With its burly bouncers and vowel-rationed moniker (‘district’, geddit?), you might expect some attitude from this subterranean restaurant on the tackier, Chinatown side of Shaftesbury Avenue. However, the lavish, sexily lit dining room eschews pretention in favour of ‘efficient, friendly’ service and a team of chefs led by American whizz kid George Yaneff. The menu revolves around seasonal sharing plates that are ‘strong on flavours and imagination, if lacking in subtlety’ – witness oxtail sliders with crisp chorizo and punchy aïoli, oysters with passion fruit and Champagne air or wild sea trout with celeriac purée, pickled watermelon rind and roe, all backed by organic charcuterie platters and sustainable caviar spreads. Stunning, elegantly balanced cocktails followed by a 12-course tasting menu add up to ‘the perfect evening out’, while punters in party mood should stick around for the venue’s after-hours club.
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