When I asked a friend who shall remain nameless if he wanted to lunch with me at the Express Bar, which is owned by three Englishmen, his response was: “Brit food! Good grief!” So I went without him.
It was his loss. This place has great buzz. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, not least of all our waiter, who was so good-humored, conscientious and efficient that I took him to be one of the owners. Not so, but the smiley gentleman behind the counter was one of them.
And what about that British food? Well, it wasn’t particularly British – no Yorkshire pudding in sight – except for the selection of three cheeses at the end of the meal, but it was all tasty, well-made and prepared with fine ingredients.
To start, the three of us shared two dishes: a salad of Scottish crab with endives, which was fresh, light and delicately flavored, and foie gras and chicken rillettes with poached
cherries. The latter went down very well with my friends, but I thought it would have been much better if served properly at room temperature rather than straight from the refrigerator.
We were all pleased with our main courses. Alex had a cheeseburger with excellent fries,
crispy on the outside and creamy inside. My “Black Angus USA” bavette (flank steak) was thick, tender and flavorful, and cooked as I had requested it: rare. Nick was happy with his daurade royale (gilthead bream) with vegetables.
I ordered the aforementioned cheeses for dessert. Unlike the pâté, they were correctly served at room temperature, and we all enjoyed them. One was a cheddar, but we couldn’t name the other two. This was the only time our excellent waiter’s memory failed him
– he was a genius when it came to remembering orders – but he forgot to answer our question about the cheese. One was strongly flavored and Brie-like, and the other was a mild goat cheese.
I kindly helped my companions with their desserts: a light-as-air cheesecake and a deep,
dark chocolate mousse. Both very satisfying.
This is a perfect place for a fun, no-fuss meal in a supremely convivial atmosphere where the noise levels are surprisingly reasonable. I think even my Brit-food-skeptic friend would like it.
By the way, real Brits will be thrilled to hear that the weekend brunch at the Express Bar includes an English breakfast (English sausage, beans, black pudding, fried potatoes and salad – but where are the eggs and fried tomato?) for only €13.50. For those who can’t stomach such atrocities, they also have eggs Benedict at the same price.Favorite