Laguna, Charing Cross Road, WC2

**Now closed and building demolished**

Visited: Monday October 27th 2008

Interior: Laguna is in one of Central London’s uglier locations: in the shadow of Centrepoint, surrounded by discount bookshops and ticket agencies. There is, in fact, nothing to object in its interior, which is spotlessly clean and makes brave attempts at enhancement with pot plants and pictures. My problem was that on a night when temperatures were heading towards freezing, the door was kept open the whole time. I realise it’s hot work running a charcoal grill, but it is far less hot sitting eating the results. It makes no sense to me: on a hot day I’d get a takeaway and sit in Soho square.

Food: I chose to visit Laguna because of their excellent and generous falafel wraps, which I used to eat when I worked in Centrepoint. The quality was the same – I’m sure it’s mass produced falafel, but it comes with generous portions of salad, tahina and yoghurt, none of which tastes like it came from a plastic tub with lots of e-numbers. The only problem was that where the takeaway variety is expertly assembled for you, the sit-in version is dolloped daintily around a plate, making an ample portion look rather meagre. It also came with a single pitta rather than flatbread and my stuffing skills leave something to be desired. Overall the quality is fine, but I’ll probably leave a return visit to the kind of day I can take it away. No hot drink as it was too late for tea and they had no decaff coffee.

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