Three cheers for Provender following a glowingÂ review in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph which declared that it was “one of the best among the capitalâ€™s few surviving Proper French Restaurants” and added that it was aÂ “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 thatâ€™s what you obviously want. If what dates it most is its attempts at innovation â€“ well, there are worse crimes. And to be honest, itâ€™s a relief sometimes to ease back into your banquette, stop worrying about whatâ€™s fashionable and just embrace whatâ€™s good.”
Miller serves a rich selection of prose: “Over a couple of kirs crÃ©mants made with fizzy Vouvray, we briefly pretended to contemplate ordering something other than the â€œhors dâ€™oeuvres Royaleâ€, 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 â€œpotted goose and porkâ€), 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.