The Devonshire Club could not have hoped for a more favourable location when it opened on the eponymous square nearly two years ago. Aside from occupying an attractive corner of the City, it provided an alluring practicality to its prospective members.
Besuited boys and girls, accustomed to black cabbing to St James's and Mayfair, now had a viable club option next to the office. Recognising their tastes, the club spent £25m converting a former East India Company warehouse into a location with the 'glamour of a West End private members club'.
Though actually, I think there's something a little more voguish about the Devonshire; something that appeals to a younger audience than those found on Pall Mall. The decor, delivered by March & White, calls on clean-line 50s style cues, accented by mid-century Danish furniture. But then there are deco flourishes too: a white marble-top bar and red-leather booths, with antique mirror panels.
The same rather familiar modern-retro vibes can be found on the menu at Number Five (named after the club's address), which, with the help of newly appointed exec chef Adam Gray, takes over the Brasserie this month.
Gray, of Four Seasons/D&D London/Bourne & Hollingsworth fame, brings with him a seasonal, modern-British menu with gentle nods to the club's east London location. For example, our pressed duck liver terrine was fringed by a salty smoked eel and served with a crunchy piccalilli.
His menu affirms what we already know of his style: big on ingredients, small on fashion. I like to think that what tempted no-nonsense Gray to this appointment was the knowledge that non-members are permitted to book from Friday to Sunday. Different rules apply for you guys, though: non-members looking to book the whole restaurant for an event can do so any day of the week.
The roasted octopus with fennel and cucumber is said to be Gray's signature dish, though, our highest scoring plate was beef short rib with salt-baked celeriac, bone marrow and ale-braised onions. The millimetre-precise rhubarb and custard tart fine was a glutton's step too far, so I asked for it to be doggy-bagged, and enjoyed it for breakfast. What?!
5 Devonshire Square, EC2M 4YD | 020 3750 4545
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For more modern-British dining options in the City, check this list of beauties out