LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION is the oft-uttered mantra of the esteemed estate agent, and there are few places in central London that boast a position quite so prized as that of eaterie Tuttons, perched as it is on a corner of Covent Garden Piazza, with a brilliant vista on the bustling street life therein. (Note: if you'd like a view from a loftier vantage point, check out Brasserie Blanc, too).
Tuttons has enjoyed its prime site since the Seventies, but has recently undergone a significant refurbishment project under the keen eye of interior designer, Russell Sage, known for his work with Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, and head chef, Alan Southwell, who has given the menu a makeover, too. While the cuisine is billed as Modern European, there’s a touch of trad old-style Parisian brasserie about the bar area (with shades of Manet’s Bar At The Folies-Bergère), while ruby red leather upholstered banquettes lend a sumptuous, luxurious feel. Of course, the location of a restaurant means nothing unless accompanied by two essential ingredients: good food and a friendly ambience. Fortunately, Tuttons boasts both in abundance.
Escorted to our window seat by an exceptionally friendly waiter, we were left to ponder our choices while eyeing up our fellow diners’ platters: moules served in a big pot, burgers on wooden platters with a tin of frites… all looking wonderfully appetising.
The Kids Menu features a choice of well-loved mains (fish goujons, breaded chicken strips, cheese burger, penne pasta or sausage and mash) plus a drink for £6.50. Joe opted for his personal favourite: grilled cheese burger with chips and baked beans as his “choice of vegetable”, while I went for my own plat du choix, an 8oz fillet steak with a pot of matchstick chips and a side of fresh green beans with garlic that had a satisfyingly al dente crunch.
Even though the customer turnaround is quick (many want a quick bite before moving on to the theatre), the service is swift, but not so speedy that you feel they want to get rid of you. With a little time to digest our ample main dishes, Joe and I moved on to dessert. I didn’t fancy the rather heavy-duty delights on the main menu – sticky toffee or bread and butter puddings – but while Joe nibbled on vanilla ice cream, I enjoyed a zingy elderflower sorbet, before we ventured out to the piazza to see the living statues in action.
Tuttons, 11–12 Russell Street, London WC2B 5HZ, tel: 0844 371 2550. Open: Mon–Sun 8am–11.30pm Tube: Covent Garden/ Charing Cross