The waiters are cute as a button in Egg Breton-striped tees, canvas trousers and plimsolls, perhaps an echo of Somerset House's history as the Admiralty Office. Waitresses in billowing Egg smocks flit around as if they're in a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The sommelier was as startled by our order of Pinot Blanc La Cabane by the glass as we were by his emerald-greem Trager Delaney trousers. Now, ordinarily we don't like waiters who look perturbed by our order (two main courses), but the salad he suggested - organic leaves with Caesar dressing and candied walnuts - was an absolute delight.
Service was efficient and friendly without being overfamiliar, and the pace was leisurely and entirely at the tempo we like for a Sunday lunch. The Pinot kept coming (when will we ever learn that ordering by the glass is a false economy?), and the main dishes were substantial but light. The Dorset crab was flaked to perfection and tasted sublime with sourdough slathered in tomato and olive oil. Ravioli of ricotta with sage butter looked dull, but our guest was rapturous and did not deliver on her promise to save a mouthful. Puddings - including an outstanding prune and Armagnac tart - were sweet and simple. A few too many of the main courses were priced over £30, which is less forgivable when a side order is recommended. But Spring at Somerset House is a magnificent dining room, run efficiently by a good-looking group of staff. What's not to like?
Where to eat ... in the company of beautiful people
Somerset House New Wing, Lancaster Place WC2
Tel. 020 3011 0115
Words (c) James Sherwood, pictures (c) Spring