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5 Princes Street
Chef Mark Jarvis’s third restaurant in as many years follows hard on the heels of Anglo and Neo Bistro – two of our favourite newcomers of 2016 and ’17 respectively. A plum spot a minute from Oxford Circus and neutral interiors that feel more high-end than its siblings has perhaps led to prices that are also higher, although at around £25 for a main course, it’s par for the Mayfair course.
Mains were the highlight for us: pan-roast halibut with fennel, grapes and celery, and roast saddle of lamb with artichoke, courgette and basil were both humdingers of distinct flavour and precise technique; starters and puddings such as asparagus (picked at the peak of seasonal ripeness) teamed with a smooth whip of duck egg and a gentle tarragon cream, and roast peach in a raspberry sauce with toasted almond, didn’t strike us as quite so compelling, although they’re beautifully plated.
Stem was very quiet on our Tuesday night visit, possibly not helped by the lack of any signage (we walked past twice); we hear lunchtimes are busier, when there’s a three-course set for £27. Service was excellent, particularly on the finer points of an intelligently assembled wine list with an eye for the unusual, and the whole set-up feels very business-friendly – but if you just want to sample Jarvis’s intensely flavour-led style of cooking, we’d recommend you head to the cheaper Neo nearby.
SquareMeal 2 Stars
SquareMeal's Hottest New Openings
5 Princes Street
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 250m
Green Park Tube Station 520m
Jermyn Street 110m
Fortnum & Mason 127m
Mon-Sat 12N-11pm Sun 11am-4pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Stem is the third offering by the group behind the successful Anglo and Neo Bistro. Located in a Grade 2-listed Georgian townhouse in Mayfair, this is a more serious statement of intent, as evidenced by the deep purple banquette and predominantly white walls. It’s all about showing what the chefs can do here rather than being specifically on-trend. My comrade and I loved both the setting and the food on a recent visit. It’s just a pity that you can almost walk past the venue and miss it. Once Crossrail is finally complete and the Hannover Square area restored, then Stem should flourish. As with Anglo/Neo, Stem keeps it simple with their menu, offering around five starters and mains, with a broad homage to British cuisine and seasonal ingredients. Pricing is fair; albeit with a nod to the local Mayfair clientele, so expect to pay around £8 for a starter and up to £20 for a main. It’s certainly worth it and both our main dishes really stood out in terms of presentation and flavour composition. My duck breast with beetroot, grilled onion, cobnut and cherries was a medley of colours and contrasting flavours, all of which paired off superbly against each other. The duck was also perfectly tender. Beyond the food, the wine list deserves perusal and we were impressed with the originality. A Pinot Noir from Bulgaria worked both with my duck and my comrade’s chicken. With friendly service and well-informed staff, there is little not to like. Hopefully Stem will draw in enough punters over the coming months to survive.
Food + drink: 5
The food and service were absolutely excellent. All of the dishes were delicious and inventive, including perhaps the best cheese on toast of all time to accompany an onion soup and the creamiest, richest mash potato imaginable. Generous and tasty amuses-bouches, pre-dessert and petits fours served with the ALC as well. Selection of drinks tasty and reasonably priced. Service friendly and helpful. Just a shame they were only half full - go!
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