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Citrus Restaurant Review – Italian – Green Park, Mayfair

BY Boon Koh
Published 7 November 2009

In contrast to my review earlier this week about Roadhouse, this is a review that carries the warning that restaurants with 50% off deals through TopTable or TasteLondon are not necessarily better because of the discount.

Citrus Italian Restaurant - Sheraton Park Lane Hotel While there might be some gems in the discounted dining haystack, such as Roadhouse and Pho, the majority offer discounts because of one sole reason: the food there is crap and overpriced and the only way to attract diners is to suck them in with a supposedly good deal of 50% off all food.

The Citrus Restaurant in the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel is one such place. This Italian restaurant is, at its core, a glorified hotel restaurant, and usually those are not very good because they are run by hotel management specialists, and because whatever the quality of the food they still get customers in the form of hotel guests and business travellers. In addition, the menu is also usually very conservative, and homogenous with only a few variations, and can easily described as the McDonalds of restaurant dining.

However, like most hotel restaurants, Citrus does excel in one area, and that is that it is a very professional-looking and decorated in a conservative yet tasteful manner. Probably not a place you would bring a date as it is too sterile, but perfect for a family reunion dinner, or a casual business dining meeting. Best of all, Citrus was a quiet restaurant and good for conversations over food and wine.

Menu-wise, it is conservatively Italian as usual, and most of the dishes could have come out of any of the standard cookbooks sold in a bookshop. But they did have a wide variety of antipasti, pasta dishes, and meat dishes, which is quite impressive as that means their kitchen has to be multi-talented.

Citrus Main Course - Halibut On my visit I had a halibut with chips as my main course, and we had garlic bread to share for starters. The rest of my table had ordered fish main courses as well. The portions were a bit on the small side, and while all the fish was fresh and tasty, there was no real wow factor or anything special that did not come from the raw ingredients themselves. The best out of the lot was probably the fillet of sea bass with crispy garlic potatoes, but even then the dish seemed quite sad with not much colour and a few measly pieces of potatoes. While there was nothing wrong with the food, it very much did fit the profile of sanitized food for business travellers.

Desert was slightly better, with a good assortment of mouth-watering Italian desserts. I had the tiramisu, which was well created.

Verdict: Overall, the food is decent, and if having a quiet professional setting for a lunch in a central location (i.e. Green Park) is important, this is the place as the food is still pretty decent. But its daylight robbery if you have to pay full price, and even at half off it still came up to about £17 per person including drinks for a two and a bit courses. Even with the discount I would feel hard pressed to recommend this place to a friend.

Restaurant Rating: 5 out of 10 stars
Cuisine: Italian, but with a wide seafood (especially fish) menu
Price Range: £70 for four people, two courses each with non-alcoholic drinks

Address: The Park Lane Hotel, 112 Piccadilly, London W1J 7BX (location map).
Nearest Tube Stations: Green Park Tube Station (5 minutes walk), Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (15 minutes walk), Hyde Park Corner (10 minutes walk)
Tel: +44 020 7290 7364
Website: http://www.citrusrestaurant.co.uk/