Rocket Bishopsgate (August 2012)

Things started highly inauspiciously here. Despite it being a fairly quiet Monday lunchtime, I had to wait some minutes before any member of staff noticed me and asked whether I had a booking. There was a man unpacking bottles who clearly saw me, but chose to continue with his bottle-stacking. I asked to use the bathroom before sitting down and found that one of the two sinks in the men's was out of order and the tap on the second very hard to use. I therefore sat down with some trepidation and quite low expectations. I am glad to report things did improve somewhat. We had olives (but no toothpicks) brought to the table immediately. The waiting staff seemed friendly and hardworking, happy to top up our glasses of tap water without even being prompted. The food was mixed: battered squid with chilli sauce hit just the right level of piquancy and was not too greasy. My main of fish cakes failed on two fronts though: the cakes were rather dry and the quantity was massively out of proportion with the salad (too much of the former and not enough of the latter). The restaurant did fill up as lunch progressed, but noise levels were balanced. I can only assume that other people were not quite so disappointed, were charmed by the staff or had lower expectations in the first place. Oh, and on the way out, the now-present front of house was busy picking her nails – never a good sign.