Thursday, 27 October 2011

An Elegant Modern European Restaurant, Dining with a Tastecard

Restaurant interior

Following the reviews from TopTable, I chose this Modern European restaurant to meet a friend for lunch. Twentynine is located in the Continental Hotel and I get the impression that it's popular with business travellers as well as passers by in the area. Armed with a tastecard, providing 50% off the food bill, I can't wait to try this place out.

The restaurant is very modern and on entry looks like it is set to impress, yet isn't pretentious. Walking up to it from Hounslow Central tube station, it doesn't seem like you would find a restaurant like this here so it was a nice surprise. It's part of the Continental Hotel, but it doesn't feel restricted to those staying there.

The waiter greeted me by name which was a pleasant surprise since I'd never been here before. I think he must have been the same person I spoke to when I called earlier in the day to confirm the booking.

The food

The menu has a good variety on it, the prices are a little high for a casual lunch but since I had my tastecard, I didn't mind and it was partly why I chose this place.

For mains, I fancied something fairly light as I had pigged out all weekend. As you do. My sea bream was a really decent portion - two large fillets served on a bed of spinach and roasted potatoes. The flavours were delicate but well seasoned and the creamy sauce was a great match. I didn't get too much of a basil flavour but that didn't deter from the dish. Nothing was competing, everything was very complimentary.

Grilled Sea Bream with sauté potato,
wilted spinach and basil sauce

8oz Rib Eye Steak
with grilled tomato, hand cut chips

My friend had ordered a steak, holding the filled mushroom, and it looked really great. I really like the presentation of these dishes.

Desserts? Yes, please! As if we were going to say no. I'm partial to a gooey and melty chocolate fondant so it was an easy choice. The warm melty chocolate and the cool vanilla ice cream was a treat. My friends' apple charlotte was even better though! Beautifully presented, this little treat had a crisp casing containing the luxurious apple filling with a really good hit of cinnamon. That combined with the ice cream was a mouthful of wonders.

Dark Belgium chocolate fondant
with vanilla seed ice cream

Apple charlotte
with vanilla seed ice cream

I really enjoyed the food here and out of what we had, I would say the sea bream and the apple charlotte would be high on my list of recommendations.

The verdict

The quality, presentation and flavour of the food was really great.

The service, not too bad - friendly, welcoming and attentive. There was only one waiter, and although it wasn't particularly busy, I felt as if he was a bit rushed off his feet.

I wouldn't visit if I couldn't get an offer as I feel it's fairly expensive. But it is good, and I would make a return visit with my tastecard.

Know your offers

After ordering mains, we are told that the 50% discount is only valid for a two course meal so I was a little surprised but glad to have been told at this point. I contacted those at tastecard afterwards to see if this was a valid condition of the offer. This is their response:

I have spoken to the Food & beverage manager at the hotel who informs me he is new there and our old contact did not pass on the full details of the offer to him.  I informed him that at tastecard we cannot stipulate a minimum number of courses and he has agreed to do the discount correctly.  The manager has sent his apologies and assures me that this will not happen again as all members of staff are going to be re-briefed on the offer.
Restaurant Liaison Team, tastecard

How cheeky. Not that the desserts weren't completely adored, but I dislike it when people try and pull a fast one. Shame on you, staff at Twentynine! Great food though...

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