You can’t help but be impressed as you descend the stairs of this basement bar/restaurant - solid stone steps lined with ostentatious polished brass candlesticks lead you between intricately carved wooden screens; giant clay urns cast atmospheric shadows, and coloured-glass lampshades emanate a hushed kaleidoscopic glow. We sunk comfortably into our booth, strewn with plump patterned cushions. Had we inadvertently stumbled into a sultan’s palace?
The scene having been set so spectacularly, we were naturally expectant. We opted to for a selection of mezze to start. The falafels coated in sesame seeds were tasty, and the hummus had just the right consistency and flavour, but nothing really jumped off the table. After a pleasant pause our mains arrived - my companion’s grilled sea-bass was very fresh but showed little sign of the herbs and garlic promised on the menu. I plumped for the mixed grill which fittingly, if rather disappointingly, lived up to its title; lacklustre lamb seemed incongruous on the same plate as such exceptional chicken. The spicy Arabic salad offered a clever counterpoint to our mains, but the mixed vegetables were disappointing in the extreme. - a dish of peas and carrots, quite clearly cooked from frozen. No thank you. A platter of fresh fruit and a selection of nutty miniature pastries was a pleasing, refreshing way to finish the meal.
From a broad wine list we ended up drinking a delectable Rioja. Their cocktails deserve a recommendation too – my mango, vanilla and rum combo was a spectacular explosion of flavour which had you hanging around for the gratifying aftertaste.
You can tell that this former club hasn’t broken from its past completely; the relaxed music gets livelier as the evening progresses (the belly dancing show was an entertaining distraction), but this is where the problem lies. We loved the atmosphere, but this is a classic tale of style over substance. When visiting a restaurant you expect to be struck by the quality of the food, to say to your companion ‘you’ve got to try this’. With more attention in the kitchen, they could be on to something.
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Hotels near Isis
London > Restaurants > Middle Eastern restaurants
51 - 52 Hertford Street, Mayfair, Mayfair, London W1J | 5 minutes from Isis
Another excellent restaurant in the Shepherd’s Market area, Al Sultan is nearly as good as local rival Al Hamra, but not quite. The menu is extensive ... More
London > Events > Theatre Dates: 27th Jun to 2nd Jul 2016 - Various Times
Jermyn Street Theatre, 16B Jermyn Street, SW1Y | 6 minutes from Isis
Jeffrey Holland stars in this one-man show about friendship, memories and a couple of remarkable lives. Set in the bedroom of a sick Oliver Hardy the ...More
London > Events > Theatre Dates: 15th March 2014 to 16th April 2017
Piccadilly Theatre, 16 Denman Street, Soho, London W1D | 7 minutes from Isis
Jersey Boys at the Piccadilly Theatre is the tale of four blue collar boys from the wrong side of the tracks who went on to become ...More
Entertainment near Isis
London > Business > Venue Hire
8-10 Dover Street, Mayfair, Mayfair, London W1S | 1 minute from Isis
This long established night spot in Mayfair's Dover Street has been providing Londoners with a sophisticated setting to enjoy food, drink and live entertainment for 30 ... More
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What's On Today
Yinka Shonibare: Globe Head Ballerina
Exhibitions | Until 19th June 2017
Royal Opera House 1 minute walk from Isis
A new piece of artwork by Yinka Shonibare will be displayed on the exterior of the Royal Opera House this ...More
Bobbi Brown Afternoon Tea at Balthazar
Foodie Events | Until 29th September 2016
Balthazar 2 minutes walk from Isis
Plumped up lips made from sponge, chocolate torte as gel eyeliner, and rhubarb and ginger cream lined up like brush-on ...More
The Woman In Black
Theatre | Until 30th July 2016
Fortune Theatre 2 minutes walk from Isis
One of the less well-known West-End fixtures, this adaptation of Susan Hill's gothic novel has been packing out houses since ...More
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Theatre | Until 7th January 2017
Theatre Royal Drury Lane 3 minutes walk from Isis
Nominated for a staggering seven gongs in the 2014 Olivier Awards including Best New Musical, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ...More
Theatre | Until 14th January 2017
Adelphi Theatre 3 minutes walk from Isis
Inspired by a true story and based on the 2005 British film of the same name, Cyndi Lauper and Harvey ...More
Theatre | Until 10th September 2016
Vaudeville Theatre 3 minutes walk from Isis
Marking the 100th anniversary of the first UK production of Harold Brighouse's classic comedy, Hobson's Choice comes to the Vaudeville ...More
Matilda The Musical
Theatre | Until 28th May 2017
Cambridge Theatre 3 minutes walk from Isis
The Royal Shakespeare Company's multiple award-winning musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's celebrated children's book Matilda is a big hit at ...More
Hotels near Isis
From cheap budget accommodation to luxury 5 star suites see our deals for Isis hotels, including The May Fair Hotel London from 94% off.