Pollen Street Social

Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Pollen Street Social

Gold Award

Pollen Street Social is the origin of Jason Atherton’s global restaurant empire, and it remains the jewel in the crown. Whether you're here dining on the a la carte, or the £190 chef's experience, you can come to Pollen Street Social knowing that your money is safely invested in one of the most exceptional restaurants in London.

As with any restaurant, it’s the team who give you a first taste of what to expect. The buzzy bar and cosy dining room are run like a well-organised ship. One team member seamlessly segues into the next so that you are warmly looked after from beginning to end. 

That attention to detail carries through all of the cooking too. Atherton's signature 'afternoon tea' opens proceedings, and includes a crisp, confit potato chip, with vinegar powder and taramasalata emulsion - a salty seaside treat that smells and tastes like the best chippy you’ve ever had. The 'tea' - a mushroom broth with Parmesan foam - coalesces two powerful umami flavours into an intense, heady broth that sets a very high bar for what's to come.

Every other course clears that bar, or gets extremely close. Later plates settle into more classic flavour combinations - the sole meat course on our visit was an aged Cumbrian beef fillet with ceps, foie gras and truffle, for example, which doesn't win much for innovation but does score full marks for absolute no-holds-barred flavour.

Other courses delve into a much deeper, more intriguing bag of tricks. A dish of Brixham crab comes with ajo blanco ice cream, a perfect claw of crab meat, and a bisque reduction. It's simultaneously sweet and savoury, hot and cold, and throws a barrage of different textures at you. And yet, it all hangs together, perfectly balanced like an enormous house of cards. 

From front to back, this is a superb meal, from a slick kitchen that doesn't even appear to break a sweat. Wine service is just as accomplished, and wine pairings are willing to delve into the more interesting, rather than sticking to the tried and tested. The tasting menu does focus on fish and seafood and so the pairings by consequence lean towards whites, the highlight being a rich, buttery Côtes de Beaune that stood up to a magnificent tranche of turbot. As you leave, there's one last treat for the road - a cube of truffled fudge, with a last sliver of truffle on top. Money aside, Pollen Street Social is a masterclass in how to execute a tasting menu, and it sets a high benchmark for the rest of London.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - Over £80
Fine dining, Fun, Glamorous, Lively, Romantic
One Michelin star, SquareMeal London Top 100
Food Occasions
Dinner, Lunch
Special Features
Chef’s table, Counter dining, Gluten-free options, Vegan options, Vegetarian options
Perfect for
Birthdays, Celebrations, Dates, Group dining [8+], Romantic, Special occasions


Secreted beside a discreet Mayfair alleyway since 2011, Jason Atherton’s imperious Michelin-starred flagship, Pollen Street Social, remains “bang on the money” – a “masterpiece of fine dining” and a worthy winner of the SquareMeal Restaurant of the Year award in 2011 and 2017. Step through the glass door and the good vibrations hit you straight away, while the clean-lined metropolitan dining room shows its cosmopolitan class with dramatic lampshades and eye-catching arty exhibits.

Atherton may oversee a global empire these days, but he still puts in the shifts at PSS, and is often to be seen at the pass – a world-class hands-on restaurateur in his rightful place. Culinary influences and cross-fertilisation abound, but everything is underpinned by indigenous ingredients, from a witty Cockney riff involving smoked eel, buttermilk, beetroot reduction and jellied eel to South Downs fallow deer with pear, cocoa and chocolate vinegar or “staggeringly good” Lakeland lamb with beetroot, blackcurrant, savoy cabbage and a mini hotpot on the side – scintillating, exuberant food of the highest order, with maximum flavour delivering maximum satisfaction.

Provenance is absolutely key to Atherton, who believes that a menu can only ever be as good as its ingredients and has taken the time to foster long-term relationships with suppliers across Britain in order to obtain the very best produce the UK has to offer, from Colchester crab to Buccleuch beef, Jersey oysters, Orkney scallops and Goosnargh duck from Lancashire.

To start, the ‘fruits of the British sea’ is a delirious array of maritime delights presented on a special stand – we love the oyster ice cream dressed with an oyster leaf, the lobster cocktail, and the scallop with pickled radish and jalapeño; to finish, the dessert bar promises close encounters with the likes of Brogdale pear sorbet, goats’ cheese ice cream, honey and bee pollen.

Service plays it ‘social’ without ever losing its professional cool, and there are treasures galore on the ever-expanding wine list curated by the group’s whizz-bang sommelier Laure Patry. “Few places are such a treat” concludes one admirer of Pollen Street Social– amen to that. 


Does it have a Michelin star?

Yes, it has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0

Are there gluten-free options on the menu?

Yes there are gluten-free options on the menu.

Helpful? 0


8-10 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London, W1S 1NQ

020 7290 7600 020 7290 7600


Opening Times

Mon Closed
Tue 12:00-14:30
Wed 12:00-14:30
Thu 12:00-14:30
Fri 12:00-14:30
Sat 12:00-14:30
Sun Closed
Mon Closed
Tue 18:00-22:00
Wed 18:00-22:00
Thu 18:00-22:00
Fri 18:00-22:00
Sat 18:00-22:00
Sun Closed


Share your thoughts with other diners

Write a review

93 Reviews 

Amanda H

27 December 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

The food is fabulous, the service is formal yet  relaxed ... there is no stuffy atmosphere that you sometimes get in Michelin starred restaurants. I can't praise it enough. 

Robert H

23 November 2022  
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5

Great Location, design and food offer. Staff always friendly and attentive. A very comfortable dining experience.

Christina P

06 August 2019  
I love it here the food is so good and it has a great buzzing atmosphere.

Debbie T

26 July 2019  
Whilst expensive, the food quality and service always makes up for it and the experience of dining is always excellent.

David U

26 July 2019  
Fantastic menu, food and service. Good wine list.

Sean C

08 July 2019  
The first and still the best for lunch with a cellar that excels!

Dick B

04 July 2019   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 4
Atmosphere 4
Value 5
A lovely lunch

It would be hard to fault the food at Pollen Street Social. It was interesting, delicious, beautifully presented and, with the addition of canapés and petit fours, abundant. And all for a very modest lunchtime price. My only criticism was the vast number of serving staff, although certainly not of the service; there were so many people rushing around behind me, I was in danger of getting dyspepsia. Furthermore, it all added to the noise of the restaurant, which, together with the strong accents and soft voices of our servers, meant that I hardly ever heard their descriptions of the food they were putting in front of me.

Donna F

28 June 2019  
Amazing food and ambience. Service not too fussy and love the pudding bar.

Ghazi H

28 June 2019  
Wonderful food, wonderful service..imaginative cooking in a lovely atmosphere..good wine list with a wide selection...high class, expensive but worth it.

Angie P

28 June 2019  
Fabulous food, great service, very relaxing, very innovative, good value.
Book a table

Call Pollen Street Social to make a booking on:

020 7290 7600 020 7290 7600

Visit their website

Sorry, you cannot spend SquareMeal vouchers here yet.

Other restaurants we like near Pollen Street Social

Check availability