'A pleasant enough experience'

The Belvedere

Lunch Mon–Sat midday–2.30pm, Sun midday–2.30pm; Dinner Mon–Sat 6pm–11pm

Surrounded by rose gardens, lawns, a fountain, and within earshot of the Holland Park Opera (and some squawky peacocks), The Belvedere’s location is hard to beat during the summer. It was one of the reasons for our visit; we were checking it out as a possible wedding reception venue.

Originally a summer ballroom attached to Holland House, the 17th century building became an Art Deco palace and its current interiors – including a huge baroque mirror, hanging Botticelli oyster-shells, a marble bar, Chinoiserie wallpaper and white silk curtains which complement the double-height space, mullioned windows and pretty arches – are courtesy of David Collins.

We were here to try chef Gary O’Sullivan’s European Sunday lunch menu (£29.50). It’s a pretty traditional menu and, while not groundbreaking, our dishes were well executed.

Starters of English asparagus with hollandaise sauce; and gazpacho soup were followed by mains of roast leg of lamb with carrot mash, roast potatoes, haricot vert and rosemary jus; and penne pasta, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes and baby spinach (the vegetarian option, of course). Portions were generous to large (the boyfriend couldn’t finish his main) although we managed to squeeze in two puddings to share; a deliciously rich chocolate digestive terrine with a refreshing raspberry sorbet; and the trio of sorbets. The wine list was grand and with a price tag to match.

Service was attentive but unassured and patchy; the boyfriend was given the unpriced menu while I was given the priced one; his napkin was folded but mine wasn’t during our bathroom breaks.

There was a party celebrating a middle-aged birthday; a smattering of jackets and women in floral ‘50s-style dresses. It all felt a little stiff, especially considering the balmy weather, and the beautiful interior was marred by a large damp patch directly in our view. A couple of lights had blown in the blue lettering of The Belevedere’s name across the front of the building, too.

It was a pleasant enough experience but unmemorable which, of course, ruled it out as a possible wedding venue.

The Belvedere, off Abbotsbury Road, in Holland Park, London, W8; www.belvedererestaurant.co.uk; 020 7602 1238

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