Review of Cornelius restaurant

Food
February 6, 2011 10:19 pm

Cornelius restaurant signWe’ve had a lot of interest on the blog about the restaurant that has replaced The Lock at Tottenham Hale. Cornelius promises a mixture of Italian and Romanian food.

Given the interest we’ve had, we thought it would be rude not to go along and see what Cornelius was like! There were a lot of positives but overall the restaurant needs to work out who their target market is. Here’s the details.

Atmosphere

We had a table for two at 7pm on a Sunday evening. The only other diners while we were there were a family with a young child. It’s quite hard to judge a restaurant when it is so empty, as there wasn’t much buzz but the waiter was extremely attentive.

There was also a table being used by a group of guys who were obviously connected to the restaurant, and they were basically drinking and popping out for a fag. It wasn’t really disruptive, but was definitely a bit off-putting when we arrived and undermined the classy feel they were going for.

The music was Romanian folk music for most of the evening, until it became what I think was Romanian disco-pop. I was pretty happy with that, although the disco felt slightly odd in an empty restaurant.

Practicalities

Cornelius is trying to market itself as an Italian and Romanian restaurant, but it definitely felt primarily Romanian. The menu basically had separate sections for Italian and Romanian food and wine, and the two sections were totally different in terms of font and layout. It’s not a major gripe, but I felt like I had to choose between going Italian and going Romanian.

The waiter was a nice guy but didn’t seem to know the menu very well. However, the service was good, it felt relaxed without taking too long.  The menu was quite extensive, with a reasonable amount of veggie options. The decor was cool, the loos were fine (big pictures in the ladies, I hear), the chairs were a bit low but it was generally all good.

Food, wine and price

We had two starters, two mains and one dessert, plus a bottle of wine and two more glasses of wine, coming to £65.12 including 10% service.

Starters were antipasti (£5.95) and mushrooms provencale (£5.25), both of which were quite tasty but fairly straight forward. The mains were tagliatelle salmone (£6.95) and grilled marinated lamb (£9.95), and we ordered a tomato salad (£2.50) on the side.

The tagliatelle had smoked salmon rather than salmon and was quite heavy, although also quite nice. The lamb had a kind of minty flavour which, if I’m honest, was totally fine but reminded me of a lamb burger. The roasted veg and potatoes (well, I’d call them potato wedges) were nice. The tomato salad was a disaster – even though it was from the menu, I think the waiter got confused as it was literally a tomato cut up in a bowl. Oops.

In terms of wine, we had a bottle of the Romanian Cabernet Sauvignon Murfatlar wine for £15.50 a bottle. There was a slightly random moment when, having ordered the Romanian wine, the waiter brought over a bottle of Californian Cab Sauv as well as the Romanian one we had ordered, and asked if we would prefer that as it was more full bodied. We weren’t sure if he was saying that it would be nicer. Anyway, we stuck with the Romanian and it was really tasty, hence having two more glasses of it (in the name of research, of course).

For dessert I had mixed ice cream (£4.50), which again was fairly straightforward but quite tasty.

Overall

I know E17ers had a lot of love for The Lock. This is definitely not The Lock, Part 2. Cornelius is nice and I respect what they are trying to do. I’m sorry they weren’t busier. I really think they just need to work out who their audience is. The decor, prices and service (the waiter poured the wine throughout dinner) says ‘high end’ but the menu and food say ‘tasty budget fare’.

I can’t help thinking of an Aerosmith lyric, “it’s like the right dress on the wrong girl.” That describes my overall impression of Cornelius. Mrs Stow Scene said it better – “this place would be great if it was where Mondragone used to be.” That’s it really. Cornelius could be a great Romanian restaurant if it was a bit smaller and a bit cheaper. I really hope they make a go of it, as that location is amazing. I just wonder if the location and the restaurant really work together.

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6 Comments

  • well, it’s not going to make me rush up there and try it out. I don’t know whether I’d be able to hold back my post-Lock tears anyway! ;)

  • I would have thought the target customer for that location was the enormous amount of housing being built just next door – so affordable pizza and pasta for students and key workers should make the £££ roll in. If this isn’t the case then the owners really haven’t done their research

  • I think I too may have to leave a bit more space to get over the loss of the Lock before I pay a visit. Thanks to Stowscene I now know what to expect though and am not sure I would bother with the journey for what you have described.
    I think Helen has got it right – if they target the students already in ‘Hale Village’ and the many others soon to be there then they’ll probably do okay for themselves. Not much other choice around there if you don’t fancy fast food.

  • quite good place ,not too expensive !

  • Does anybody know if Ade & Fabrizio from the Lock Restaurant have opened up elsewhere

    • FROM FACEBOOK
      Adebola Adeshina – Parson’s Restaurant
      Hi all! Quick annoucement. Adebola Adeshina, former co owner and head chef of the Lock Restaurant will be opening a new restaurant in September – keep posted for more details! Have a good weekend, we’ll be in touch soon!

      http://www.parsonsrestaurant.com/ – this new restaurant will be in Waltham Abbey and opening in Sept 2011 – bit far from E17!!!!

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