SquareMeal Review of
Pollen Street Social
Secreted beside a discreet Mayfair alleyway since 2011, Jason Atherton’s imperious Michelin-starred flagship remains “bang on the money” – a “masterpiece of fine dining” and a worthy winner of the SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year 2017. Step through the glass door and the good vibrations hit you straight away, while the clean-lined metropolitan dining room shows its cosmopolitan class with dramatic lampshades and eye-catching arty exhibits. Atherton may oversee a global empire these days, but he still puts in the shifts at PSS, and is often to be seen at the pass – a world-class hands-on restaurateur in his rightful place. Culinary influences and cross-fertilisation abound, but everything is underpinned by indigenous ingredients, from a witty Cockney riff involving smoked eel, buttermilk, beetroot reduction and jellied eel to South Downs fallow deer with pear, cocoa and chocolate vinegar or “staggeringly good” Lakeland lamb with beetroot, blackcurrant, savoy cabbage and a mini hotpot on the side – scintillating, exuberant food of the highest order, with maximum flavour delivering maximum satisfaction. To start, the ‘fruits of the British sea’ is a delirious array of maritime delights presented on a special stand – we love the oyster ice cream dressed with an oyster leaf, the lobster cocktail, and the Orkney scallop with pickled radish and jalapeño; to finish, the dessert bar promises close encounters with the likes of Brogdale pear sorbet, goats’ cheese ice cream, honey and bee pollen. Service plays it ‘social’ without ever losing its professional cool, and there are treasures galore on the ever-expanding wine list curated by the group’s whizz-bang sommelier Laure Patry. “Few places are such a treat” concludes one admirer – amen to that.
Wine List Of The Year
This is not a list that does anything unusual – but it is about as rock solid and professional as you could wish. At 500 bins, it’s not a small list, but nor is it stuffed with wines that won’t sell. And while there might be a few trophy wines for clients with deep pockets, there is no shortage of fairly priced stuff, too. A third of the white Burgundies, for instance, are around £50 or less. Free of fuss, simple to use and error free, it’s a really good example of a no-nonsense list.