Restaurant Review: The Left Hand

Newsroom 19/05/2008 | 15:43

But what I do know is that I have dined there on numerous occasions and I have no complaint about the food whatsoever!
It is a universally recognised fact that restaurants have personalities or character. But I will go further and prove the case that restaurants can be attributed human emotions! Just think about it for one moment. Restaurants can be happy, miserable, sad, quiet, withdrawn, hateful, rude… and they may exhibit every mood you can think of. And as for this House, it is calm, happy and peaceful.
Being in a shaded terrace in a quiet, leafy green street in Cotroceni may have influenced my opinion, but it was positively enhanced by the total lack of blaring music and not a single blast from a car horn driven by a shaven-headed Neanderthal. All terraces should be like this.
But let's eat. Prices for main courses are fair, namely an average price of RON 25. So we started with two soups, French Onion and Tomato together with Blue Cheese.
French Onion is a timeless classic which is traditionally served with melted cheese on toast. Yes, they got it right and they did break the tradition. It was perfect.
The tomato soup was a dream, perfectly made with a melting topping of blue cheese which the waiter told me was Roquefort. No, I don't think it was Roquefort Mr. Waiter and this was the first of several mis-descriptions. But the soup nonetheless was excellent.
We passed on starters such as “Smoked Salmon Carpaccio with Cream Cheese Crackers,” “Provencal Wild Mushrooms,” Prosciutto with Parmesan” and “Baked Potato with sour Cream and Bacon.” At this stage I realized that there was a theme developing within the menu, namely they take dishes which are displayed on the menus of vastly more expensive restaurants, and they sell them to you at half the price. No Problem!
So away we went with a “Shrimp nest” with perfect shrimps on a cooked “nest” of vegetables. I saw “Dover Sole with spinach” at a ludicrously low price of RON 30.
Dover Sole is the world's most expensive white fish and I could not believe they could sell it so cheaply. So I examined the raw fillet before they cooked it and I recognized it as being pike perch. OK, I sincerely believe the house was not cheating with the mis-description of Dover Sole, rather it was an honest translation mistake.
I asked for my “sole” to be grilled for 60 seconds in butter and thereafter to be left to rest for another two minutes. They did this and I loved it. My only complaint was that the spinach was cooked in the Romanian style of over-boiling it for 15 minutes until it became a mushy paste. It would be far better if they boiled the spinach for no more than 30 seconds, and then served it with flaked crispy bacon. But it was good.
For dessert I had pears “Paul Bocouse.” Mr Bocouse is a pompous ass who is France's self-appointed top chef, and to give his name (another mis-description) to simple pears in red wine with ice cream is a bit cheeky. But aside from the humour of the description of the dish, I forgave them because it was simple and good.
And now for the best part. They have a fixed menu business lunch for RON 17. Look at that price again! You get a first class soup with bread together with a large, really large pork dish with either puree potato or vegetables. How can you say ‘no' at this price?
And how can you say “no” to the House. It is both fun and good value. Go for it!

Michael Barclay

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