WFH is a standard abbreviation in our office when (usually at the last minute) someone needs to announce they will be working remotely for the day. It took on a slightly different hue the other day when, after two hours discussing capacity planning, targets and new business initiatives, four of us decamped to a local restaurant for more of the same. Suddenly we found ourselves working from Home.
Considering how close it is to the office and what a solid feed you get when you go there it's surprising I haven't been for more working lunches there. Sure, there other temptations in the area, among them Furnace (reliable pizzas and decent salads and specials), Cru (tapas and good value set lunches), the Rivington (just great, any time of day) and the excellent Princess if you want something a bit more impressive. But Home ticks most of the right boxes and did so very pleasantly last Thursday.
After a bit of a wait to get our order in we tucked into OK olives and some good salty focaccia. We were also treated to a welcome amuse of a silky chilled gazpacho. My starter of 'smoked duck ham' turned out to be a smoked duck breast, which was fine as that's exactly what I wanted, and came with a foie gras mousse, capers and other tart bits and pieces. Very pleasant. A main of halibut with a stratum of dense basil also worked well: perfectly cooked and with a lovely light sauce and some shredded onions and just a touch of chilli. Elsewhere there were some excellent looking steaks and a lamb dish that was only slightly let down by a rather offputting smear of something brown. Restaurants like this who excel in simple, honest fare and should leave this kind of affected presentation to others.
Some cheese and a good looking creme brulee (I could even forgive them the raspberries they put in it because - huzzah! - they brought it to the table still hot) completed a very pleasant working lunch. Two or three bottles of good and fairly priced plonk helped too. Recommended.
A venue in the area, incidentally, that always felt like it would be a bit wasted on a work lunch (as it were) is set to close its doors at the end of next week. Bacchus, where smears and foams are very much part of the scenery, is bowing to sadly inevitable market pressures: almost every critic made reference to its location on the wrong side of the tracks (or at least the wrong side of Old Street) and alas those willing to travel for their gastronomic treats weren't prepared to travel to the far end of Shoreditch in sufficient numbers.
The good news is that Phil and Nuno, respectively the entrepreneur and inspirational chef behind Bacchus, are busy researching new menu ideas and looking for new premises with a view to opening up somewhere more favourable next year. In the meantime (and this is very good news indeed) Bacchus will be reborn after a single weekend (during which Phil will no doubt be fine-tuning his playlists) as a gastropub, and with a chef from the Pig's Ear in the galley it should be a good one at that. Watch this space.