Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“It was like having a magician as a waiter”, say fans of the Arzac family’s Belgravia outpost, extolling “course after course of treats, from mouthfuls to more substantial dishes, all exploring new tastes”. The room itself can seem “as dull as ditchwater” however, and critics are disappointed by food they find “more startling to the eye than agreeable to the palette”.
“The strange taste combinations always work better than you expect” – “incredible” – and come with “very good wine pairings” (“interesting Spanish wines never seen or heard of before”) at this Belgravia outpost of star Basque chef, Juan Mari Arzak. A disgruntled minority of reporters deliver the opposite verdict however, and the setting is “rather dull”.
“We’d heard bad things, but it was stunningly good!” – star Spanish chef, Juan Mari Arzak’s “stark” Belgravian can still seem “underwhelming” to some, but (after some rocky early years) it won much more consistent adulation this year for its “passionate” service, and “fascinating, semi-molecular Basque cuisine”.
“Why isn’t it booked out nightly?”, ask fans of Juan Mari Arzak’s Basque export to Belgravia, and its “creative, indulgent and beautiful” cuisine; the mega-“bland” interior doesn’t help though, and a large minority of reporters just feel that the food is “surprisingly poor, given the pedigree”.
Ametsa’s approach is rooted in the traditions of ‘New Basque Cuisine’, pairing the earthy flavours and techniques of Spain’s Basque region with modern, surprising twists featuring locally-sourced and organic produce from land and sea.
The restaurant’s interior was designed by London-based Ab Rogers Design, who took inspiration from the raw aesthetic of the original Arzak restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain, which holds three Michelin-stars.
The focal point of Ametsa is a wave-like ceiling, created from 7,000 glass receptacles filled with spices. Other highlights include an oak floor laid at a 30-degree angle and lacquered walls that create a calm, light-filled interior.
Ametsa also has a Private Dining Room that can be reserved separately for an intimate gathering of up to 30 guests or in conjunction with the restaurant for a larger function accommodating up to 70.
The private dining room at Ametsa with Arzak Instruction is the ideal space for a London private meeting. Light-filled, with large windows overlooking The Halkin garden, the room accommodates 24 people seated or 40 standing. It is ideal for an all-day meeting, private celebration or small event.
Interiors echo the main Ametsa restaurant, with red leather benches and glass receptacles filled with spices forming wave-like contours on the ceiling. Large retractable mirrored doors can be left open, to incorporate the main restaurant or closed for greater intimacy.
Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, Halkin Hotel Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Creative cooking with unique flavours from an underrepresented part of the Iberian peninsula. Service a bit unpolished, with several errors handling a gluten intolerance, but an eagle-eyed supervisor saved the day. Interesting local wines from the region. Worth a visit."