“ Godots Bistro / 139 Station Rd / London East London / E4 6AG / Tel: 0208 5296235. „
Godot's Bistro 139, Station Rd, Chingford London, E4 6AG Tel: 020 8529 6235 A party of 14 of us arrived booked to celebrate a colleague's milestone birthday at this restaurant that offers Mediterranean cuisine. The main part of the restaurant I estimate seats about sixty people with a canopied part at the front that will probably take another 25-30 people. I would advise booking if there is a large number of you or you are planning to eat at peak times. There is a bar part in the middle of the restaurant for those who wish to meet friends there, alternatively there are plenty of pubs and bars nearby, situated as it is on the busy station end of Station Road. The Décor The décor is simple, and inoffensive. There are plain white tablecloths on the tables, with lemon paper serviettes and a candle on most tables. The pictures on the wall all are based around a wine theme, and the bar area is full of wine bottles laid out on racks at ceiling height. Food and Drink There is a good range of starters from stuffed or garlic mushrooms, salads, prawns, Thai fishcakes etc. Rather bizarrely I noted that two dishes were repeated twice on the menu. Starters were priced on average about £4.50 each. Main dishes were heavily based on fish and chicken with a lamb and pork dish, plus calves' liver and steaks. There was one vegetarian main only a Vegetarian Penne, which was the cheapest main dish at £7.95. The average main dish price was between £10-11, with a fillet steak being £16.95. It is worth mentioning that the seabass is not filleted, this is not mentioned on the menu and led to disappointment amongst those in the party who had ordered it. There were a small range of side dishes such as garlic bread for £1.50-£2.00. There is also a small specials menu with a further three starters and three mains on it. For starters I had stuffed mushrooms which were supposedly also stuffed with cheese, although this wasn't noticeable. Three large breaded mushrooms were served with a token (but tasty) side salad and a mayonnaise based dip. Everyone in the party enjoyed their starters and they were of a reasonable size. I had the Vegetarian Penne (the only option available to me) which was large and fresh with plenty of tomatoes and courgettes in it. It was also way too filling. The calves liver was also popular and enjoyed by many, though any criticisms were that the portions were a bit too big, especially if you had eaten a starter already. Generally everybody liked their mains, apart from the unfortunate seabass eaters who spent most of the eveningl pulling the bones out of their teeth. They serve a variety of beers, wines and spirits. House wines start at £10.95 per bottle going up to over £40 for champagnes and premium wines, although most (such as a Pinot Grigio) came in at £16 or slightly less. Most wines were also available by the glass, but not all. Both the house white and red were pleasant, drinkable wines. As it was a birthday celebration we had wanted to arrange a cake. The restaurant had suggested bringing our own, with candles as it would be cheaper than getting them to make one, which I thought was fair of them. At the agreed time they put on Happy Birthday music and brought out the cake and candles ready lit, which was a wonderful surprise for the birthday boy. We did have to remind them that we needed a knife to cut it, plates and forks though. Because of this I did not see the dessert menu as M&S chocolate cake was more than adequate! They also serve a range of teas and coffees. The Service The service was slightly disappointing, although I realise that it is often difficult with large parties, and we did have to wait a while for our starters. For example, they brought five menus which they distributed to one end of the table then disappeared without giving any to the rest of the table. By the time they had come back decisions had been made and the menus passed down. Also we ordered a few bottles of water on the table, but then had to request glasses as we only had our wine glasses, and even then they only brought them for those who initially requested it rather then for everyone. In summation, whilst the service was willing and pleasant, it could be improved by a little more attention to detail. Other Stuff Toilets were clean, but the Ladies' only had one, cramped cubicle. I noted a couple of high chairs so presume they are obliging towards young customers also. I noticed as we came in that they also do Jacket potatoes, omelettes and other small dishes at lunchtime. Would I go back? Well, as a veggie, probably not for a while as I would not have anything else to eat, but generally the meal was good and I was not put off by the service.