Restaurant Review: Almedia, N1

�The Almedia is the kind of place to do things properly – bags and coats are taken at the front door, the dining room is elegant and staff are very attentive, keeping the drinks flowing and the table free of crumbs and so on.

This kind of scene normally comes at a price, so it was refreshing to find the cost of the mainly French � la carte menu was well within financial striking distance.

No compromise has been made on the food either – after a quick amuse-bouche, we were quickly into the charcuterie trolley.

Using a fork and spoon with impressive dexterity, the waiter served us a peppery selection of cured meats, creamy pates, pickles and an incredible fois gras parfait – light, sweet and good natured.

With this we had some tender scallops, which were understandably few in number as they were apparently hand-dived.

These came with crackly pork belly and a zingy squash purree. All very good so far.

For my main course I chose the lamb served in three ways: firstly as succulent mini chops, then a little pot of shepherds pie and finally a parmentiere (like a lamb scotch egg, but with no egg). All in a sweet, rich jus.

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My girlfriend went for the duck – also a triumvirate of parts – rich firm breast, small pieces in the petit poie and ballantine of leg, all of which were excellent. The shallot sauce was sharper than is traditional with duck, a bit much for her, but it suited my palette perfectly.

For dessert we shared another trio – an indulgent collection of white chocolate mouse, a rasberry sorbet and a shot of milkshake. The combination of sweet chocolate and acerbic sorbet was a tastebud tantiliser.

No French meal would be complete without a cheese course, and the trolley at Almedia is a powerful beast. We picked six of the best, helpfully arranged in strength order by the waiter – with a brutish Camembert and epoisse at the top.

Dinner at the Almedia clearly isn’t a throwaway meal, but you get the same quality at places that cost twice as much, and with two courses for less than �16 on a pre-theatre deal you’ve little to lose and a lot to gain.

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