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34 Portman Street
Nordic influences now pervade London’s restaurant scene, but Agnar Sverrisson’s Michelin-starred restaurant remains one of the best places in town for a taste of the north. Butter and cream are given a wide berth, but there’s no lack of luxury in the kitchen’s focused and often ingenious approach to high-class ingredients. Seafood really sings – perhaps Norwegian king crab with coconut, ginger, lime leaf and lemongrass, followed by lightly salted Icelandic cod with avocado, brandade, tomatoes and chorizo – while land-based treats range from Lancaster beetroots with Gorgonzola, walnuts and ‘snow’ (a favourite flourish) to Limousin veal with artichokes, runner beans and cherries. Skyr may have hit the mainstream, but here it’s the real deal, served with vanilla, rye bread and blueberries, while white chocolate is ingeniously balanced with dill and cucumber. Sommelier and co-founder Xavier Rousset left in 2015 to open restaurants including Blandford Comptoir, but there’s been no obvious harm to the wine list, which remains a Riesling-fancier’s dream.
Texture’s Champagne list opens with the famous Lily Bollinger quote. You know, the ‘drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad’ one. Then, just to remind you that it takes its Champagne seriously, it moves in to a couple of pages that outline its history, production methods and classification system. It’s not just the number of bins available – though 130 was about as many as any list managed – it is the breadth of producers represented. While many lists majored on multiple offerings from grande marques, Texture had no more than six wines from any house. Its 45 producers (listed alphabetically from Agrapart to Vouette et Sorbée) stretch across the entire champagne region, covering every style from extra-brut to off-dry, and oak-aged to blanc de blancs.
StreetSmart - London restaurants
Best Restaurants in Marylebone
SquareMeal 2 Stars
From: 22 July 2018
To: 22 October 2018
Maximum of 6 diners. Includes Tax, excludes service.
Look for the "£" icon when booking (offers only available on certain days/times)
34 Portman Street
020 7224 0028
Marble Arch Tube Station 273m
Bond Street Tube Station 503m
Marks & Spencer (Marble Arch) 170m
Marble Arch 266m
Tues 6-11pm Wed-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
We had the fish tasting menu and it was very good. Good variation between courses and they were more than just a taste. The staff were knowledgeable and very friendly. Some might find it a little off putting because there were a lot of staff and it seemed that there was always someone attending the table. However, all the staff were so pleasant that it added to the evening. The wine made it a very expensive night with limited selections under £60 a bottle it is not a night for the faint-hearted wine lover.
The atmosphere could have been better but I would recommend this restaurant. Just be prepared for the bill!
Food + drink: 5
Expectations inevitably run high whenever it’s a special evening out, you’re dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant and, you’re opting for the tasting menu – which ought to show the chef’s expertise at its best. Nonetheless, a recent evening out at Texture saw both my dining comrade and I highly satisfied by the overall experience. We had visited the restaurant once previously together just after it had opened and were slightly underwhelmed on that occasion, feeling in particular that the place lacked in either atmosphere or innovation. Five years on and having heard good things recently, we ventured back and were not disappointed; broadly, Texture seems now to have hit its stride, knows what it is good and excels in this respect. Prior to dinning we enjoyed a bottle of champagne in the bar adjacent to the restaurant. Our server very helpfully and knowledgeably talked us through the extensive list of champagnes (perhaps the largest in London) and we eventually settled on a superb bottle of Drappier. We appreciated the fact that we were bought four separate snack options to alleviate our peckishness while drinking: two of these were specially prepared for my vegetarian comrade, and two for my more omnivorous palate. In our experience, not all comparable restaurants are so assiduous in this respect. We were also impressed by the things Texture could do with popcorn – in a bacon-flavoured version (obviously for me), one could almost taste the sizzling rashers. Onto the dining, and we were ushered into a beautiful – and mostly full – room, characterised by its high ceiling with ornate cornicing and discrete examples of modern art on the wall. Texture characterises its cooking style as ‘modern European with a Scandinavian twist’ and we were both delighted with the relative originality of the tasting menus with which we were presented. From my perspective, it was a delight not to see the almost obligatory scallop dish at the start of the menu and the similarly almost obligatory slab of beef as the main highlight. Instead, I marvelled at the delicacy of my wood pigeon (certainly the stand-out dish for me) and also the intensity of the venison steak, served in an unctuous chocolate sauce. In general terms, the chefs at Texture seem to prefer flavour intensity of the underlying substance with which they are working over the unnecessary adornment of dishes with superfluous ingredients. The formula certainly worked for us. My comrade also praised her food, but could not help feeling slightly disappointed with her primary dish being ‘cauliflower textures.’ Cauliflower, sadly, is not the most interesting of vegetables, and with regard to this vegetarian dish – and a number of the others – there seemed to be a discernible lack of starch. Despite this quibble, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, certainly helped by the paired wines (different for me and my comrade). The whole experience does not come cheap, but is definitely worth it, with Texture ranking among the best high-end recent meals we have sampled.
Being a spoilt foodie, it is rare that I depart a restaurant nowadays waxing lyrical, but this is possibly the best meal I have had in recent memory. From the starter the petit fours, there were “mmms” and “delicious” muttered all over the table. It is genuinely what I would describe as exquisite. Not a word I apply often.
The only downside is that it does feel very “business” and I wonder if it would be relaxed enough for a date or a group of friends. And of course, the prices match the extremely high level of cooking. You won't eat for less than £100 a head, but it's sooooo worth it.
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Pre and post theatre menu: 5 courses £58
Lunch menu: 2/3 courses £26/£29
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