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Portrait Restaurant & Bar (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Portrait Restaurant & Bar in West End, London

National Portrait Gallery, Orange Street, West End, London, WC2H 0HE
Cuisine: British
Tel: 020 7312 2490 | Transport: Leicester Square | Write review

Portrait Restaurant & Bar Review

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The Portrait Restaurant is the ‘Kong’ of London (Sex and the City aficionados will remember the Parisian eatery where Carrie met Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife in the last series); it’s not so much the food that attracts diners, but the views.

The chic spot on the rue de Pont Neuf offered an impressive vista of the French capital for Carrie and Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife, but when dolled up for her audience, London by night is a hard show to beat. From the large window running lengthways along the restaurant, there’s clear sight of Big Ben, the London Eye, Nelson’s Column and Westminster Cathedral. The venue has recently been refurbished in sleek greys and reds, but the decor doesn’t try to compete for attention. Not when the city is the star of the show.

The fare at Portrait is good, but it’s not exceptional, as the steep price list would have you believe. The menu is as Brit-centric as they come: Conference pears, Colston Bassett Stilton, cured salmon, salad in walnut/watercress and radish varieties, dressings made of mustard and blackberries, and that’s just for starters.

If I’m being perfectly honest, I was a tad disappointed in the starters. My pear dish had all the right components but the flavours were simply too subdued. It failed to excite the palate, which is frustrating because it could well have done. The soda bread was delicious but the salmon, though we were assured was sea fresh, smacked of that overtly fishy taste one usually associates with farmed fish.

Still, the service was friendly and prompt for a busy Friday night and the 2006 Sicilian Grecanico was going down a treat, so spirits remained high. The boyfriend, something of a loo connoisseur, took some time out in between courses to check out the facilities. I’m pleased to report they won his approval, thanks to some well-designed urinals.

Back to less earthy considerations and the main courses: Fish of the Day sea bass with a lemon and parsley mash, plus guinea fowl on a bed of parsnip and potato gratin. Both dishes were perfectly cooked with the right elements in place but, unlike the starters, which were lacking in flavour, these were too heavily seasoned, especially the guinea fowl.

Pudding was a more successful affair. I thoroughly enjoyed my wickedly rich and gooey dark chocolate soufflé with caramelised plums. As for my boyfriend’s bread and butter pudding, I hardly got a look at it as he greedily scoffed it all within minutes. Accompanying each pudding on the menu is a recommended dessert wine and we were more than pleased with the thoughtful pairings. The entire wine list (prices from £16) is extensive and carefully considered, though measures are a tad large for my taste.

The food at The Portrait Restaurant isn’t going to put Gordon Ramsey out of business, but it’s hard not to be seduced by this modern and stylish venue. Top service, great wine and, of course, those views. It’s the ideal place for work, play or a hot date with your city. more

Customer Reviews for Portrait Restaurant & Bar

Average (based on 1 votes): 1 Atmosphere: Value: Quality:

The following customer reviews are not endorsed by Fluid London and are simply those of users who wish to publish their independent experiences of Portrait Restaurant & Bar.

“Yes, the food is very very good. Yes, the wine list is a veritable who's who of Old and New World. And yes, the service is impeccably and delivered in a chattier, more approachable style. The real reason for visiting this restaurant, though, has to be the view of Trafalgar Square and the rest London. One of the best restaurant views in London!”
Atmosphere: Value: Quality:
Leigh, Tooting (11 years 7 months 5 days ago)

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The Restaurant offers an a la carte menu with British & Modern European dishes.

Updated 21/03/2012

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Portrait Restaurant & Bar has yet to supply us with with a public email address. You can telephone them on 020 7312 2490 (please mention Fluid London when calling).

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