Portland 333

113 Great Portland Street , London, W1W 6QQ

  • Portland Great Portland Street Fitzrovia London restaurant
  • Portland 2016 4
  • Portland 2016 6
  • Portland 2016 2
  • Portland 2016 8
  • Portland 2016 5
  • Will Lander new restaurant Portland
  • Portland Great Portland Street Fitzrovia London restaurant Pithiviers
  • Portland 2016 7
  • Portland 2016 3
  • Portland 2016 9
  • Portland 2016 1

SquareMeal Review of Portland

SquareMeal London Hot 100 2018Now with a Michelin star to its name, Portland still feels startlingly fresh for all the right reasons, and its stripped-back simplicity continues to dazzle both on and off the plate. Snacks of chicken-skin crisps loaded with liver parfait, pickled grapes and candied walnuts signal subtle innovation and flawless execution – an approach that continues with “notable standouts” such as Isle of Mull scallop with Jerusalem artichoke and chicken jus or glazed ox cheek with parsley root and brioche crumbs. Few dishes are straightforward, but there are classic touches too, as in a dessert of almond pithivier with lashings of raspberry jam and crème fraîche. A warm buzz imbues the minimalist, cream-toned room with its busy open kitchen, while service is slick but “really friendly” (despite the odd gripe about “complacency”). Tables can turn quickly, so those wishing to linger should opt for the newly minted tasting menu. A terse, ever-changing wine collection is supported by a fantastic ‘single bottle list’ that yields constant rarities and bargains: readers have singled out the cracking selection of Loire treasures. “Prices are high but justified”, notes a fan.

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8.3

Food & Drink: 8.7

Service: 7.7

Atmosphere: 7.3

Value: 7.3

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 21 October 2016

Things looked good for Portland when it opened last year – a well-regarded team with famous pedigree operating their first solo venture in a trendy part of town. They looked even better when Portland got its Michelin star earlier this year. A recent effusive review in the FT also suggests that the place is firmly on-trend. I raved about the place when I initially visited in May 2015, but a recent evening visit with two friends suggested to me that Portland may struggle to keep its star. Indeed, there were some actively bad elements to the experience. Our party found the service bordering on the complacent; in general terms disorganised, hard to attract servers’ attention, mumbled commentaries about what our dishes comprised and so on. This was compounded by the fact that when we complained about the beef main (item five on a well-priced tasting menu), barely an apology or note of contrition was sounded. Our beef with the dish (no pun intended) was that it was simply too chewy, perhaps over-aged, or just badly prepared, almost to the point of being unpleasant. The server’s response was effectively to suggest that we were perhaps not quite intelligent enough to appreciate the unique texture of the Galician dairy cow whose hide we were being privileged to eat. I don’t want to sound too harsh, since the rest of the dishes showed the talent for which Portland became famous, both in terms of presentation and taste. Isle of Mull scallop with Jerusalem artichoke and chicken jus was a notable stand-out. Our Portuguese red from the Dao region also impressed, but an almost six-fold mark-up relative to its off-trade price did seem somewhat steep. Based on how full the place was, many people clearly seem to believe Portland is doing the right thing. But is certainly shouldn’t rest on its laurels.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Jason P. bronze reviewer 01 June 2016

We kicked off with the charred vegetables with smoked hollandaise and summer truffle. This was paired with Domaine de l’Aumonier, Touraine Sauvignon (£9.95), the grassy and citrus notes really enhanced the smoky char. Loved the Old Spot pig belly with a fine layer of fat (mmn tasty, tasty fat!) accompanied by a potato millefeuille. I don’t even want to think about what was done to that potato to achieve the myriad, crispy layers of deliciousness but I’m going to pretend it didn’t also involve copious amounts of fat and in my blissful ignorance chalk it up as one of my five a day. Potatoes are a vegetable right?! Plus actual veggies of fine beans and yellow courgettes. We rounded things off with an almond pithivier with lashings of raspberry jam and cream fraiche paired perfectly with the red fruit flavours of the Rose D’Anjou, La Jaglerie (£7.99). I floated home on a cloud of amazing food with a new found affection for the wines of the Loire, especially the Sauvignon Blanc Touraine which I can see myself sipping in the garden of my own chauteaux on the (hopefully!) many sunny afternoons to come.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Lynn W. platinum reviewer 08 August 2015

