8-10 Pollen Street, LONDON, W1S 1NQ
Jason Atherton has certainly clocked up a few air miles as he now appears on four continents. With the opening in 2016 of his foray into Japanese cuisine at Sosharu, he's now up to seven restaurants in London alone, but this sleek Mayfair venue is the jewel in the crown. With its high-chair bar seating under globe lights, clothed tables on a wooden floor, glassed-in kitchen views and a dessert bar that maybe one of the capital's foremost guilty pleasures, the place boasts a dynamic buzz. Dining here most definitely fits into the 'fine' category, but the vibe is the polar opposite of what that tag can imply: hushed tones and hovering waiters are out, and fun is definitely allowed. Every last ounce of energy is devoted to the pursuit of ingenuity in food and drink, but before you begin, note the menu credits for the provenance of many of the main items, together with their mileages. For example, that langoustine from Gairloch has travelled 636 miles. The five- and eight-course tasting menus will lure many, and non-carnivores will be thrilled that they are amply sorted out with vegetarian and vegan options, but you can also stick to time-honoured convention and cherry pick your way through the carte. Of course, Atherton himself has an empire to run, so the day-to-day cooking is down to head chef Dale Bainbridge, who interprets the boss's complex, highly-detailed dishes with pin-sharp precision. Start with a bowl of smoked eel, pickled apple, buttermilk foam and green apple purée, all brought together by a beetroot broth poured at the table, or sea-fresh crab served in a vibrant salad with apple, coriander, black garlic and sourdough crisps, alongside brown crab meat foam on toast, all offset by an astringent lemon purée. Next up, roasted John Dory of unimpeachable quality arrives in a faultlessly seasonal partnership with English asparagus, Jersey Royals and wild mushrooms - this delightful Spring dish is a masterclass in treating top-quality produce with care, restraint and respect. As for meatier ideas, roasted squab pigeon (its leg wrapped in potato) comes with cabbage, Alsace bacon and a head-spinningly intense cottage pie topped with potato purée, with further flavours and textural interest provided by pickled walnuts, Périgord truffle and morels. Assuming you haven't cut to the chase and gone straight for the dessert bar in the first place, finish with a highly technical take on the theme of blackcurrant Eton Mess, or the zippy sweet-and-sour delights of marmalade cake with pain d'épice and sea buckthorn sorbet. The thrilling wine list travels the globe to seek out lesser-known artisan bottles alongside blue-blooded French vintages, and the Coravin wine system allows big-spenders to splash out top-class stuff by the glass.
Tel: 020 7290 7600
Please quote 'The AA'.
Send an email
Days closed: Sun
Dates closed: BHs
Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Jason Atherton, Dale Bainbridge
Number of seats: 52
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Vegetarian meals available.
A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £33.50
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.