Walking into Stanley’s feels a little like you might have got yourself tangled up in the set of Made in Chelsea, complete with a clubby soundtrack that sets a tone of somewhere guests come hoping to be ‘seen’.
While the faux hanging blossom displays in the outdoor courtyard space aren’t perhaps to everyone’s tastes, they do create a pretty backdrop to some of London’s best people watching in a busy, buzzy setting. The crowd is decidedly demanding, with groups of friends and family gathering round the mix and match outdoor tables to enjoy chef Oliva Burt’s cooking (while putting the well-meaning, if a little hectic, front of house staff through their paces).
On our visit, small plates of cod’s roe dip and crispy prawns with a Siracha mayo both did the job of whetting the appetite well enough but were on the generous side of being well-seasoned. Mains brought perfectly cooked Dexter beef with a sweet onion puree that was crowned with a smoked egg yolk for a fun twist on a classic combo. Barbecued beetroot sadly lacked the chargrilled flavour it promised, but was sweet and satisfying, with the salty tang of goat’s cheese and herb oil cutting adding a nice edge. While plates weren’t piping hot or perfect, they were deftly balanced in flavour.
Pastry, you can tell, is Burt’s passion with delicately presented, precise puddings finishing things off. The infamous plums and custard from her MasterChef competition line up looked beautiful with a ring of biscuit adorned with flowers topping a small pot of creamy custard and ticked the sweet, creamy and fruity boxes. Elsewhere, death by chocolate came as a sort of caramelised ganache which was complimented by a rich butter cake that held up well against the intense flavours elsewhere in the mix.
In line with the food, the cocktail menu is concise, offering just a handful of classic serves, and wine starts from a very reasonable £30 a bottle for a crisp Sauvignon Blanc.