Hidden-away inside Bond Street’s only hotel, a grand new dining room for an ex-Marcus Wareing chef of whom we suspect we’re going to be hearing a lot more; our lunchtime visit offered invariably high quality, and extraordinary overall value.
Half way up our grandest shopping thoroughfare, this hotel dining room certainly has a handy location. Not that you’d know it was there from external appearances. Perhaps why, when we visited for a midweek lunch in the second week of opening, it was at best sparsely occupied.
Undistracted by punters, we had plenty of opportunity to consider the décor. Well, let’s just say that, though the place reeks of money, it’s been spent with more discretion than at the same hotel’s tart’s-boudoir-like number two restaurant, opened a few months ago, which trades under the name of The Gallery (of what, Bad Taste?). In short, this is a suitable setting for an emerging name who was until recently head chef at Marcus Wareing’s equally plush Knightsbridge joint.
The set lunch menu was presented almost apologetically, but surely few are the people who – especially in the early days of a restaurant – are particularly likely to want to embark on the full works? We certainly didn’t. Between us, however, we were able to sample the entire carte du jour.
Fish dishes seem a particular highlight. A starter of escabeche of gurnard, for example, was notable for the perfection of its timing, as was piece of hake presented on seaweed butter with grilled whelks and truffle. Presentation throughout was of a very high standard. And even the wine prices were not so high as to spoil the experience. Wareing, with his Lancastrian roots, famously has a gift for puddings, and that strength is echoed here in desserts both British (jelly, charmingly presented) and more classically French in style.
As it turned out, it would have been difficult to imagine an occasion when most people would want to lunch much more splendidly than we did for our £24 a head! The set lunch here is an incredible bargain.
Now all we need do is find an excuse to go back for dinner.