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Dancing in Dover Street
Dover Street Restaurant & Jazz Bar (Mayfair)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Dover Street Restaurant & Jazz Bar (Mayfair)
Advantages: Good food and atmosphere
Disadvantages: Can be pricey
This is the second year in a row my company Christmas Party has been held here, at the Dover Street Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant is on Dover Street (surprise, surprise!) in Mayfair, not far from Green Park tube station.
Lucky me, the meal and drinks were all paid for! However the a la Carte menu, Party menus and wine lists, with prices, are available in pdf format on their website (although we had neither of these two party menus shown) - http://www.doverst.co.uk/food.php. It would appear if you are dining a la Carte then expect to pay up to £12 for a starter (Foie Gras, you evil people), but usually they come in at about £8-9.00. Mains start at £13.95 for the two vegetarian options, going up to £21.95 for a steak. House wines are £14.50 a bottle and go up to silly money for the top end stuff.
After checking your coats on the ground floor, you go downstairs where you see the large restaurant seemingly spread out in all directions and a number of bars dotted around the room. There is also a small dance floor and on this evening (a Monday - what a night for your Christmas party!) the house band - a jazz trio- were playing laid back instrumental jazz seated at a table near the small dance floor. Overall I would describe the atmosphere as relaxed, but certainly not casual, but at the same time the place does not come across as pretentious at all.
Our party is seated on three tables down a few steps from the dance floor, and we take our places at the ready laid tables with cotton cloths and napkins. (Oh Arse! I get the seat on the end opposite the MD...that will be me talking 'shop' all night then.) Our Party Menu has three options of starter, main and dessert. It didn't have a price on it, but I would guess it would be about £24.95 like the similar ones on the website. Choice was obviously limited with a meat, fish and vegetarian option for starters and mains. Our waiter also wanted to take all three course choices at once, which threw me and I rather rushed my dessert selection.
Whilst supping the rather drinkable House White (quite dry, not good if you prefer something sweet or medium) my boss told some jokes and said how well the company was doing. I laughed (or at least covered my cringing) at his jokes and took mental notes for future pay reviews. The starters arrived; I had ordered Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables with Pesto dressing and toasted Goats' Cheese. I enjoyed my starter, although I am not sure that the Goats' cheese was toasted, but it was strong and tangy, the pesto sauce did not stand out but the vegetables (a selection that included peppers, aubergine, red onion and mushroom) were roasted perfectly. The salmon starter was a popular choice, and although deemed 'too salty' by one colleague, generally passed muster.
My main course was pumpkin and ricotta stuffed ravioli in a creamy mushroom sauce. I initially felt there was a slight conflict in the flavours, but generally it was quite tasty and filling, with the sauce being rich, but not too strong. Creamy sauces can be a bit much sometimes, a bit sickly, but this one was very nice.
For dessert I ordered chocolate mousse, it was a small slice and not as rich as I would have expected (which is a good thing), however, I didn't get too finish it though as I was dragged on the dance floor. After about 10pm the house band finishes and the rest of the evening is split between a DJ and a different live band with vocalists. The DJ played a good mix of pop and dance tracks from Scissor Sisters to Abba, and the live band played jazz, rock 'n' roll and soul classics such as Nutbush City Limits and Johnny Be Good. The music goes onto 3am and different bands play each night, so it is worth checking the website if you have a preference although there is usually a jazz flavour, but they play well-known and commercial songs, so don't worry if you aren't much of an aficionado.
The toilets are down a few stairs near where you come in, last year there was an attendant in there keeping it fresh and accepting donations for using her perfumes (at least in the Ladies). This year there was no attendant, and although it was not particularly busy later (not everyone stays on after the meal, so plenty of room on the dance floor) the toilets were lacking in a little bit of attention as far as replacing toilet rolls, and tidying up of paper towels. I would have expected slightly better from this place as far as that was concerned, as it tries to promote itself as a sophisticated venue. Ladies toilets are plentiful and I never experienced a queue.
Booking is advised, regardless of the night of the week.
If you wish to come just for the music and bar, then there is a cover charge after 10pm.
DOVER STREET RESTAURANT AND JAZZ BAR
8-10 Dover Street, Mayfair, London, WIS 4LQ
Tel: 020 7491 7509 / 020 7629 9813
Fax: 020 7491 2958
Overall, we all had an excellent evening, this is no doubt helped by the fact that we weren't picking up the tab! Everyone behaved themselves (apart from a fully kilted Scottish Sales Rep who removed his underpants on the dance floor and tucked them in his sporran) and enjoyed the music is which is very middle of the road, to appeal to most tastes. Everyone enjoyed there food and I thought my meal was very enjoyable. Only one person in out party of almost thirty was unhappy with her food (but she complains about everything!). Would I go back? Yes, definitely, but probably only for occasions. I enjoy live music, but I think you get the best out of such a night if there is a group of you soaking up the atmosphere rather than as an intimate, romantic meal. The price is expensive, but you are not paying just for the food but for the ambience and live music. This happens not just at the festive time of year, live jazz is an important part of the Dover Street Restaurant and Bar experience.
Summary: A good destination for occassions rather than a romantic meal for two.