashioned clocking-in machine and printed with the time and date of our arrival. This is a nifty little gimmick that really highlights the industrial vibe of the venue, but after having spent the rest of the evening carrying the card around with us we weren’t really sure of its real purpose. From the doorway, we were guided down the stairs where we found a neat little bar (a bit too little, we struggled to get anywhere close to the bar to order our drinks) and an ample sized and smart-looking restaurant to the left with an open-view kitchen towards the back.

We sat near the bar first for an introductory drink, a no frills glass of rosé and pint of beer, before being shown to a booth towards the back of the restaurant. A great position; we were far away enough from the rest of the midweek dinners to have a quiet meal without interruption. The menu was presented in a large newspaper format (a large thin flat sheet of paper folded in half) presenting dishes such as potted pheasant, seared scallops, venison and a variety of fish, all very British sounding. We plumped for dressed crab salad and poached sea trout with brown shrimp fritters to start. The crab was moist and rich and served with a creamy mayonnaise and a flavour which suggested fennel but really we would have preferred the crab without this at all. The trout was cooked on the outside but very raw on the inside which seemed a little unusual for poached fish, this was then coated again in a heavy layer of chives which overpowered any taste you were hoping to get from the fish. Despite their minor oversights, the starters were tasty and aside from the small portion of shrimps, of substantial size.

Mains were a much trickier decision as the dishes we first requested had ran out, which stumped us somewhat as it was mid-week and the restaurant was relatively quiet. We ended up ordering the roasted partridge and sea bass which were both well cooked, tasty and suitably filling, although we did find the partridge a little fiddly to eat and did not live up to the divine-tasting reputation it had set itself the first time we had visited. We debated if there was room for a dessert and resolved ourselves by sharing a dark chocolate and hazelnut truffle cake which was truly rich, gooey and very filling; great if you want to feel well-fed at the end of a meal.

We complemented the meal with a cocktail each recommended to us by the barman who understood exactly what we liked: a whiskey cinnamon cigar which gave a fresh zesty kick in the mouth and a taste of cigar tobacco right at the back, and a light and refreshing gin raspberry cocktail served in old fashioned champagne glass which we loved. We were very impressed, and if not for the food, we would definitely be back for cocktails.

All in all, The Factory House is certainly a great place to visit for after-work cocktails or a convenient place to meet for dinner with your friends. The décor is fun but not extreme and the service is friendly and personable. I think a little more attention to numbers of customers during the week and an ever-so-slightly better execution of the menu would not go amiss, but certainly a place that can entertain.

10 Lime Street, EC3M 7AA

Average price of main course: £15
Average price of glass of wine: £6.50
Food and drink: 4/5
Value: 4/5
Service: 4/5


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