|A Fishy Dish Of A Neighbourhood Restaurant|
We revisit Reef and discover it’s bedded down nicely in Burlington Lane
A lot of restaurants are liked, but few are loved the way that Annie’s is. It’s a proper neighbourhood restaurant, the kind of which locals who frequent it are possessive of and, in my opinion, with just cause. Owner Lorraine Angliss discovered a formula that works and stuck to it – glamorous décor matched with good simple food, the kind we’d all like to able to cook ourselves, only better.
Lorraine shrewdly stuck to this recipe when launching Rock and Rose in Richmond and, more recently, Reef on Burlington Lane. Fourth in the family of restaurants, Reef is thriving on a site where few thought it would, but then those few clearly don’t know Lorraine like her loyal band of diners do. With an innate ability to bring glamour to even the simplest of concepts, Lorraine has successfully transformed the site into a chic fish restaurant with her trade mark candelabras, sumptuous cushions, chandeliers and Nina Campbell designed wall coverings. The outside space has been given the same treatment with its mirrored walls; beautifully delicate iron work tables, chairs and benches, more sumptuous cushions and large plants make the patio garden a real haven.
Onto the food and when I first visited Reef back in February, I was unsure how well made traditional could possibly be improved upon and griped about how it was that simple, non-faffed about with fish and chips no longer seemed good enough. They needed to be ‘traditional with a twist’, fried in special batter, particular oil etc.
Although Reef did prove me wrong to a certain extent, they were experiencing some teething problems when I first visited which made me feel I hadn’t seen the restaurant at its best. Which is why, five months on, I was sitting in Reef’s garden sipping Prosecco and discussing the pros and cons of tinted moisturiser with two girlfriends. Like the other restaurants under the group’s Head Chef, the menu at Reef is pleasantly simple kicking off with two suggestions for aperitifs.
Two of us opted the squid which came encased in a spicy batter and served with pineapple and chili salsa as a main course – it was spot on for a lunch dish. Our companion opted for the lobster special – ½ grilled lobster, fries and garlic butter which she also declared a success although she did give our fellow alfresco diners, who had chosen to have a whole lobster, a series of long lingering looks!
Desserts change daily and on this day it was the turn of an apple & almond tart, a chocolate brownie and a crème brulee to get an outing. All three generously sized dishes were thoroughly enjoyed, but alas not one was finished. With a strong coffees all round to steel us for the return to our respective offices, the bill came to approx. £25 per head.
Reef has evidently bedded down in its Burlington Lane home and is busy making a name for itself. I would conclude a more pleasant a place for luncheon would be hard to find but then again so would nicer ladies to lunch with.
June 26, 2008