Exquisite Ethos


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Another one to add to the choose life agenda that i’m pontificating on this year. A sub theme will be food. Quality food. Enjoyable food. Me and the Bean have had Ethos in our sights for a while. One time we couldn’t find it even with the help of an info man, stood in the sun, at Oxford Circus Tube, literally just round the corner from our destination. Other times, we just haven’t looked where we were going and at other times we just haven’t got our collective acts together but today was a big shop day and I guess we had to break the misery of the west ends worst experience with something we would appreciate.

Going through the doors my heart sank a little. The place looked packed, seat-less, and I wasn’t too sure how Bean would react to the pay for your plate concept. Having too much to work out can be very off putting so it was great when the maitre d stepped in, surged us through to be seated and clearly explained how the system worked. Bean was excited. She loved the sense of comfort and spoke well of the ambience. Tourists on one side of our table, the pejoratively fat middle classes sitting on the other. But it didn’t matter. We were there to eat and go, not sit and spend the night; a concept I think Ethos may not be able to meet, but then again how often are you in town for something else and just want to eat and get out quick.

We hovered around to the right of the restaurant which had a feel of street market to it. Check your wares, make your choices. My picture shows from right to left spinach and ricotta dumplings, mushroom goulash, a simply divine chick pea curry and the last thing to leave my plate – dauphonois potatoes. Every mouthful save a stray bay leaf a pleasure, every mouthful a taste to savour, every mouthful full of flavour. And i’d also chosen a triangle of pitta bread to mop up the last of my tasty sauces.

We decided to share our pudding and had already booked a slice of Bakewell Tart. The counter hand told me she had tasted the tart in its Derbyshire home and felt this one was better. I said my best ever bakewell was eaten at the Divine Cafe, Cherhill, Wiltshire and they would have to go a bit to beat that. In the event, with its just right amount of jam and squidgey floury top, Ethos lost out on this count. The soft pastry was not so well defined and the essential almond taste was not quite up to the Devine’s mighty mark. But Ethos should not feel so bad about coming second to the best.
Leaves you wondering though why do the very best of restaurants sometimes let you down with a good but less than remarkable pudding.

And now another test of a restaurant. Will we be going back? What do you think.

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