Location, location, location
Whilst religiously completing my daily routine of procrastination, I happened to view my friend’s, who seems to have a lot of money to spend on food, snapchat story. She always puts up gourmet looking pictures, but whenever I google the restaurants their prices are so student unfriendly. But when I googled Percy and Founders, a fancy gastropub in Fitzrovia, I found to my delight, that they have half price on all food on certain days! So I roped some friends of mine into trying some upmarket British gastronomy.
The restaurant is extremely spacious and airy, with floor to ceiling windows, two bars and an open kitchen. It has a series of rooms which are cosily decorated like a dining room in a rich person’s house. A waitress greeted two of my friends and I, then led us to a bar where another friend of ours was waiting for us whilst sophisticatedly sipping upon his tap water. We were seated and got down to deciding what to order.
There were a limited number of vegetarian options, which made it easy for both of my vegetarian friends to choose what they want. However, my friend Pooja and I have slightly more complicated dietary requirements. Pooja had been talking about how she was going to get the Sunday roast since we got onto the tube, unfortunately the waiter informed us it was beef, which she doesn’t eat. She then asked for the lamb shank. The waiter took her order, disappeared to the kitchen, but shortly came back to inform us that lamb is cooked in beef gravy. We asked if a separate gravy could be made for her, which he enquired about. It couldn’t. At least he was intelligent enough to check out the ingredients himself now that he knew her requirements. She finally settled for sea bream and I got a risotto, but not before the waiter separately went to check whether either were cooked in alcohol, as I don’t drink and she doesn’t like the taste of it. That took us about 20 minutes, because of all the back and forth.
Pooja and I split some oysters to begin with. They slid off their shells easily and were so fresh I didn’t actually need any of the chilli oil, Tabasco or lemon they gave alongside it, as they were so flavourful by themselves. Pooja had never eaten oysters before, so she bit into them rather than swallowing them. I am told they don’t taste as nice that way – but to each their own. My other friends let me try their pumpkin soup. It was creamy, multi-flavoured with sweet and spicy tones and was a decent portion.
For mains Pooja had her sea bream with vegetables, which she wiped clean off the plate because it was “really good” as she said. The rest of us got truffle risotto, which was hands down the best risotto I have ever tasted. The varying textures of crispy onions, soft wild mushrooms and tender rice worked well together. It was super yummy, and that was before I enhanced it further with some left over lemon from the oysters.
For dessert I got a massive chocolate fondant with a light minty vanilla ice cream that left you feeling really fresh. The fondant wasn’t hot enough that it burnt my tongue, and the ice cream didn’t give me a brain freeze, they were both exactly right temperatures. Pooja got a cheesecake, and said it was “really good” again. I need to work on her food descriptions. My other friend got a really big portion of apple crumble that tasted like a warm hug. Just like apple crumble should – so that went down a treat.
As the waiter constantly refilled our tap waters and had patiently waited on us with a constant smile despite our numerous mind changes and complicated requests, we wanted to tip him, but didn’t because the whole point of eating here was to get a deal. So we awkwardly refused to pay the optional service charge, but he still smiled and was accommodating! He was probably the best waiter I’ve ever had, which is what you get when you go to a fancy restaurant. We wrote him a note on the back of our receipt thanking him, so at least he knows we appreciated him, even if he wasn’t getting a tip. I don’t know if that makes it any better.
Instead of mints at the exit, there was a bowl of matches, I presume so you can light up your post-dinner cigar. There was a definite difference in the taste of the food here and that which you get at a normal chain restaurant. Everything had defined, delicious flavours, and the portion sizes meant that you were full, but not lethargically so. I got oysters, risotto, fondant, matches and really good service all for the total of around £13! Definitely worth the money.