“Incredible”, “beautiful” and “amazing” are just some of the words readers use to describe the dining room at Jason Atherton’s perennially popular Berners Tavern within the London outpost of Edition hotels. The arrestingly baroque space features double-height ceilings, lavish plasterwork and walls hung with hundreds of gold-framed pictures – clutter for sure, but the sort of clutter you’d find in the country house of your long-lost rich uncle. To up the ante further, there are bronze chandeliers, leather and mohair booths, pink velvet chairs, a zinc-topped bar with high stools and an illuminated amber backdrop.
The clientele is just as glamorous as the decor and the dining room is often packed from breakfast through to dinner, while it’s also a favourite of celebrities. Although there are some flashy ingredients on show (a bit of gold leaf here, some truffle shavings there), for the most part the menu is a restrained celebration of traditional British cuisine, typified by fastidious sourcing and slick culinary techniques.
To start, pickled mushrooms arrive piled atop pillowy focaccia and crowned with parmesan shavings, while a traditional pork pie is served tableside from a trolley, along with lip-smacking piccalilli, pickled vegetables and mustard – a piece of restaurant theatre as charming as it is delicious.
Next up, barbecued Dingley Dell pork chop boasts a smoky texture that’s enhanced by roasted hispi cabbage and a tongue-tingling chimichurri dressing, while Josper-grilled steaks (from the Buccleuch estate) come with triple-cooked chips and classic sauces. Even an everyday mixed leaf salad is pepped up with truffle dressing.
Desserts are just as lavish, whether you order the baked Alaska which is flambéed at the table and bursting with chocolate and orange flavouring, or try the éclair that’s stuffed with Calvados cream and apple jelly, presented alongside a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
The Instagram-baiting Champagne trolley and a proud collection of British cheeses are also worth your time, while Berners’ drinks list features chic cocktails and a wine list that could result in having to re-mortgage your house. Still, for guaranteed glamour and comforting cooking with enough creativity to keep regulars interested, everyone agrees that Berners Tavern is “money well spent”.