The Terrace
'I would actually have preferred to have gone to Wetherspoons'

The Terrace, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel

Mon—Sat midday—10pm; Sun and bank holidays midday—7pm

The style:

Like drinking in the middle of a square on a nasty blonde-bricked housing estate. It’s at the back of the hotel and let’s just say it’s not the building’s best side. They’ve attempted to tone down the concrete by planting a load of flowers, but the only discernible trace of elegance is Petrus, lurking over to one side, trying its best to ignore its gauche neighbour.

There are massive parasols, garden centre plastic wicker chairs and a few sofas around. The PR had recommended visiting on a sunny evening. Only one problem: the concrete prevents the sun from lighting up the square. The sun was out front, where I’d found my wife basking.

The crowd:

The Terrace seems a popular spot for a post-work quencher, and presumably a few hotel residents. Plus there were guests who had obviously just come from nearby Sloane Street. There were polo shirts, loafers and some ridiculously massive cigars being puffed by Masters of the Universe.

The food:

The choice of starters was woefully uninspiring. Hummus with pitta bread? The Terrace Hot Platter with crumbed prawns and grilled chicken strips? Had we taken a wrong turn and stumbled into a Wetherspoons?

Given that it was on the menu (and because we weren’t in east London, it couldn’t be ironic) we ordered nachos with minced beef and refried beans (£12). We were in Belgravia and they were 12 quid; they were going to be a bit special, right? Wrong. A big blanket of wrinkly melted cheese covered everything and they were every bit as bargain-basement and trashy as you might expect. Plus guacamole isn’t hard to make, but the stuff they brought to the table had obviously come from some big catering vat.

They make a big deal about their burgers on the menu (they have a burger of the day!) but frankly, London is awash with them — it’s like we’re heading for burgergeddon. Curious as I was to know whether they were worth £15, I gave them a swerve in favour of slow roast Cajun beef brisket (£16). Two slices of tender beef arrived slathered in barbecue sauce with chips by McCain and fresh-out-of-the-bag salad drowned in thousand island dressing. You always get one or two chips that are a bit overcooked or have the potato eye in them — they’d left those on the plate. The wife’s ‘Shetland’ salmon (£17) had burnt skin.

I would actually have preferred to have gone to Wetherspoons. You know how you get mints with your bill sometimes? We were hoping for Rennie.

The drinks:

No cocktails. Five whites and five reds by the glass. None of the interesting craft beers that London breweries are cheerfully producing. The waiter recommended the Malbec and it was about as good as something you’d get in a pub that had just the one red and one white option.

Tonnes of bars and pubs in London offer imaginative (and affordable) freshly cooked food with interesting beers and wines to wash it down — there are two around the corner. A redeeming feature is the lovely staff, but the only reasons I can think of for people to visit here are proximity and ignorance. Avoid.

The Terrace, Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel, 21 Lowndes St, SW1X; 020 7858 7223;

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