An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman leave the safety of a cliché to start a restaurant of their own. Tom Slegg, Colin Kelly and Alan Christie – three ex-Arbutus Group employees – have opened Picture, yet another venue that joins the ranks of the open-the-dictionary-at-random school of naming. Whilst the folks over at Story (see what I mean) have their customers leave behind a favourite read, I dreaded to think what over-the-top act we’d have to do at Picture. Bring some watercolours and an easel? Get our kit off for their life-drawing class?
The menu reads as the mouthful that is contemporary Eurasian tapas (an oxymoron if there ever was one): English rustic here, Lebanese modern there, with a dollop of Scandinavian chic thrown in for good measure. Dishes arrive as and when they’re ready, but there’s no unifying theme of which to speak: for instance Rare beef salad, coriander, lime (£8) follows Lamb breast chops (£8), and we end our many small plates with a very good, if ill-timed Tomato salad and basil (£5). All in the name of “fusion cuisine”? Confusion cuisine. Things round-off magically, however, with a stonkingly good warm Raspberry and almond tart (£4) and lashings of yoghurt ice-cream. Also, as per Arbutus, the wine list is a pleasing selection of quirky and not-so-quirky names, all available by glass and carafe.
Chatting to Tom after our meal, we got the impression that they’d had a quiet start. Granted, not everywhere can be in Soho, but this place really feels it should; after all, Great Portland Street is hardly a thriving foodie scene. It’s early days, but one feels that they’re playing it a little too safe. Picture, it seems, is just a name. And not a great one at that. To get noticed, this trio need a decent punchline. Only then will I disrobe for an impromptu sketch.
Picture, 110 Great Portland Street
£75 for two (with service)
Food; 7 Service; 8 Ambience; 4