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Monday, 15 November 2010

Tiny Robot, 78 Westbourne Grove

It’s a little bit funny, this feeling inside. I’m kind of hungry, and I’m outside. I don’t have much money, but if I did, I’d probably go to The Ledbury instead. They say Saturday night’s alright for fighting. Luckily it’s Friday, which is good for dinner. And while there are many familiar, delicious restaurants around Westbourne Grove, it’s no sacrifice to try a new one. So hold me closer, Tiny Robot, even if your name is silly. 

The first problem is the menu. It’s all well and good having a set of dishes listed under the word ‘Balls’, but it’s a challenge to work out how you’re supposed to choose your meal, given that half the menu costs about £3.50 while several dishes cost upwards of £15. Do you have starters? Lots of small things? A mix? Are the dishes suitable for sharing? We didn’t know. Nobody told us, nobody showed us. We asked the waitress, and apparently it’s normal to order lots of things and share them, giant T-bone steaks at £28 notwithstanding.


We had arancini and a couple of sliders, some whitebait, a rocket salad (or arugula, as the American-language menu would have it), and a piece of giant sausage with lentils.

The arancini were tasty enough, though smaller than you might like. Their spinach and parmesan risotto filling was comforting, while a side of herb aioli added a nice kick. We had one pork and one beef slider (meatballs in little burger buns). Mine, beef with ‘spicy tomato’ sauce, was pretty average, its sauce neither especially spicy nor even particularly tomatoey. Cute Letts' pork slider fared little better with its creamy parmesan topping. Neither of us had the guts to try the special turkey and cranberry option.

Now, I’m a rocket man, and in a salad with shallots and a super-light vinaigrette, it’s an excellent leaf. Our salad was just right, an enchanted moment in an otherwise mediocre ensemble. But even the most rocket man of rocket men might have found the whitebait dish a little odd. I don’t have any particular objection to serving whitebait mixed up with rocket, but in this instance, the whitebait was too soggy and threatened to meld with the leaves at any moment. A disappointing experience only partially offset by some delicious aioli (this time, without herbs). 

But oh, lawdy mama, the giant sausage and lentils were good. A generous slice of cotechino Modena, a lovely, fatty sausage, sat lustily on a bed of lentils, crispy pancetta, carrots and onions. It was marvellous.

For dessert, we shared a baked Alaska, principally because I haven’t eaten one since I was about five, and they’re bloody lovely. This was particularly good, a ‘pieces finally fit’ kind of moment. Fluffy meringue sat atop rich pistachio ice-cream on a bed of boozy panettone. It was far too big for two, and you can’t order it for one, but I didn’t care. Six mouthfuls made me so sugared-up I felt like a wide-eyed wanderer. Otherwise, I’d have certainly finished it. 

The bill came in about £50 for two, including a couple of beers and a glass of wine. Tiny Robot is ok, but you can do a lot better in this area, and I don’t just mean at The Ledbury. Would I go again? Well, I think it’s gonna be a long long time.

Phil Letts’ take: 5/10

p.s. Apologies for the scarcity of photos. It was too dark. The sun had gone down on me.

Tiny Robot on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. You write so well! Very good quality of writing indeed, thank you.