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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Fairytale surroundings at Aurora

Eating out is one of the great pleasures in life and I have been eating my way round London's finest restaurants for some time now. I don't like pretentious, nouvelle, overly fussy or, conversely, poor value for money and slapdash. So I've become quite a difficult customer to please. Sometimes a pub meal can be great and memorable. Sometimes a Michelin starred restaurant can be choked by its own hype.

My latest foray was to Aurora at the Great Eastern Hotel in Liverpool Street. Not to be confused with a different and far inferior Aurora in Lexington Street, this one used to be a Conran restaurant (no longer). Here you can enjoy modern European cuisine in the beautiful surroundings of a landmark building from the golden age of steam railways.

The dining room itself is amazing with a Victorian stained glass dome. There was enough room between the tables to feel private (unlike a lot of London's restaurants where you are practically sitting with the people to your right and left). Service was excellent, discreet and inobtrusive. Impressive amuse bouches were followed by, for me, Cornish mackeral, which looked and tasted sublime, and then salmon en croute from the carvery trolley with new potatoes and broccoli. My only criticism is that the salmon was slightly overwhelmed by the sauce. As our main course was delayed, we were offered a complimentary pudding and chose the least calorific option, a baked peach with a light-as-a-feather tiny sponge pudding and a tangy sorbet.

All in all, Aurora fully delivered against the very positive reviews on the web, and is well worth a second visit.

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