Fire and Stone, Malden Lane, Covent Garden, London.
12pm-11pm Mon - Wed
12-1 Thu - Sat, 12-12 Sun
12-1 Thu - Sat, 12-12 Sun
Number of photos taken: 0 (forgot the camera :S)
Number of sighs and eye-rolls by server: I think we were keeping her up.
Ayes: 1.3/5 (the 0.3 is nothing to do with Fire and Stone - it's in honour of my friends - lovely to see you all again :) )
Pizzas, I've had a few. As a pizza purist (tomato, mozzarella, basil, salt and olive oil does me fine, as exemplified by the heavenly Trianon), it was probably a bad item for me to go to Fire and Stone but this was for a friend's birthday, so hey ho.
Fire and Stone is part of a chain of five restaurants - three in London, one in Oxford and one in Portsmouth. Any other information on the chain seems to be scant, apart from its affiliation with the CG Restaurant Group which also includes the overpriced and excessively noisy Dirty Martini bar. Enough vitriol here, on to the food for more vitriol there:
The tone for this review would be set as soon as took one look at the menu - and plumped for the Israeli cous cous salad (£9.25) in what presents itself primarily as a pizza joint. Bad start for them. Consisting of a sliced skin-on chicken breast on Israeli cous cous with mixed peppers and tzakiki and harissa dressings, it was edible but not remarkable; there were familiar issues that remind me why I tend to stay away from chain restaurants in any form (bar the ace Mexican upstart Wahaca) - lack of seasoning in the cous cous, the greasiness of the dish and so on.... You might ask me how I can pass judgement on the pizza if I didn't have one - well, this is where we review with the help of a committee: in the birthday group, seven had pizzas - one San Sebastian, a couple of Cairos, a Canberra, a couple of Capetowns, and a pasty flavoured Redruth* (shout out to my homies!). Had a go on a couple of them - slapping a load elements of different cuisines on top of a dough base does not a true pizza make. One member of the group ordered a starter - I'm not sure what it was, but like most of the starters on the menu it looked decidedly Wetherspoons-esque. No one ordered desserts.
The food was fine, but don't want to spend my hard earned cash on something which is 'fine' - fine dining, perhaps, but not just 'fine'. Fire and Stone was a disappointing experience all round - apathetic service, distinctly average food and overpriced rancid wine. If Fire and Stone's aim is to serve somewhat confused, average food and bastardize pizza, it has surely achieved this and I should really up my rating. However, although some may disagree, it should never, ever be a restaurant's aim to do so.
Visited Friday 19th March '11. Wallet damage: £170 for 11 (including seemingly compulsory service), £9.25 for one, excluding drinks (£13.45 for the cheapest bottle of white wine - don't do it, folks)
*Not really. Fire and Stone, please don't take this idea to the drawing board.