The Refinery Citypoint is on our doorstep over the road from Willoughby House and is an all-day dining bar & restaurant which makes it flexible enough for those looking for breakfast through to an evening meal – or drink.

The main entrance is in the atrium between Moor Lane and the City Point branch of Pret and the Rack and Tenter pub.  It is a long open plan room with the bar at the Moorgate end and the restaurant and lounge section at the Willoughby end.  Only the two ends of the room have much natural lighting from outside but the warm, stylish but still informal lighting inside makes up for that.

The lounge/restaurant is mostly a very welcoming tucked away area at the back, with giant windows eyeing up Moor Lane; a great place to watch the world go by.  There is a range of seating throughout the room for diners: sofa and low modern armchairs with coffee tables for informal drinks and meals, traditional bench and chair seating, and barstool high tables.  The combination of seating, lighting and all-day menu gives you a flexible ambience, depending how you feel.

Outside the entrance but inside the City Point atrium there are also some bar tables and stools for a more open-air drink or meal; I can imagine that this is mostly for overflow from the bar and you wouldn’t have a full meal there, but certainly a comfortable place for a snack, well-lit and still under cover.

As well as the Terrace Menu for the atrium area, there is a very full Breakfast Menu and a couple of Set (price) Menus, but we selected from the flexible All Day Menu which really has plenty of choice and something for everyone.

Of course there is a Cocktail Menu and a special range of ‘Winter Warmers’ from a very reasonable £4.95; the fluffy blankets which are draped all over the place inside and out are another fun feature!

The cocktail of the day was a Strawberry Blonde which I enjoyed while my dining partner went for a Pisco Sour which was not over-sweet and very more-ish.

For starters we chose to share the favourites on their menu: Prawn Lollipops and the Salt Szechuan Pepper Squid.  The Lollipops were absolutely delicious and covered with a delicate, crispy batter and an irresistible side of sweet sauce.  The Squid was also lightly battered and there was plenty to share.

PRAWN LOLLIPOPS with Sweet chilli & soy £6.95

SALT SZECHUAN PEPPER SQUID with Lemon mayonnaise £6.75

The Refinery offers Italian Green Olives (£3.75), Padron Peppers (£3.95), Smoked Almonds (£3.50) or the very tempting Sourdough (£4.95) while you wait and the Starters include:

PRAWN LOLLIPOPS with Sweet chilli & soy £6.95

HERITAGE BEETROOT (v) with Whipped goat’s cheese & walnuts £6.95

CHICKEN SATAY with Peanut sauce & sesame £6.50

SALT SZECHUAN PEPPER SQUID with Lemon mayonnaise £6.75

SCOTCH EGG with Chorizo & smoked paprika mayonnaise £6.25

For mains we chose the renowned Fish Pie and one of the Signature Steaks.

FISH PIE with a Cheddar potato crust £10.50

I managed to steal a taste of the Fish Pie but my partner lapped up the rest of the generous portion and sang its praises for the rest of the evening.  The steak was great; I appreciated the aging because it did add to the flavour, and the sauce I had on the side was one of the best I’ve tasted.

8oz Sirloin at £16.95

We enjoyed delicious side dishes of spinach and broccoli, cooked perfectly and not too much; I could have wolfed them all down but I was saving myself for dessert.

Steaks are served with watercress and some very decent chips from a choice between a 10oz Rib-Eye at £19.95 or an 8oz Sirloin at £16.95 with a choice of peppercorn, béarnaise or blue cheese sauce at £2.95 extra.