A relaxed restaurant with school type tables and chairs, and very attentive, knowledgeable and charming staff - they were exceptional! First off, fabulous sourdough bread with moist seedy middle and top notch crust arrived with whipped butter and a savoury powder said to include ox heart. We decided to go for 3 small plates to share rather than the listed starters - 2 pigs head croquettes which were soft and gelatinous inside with crispy crunchy coating and dabs of fermented chilli - these were very good. Brandade with potato crisps - a mild, warm, slightly fishy, lemony dip that dribbled on the table, and hay smoked cheese with heritage beetroot - a spoonful of smoky cheese sauce with some tiny baby beets. After all this, the main courses seemed more straightforward. Poached cod with cauliflower and cumin involved very lightly cooked, translucent fish with a chunk of rather scorched cauli, and foam with cumin. Hebridean hogget had a good depth of flavour and firmer texture than lamb, served with some dark green leafy spinach and watercress puree - good for you greens. Sides of crispy potatoes and vegetable salad worked well. One dessert was delightful - pistachio millefeuille with fragrant creamy filling, fine pastry layers and tangy raspberries - this was polished off rapidly, while the chocolate tart with buckwheat ice cream had good contrasting textures but was a bit brown and boring. We didn't finish it. An interesting wine list, and a challenge of working with hogget and cod for the main courses. A good New Zealand pinot noir was suggested and successful. There's also the opportunity to try some high end wines by the glass - haven't seen that before, and might try some next time.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Nuzy S. bronze reviewer 25 June 2015

I had heard positive things about the newly opened Portland restaurant, so it seemed the perfect venue to try for a recent girls’ night out. Great Portland Street has improved steadily over the years but is still under represented by good restaurants so I was interested to see whether Portland would help to redress that. Portland occupies the site of a former shop and has good frontage with floor to ceiling windows. It seats forty five and was almost full when we visited. At the back is a theatre style kitchen that was a hive of activity. As there were six of us, the charming Daniel Morgenthau, one of the owners, helped assemble a tasting menu of sorts so that we could sample a variety of dishes. I particularly liked the wide range of starters. These included tender Shitake mushrooms pickled in soy and ginger; a warming white onion and parmesan soup that took away the chill of a cold January night and charred brassicas with a smoked egg emulsion and Perigord truffle. The contrast of the leaves with the silky emulsion was sublime and a perfect excuse to have an extra piece of bread to soak up the juices! Will Lander, Daniel’s co-owner gave helpful advice on the wine and selected an elegant white Burgundy and a pleasing and pocket friendly Zinfandel. As we enjoyed catching up on news, our main courses arrived. I enjoyed the gnocchi paired with pumpkin and kale pesto; the cod with baked Roscoff onion and perfectly cooked pieces of sirloin. The pièce de résistance was the game pithivier that was a joy to behold with its dome of golden pastry. I was almost afraid to cut into it but was rewarded by a filling of wild duck and mushrooms with black truffle and game sauce. It was rich and flavourful without being dense and merits a return visit. In the spirit of friendship and sharing we tried a few desserts and did justice to the chocolate bar and a very good lemon tart. I recommend Portland for a night out with friends for food that stretches the palate. The restaurant has a good buzz with friendly and well informed service. A welcome addition to Marylebone. Portland, 113 Great Portland Street W1W 6QQ info@portlandrestaurant.co.uk 0207 436 3261 @nuzysayani Nuzy Sayani is Catwalkschoolgates’ restaurant reviewer. Nuzy lives in Marylebone with her husband and seven year old son. She is a technology lawyer and loves the theatre, cinema, is an avid reader and likes nothing more than trying out new restaurants. Nuzy will be sharing her dining experiences with us and would love to hear from you with your recommendations.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 21 May 2015

