Department store dining is often a no-go for discerning Londoners, but then again, most department stores aren’t as legendary as Selfridges. Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings, (responsible for The Ivy Collection, Sexy Fish and several other restaurant behemoths) is the group behind Brasserie of Light and it’s managed to create a pulsing, rip-roaringly electric atmosphere that feels every bit as glamorous as the luxury goods on display next door.
From the moment you’re greeted by a doorman gussied up in top hat and coat tails (with diamanté detailing), you know that Brasserie of Light is going to be a little bit ridiculous, but bags of fun. The jaw-droppingly gorgeous dining room has as its centrepiece a wall-mounted Damien Hirst sculpture of Pegasus, which looms over diners with its 30-foot wing span.
If at any point you forget you’re dining beneath a crystal-encrusted mythical creature, there’s still plenty of eye candy to drool over – banquettes and bar stools are upholstered in shades of mustard yellow and azure blue, and practically every surface is mirrored, from the table tops to the walls. Even the loos have been designed as a selfie haven, a seductive mash-up of marble and mirrors: black for the gents and dusty pink for the ladies, natch.
Compared to so much visual stimulation, the menu of Ivy-esque brasserie classics initially looks pedestrian. And while no one is ever going to come here for the cooking, the food at Brasserie of Light is better than it needs to be. Take a starter of popcorn shrimp, which sees plump and smoky prawns smothered in a tongue-tingling chilli sauce, or a main of lobster spaghettini, replete with generous chunks of fresh-tasting lobster, thick spaghetti and a welcome kick of chilli.
Desserts are made for Instagram: pick from a galactic-themed take on The Ivy’s signature melting chocolate bombe, or a Pegasus pie with a yuzu coconut filling and sesame biscuit ‘wings’. The wine list is also surprisingly accessible, although there are still plenty of options to bulk up your bill.
With breakfast, brunch and afternoon tea all taken care of, Brasserie of Light caters to every indulgent whim. Embrace its silliness and extravagance and there’s a lot of fun to be had here.