Part of Caprice Holdings (which also includes Balthazar, Daphne’s and J Sheekey among its glittering portfolio), 34 Mayfair is a restaurant that makes no apologies for its over-the-top nature. Serving up the sort of old-school hospitality that’s becoming increasingly hard to find as London restaurants go more casual, diners at 34 are greeted by a top-hatted doorman, before coats and the like are whisked away by the hosts on the front desk.
Once you get to your table, you can drink in the art-deco-style interiors that look timeless but date back no further than when 34 opened in 2011 – think table lamps, tan brown leather banquettes, a partially open kitchen and a sleek marble bar. Decadence is the order of the day when it comes to the menu, too, which has steak at its heart but also does a good line in seafood dishes such as miso-glazed fillet of halibut or chargrilled octopus.
We kicked off with a punchy shrimp cocktail, a retro starter that we’re happy to see being revived on London menus. Plump shrimp still in their shells hang off the edge of a bowl featuring a classic Marie Rose sauce, while finger bowls are provided to help you clean up.
From the mains, the USDA Prime ribeye is a beast of a thing that’s cooked to order and boasts a marble texture and just the right amount of fattiness, while the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese is as fabulous as it sounds, finished off with a shower of black truffle shavings – as one reader says, “to die for”.
The extravagance continues on a dessert menu featuring ice-cream sundaes and delightfully messy sugar-dusted doughnuts. Indulgence might be the order of the day at 34 (weekend brunch is the stuff of Mayfair legend) but you can eat healthily too – lighter choices include salt-baked beetroots and spiced stone bass, while there is also a dedicated vegetarian menu.
Close-set tables can make the dining room feel cramped when service is in full swing, though staff who are ever-attentive to diners’ comfort make sure the whole experience feels very slick. High prices are inevitable considering where you are, but great service and some truly delicious food mean there’s no shortage of punters happy to cough up. As one reader coos, 34 is “fabulous in all respects”.