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|Address:||Brown's Hotel, 33 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4BP|
|Tel:||020 3589 2118|
|Price: £66.00||Wine: £32.00||Champagne: £65.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 7-10.30am 12N-3pm 5.30-11pm Sun 7.30-11am 12.30-4pm 7-10.30pm|
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
I've never been to any Hix before, but will certainly be returning to the one in Brown’s Hotel in Mayfair.
Hotel restaurants and restaurants in hotels are very different things. A hotel restaurant always summons up visions of Alan Partridge and his big plate in the Linton Travel Tavern, but this – like Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley – is a restaurant in a hotel: it’s somewhere you’d make a trip to rather than eating there solely as you happened to be a guest. It’s also the Paul Smith suit of restaurants – classically English, but with a twist, which doesn’t just come from the Tracey Emin neon sign (one of our party noted that apparently the Cameron’s have similar in Number 10) and the shrubbery on the tables.
Sure, going out on a Tuesday the week that the big snow (or the latest few flakes) hit was never going to be a great plan – London was a wasteland and even the usual denizens of Mayfair in all their Eastern European guises – you’d think they’d be used to snow – had vanished. But Browns was like a welcoming beacon and having been guided to our tables amid the wood and leather and modern art – and some pictures that looked rather like they’d failed to make the cut for the Joy of Sex (not on account of the lack of sex, more the lack of beards and, quite possibly, the lack of joy) – we sat down huddled together with the other patrons for warmth. Strictly speaking it wasn’t cold at all, so not sure why we were all put together at the far end of a two thirds empty restaurant. Whilst it was quiet (no music and not much chatter) and not busy, strangely I found it a really nice place to be, with a welcoming atmosphere.
Service is generally good, with a few quibbles. The quibbles seem to be on drinks rather than food, where the wine list took the long route to our table, as did the wine itself. Otherwise everything else was prompt and there weren’t any mix ups, and we got as much, properly freshly baked, hot bread as we could eat – which was a lot; it almost turned into a competition between us and the staff as to whether we could get though it quicker than they could refill us.
The food was really rather good. Don’t expect molecular gastronomy or sexy sauces and dribbles of jus (oh er missus!), expect classic dishes executed to a consistently high standard. The menu is rather similar in tone to Roast, with a focus on meat and some fish, vegetarians wouldn’t find much suitable and I would imagine a vegan would come over feeling a bit faint. I started with winter vegetable broth with pearl barley (not withstanding the line above) which was ideal for a freezing cold night, full of flavour and arriving so hot that even I had to take it a bit slowly. This was followed by 5 fat scallops with whipped (think mashed rather than some deviant scenario) potato, chorizo and sea purslane – all very confidently done with lovely meaty scallops – and then ginger parkin with vanilla ice cream, could have done with a slightly stronger ginger flavour, but lovely for a winters night.
Value for money wasn’t too bad at around £75 a head for 3 courses, water, service and a reasonable bottle of red wine and a couple of other drinks.
Overall a surprise, but a really pleasant one. I’d personally liken it to Koffman’s, but I think I prefer this and will definitely be back to see if it lives up to this on a second visit.