A very welcome and much-needed addition to Mayfair
Having booked (thankfully) a month or so in advance, I went for dinner here on a Friday night recently. Expectations were inevitably high given its current status as one of the hottest places in town; an impressive feat for what is essentially a very simple and unassuming offering, particularly on the Bentley-adorned streets of Mayfair. But that's exactly why it's such a success. Mayfair has been crying out for places like this.
Quality ingredients, mostly cooked on the specially installed wood grill, created by confident, young (not to mention award-winning) talent in a place that is a world away from "stuffy" or "pretentious" - words sometimes still associated with the area.
The owners are friendly and welcoming, appearing almost overcome by the success of their project, which only opened its doors in December. "We're not taking any bookings till April now" exclaimed one of the co-owners, with a look of both humble disbelief and pride on his face.
We ordered most of the 'bar snacks'. Bread and burnt onion butter, salt cod croquettes and whipped cod's roe on toast all delicious. Even if you think you don't like cod roe, try it!
From the starters, the little leeks (Calçots) were perfect with creamy, soft goat's curd and steak tartar was delicious and spiked with peppery nasturtium.
Everyone had been raving about the steak with charred onion, pickled walnut, pink fur potatoes and Tunworth cheese (pictured) so I ordered that with hardly a glance at the rest of the mains. Despite my dish arriving a little later than the rest of the group, once it arrived, every mouthful was a joy, the balance between flavours absolutely perfect. The beef was so juicy and flavoursome and the charred fatty edges provided a mouth-watering contrast. And I can safely say I would happily eat a whole plate of the potatoes.
To finish, the chocolate mousse with rhubarb, crème fraiche & hazelnuts was far more delicious and exciting than it looked on paper. A perfect end to the meal.
Prices are not low but you really get what you pay for here and I can't see that it would be much cheaper wherever it was in London. And this isn't a place you'll feel cheated by when you leave. If you're like me, you'll just want to go back again as soon as you can... which probably won't be until next year at this rate...