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15 Old Burlington Street
There’s something very noughties about a star-spangled foreign chef opening a black-and-red basement dining room in Mayfair and charging top dollar for cooking influenced by street markets. With bouncers on the door, a no-bookings neon counter (recommended) and a theatrical open kitchen to gawp at, this is event dining with a vengeance, although some of chef David Muñoz’s dishes certainly merit the hype. His signature Pekinese dumplings – filled with pig’s ear and presented on greaseproof paper splattered with strawberry hoisin sauce like a crime scene – offers an intriguing combo of sweetness and savoury crunch, while grilled octopus with a sharp tomatillo and green-apple mole is simply excellent. By contrast, our lettuce wraps of grilled pork belly and mussels were decidedly weird and sheep’s milk croquettes with tuna toro and kimchi tasted mainly of XO sauce. Other things can also rankle: the menu’s irritating fondness for daft names and exclamation marks, the banging house music and the staff bizarrely dressed in straitjackets. Yes, StreetXO is undeniably exciting, but it’s also rather exhausting.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
15 Old Burlington Street
020 3096 7555
Oxford Circus Tube Station 450m
Piccadilly Circus Tube Station 540m
Savile Row 44m
Regent Street 150m
Mon-Sat 12N-3pm 6-12M
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 5
I liked the look of Streetxo, so booked a table for lunch with a friend and I was taken aback by the really innovative decor and styling of the restaurant and its staff. Our friendly and very knowledgeable waiter talked us through the menus on offer and we ordered two dishes each. The green & white asparagus salad was so beautiful it was almost a shame to disturb it, but we did and thought it was fresh, clean and very tasty; the 'club sandwich' was a twist on the classic… in fact so twisted it was unrecognisable, but oh my goodness the taste was divine; my friend assured me that the crab dish was delicious; and my deconstructed/reconstructed lasagne was gorgeous. It would be ridiculous not to try a dessert, so we chose the chocolate ice cream and that was just ridiculously good. With a glass of wine each, we paid about £55 each and it was worth every penny.
Did I enjoy it? Would I recommend it? I think you can tell that I did and I would. In fact, I've already booked to go back tomorrow and one day next week!
So I get a WhatsApp from my friend who happens to be in town and that could only mean one thing- Dinner and cocktails! So we had a reservation at StreetXO for 9:30 pm, which is a newly opened restaurant in Mayfair- so of course, as per usual, it was difficult to get a table. But we made it! Entering the restaurant, I was amazed at just how warm and welcoming the staff were. We were assigned a host and was taken to our table. Looking at the menu, there was so much choice and has I have not been here before I was spoilt for choice.
Whilst deciding our food choices, we decided to go for a white wine, I normally go for Pinot Grigio, but their house white wine seemed to still hit the spot. We also ordered one cocktail to share, which looked and tasted absolutely amazing! The idea to share a cocktail is a great idea as the cocktails are so huge!
So the first we ordered was the Pekingese dumplings to share, which were crunchy pig’s ear with strawberry hoisin. These dumplings were the bomb! I was a little hesitant at first, as I would be eating pig’s ear but the taste was just exquisite.
Tip: Smother the dumplings in the Strawberry hoisin to experience the full taste of these sweet dumplings!
I then went ahead and ordered the Iberian grilled pork belly with mussels and shitake mushrooms. I have to say that the combination of the pork belly and mussels are insane! What a great combo! Lastly, my friend ordered Korean lasagne XO style with Galician beef, shitake mushrooms and sour tomato sauce. I was thinking why come to a restaurant and order lasagne! However, this was no ordinary lasagne- This is StreetXO! This was probably the best lasagne that I have ever had by far! It was actually my friend’s dish, so I only tasted a few spoonful’s, but what I did taste left me wanting her leftovers. I definitely underestimated the lasagne, as it was crunchy, sour but left me with a sweet after taste.
StreetXO does have a bar area, so if you cannot dine here, this would be a great place for drinks and cocktails, although if you do not dine here then you are definitely missing out!
Overall, the vibe is great, whilst the food is unreal! It is that good! The service is slightly overbearing but you usually get that with most high-end restaurants, and it actually is a great value for money.
What to wear: Smart casual
Ambiance and hospitality: Super friendly and attentive staff.
Food + drink: 2
Chef David Muñoz apparently runs one of the best restaurants in Madrid. Like so many others before him, having conquered his home territory, it is now time to take on London. Against this background, Muñoz is clearly going for something very different at his Mayfair venue. Whether it is good, however, remains to be seen. Many things irritated from the outset even prior to the visit. In particular, no website, so one is left guessing totally as to what to expect. A quick look on the internet shows several reviews, but mostly extreme (in both directions). My conclusion is Muñoz is aiming to shock and arouse controversy. This is fine, but not really the reason I go out to eat. Next, my concern centres on how to pronounce the restaurant’s name. My comrade and I, on arrival, our told ‘xo’ is supposed to sound like ‘show’, although it came out from our host’s mouth more as ‘so.’ Again, I was forced to ask, why would I come to a restaurant for a show; surely it is more for the food? I was also confused, arriving at 12h30 on a Friday lunchtime, why the place seemed to be deserted. After all, we are not in Madrid, where the fashion is to eat later, and this StreetXO is, supposedly, one of London’s current ‘on-trend’ restaurants. Like Alice in Wonderland, everything seemed a bit wrong and slightly surreal: not just an empty restaurant, but waiters dressed in straitjackets and a menu full of dishes with cryptic names and very liberal use of punctuation (excessive exclamation marks in particular). Perhaps this is why there is no website – if people saw the menu at the outset, they may be put off visiting. All in all, a bad start. The meal was somewhat redeemed by the food, although StreetXO undoubtedly puts more emphasis on presentation (show) than on substance. Our scallop was amazing, light and peppered with a spectrum of unique and different flavours. Beyond this, I remember display over precisely what I ate, the experience perhaps most epitomised by the pig’s ear dish. It arrived on grease-proof paper (a cost-saving technique if ever there were one) and came liberally adorned with strawberry hoisin, supposedly intended to resemble splattered blood. A nice touch, or just a joke, in slightly poor taste. I remember what it looked like, but not what it tasted like. Thinking back, three days on for our meal, I could make similar observations about the other dishes too. Full marks to Muñoz for inventiveness, if nothing else. At least, the meal was relieved by a great wine, Xi from Pingus, priced reasonably too. Would I go back? Well, only if just to demonstrate to an unwitting guest how diverse – and perhaps awfully wrong – the London dining scene can be.
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