This has always been a very chi-chi destination and the current décor endorses this. Last time I went there were tub chairs and tall stools and the colour scheme was shades of brown. Now there is a vintage feel - Windsor chairs, artfully mismatched crockery, slightly scarred tables and peeling paint on the pillars. I was slightly puzzled by the framed front covers of Private Eye. I am assuming the intent is to appeal to the blue collar, Guardian-reading clientele. Makes a change from Shakespeare, I suppose.
Still, my latte was nice. Served in a tall glass with the sugar presented in an old Tate & Lyle tin, in my case the red treacle tin. There is also a small dish of about 10-15 Smarties to accompany. For me, preferable to nuts or olives and a pleasant change from the biscotti. Or the ubiquitous individually wrapped malted biscuit that is passed off as one. Drew liked the wine, fairly chilled. Bottled still water was great - teeth-tinglingly cold which, it has to be said, is not always the case.
This is another expensive place, though. Nearly a tenner for large wine and a latte. Go on the special offer nights if you are on a budget. The chips are lovely - thick cut and crispy, mahogany on the outside, fluffy and white on the inside. Cod has a rich, quite dark batter but a melt in the mouth quality. All served with a generous quantity of garden peas and tartar sauce.
Access was fine but the front door is rather heavy so you will need assistance. It could be troublesome when crowded so stick to the tables near the entrance. It is also very 'echoey' due to the plethora of wood so it can be a very loud place even if no one is really raising their voice. Ideal for: taking someone you want to impress, your boss or your colleagues. Judging by the clientele there tonight it is - and has always been - the destination of the high-end office worker.