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Somewhere you should go… The Factory House

The resurgence in Victorian Industrialist enthusiasm has found its way into a cavernous basement restaurant, aptly placed under the buildings that stand as testament to this era; the fantastic Lloyds building and the Norman Foster designed ‘Gherkin’. Entering the building guests are handed a clocking-in card. Insert into the machine and away you go, descending a flight of stairs into an expansive room of brass panels, heavy wooden tables and quirky decor that epitomises the Victorian age of industry, commerce and wacky inventions.

Unlike many of its neighbouring restaurants, The Factory House has evidently had a great creative team behind it. Its theatrical decor is more Shoreditch than cityslicker, and that’s a good thing. A long wooden table dominates a section near the bar and comes complete with wrought iron swing stools attached. Further into the 180 cover seated restaurant are long padded seat panels and more private booths to the side. Dotted around the walls are quirky light fittings and oil paintings with a twist. No stone has been left unturned even down to the charming menu, printed on pink newsprint.

The food is coordinated by head chef Sean Davies – once executive chef at the Tate restaurant. But, if you know anything about the museum food revolution, you will not be expecting soggy sandwiches and stale victoria sponge. Since it’s an all day affair there are a range of breakfast options such as eggs florentine, lunchtime sandwiches (the doorstop kind) and then the more serious dinner meals. The evening menu is meat heavy, echoing the time it refers to. Sage roast partridge and slabs of meat are cooked to perfection, accompanied by crispy duck fat roasties. The dessert menu is quite a treat with an exceptional chocolate truffle cake with hazelnuts as well as Lemon possets and a tangy Damson parfait.

The restaurant also offers a long list of cocktails, all equally inventive. The stand out option included an egg white, cinnamon-infused drink that knocked our socks off with its delicate sweetness and stunning presentation. The staff are faultlessly helpful and polite and as always, good service makes a lasting impression.

The location of Factory House will probably attract a city crowd, but that shouldn’t stop us arty adventurers since the style and vibe is right up our street! (Words: Laura Thornley)

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