- Location: Rowley’s, 113 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6HJ (nearest tube station is Piccadilly Circus)
- Date of Visit: Friday 8th February
- Time of Table: 7.00pm
- Deal Bought From: Living Social
- Deal Price: £30 for Two
- Dinner Companion: Twin sister, Jess
Getting More for your Money?
This dinner deal includes:
- £70 towards food and drink from their entire menu
- For Two People
What we ate…
- Starter: Confit of Chicken Liver Pate served with grilled Rosemary Bread and a Cranberry Chutney
- Main: 6oz Rump Steak served with Herb, Roquefort Cheese and Butter Sauce with Chunky Chips
- Side: Buttered Spinach
- Dessert: Apple Tart Tatin with Calvados Crème Fraiche
- Starter: Warm Broccoli, Stilton and Caramelized Onion Tartlet finished with Herb Oil and Aged Balsamic
- Main: Steak, Bacon and Mushroom Pie with Buttered Mash
- Side: Buttered Spinach
- Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding served with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
What we drank…
- Bottle of Berry Bro. House White Wine
- Cappuccino each
What did we think?
Past the bold yet alluring vibrance and lights of Piccadilly Circus, and down a very unassuming, and almost murky side street, I fell in love with the quaintly traditional and old school charm that oozed from high class eatery Rowley’s. The whole front of the restaurant was a window, with gold leaf lettering boldly reading their name. The bay windows showed an enticing glimpse into the incredibly polished interior that almost had the feel of a library straight from a Jane Austen novel. Dark wooden flooring stood beneath large square tables covered in thick white tablecloths. A delicate pink rose bloomed at each table, next to white candle, in a simplistically elegant arrangement.
Despite the restaurant being a long, thin-ish shape, the use of mirrors was excellent. They almost used the silvery surfaces as wallpaper, with square patterned mirrors housed along every wall giving the impression of a multitude of space echoing around you, reflecting more of the classic glamour within. Our table was situated right at the back of the restaurant, which I feel also offered us some more privacy, even though the tables were also very decently spaced. A cream metal wrought spiral staircase twirled upwards in the corner invitingly, nearby shelves placed high up on the wall enabled leather bound books to brush their pages against the ceiling. Again, a large mirror took up the whole of the back wall, reflecting the entire restaurant and giving the impression of double the space. I absolutely loved the atmosphere of Rowley’s – the manor house feel really calling to my inner period drama heroine.
The waiting staff were also superb – as soon as we entered they kindly took our coats, when we were stuck for choice on the menu, they pointed out what were the best dishes, and after barely a sip from the thin rimmed wine glasses, they were by our sides, ready to top us up with the honey coloured white wine. As we settled down with our menus, we ordered the house white wine. It was stronger in colour than a lot of whites, but also abundant in flavour. I always worry with white wine as I really dislike dry, tangy flavours, but this one was remarkably full bodied and smooth without the need for lip smacking.
The best accompaniment for perusing a menu is most naturally a bread basket, the one here containing a nice mix of thick and thin slices of both white and wholemeal bread, with a separate dish of oval butter slices. Despite the menu only being one page, there was still plenty of choice, and where our voucher tonight was more of a money off type, we had access to anything Rowley’s had to offer.
After much debating, we finally decided on our starters. I went for the confit of chicken liver pate and I have to say I was very impressed. It was dedicatedly coarse, served as a thick slice, packed full of a meaty texture and flavour, so that you could even eat it alone with the lemon dressed side salad if you wanted. Plonked upon the slice of rustic toasted white bread it was delightful, especially when piled with the chunky cranberry chutney, which I quite simply could have eaten all day. The chutney was zingy and a nice sticky texture, a deep red-terracotta in colour. I couldn’t really distinguish that it was cranberry, but it just tasted fruity and provided a really gorgeous intense sweetness that paired with the rough meaty taste of the pate was lovely. It would have been nice to have a second slice of bread to go with it, but it wasn’t the end of the world as it could be eaten very nicely with the side salad as well. Jess opted for a broccoli and stilton tartlet that was beautifully presented amidst swirls of balsamic vinegar.
