Harden's survey result
“Down a quiet street in Mayfair”, this calm and luxurious temple of gastronomy is a well-known stalwart (est 1977), that’s a particular “old-favourite” for those who recall its days under Gary Rhodes. Nowadays part of Marlon Abela’s restaurant empire, it has held two Michelin stars since 2014, which were successfully retained by new chef Alex Dilling, who joined in mid 2018. Harden’s regulars likewise report a “seamless transition” that’s “given a new lease of life” to the kitchen: acclaiming his “thoughtfully sequenced” and “exciting” tasting menus, which manage not to be eclipsed by one of London’s most comprehensive wine lists. The experience comes at “hedge fund prices” though, and the continuing ethos of classic gastronomy for its own sake continues to leave some folks with a “stuffy, stilted, and pretentious” impression. “It was bordering on the comical at times – I recall no less than four servers engaged in simultaneously spooning a rather flat Parmesan foam on to our plates with such pomp and ceremony that my guest and I could barely hold back the tears of laughter. I felt like I was misbehaving in church, but this is far from being a sacred place…”
You feel “far from the madding crowd, but in the heart of Mayfair” at this “stylish” haunt “tucked away near Park Lane”, where “a pretty entrance through a city garden leads to a calm and well-styled modern interior”. It’s a “spacious” and luxurious room which is “great for business, but which would also impress a date” (although it can also seem “a bit stiff” for some tastes). Having won gastronomic acclaim (not least two Michelin stars) in recent times with some “exemplary” modern cuisine, Arnaud Bignon moved on in mid-2018, perhaps explaining why ratings in this year’s survey were lower across the board. New exec chef Alex Dilling (ex-Hélène Darroze) has promised to shake up the menu, with a focus on British and fresh produce. One constant, however: “one of London’s best wine selections, especially if you are able to use your business credit card”.
Marlon Abela’s “serene oasis tucked away in the midst of bustling Mayfair is a delight”, and was one of London’s highest-rated all-rounders this year. Arnaud Bignon’s “terrific cuisine” has “the hallmarks of impressive refinement and precision”, but even so risks being eclipsed by arguably “the biggest and most-in-depth wine list in the country”. Service is “exceptional”, in particular the “charming and knowledgeable sommelier”, and “a well-spaced interior that ought be be very corporate is actually lovely and memorable”. “The only downer is the eye-popping prices” but on practically all accounts they are worth it.
|Wine per bottle||£30.00|
27a Hays Mews, London, W1J 5NY
|Monday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:30 pm, 6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||6:30 pm‑10:30 pm|