Provender’s rave review

provenderThree cheers for Provender following a glowing review in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph which declared that it was “one of the best among the capital’s few surviving Proper French Restaurants” and added that it was a “near-miraculous survival, or reincarnation, of the Eighties French brasserie”.

There was barely even a back-handed compliment in the review by Keith Miller. Take for instance this paragraph:

“This is a quietly excellent restaurant, serving the needs of a diverse local community in an even-handed and open-hearted way. Portions are large, prices reasonable (the wine list is a joy). The staff are outstanding, moving quickly and easefully about the place like some crack military detail, answering questions, shooting the breeze with the regulars, or leaving you to get on with it if that’s what you obviously want. If what dates it most is its attempts at innovation – well, there are worse crimes. And to be honest, it’s a relief sometimes to ease back into your banquette, stop worrying about what’s fashionable and just embrace what’s good.”

Miller serves a rich selection of prose: “Over a couple of kirs crémants made with fizzy Vouvray, we briefly pretended to contemplate ordering something other than the “hors d’oeuvres Royale”, an artless but near-magical assortment of saucisson, jambon de pays, cornichons, a trembling little bowl of aioli, blade-thin Melba toasts, the said celeriac remoulade (sharp and mustardy, but crisply defined in the mouth), some rillettes (artlessly described as “potted goose and pork”), smoked salmon and salmon mousse.”

His comments on Wanstead are limited to a vague awareness of Wanstead Flats and the proximity to Snaresbrook Crown Court. But he does add a line that a pudding which has a bit of gold leaf on it is “a sop to the flash Harries of Wanstead”. Anyone called Harry who is offended is invited to contact the Daily Telegraph directly.

You can read the article in full here at the Daily Telegraph website.

15 thoughts on “Provender’s rave review”

  1. I think it’s a great restaurant. I certainly agree that the food is tasty, the portions are generous and the staff faultless. Good with kids (including a pretty fancy colouring book and pencils!). I thought the review was a little bit snooty (going on and on about the place being an unfashionable 80s throwback) but to be fair it gave credit for the important things. I expect it’ll be busier next time I visit but I prefer a place that is busy and successful than one that is excellent but out of business (still missing Applebees…)

  2. Undoubtedly popular, as can be seen on any day of the week (Mondays included), I’ve always found it an extremely mercurial place. Everything from spectacularly disastrous to pretty good. Insufficiently consistent to make me a regular. I also strongly disapprove of the foie gras, but merely avoid it.

  3. Great eats and more than enough consistency to warrant it’s Michelin and Tripadvisor decorations.
    Well done Max and Christophe; an asset to Wanstead.

  4. New to the area and this review looks interesting. We’ll definitely try the place. Love fois gras so looking forward to trying that. yum!

  5. On our last visit to this place we were given a small table next to a larger empty table. When we asked if we could sit on the larger table we were told it was for a family, not just a couple. Some minutes later the same person proceeded to seat a couple with 3 dogs. We were not asked if we minded having dogs seated so close to us. The couple allowed the dogs to sit up on the seats and the manager just laughed and joked with them, even asking what the dogs wanted to eat. We had previously visited this restaurant but had never had the misfortune to be served by the person we believe to be the manager. Very poor show. Disgusting in fact. Needless to say we would never revisit nor would we ever recommend it to people we like.

  6. Avoid this place at all costs unless you want 3 dogs sharing your space. That’s what happened on our last visit. Disgraceful to say the least that we weren’t even asked if we minded the dogs sitting on the seats right next to us.

  7. I’ve met the couple with the little dogs. They are absolutely charming. I really can’t understand why anyone would object to those little boys in a restaurant. In France you can always take your dog into a restaurant and Provender says it’s a French bistro. Harvey seems to want a “Grinch” bistro instead. Perhaps he just doesn’t like dogs? Which is unnatural.

  8. Another vote for dogs! Nothing cheers me and Mrs Frost up quite so much as seeing a dog out for dinner. We eat at Provender frequently – the food and service is absolutely top draw – but we’ve never seen any dogs in there, which is a great pity. All too many places around for dog haters like Harvey (was he bitten by a rowdy pup when he was a youngster?) and far too few for right-thinking dog lovers. Now that I know about Provender’s enlightened attitude to canines I shall certainly be in their more often.

    Woof woof!

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