Gold Award

SquareMeal Review of Portland

Gold Award

It’s all about the food and the flavours at Will Lander’s Portland – a determinedly modern, dressed-down but “elegant” restaurant serving high-end food without an ounce of affectation. Situated not far from the BBC, the low-key dining room is a study in cool stripped-back style – bare dark-wood flooring, bare lightbulbs, bare tables, function-room chairs and watercolour portraits, all overlooked by the Michelin-starred open kitchen.

Headline chef Merlin Labron-Johnson left at the end of 2018, but the kitchen is maintaining its form and there’s “always something different, original and delicious on the menu”, according to one fan. It helps that there’s no needless over-complication along the way – even moreish snacks such as Cornish Gouda and malted barley buns or duck rillettes with pickled daikon and elderberries are prepared with enviable restraint. 

After that, stylish simplicity is the mantra, from clever pairings of confit chicken wings, sweetcorn, lemon thyme and black truffle or duck rillettes with pickled daikon and elderberries to Cornish skate with baby parsnips, mussels and sea herbs or Cotswold venison accompanied by slow-cooked potatoes and trompettes de mort mushrooms.

For afters, what could be more straightforward or seasonally perfect than a quince and bergamot tart with cardamom ice cream or marjoram and white chocolate crémeux, alongside sheep’s yoghurt and russet apple?  

Set lunches offer “fantastic value”, catering for special diets is “hugely appreciated”, and staff always provide “friendly but highly professional service”, while the accessible ‘textbook’ wines on the back of the menu are supported by an elite ‘single bottle list’ of more expensive rarities.

Good to know

Average Price
££££ - £30 - £49
Cool, Fun, Lively
One Michelin star
Alfresco And Views
Outside seating
Perfect for
Dates, Group dining [8+], Special occasions, Special occasions
Food Hygiene Rating


Does Portland have a Michelin star?

Portland has one Michelin star.

Helpful? 0


113 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 6QQ

020 7436 3261 020 7436 3261


Opening Times

Mon-Sat 12N-2.30pm 6-11pm


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18 Reviews 


07 October 2021   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Unstuffy, first class food and service

For anyone looking for a meal with friends or colleagues, this restaurant delivers the perfect balance of high class cooking accompanied by unpretentious, unobtrusive but beautifully paced service. It is one oblong functional room of modest size (there is a separate function room downstairs) and as a result doesn't offer the intimate setting one might look for in a romantic meal for two but conversely when full, it feels lively but not over-bearing and without tables being too close together and its size means it never feels too frenetic. The staff are attentive without being pushy and as with all good service one never felt either rushed or that one was left waiting for the next coarse, more wine or indeed for the bill to come, which is often where other restaurants can fall at the last hurdle! Overall, a very enjoyable evening and priced very reasonably given the quality of food and service.


12 March 2020  
Food & Drink 4.5
Service 4
Atmosphere 3.5
Value 4
All about the food

I can't disagree with Squaremeal's synopsis   We have eaten here a few times over the last year and found it to be consistently good.  The snacks are amazing and sometimes I order a selection of these instead of starters.  I love the flexibility of this menu format.  I remember the Pithivier mentioned by another diner, but they lost a mark for leaving shot in the game  -  chefs need mini metal detectors to avoid challenging the health of customer's teeth.  I also remember a chicken dish which the chef had managed to make sublime, courtesy of soft chicken and the gravy.  As I would say it's all about the food and whenever we are in the area we will try to book.  We have also been experiementing with two of their sister restaurants, but still feel Portland is the best of the bunch.  

Imogen M

13 June 2019   - Verified Diner
Food & Drink 5
Service 5
Atmosphere 5
Value 5
Exceptional fine dining in an informal setting.. one of London's best restaurants since 2015

I have been going to this restaurant since it opened.. although at the start it used to be incredibly difficult to get a table.. 

The food remains at the very high standard that it set for itself.. and quickly gained the reputation of being, since it opened..  

