Chef Richard Corrigan's Irish eyes have been smiling ever since he took over this redoubtable Mayfair sea dragon back in 2005. Founded in 1916, Bentley's has the briny in its blood, and the kitchen responds by delivering plates of ozone-fresh crustacea plus a raft of dishes oozing gustatory familiarity – lobster bisque, incomparably retro seafood cocktail, roast hake with clams, potatoes and bacon. Meat and game get a look in, and desserts such as ‘substantial' lemon sponge pudding close proceedings with a calorific flourish. Depending on your mood (and your wallet), eat affordably in the rumbustious, marble-hued oyster bar/brasserie or venture upstairs for clubby formality, William Morris wallpaper and food with a weightier price tag. Bentleys has an ‘all-occasions' spirit, touting breakfast, working lunches, theatre deals and glorious alfresco opportunities. ‘Superb chatty staff' deliver great service, and ‘wines of the sea' on a thoroughbred global list all hit the mark, with plenty by the carafe.
A lot of good stuff in here. Wines are separated out (wines of the sea/Sauvignon Blanc/honeyed and aromatic), with a mix of stylistic, varietal and regional – and it really works. Loads by the glass, cleverly chosen for the seafood-driven cuisine. Good to see sherries given their own page as well.
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