More than just spaces to eat and meet, restaurants now have to tick so many boxes, not least the aesthetics requirement. NoMad’s does the job with its impressive double height space, floodlit from a pitched glass roof suspended above the giant greenhouse-like dining room. It comes complete with trailing foliage tumbling over pastel green railings above, and is skirted by comfortable, velvet banquettes and marble tables filled with a polished cohort.
It’s undeniably swish, with service that syncs to the setting. Smart front of house professionals navigate the floor with ease, and are on hand to guide you through the accomplished drinks list which includes a keenly flavoured Clip Joint Cup that balances herbal Amaro with ginger, citrus and cucumber.
Much like the layered interiors, the menu is multi-dimensional. Snacky bits include a very good steak tartare. It’s a sort of savoury trifle, with your spoon uncovering new elements as you dig down. Hiding in the middle is an oyster emulsion, which cleverly seasons the meat for a classy nod to surf and turf. It’s topped with golden rounds of Jersey Royals crisps for crunch. And this is London in the mid two thousands, so there are micro herbs too. It’s a delightful few mouthfuls and becomes the dish that all subsequent plates are measured against.
While everything that follows is perfectly pleasant, nothing else inspires such greedy enjoyment. The mains include three fat scallops with roe tempura and a piece of turbot that is wreathed by an overwhelming pyre of pea shoots. Its sauce has no body so the fish goes under seasoned for the most part. Although with such a beautiful fillet, that’s no tragedy.
Michael Yates seems like a nice guy, and as he pops out the kitchen to greet diners, you’re willing him to do well. We were there in the early days, and it felt like an unfinished masterpiece that once given a few final touches will be a restaurant to be reckoned with.