The Great Portland Street area of central London is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for lovers of good food. In addition to the successful openings of the nearby Riding House Cafe and Picture restaurants in the last couple of years, along comes (the unoriginally named) Portland. A group of four of us recently dined here and were impressed with every aspect, from the decor to the price via the food and the service. The place itself is relatively small (45 covers) and the menu brief (three starters and mains along with some daily-changing specials), but this formula allows the restaurant really to deliver in terms of what it promises, namely great British food, prepared using only the best ingredients. Sometimes simplicity does work. The venue itself pleases, with a light and airy feel and modern art on the wall. Food-wise, things certainly got off to a good a start. Often, I believe the success of the bread can be a good indicator of what is to come. At Portland, it was clearly homemade, warm, fluffy and flavoursome. While waiting for our starters, we were also brought some snacks, again ordered off a brief list, and the pig's head croquette was divine, tasty and incredibly moreish. Indeed all our dishes could be described using the above adjectives and in addition to scoring highly in this respect, presentation throughout was superb. My asparagus starter, for example, saw the spears cut into smaller pieces and stacked almost like toast soldiers around a small lake of Hollandaise decorated beautifully with white truffle shavings. The wine list also deserves mention, changing on a monthly basis and featuring a well-above average share of eclectic wines including several natural (unfiltered) varieties. Service throughout was friendly; staff were enthusiastic and knowledgeable but in no sense overbearing. Great stuff all round.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Oliver J. 12 February 2015

unpretentious, seasonal and lovingly created food - service was knowledgeable and attentive to boot - definitely a winner

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 4.0

David H. platinum reviewer 01 February 2015

First visit to this new restaurant , situated an a fairly dull area about 5 min. or so north of Oxford Street. By the time we left, the restaurant was pretty much full and I imagine they'll be thinking that if its still like this in a year, they'll have got something seriously right. Which indeed they may have done. The food is of the moment by which I mean that its simply prepared, eschewing the complexity ( and difficulty ) of the food served in many of the top ranked restaurants. But simple doesn't mean that it can't be interesting and indeed unusual. My starter of char-grilled brassica in a salty egg emulsion was tasty , as was our main of Game Pithivier- a sort of upside down game pie with rare(ish) pigeon breast and a mix of shredded game. Both were well cooked and moreover are dishes you'll struggle to find elsewhere in quite this form anyway. My wife thought her pumpkin soup delicious too. So whilst In not talking the extent of innovation you might find at say Lima or Fera, Portland is more than a lookalike for the apparently bottomless supply of young orientated, grill-driven, no reservations kind of place that is common in central London. So good for them. Its not gourmet food- and neither the food nor the restaurant could really lay claim to the "special occasion/real treat" segment, but it is a place you could take someone who is interested in food. The wine list is also interesting , with nothing under £20 but quite a few worth consideration under £30. We had a side of roast cauliflower that we found dull- unconvinced by the supposed cauliflower revival. Service was pleasant and brisk- maybe a trifle too brisk we thought at the outset - as if they were a bit worried that their two hour "window" wouldn't hold- it did, and comfortably- but then we skipped dessert. If you're a cheese lover you might find the lack of a conventional cheese board surprising- they serve two cheeses it seems each with a few accompaniments. I personally thought the coffee a somewhat acid roast- but that's a foible of mine . Just a little about the restaurant itself. Modern, a bit spartan, tables a bit close together. Its middle of the road in its look- neither opulent nor tatty. We paid £99 for two courses, a bottle of pleasant red, coffee and service- which they add. We could well go again, as its interesting as well as decent.

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