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|Address:||69 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2PH|
|Tel:||020 3589 9972|
|Price: £95.00||Wine: £36.00||Champagne: £80.00|
|Opening Hours:||Wed-Sat 12N-2.30pm Tues-Sat 6-11pm|
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If there was a restaurant that should have opened with fanfare, it’s Canvas. Too much news is often been devoted to mediocre openings that it’s a shame that Canvas hasn’t yet been praised for just how fantastic it is. It’s a 20 seater restaurant, tucked away on Marylebone Lane. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to miss if you’re not already looking for it but it’s definitely worth a detour.
The unique selling point for Canvas is that the diner can construct their own tasting menu from a list of about 15 options: ideal for the picky amongst us. A 10 course tasting menu is probably not what people want in the middle of the day so Canvas do offer a more restrained, discounted, lunchtime version of 3 courses but really to get the full impact, go for the full thing.
Michael Riemenschneider’s key to great food seems to be simplicity; seasonal ingredients, beautifully combined, painted with his own flourishes. I cannot believe I’m saying this but amongst the 10 courses, not one single dish disappointed us. Even the chicken with asparagus, emulsion and broad beans, (a meat which I often find a little bland and my mother is quick to disparage) was succulent. It’s hard to pick favourites but the scallops, cucumber, horseradish and radish were an amazing start to the meal. The beef tartar with cherry and avocado was a great blend of flavours and the strawberries and cream panacotta is the perfect combination of richness, enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, but maintaining a lightness in keep with the summer season. This is a high quality tasting menu so of course there are ingredients I have never seen before – one dish was garnished with pretty purple flowers which were utterly unrecognisable. Still very tasty though. Canvas had adapted the menu to the warmer weather and everything had clean crisp flavours. It was all enhanced by the wine pairings.
This is not the first time that I’ve chosen to take the restaurant’s wine pairing but rarely has the food and wine worked so well together. This is the impression a wine pairing should make and yet so many restaurants get it wrong. The iconic wine list (and yes, it is expensive, really, really expensive but unbelievably worth every penny) is incredible. I usually hate aromatic wines but it didn’t matter because this Riesling converted me. The Pinot Noir had depth and character; really memorable. More importantly, the wine and food are a fabulous complement to each other. Sommelier Alis Jusic is friendly and knowledgeable. I would urge anyone to take his recommendations at Canvas. He’s extremely good at his job. Canvas was quiet during our Friday lunch but the service remained attentive, without hovering. Four hours later, we didn’t feel like they were anxious to hurry us off, it was a good balance.
Michael Riemenschneider has created a flawless dining experience and it would be a shame if it missed out on the recognition it deserves in favour of splashier openings.