Thursday, 15 May 2008
The Windmill, Shoreditch
You know those places that you walk past every day of the year and always think "that looks interesting, I'll have to try it one day" and then months pass and you eventually do try it and it turns out to be brilliant, and you hate yourself for having waited so long?
The Windmill isn't one of those places. The Windmill is one of those places you walk past every day of the year and always think "that looks interesting, I'll have to try it one day" and then months pass and you eventually do try it and it turns out to be crap.
I actually remember the Windmill from its previous incarnation as a dodgy East End boozer. It was refurbished a year or so ago in line with Shoreditch's increasing gentrification and now calls itself an Italian gastropub. I never much liked the old Windmill - it had a pool table and places like that tend to attract a certain type of clientele - but I never thought that the New Windmill would be so bad I'd look back on the old place with nostalgia.
I'm still settling back into London restaurants after Spain and France, so sweet, efficient and attentive service is still somewhat of a novelty to me, and fortunately the Windmill at least has this going for it. What it doesn't have is any idea how to cook meat. I ordered the 'Mixed Grill' which consisted of a sausage, a rib-eye steak and a hamburger.
The sausage was flattened out for some reason, but despite this seemed undercooked and suspiciously pink and wobbly in the middle. The hamburger was watery and tasteless, consisting of inferior grey mince cooked to oblivion. But worst of all was the steak, cut so thin and overcooked to such a degree I can only assume one of the chefs was a shoemaker in his day job and accidentally mixed up his materials. Probably the worst steak I've ever been served in London, and not helped by the fact there was no accompanying sauce so even if I had been tempted to eat it (which I wasn't) I would have had to wash each mouthful down with a glass of water. To be fair, the green salad was actually pretty nice - fresh veg (including radishes which I love) and a nice lemony vinegarette, but the 'Italian fries' were flabby and unpleasant, tasting like microwaved potato wedges. Delia Smith would probably have loved them.
I'm not going to write any more about The Windmill because I can feel those horrible wobbly chips repeating on me. Needless to say, I will never eat there again, and neither should you.