Cotidie (meaning ‘everyday’ in Latin) is the first UK restaurant by Bruno Barbieri. We’d never heard of him before but as he currently owns two 2 Michelin starred restaurants in Italy, my gentleman companion and I had pretty high expectations.
We arrived at Cotidie, which resides in the beautiful Marylebone High Street, at 8:45 and the restaurant was empty.
It’s stylishly designed inside and we were seated in a booth (hoorah we love booths)! However this one was enough to put us off booths for life. Throughout our meal we felt uncomfortable and exposed – sitting side by side like judges on Britain’s Got Talent. A booth should be a cosy hideaway which looks out onto the whole restaurant – we looked out on to a table directly in front of us. Anyway, enough about booths.
First we were presented with an extensive cocktail list before being allowed to look at the proper menu. We noticed the food was cheaper than on their website – what a relief! Even then, Cotidie is on the pricey end of the expensive scale. We wondered if perhaps they opened with high prices, realised the restaurant wasn’t getting full so decided to drop them slightly.
We waited an awfully long time before any bread was served. When it arrived, it was placed on the table of our fellow diners; but a second later another waiter grabbed it from under their noses and placed it in front of us. There was a generous selection and we found them all to be well made and tasty.
The tiniest glug of olive oil was stylishly poured onto a square plate and served with the bread – which led to me constantly asking for a top up. This was the same for the bottle of tap water on our table which looked lovely but it was so tiny it had to be refilled every time a glass was poured. It all felt very ‘style over substance’ – it just wasn’t practical.
A long time later an amuse bouche of parmesan fondue, a pastry puff and a slice of salami was served. The fondue was rich and delicious but the puff was bland and tasteless. The three items didn’t marry.
To start I ordered the marinated langoustines served with grape granita, avocado, lime, chili and extra virgin olive oil (£13). The waiter informed me the langoustines were raw (something I’ve never tried before). They had a sticky fatty consistency and were tasteless – it wasn’t something I particularly enjoyed . None of the three dips complimented the langoustines in any way – the ice cold granita was an odd sensation in my mouth, the avocado dip had an overbearing taste of wasabi and the olive oil added to the greasy texture of the langoustines.
My gentleman companion ordered the tartare of Carne Salada beef cured in spices (beef tartare) with Taleggio cheese fondue and vegetable bruinose (£12). The meat was seriously under seasoned and had an overwhelming taste of tomato. It was surrounded with more of that cheese fondue from our amuse bouche – how unimaginative.
A huge wait then occurred for our main courses. This gave us enough time to notice how often the maitre’d was going outside for a cigarette. For a restaurant that’s aiming for fine dining – this is not normal practice!
The table next to us (who arrived quite a while after us) then received their mains before us. Our waiter apologised three times before ours eventually arrived – something had clearly gone wrong with our food in the kitchen.
My duck parcels with pecorino Romano sabayon and pear juilienne (£16 – the much cheaper end of the menu) looked attractive. Sadly though, the pasta was totally undercooked – the top of the parcels crunched under my knife then got stuck in my teeth. The duck filling was dry and bland (it had an overcooked liver consistency) and the portion was tiny. I was so disappointed.
My gentleman companion ordered the homemade gnocchi with langoustines, cherry tomato confit, rocket fondente (which tasted like pesto) and toasted pine nuts (£16). The addition of the langoustine head on the plate was absolutely pointless as the amount of langoustine in the dish was minute. There was very little substance to the dish and it lacked oomph of flavour. It was also luke warm. What a shame.
My gentleman companion had lost interest in Cotidie by this point so decided against a dessert. I however wanted to give them one last chance to show what they could do.
I ordered the mini rum baba, citrus granita and chocolate crumble (£7.50). Why anyone would put sponge and granita together is beyond me. The sponge was not only tasteless (and filled with something also tasteless) but when combined with the tangy granita it instantly became soggy. Who wants wet soggy sponge? Not me. The citrus flavour drew every bit of saliva from my mouth leaving it feeling like it had been walloped with a Sainsbury’s bag full of lemons. Oh and rum, what rum? I could only stomach half of it and left the rest – to top it off the waiter, noticing I’d left such a large amount, didn’t ask if I’d enjoyed it.
To finish this disastrous dinner some petit fours were served and looked like they had been thrown onto the giant squared plate. They were all far too sweet which was a sickly and heavy end to our meal.
Cotidie is a pretty expensive restaurant serving below mediocre food. We felt like the waiters knew we were unhappy yet didn’t want to ask us how our meal was as they didn’t want to hear the answer. What a disappointing dinner.