I went for a last minute Saturday night dinner a few weeks back with my parents and my brother Daniel, and avoiding the huge queues everywhere, we stumbled upon The 10 Cases on Endell Street, somewhere I’d never been to, or even heard of.
It’s a small space and was packed to the rafters, with just one tiny table left at the back that the four of us crowded around. We were greeted by a friendly waiter who took our drinks order and left us to ponder the menu.
It’s very dark in The 10 Cases and there’s certainly a buzz in the air from the many people, the excitable Saturday night chatter from the varying groups of friends and couples who were the predominant diners on this occasion.
We had all selected what we fancied from a small, elegant sounding menu, but it was to be another fifteen minutes before our drinks were brought to our table, despite being within touching distance to the bar – not a great start.
We chose some bread, pork belly carpaccio and some olives to start; all simple but all executed well. The pork belly slivers were greasy, but packed full of porky flavour and were lovely with the fresh, crusty white bread and butter. The olives were tasty – not my favourite Kalamata, but instead, plump green and juicy little fruits of deliciousness. Please do excuse my photography as it was incredibly dark and lit by candle only – hopefully you can get the gist of things though!
We’ll start with the positives. My dad, Les had opted for a special of Pollack on a bed of vegetables. Whilst this was taking simple to a new level, it was a perfectly cooked piece of fish, with very little added flavour wise. Not something to set the world on fire, but perfectly edible.
Daniel and I both opted for the crisp pork belly option. I have to say the pork belly was cooked well, the skin was beautifully crisp and crunchy, as it should be, and the meat was cooked well, if a little lukewarm. The accompanying red cabbage was lovely too, it had an almost pickle-like taste to it with the perfect balance of acidity with sugary sweetness and was lovely. The bad point of these plates (aside from not-hot meat) was the mashed potato. It was bad. Aside from being almost cold, which is frankly a sin; the mash was overly salty and had lumps throughout, really not pleasant at all.
The final dish of our four, was the worst of the bunch- a crab linguini. I simply don’t know where to start on this, my mum, Vicky, has a reputation amongst our family as being a little fussy when eating out, so when the plates arrived it was a collective inward gasp of horror around the table. Unfortunately due to the lighting my photography really doesn’t show what a dismal looking plate of food this dish was. Aside from swimming in grease, which upon tasting, appeared to be butter, there was very little other flavour to this dish. Lacking in crab, lacking in seasoning and lacking in any kind of oomph – oh dear.
We had some Chenin Blanc between my mum, Daniel and I, and my dad chose a couple of beers and all of this came in around the £130 mark, which, given the standard of food, I was seriously unimpressed with.
The 10 Cases brags to be ‘unpretentious with wine as its main focus’, I can certainly see this. I would certainly return for a glass of wine here, as I have said the staff were friendly, the atmosphere was lively, however would I return for something to eat? I think not.