'It smells wonderful in here,' I say to the waiter as we're seated. He grins.
The Town Mouse is decked out in 1930s splendour. Black tiles, relieved by a green stripe and green moulded tiles near the ceiling, create a glossy den to sit and sup in. The bar, which dominates the front room, also seats around ten diners and created a communal atmosphere in what could have been an austere room.
The courses on offer in the menu are as tantalising as the smell. They're unusual. A goat's cheese profiterole with thyme, caraway and honey. Radishes and pickles with whipped feta. Duck's liver parfait that comes with potato crisps.
The meat dishes are as interesting. Rabbit with feta, peas and chervil. Chicken and burnt sesame. The combinations are unexpected and tempting. My companion went with the smoked pork neck, which came with summer cabbage, hazelnut and pear.
The result was a bit of a mixed bag hitting our table. The cabbage arrived first and was a shock. An entire quarter of a cabbage, delicately sprinkled with parmesan curls. The second dish to arrive was the pork, beautifully sliced and arranged on some sprinklings of vegetables; the contrast did make it look like the chef had forgotten to do something.
The thing was, there is only so much cabbage and corn you can eat. The same was true for my starter, which was the radishes and pickles. A decent sized bowl with well-presented radishes is nevertheless a bowl full of radishes.
The dishes are meant to be shared at the Town Mouse, we're informed, and I think that's where we made our mistake. An ideal sampling would be five or six dishes, allowing for a blend of flavours and requiring at least four diners to do it justice. We were only two and there was only so much we could do. As it was, it really did seem like I was munching away on a quarter of a cabbage and a bowl full of radishes.
Town Mouse, I will be back to see you again. Next time I will be wise, though, and bring plenty of friends.