In addition to the steaks, the Mains Menu comprises the following at very reasonable prices for the area:

BEER-BATTERED HADDOCK & CHIPS with Tartare sauce £11.95

FISH PIE with a Cheddar potato crust £10.50

BANGERS & MASH with Red onion gravy £10.50

MADRAS VEGETABLE CURRY & RICE (v) £10.50 (with Chicken £12.95, with Prawns £13.95)

ROAST CAULIFLOWER & PESTO FETTUCCINE (v) with Raisins, spinach & lemon £10.95

BEEF & ALE PIE with Mash £13.95

BUTTERNUT SQUASH RISOTTO (v) with Mascarpone £10.50

PAN-FRIED SALMON with Braised lentils & confit garlic sauce £12.95

There is also a choice of Burgers from £11.95 with skinny and gluten free versions and tons of options to chop and change on contents and types of fries.  There are 6 different fries available so this is chip-lovers heaven.  A popular choice is the Cowboy fries which combine an amazing mix of honey, chilli and garlic £4.50.

The lighter Salad menu has some very interesting options:

CRISPY DUCK with Cucumber, wonton, peanuts & hoisin £9.95

CHARGRILLED TUNA with Green papaya, cucumber, peanuts & lime dressing £12.95

KALE CAESAR with Anchovy dressing & parmesan croutons £9.95

(with Chicken £12.95, with Prawns £14.50)

GIANT COUSCOUS (v) with Butternut squash, cashews & harissa £10.95

HOT SMOKED SALMON SALAD with Watercress, poached egg, garlic croutons & lemon dressing £11.95

On the lighter sharing side, there is also a choice of sharing platters for a quicker bite:

CRISPY DUCK FLATBREAD with Cucumber, spring onion, sesame & hoisin £10.95

BUTTERNUT SQUASH FLATBREAD (v) with Mushroom, gruyere & pine nuts £10.95

CHARCUTERIE BOARD with a selection of cured meat: salami, chorizo & prosciutto £12.95

MEZZE BOARD (v) with Bulgur wheat salad, hummus, baba ghanoush, harissa, pickled chillies & olives £14.95

The Refinery offer a cruelly tempting ‘3 desserts for £17’ offer, which would could make a delicious afternoon tea option.  We controlled ourselves and chose the Westcombe Cheddar platter and the Mixed Berry Crumble which I had been looking forward to ever since I saw the menu days before.

MIXED BERRY CRUMBLE with Vanilla ice cream £5.95

Like the Fish Pie, the Crumble is clearly baked to order and has the same gigantic homemade style; and an inch more in the diameter and it could have fed a family.  Lots of fruit, not too much crumble, not too sweet and I could persuade myself it was almost healthy!  My partner was also pleased with his cheese platter since Cheddar is his favourite; if you prefer a range of cheeses, then this won’t be for you, though.

WESTCOMBE CHEDDAR with Chutney & oatcake biscuits £6.95

The Pud Menu includes:

CREME BRULEE with Biscotti £5.95

BLACK FOREST KNICKER BOCKER GLORY which is ideal for sharing £7.95

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE with Vanilla ice cream £5.95

MIXED BERRY CRUMBLE with Vanilla ice cream £5.95

WESTCOMBE CHEDDAR with Chutney & oatcake biscuits £6.95

For me, The Refinery is a place to head to when the office workers don’t. The bar area can be extremely busy!  If you are flexible with your visiting times, then this menu will suit you whatever the time of day.  Prices vary and the Terrace Menu is the most budget aware with pizzas and burgers from £8.95, but the venue is also good for drinks and snacks if you don’t want to push the boat out to 3 courses.  The Refinery is the ‘place across the road’ to enjoy anything from a nibble to a 3 course dinner, has good ambience, good service etc.  Not the place for gourmet food, but for comfort food or snacks is ideal and close by.

The Refinery is part of the Drake & Morgan group of bar/restaurants with branches all over London with a Refinery in Manchester and Edinburgh too.  Of the others, my current favourite has to be The Sipping Room at West India Quay which has the famous dining igloos and on Sundays will entertain the kids for a family Sunday lunch!  Other Drake & Morgan bar/restaurants close at hand include the Anthologist in Gresham Street, which we reviewed favourably a few years ago and the newly-opened The Allegory, underneath the new Amazon UK HQ in Worship Street.

Bookings: 02073820606

Helen Hudson