He was soon to find out that Lane 7 is so much more than just a bowling alley. Situated on St James Boulevard next to The Grosvenor Casino, Lane 7 offers everything from boutique bowling and glow pong , to photobooth fun, pool and karaoke. Child-friendly through the day but definitely a grown up's playground after 7pm. We were there to see what their kitchen had to offer during NE1 Restaurant week.
We arrived just before our 9:15pm booking on a Saturday evening (food is served until 10pm) after parking our car in the nearby Times Square car park. The restaurant is open plan just to the side of the bar overlooking a few bowling alleys. Our immediate impressions were that is was super busy and everyone seemed to be having a fab time.
The reason for our late booking was that we were both working until 8:30pm that evening (can't be helped) so I was disappointed when we were greeted with the information that they had sold out of dino ribs. Dinoribs had gained a bit of a fanclub on twitter that week and I had been looking forward to trying them. Gutted I had missed out!
We were lucky enough to be seated in a lovely booth all to ourself. As it was Saturday night I ordered myself a cocktail (Raspberry beret). Considering the cocktails are made properly and with real fruit, £5.95 is a real bargain.
Raspberry Beret Cocktail
Our server returned and as I wasn't able to order dinoribs I opted for the pork ribs instead, only to be told these had sold out too! I started to think tonight was going to be a complete disaster! However from this point on, Lane 7 really excelled themselves and provided absolutely outstanding customer service. There has been some debate on twitter and amongst bloggers whether people will actually ever return to places they have visited during restaurant week and I have to say I will 100% return to Lane 7 after our experience. As we were obviously desperate to try some famous Lane 7 ribs, we were allowed to order the full rack from the main menu. House smoked baby back ribs with BBQ glaze, ranch slaw and fries will normally set you back £15 - tonight, we were allowed to have them as part of the 2 courses for £10 restaurant week menu. Perfect! (We weren't the only ones taking advantage of this - ribs were flying out of the kitchen all night).
There weren't any starters that really grabbed my attention. Hubby ordered the buffalo wings and I went for the crispy soft shell crab and we shared them between us. When they arrived we had our first bites and OMG they were perfection! Perfectly spiced and covered in sauce - this is the sort of food you just dive in with your fingers and care about the mess afterwards. Thank goodness you are provided with complimentary Lane 7 finger wipes!
Crispy Soft Shell Crab
Spicy Buffalo Wings
Our starters were exactly what a starter should be - they left us wanting more and anticipating what our main course would bring!
It was time for another cocktail though - service was attentive throughout and catching someone's eye to order another drink was easy as opposed to a lot of places where staff seem to avoid any eye contact when walking past.
This time I went for a margarita - again a bargain at £5.95 and a decent one at that.
Lane 7 is noisy - there are big groups of friends dining and bowling going on in the background along with a lively bar area too. We could still hear the music though and thought they had pitched the soundtrack perfectly for ages 25-40. Warren G, M/A/R/R/S and Vampire weekend - all favourites of ours played nicely in the background.
The Full Rack
Our ribs arrived and looked AMAZING! The portions were huge! I loved how we were provided with a tin can for our bones too. I took my first bite and couldn't believe it when they were stone cold. I asked hubby about his and they were piping hot. I have never ever returned anything back to a kitchen before but there was no way these ribs were right. Our server popped over and I explained, he couldn't have apologised more and took them straight back to the kitchen for me.
It turns out the chef had left my ribs in the oven and sent out some ribs that shouldn't have been. The restaurant was packed and I completely understand mistakes happen. Lane 7 handled their error superbly and sent us out some fresh ribs straight away along with a portion of complimentary coconut shrimp. Later in the evening the chef popped over to apologise personally. We were offered a free dessert as well but there is no way we could have squeezed any more food in! Everyone is human and mistakes happen everywhere - I'm sure this has probably happened at many restaurants across the world. I think the way somewhere handles their mistakes speaks volumes and Lane 7 definitely went above and beyond. I have not received customer service this good in a long time!
The ribs were gorgeous and fell from the bone - you are given your own little pot of glaze and brush to smother your ribs as you work your way through them as well. I need to give the fries a special mention too - they were very morish and were coated in a spicy salt. The portions were huge though and far too much for me - I felt guilty leaving half of my plate but at 10pm on a Saturday night I was defeated!
We had such a fantastic time at Lane 7. Considering they didn't have what I wanted on the menu and then sent our food out cold I left a very happy customer and I'm still raving about the place. Our final bill (during restaurant week) was £35 for 2 courses for 2 people including 2 cocktails and a beer. Suberb value! I am already plotting to return to Lane 7 soon - our children would love their children's menu (£5) and bowling is only £4.50 for little ones so I think a visit during Easter half term may very well be on the cards. Lane 7 also after a £11 Bowling and Buns deal on a Monday and Tuesday before 7pm which looks tempting and would make for a great night out with a group of friends after work. Thanks Lane 7 - despite some errors you still managed to be our favourite place to dine during restaurant week and we can't wait to return.