I was completely thrown for choice when it came to the main meal – there was so much to choose from that I really struggled. I decided in the end to go for a six ounce rump steak, served with their signature sauce that included herbs, butter and Roquefort cheese. I’m not actually a fan of blue cheese, and I wasn’t sure whether the Roquefort would overpower the meat or not, but I thought I would risk it. It was beautifully presented – they place a silver heating tray on your table, upon which they sit an oval silver platter with your steak succinctly sliced, the sauce elegantly spooned over the top, a sprig of herb balanced to decorate. It looked really hearty and I was keen to sample the quality of the meat. I had asked for it medium rare, but to honest, once I started eating, I realised that the meat was in fact very rare, so I would have preferred it to be a bit more cooked. The meat also wasn’t as tender as I had anticipated, but this may just be because I had selected the rump instead of the sirloin. As for the sauce, it was incredibly light and the consistency of melted butter, so I wouldn’t really classify it as a sauce – more of a dressing. The main flavour to come through was the blue cheese, but it was still quite a light reference and not as dominating as I feared, which was a good thing. I can’t quite put my finger on why, but I wasn’t 100% happy with my steak, especially after sampling the divine pie that Jess had chosen. However, the chunky chips that came with the meat were fantastic. They were a really uniform rectangular shape, gorgeously golden with a delicate crunch, yet a soft inside – I could have eaten them all day! We also ordered some buttered spinach to have as a side to share, which was also very tasty. Portion size wise, it was plenty and we were definitely full afterwards.
Jess’s pie had a flaky pastry top that was stuffed with large steak chunks, bacon pieces and mushrooms in a rich flavourful gravy – that also went very nicely with my chunky chips! Her pie came with a mini mountain of creamy mash that was completely lump free.
After pausing to catch our breath, we dived headfirst into the equally tantalizing dessert menu. Although the dishes were all quite similar, they all sounded fabulous and again, I had difficulty in making my choice. After some more deliberation, I went for the apple tart tatin – something that I don’t usually have, but thought I would give it a go. The tart was served with a Calvados crème fraiche and I have to say that I thought this really overpowered the tart. The thin layer of sweet pastry, topped with the deliciously caramelised apple pieces was really tasty and full of those sticky toffee notes that I love about all things caramel. The hot intense flavour of the tart was definitely accentuated by the Calvados, and the crème fraiche acted as a cooling agent, providing an interesting mix of sticky and smooth textures. However, it was really boozy and the vivid punch of brandy was too strong for the crème fraiche to handle in my opinion. Still a really lovely dessert though, and I cleared my plate easily enough.
The sticky toffee pudding that Jess devoured looked very traditional in its cube shape, surrounded by deep nutmeg shade sauce. The vanilla ice cream scoop sitting atop the cake was beginning to drizzle daintily down the sides of the sponge and she thoroughly enjoyed one of her favourite afters.
We finished our meal with most possibly one of the smoothest cappuccinos I have ever drunk. Served in simplistically chic white cups and saucers, it was a really lovely finish to our meal.
Making a second reservation? Yes, I feel I would make a second reservation. If I went again, I think I would most definitely choose different dishes, as although I enjoyed what I ate, I think I may have preferred some of the other options on reflection. In the end, I think I preferred most of Jess’s courses to my own, although my starter was my favourite course and definitely one that I would eat again.
Although I would love to come again, I feel that I would need another voucher, as the prices are a tad too high for my purse’s usual comfort zone. Our £30 entitled us to £70 worth of food and drink, and our bill at the end came to roughly an additional £40 without the service charge. Of course, if you were watching your budget, you could have chosen the cheaper options, such as the butterbean soup, or the pasta main dish, but that’s just not our style! I really loved the décor of Rowley’s, the traditional period feel really appealing to me, and I felt completely at ease at our table – not overlooked or overcrowded in any way. On the whole, I had a superb evening and I would sincerely love to return – if my finances can handle the pressure!
The Dinner Dates Opinion:
“I really enjoyed my evening at Rowleys. The staff were lovely, taking our coats, advising us with dinner and wine pouring whenever glasses looked low. The décor was stylish yet comforting and the tables nicely spaced considering it was not a large establishment. Food wise, everything was lovely. I started with the stilton, broccoli and caramelised onion tart which was very nice, the stilton was not too overpowering and all the flavours mingled nicely. My steak, bacon and mushroom pie for main was very flavourful with lots of nice gravy too! This came with mash that was also nice, although the texture was a bit firm where it had been moulded. It was a very decent portion too, larger than some other high end places. For dessert I had the classic sticky toffee pudding which I have a lot because I love caramel flavoured things and this was no exception, it was lovely and came with good quality ice cream too. We ended the meal with cappuccinos which pushed me over the edge of fullness, but I’m glad I had one! Overall, I’d say that Rowleys is a hit, the location is great, central and yet off a side road so not too much passing traffic and great food. I would say that normally I probably could not afford to come and eat here, so would have to only have a main. Although I did like this voucher offer as it meant that we didn’t have a ‘deal menu’ to choose from and we could pick what we wanted. Also, although the menu is lovely and rather classic, some people may prefer it to contain a few more dishes.”