Diary: Let's Do Lunch - Pearl

Reviewed by Kerry Hallard, managing director, Buffalo Communications.

Pearl, which opened in June 2004, is sculpted within the former banking hall of London's Pearl Assurance Building. Its spacious, modern design plays on the name with thousands of pearls and crystals suspended from the ceilings as motifs and curtains, creating a truly splendid and opulent dining environment.

All too often nowadays, starters are finished and main courses delivered before you've had a chance to drink more than a few sips of wine. Pearl is the antithesis of this. Relaxed, unrushed dining, away from the straining ears of fellow guests, is central to Pearl's atmosphere.

The champagne trolley is the first thing to greet you after you are seated and the a la carte menu comes with delightful tasters.

Pearl's foie gras is fabulous, and the seabass is also good. Portion sizes are realistic, but not overly generous.

Pearl has an affordable set lunch menu for the more time-pressed, cost-effective lunch, but the venue and food are excellent and should really be savoured.

On the downside, the toilets are quite a trek from the dining hall, compelling you to explain the distance to your waiting guests. There is also a bar, but I've yet to see that busy.

Where: 252 High Holborn, London WC1

Contact: 020 7829 7000

How much: Dinner, 3 courses for £42.50, lunch £24.50

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