April 2019: After closing the George Street site in March, "with the restaurant’s future still to be decided", it was reported today that Wild Honey is moving to the Sofitel, near Trafalgar Square (previously Balcon, RIP). More details as we know them.
Harden's survey result
“For dinner, it’s warm and inviting”, while during its busier lunchtime service, Anthony Demetre’s “very comfortable” and “slightly retro” Mayfair venue is a favoured business entertaining spot. “The food is delightful (the signature rabbit dish is heavenly)” and it’s also known for its “interesting and varied wine list”. Top Tip: “the fixed price lunch is excellent value for money”.
Anthony Demetre’s agreeably “restrained” (and business-friendly) Mayfair venture has won renown for its “intelligent and accomplished” cooking and “extensive and not outrageously priced wine list, with most available in 250ml carafes, so you can have two or three in the course of a meal”. Top Tip – “very good lunch menu of British fare at reasonable prices” (“things you wouldn’t necessarily choose but all well cooked and worth it if you are prepared to experiment”).
Back on form this year: Will Smith and Anthony Demetre’s club-like (and business-friendly) fixture provides meaty fare and an “excellent array of wines by the glass”, and “understated and professional service”. It’s “well-priced” for Mayfair too (“I often go for the fixed-price lunch, but happily pay my bill when I go à la carte”).
This “club-like” Arbutus sibling in Mayfair still wins some praise for its “clever” cooking and “cosy” ambience, but ratings cratered this year amidst encounters with “amateur” service, “average” results and – most notably – silly prices: “they should re-name it Wild Money!”
Wild Honey W1
Anticipation in the foodie world has been at fever pitch. Could this Mayfair newcomer possibly equal the remarkable value which has been all but universally acclaimed at Arbutus, its Soho parent?
As we entered the paneled premises formerly known as the Drones Club, the Arbutus team - Anthony Demetre and Will Smith - were both in attendance, But that's as far as similarity of physical appearance went: whereas their Soho premises are tightly-packed and clattery, Wild Honey is serene and well-spaced.
Just like in Soho, though, service is thoughtful and efficient. And the food 'offer' is also pretty much identical. Arbutus is famously a value proposition, and a £15.50 3-course set lunch menu is also on offer here in Mayfair. It was in fact the better of our two meals - with a chunky bavette (steak) as its highlight, it was undoubtedly a very good deal. An Ã la carte selection was variable. It started off well enough, with a delicious mackerel tartare. Bizarre as it may seem, though, our main-course risotto was not as good as one eaten at a Strada the next day. And a peach pudding lacked any real distinction of taste or texture.
The wines, however - an intelligent selection, all available by the 250ml carafe, as well as by the bottle - add to the feeling that you can have a proper meal here, and perhaps even be a bit adventurous, without straining your wallet. And it's not just on the booze front that sourcing is carefully considered. Cheeses, from La Fromagerie, included the first new model to come out of Suffolk in 40 year (Hawkston), and it's not even on general UK release yet.
Sofitel, 8 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5NG
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lunch noon, Sun 12.30 pm - 2.30 pm, Sun 3.30 pm, dinner 5.30 pm - 10.30 pm
Last orders: 10.30 pm