Snacks are so good.. why don't more restaurants do this.. I guess they do in the form of amusebouches.. we had the chicken skin, the langoustine toasts and the gouda financier were delicious.. 

Starters kept the high standards and we had asparagus and chicken tartlet and some awesome gnochi with goats curd lard and courgettes.. I loved my main course.. smoked ricotta with some sort of pasta and the suckling pig was very tasty.. served in a rather innotive manner..  

Desserts were a triumph with gariguette straweberries with a mascapone icecream.. just wonderful..  

They have a tremendous selection of wines by the glass and i had a sicilian white.. a cracking St Romain.. which had beautiful rich nose and a fantastic long finish.. and I even snuck in an auslese to accompany the strawberries.

a special word to the service.. it was informative.. efficient.. friendly and fun.. 

thank goodness it's easier to get a table now..  FABULOUS

Edwin K

28 June 2018  
Great food and fantastic value lunch.

Debra T

27 June 2018  
Always something different, original & delicious on the menu. They always cater for the individual customer in case of specific dietary requirement too which is hugely appreciated. High standard of service. Elegant decor. Great value.

Arek B

27 June 2018  
Creative yet familiar food Amazing, attentive and realxed service Great wine selection, innovative coctails.

Not Dinner

27 June 2018  
Excellent Food and Wine. Service very friendly but highly professional. Ambiance relaxed.

David H

30 April 2018  
Food & Drink 3
Service 3
Atmosphere 2.5
Value 3
Where has the flavour gone?
We visited Portland twice in the couple of months of its opening, three years ago. We enjoyed it, wrote a complimentary review here and joined others in saying that maybe a star could be along soon, which it was. The thing that marked Portland then was its flavours. I recall blackened leaves in an sharp egg emulsion , and its then signature of game pithivier which got lots of attention as well as mine. It was those flavours rather than what the restaurant looked like that marked it out. Most people aren't going to go the Portland because its in an interesting part of London, or because the place itself was especially attractive or unusual- it was the food. We called in again last Saturday and ate snacks followed by two courses each with a pleasant bottle of red . The food we had this time was certainly decently cooked and presented but it had nowhere close to the character and deep flavours that we enjoyed so much then. The amuse bouche set the scene for this, a savoury custard with nuts that was pleasantly textured without giving away much taste at all. This trend unfortunately continued through the snacks starter and main- food cooked correctly and presented prettily but with little real flavour, which surprised me because, as I say, it was flavours that were, without a doubt this restaurant's major strength. My wife would perhaps be a little kinder than me , but I thought my chicken & madeira raviolo starter and pollock main course were both in general bland. Even the smoked beurre blanc ( albeit not present in large quantity) didn't add much flavour. The one exception was some celeriac which was strong to the point that I din't find it enjoyable and it served to swamp whatever flavour was present in the other elements. If this meal is representative of what Portland is serving up today, I'm forced to agree with the previous reviewers comment that maybe its star won't last forever. Frankly we enjoyed a visit to Clipstone ( more casual sibling) a few months ago much more. I need to make another point . We'd indicated on reservation that my wife does not eat cream and soft cheese, and the restaurant clearly had this on board. But it turned out that most of what was on the menu had cream in it or on it and not easily left out, apparently. The effect was to reduce pretty much to one the choice available to her for starter and main. For the dessert it was worse and we waited for the results of inconclusive negotiation between front of house and kitchen for a little while before giving up and settling for a very acid coffee and an unsatisfactory end to our meal. We eat in restaurants a lot and nearly all make a much better, more prepared fist of the cream avoidance issue than this one. I doubt whether we'll go again without some clear sign that it has recovered its form.

Paul B

21 March 2018  
Service is impeccable food amazing great wine list and really lovely ambiance.

Colin K

05 May 2017  
A deceptively simple ever-changing menu. Every dish is wonderful and it has a nice relaxed atmosphere.
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