Sunday 7 December 2008

All Bar One, Regent Street, central London

Well-placed for a lunchtime pit stop while shopping for Christmas presents, Regent Street's All Bar One is a very light and airy branch of this widespread chain of bars with their trademark white walls, wooden floors, newspapers and shelves loaded with bottles of wine. The young waiters and waitresses will serve you at the solid wooden tables, most of which are near the big windows. Before noon, you can choose one of the dozen breakfast options, such as gammon and eggs or a bacon sandwich. After twelve, breakfast gives way to an extensive food menu, which includes tapas, sandwiches, burgers or 'big plates', such as salmon and haddock fish cakes or cumberland sausages. Service can be slow, very slow, particularly as the bar fills up, but your order usually comes with a smile. As well as a respectable selection of draught beers, All Bar One does decent coffee (£1.80 for an Americano) served in large cups branded Costa Coffee. But the food is hit and miss. The disappointing eggs benedict (£5.50) can be rather runny and bland. Better is the fried chorizo (£4.50), served with several small pieces of ciabatta. Although the meat can be tepid and a little greasy, it is full of salty flavour and goes well with a big bowl of lukewarm, skinny, but firm, chips (£2.50) and mayo. 6/10