Booking a table around Christmas can be tough, so we were glad to get into Lanes, conveniently located by Liverpool Street. But perhaps the empty restaurant should have told us something.
The bar was rocking, thanks to a very lucky birthday girl whose friends seemed to like giving her flowers and gifts. And maybe that's how Lanes should be experienced - at the bar (and ideally with gifts). It's not the most ambient restaurant, although the cartoon pop figure paintings are hip, the wine selection decent, and the staff are certainly nice.
Four of us ate, and in order to portray a fair picture (rather than complaining in detail about my risotto with butternut squash), herefollows a list of dishes with a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 1 being dismal and 10 being delicious).
Roasted tomato with rocket - 7
Mushrooms with poached eggs - 8
Potted shrimps - 4
Risotto with seafood - 6
Risotto with butternut squash - 3
Lamb shank - 7
I can only assume our fourth diner thought so little of the meal he couldn't be bothered to report.
By the time dessert came around, we were either full, underwhelmed or ambivalent about the offering, and took a pass.
Two bottles of £26 wine helped get the bill to £185, but we were still left with the feeling of having paid too much for a mediocre meal.