Boundary, Shoreditch ***

The Boundary is a beautifully designed venue with a spectacular roof terrace. A shame that the restaurant’s food and service doesn’t match up.

Escargot à la Bourguignonne @The Boundary

Escargot à la Bourguignonne @The Boundary

Summer 2010 will go down in the history books as a scorcher. This summer, brides-to-be, who managed to dodge the volcanic ash cloud, were elated that freakish weather fronts plagued by drizzle and grey clouds did not pester them on their big day. Pubs and restaurants with outside spaces also benefited from the long sunny spells. The Boundary has arguably one of the best rooftop terraces in Shoreditch and a rather spectacular view. It is beautifully designed with wood decking and the stylish black charcoal grill is serious eye candy. Outdoor furniture is cushioned with cream linen covers, and neatly manicured bushes and trees in chic metal planter boxes add to the sophisticated ambiance. The Boundary also houses the informal Albion Caff on the ground floor, and a French restaurant on the lower floor. Last week I ate at the restaurant with 3 other friends on a Saturday night for a late dinner.

Lapin à la piperade @The Boundary

Lapin à la piperade @The Boundary

To start, we ordered the escargots à la Bourguignonne, Cornish crab and the squid with Espelette peppers. The snails were quite good and couldn’t be faulted. They were of decent proportions and served in the shell with a fair dollop of parsley butter. The Cornish crab was wonderfully moist and delicate on the tongue, and like the snails, were prepared for the customer to taste the ingredients in their unadulterated form. The squid was without doubt the highlight of the starters, whose combination of flavours were both brilliant and unusual. The squid had been gently sauteed and then served in a pot with its own juices together with some tangy esplette peppers, a dash of squid ink reduction and some shaved fennel.

For our mains half of us went for the sirloin steak and the others went for the lapin à la piperade. The steak, which was the Saturday Rôti et Chariot special, was served with spinach and gratin. The rabbit did not come with sides (though at £18 it ought to!) so we ordered an extra portion of new potatoes and peas and broad beans. The sirloin steak was disappointingly bland and looked rather unappetizing on the plate by itself, a strange shade of dull pink. The accompanying gratin on the other hand was well executed and perfectly seasoned. The rabbit was also excellent. It was perfectly cooked, and the bacon wrapped around the meat was deliciously crisp. The fried liver and kidneys also added more interesting texture and flavour to the dish.

Tarte au citron

Tarte au citron @The Boundary

We were still hungry so decided to peruse the desserts menu. Ordering desserts turned out to be an excellent decision because they were by far the best course of the evening. The cake St Emilion au chocolat was filled with the most luxurious and smooth chocolate ganache. The tarte au citron was deliciously creamy yet cut through with a healthy dose of zesty lemon. Finally, the perfectly formed gooseberrry soufflé which was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, tasted wonderfully fluffy and fruity inside.

Our bill which included a bottle of wine, coffees and tip came to £53 per person. Dinner in this price category should command innovation and high quality produce. The starters, apart from the squid, did not display much creativity. The quality of the sirloin steaks was also disappointing, considering they were priced at £22. The desserts were however exemplary. Another downer was the lack of organisation amongst the waiters. We had to ask several times to order our wine, an extra side of gratin was forgotten, and the dessert wine I wanted with dessert was also overlooked. I can empathise that service staff are prone to make a few mistakes on a busy Saturday night, but when they do mess up, they should pardon themselves. When I reminded the waitress that the dessert wine hadn’t arrived, no apology was forthcoming. Her eyes just widened realising her mistake and before I could cancel it, she had whizzed off again to go and fetch me some Moscatel.

I will be back to the Boundary next summer to enjoy the roof terrace, but unless someone convinces me otherwise, I won’t be returning to the restaurant as I don’t feel like it is good value for money.

The Boundary, 2-4 Boundary Street, Shoreditch, London E2 7DD. 0207 729 1051

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