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Friday, 2 August 2013

Field's Bar and Kitchen, Holborn

Resolutions: where January is all about diets that won't last, post-Wimbledon, July is when couch potatoes suddenly decide they could rival Andy Murray by October,  if only they book a court in the park each Thursday after work. On a balmy July evening, I'm at Lincoln's Inn Fields, aperitif in hand, being entertained by two deadly serious chaps locked in a tie-break on a court adjacent to the terrace at Benugo's latest venture, Field's Bar and Kitchen. They're thinking "Djokovic v Nadal"; I'm seeing Jabba The Hut v Billy Bunter as the latter's 2nd, 3rd and 20th serves find the net. Amateurs! It's the same word I'd apply to this evening's service. Sweet but hardly likely to land a gig at Field's near neighbour, The Delaunay, perhaps the young staff here are also recent converts to their game and in need of a few more warm-up sessions?  But this is casual dining and, as such, it works well enough for less picky souls who are clearly taken with a chalet-style refectory that feels like a smart roadside diner in the mountains of Slovenia, or Norway - not that I've actually visited either. From a snappy menu that does breakfasts for briefs off to work in the square's crusty legal chambers, and lunch dishes such as sea bass fillet and courgettes al forno or steak sandwich, we order pizza ortolana - a fair if not memorable £10.50 chargrilled veg, mozarella and rocket 12-inch -  and burrata with 'heritage' red and green tomatoes. It looks tastier than it eats. Sparkling wines to enjoy on a sunny summer evening include pink pinot, Nyetimber and prosecco, and there's a limited range cocktails. Before I can get a proper negroni Blur on, Parklife is brought to an abrupt end. At 8.30 sharp, a waitress begins to bus tables while another folds up chairs with such haste, I fear the Germans are coming. We're more or less shooed away like irksome pigeons, motioned towards the garden square's about-to-shut gates. As John McEnroe was wont to erupt, "You cannot be serious!"
Lincoln’s inn Fields, WC2A 3LH 7242 5351 www.benugo.com