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AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Breathtaking panache from Jason Atherton's London flagship

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Service charge

Jason Atherton's platoon of signature restaurants has broken cover from its expansive London network of operations and been deployed overseas, with outposts these days in Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York, Sydney, and Cebu in the Philippines. If he has made something as financially and logistically challenging as the opening of restaurants look easy, that deceptive impression has been founded on a distinctive culinary identity, of which there is no shortage of opportunity back home to get a taste. Among the portfolio of London venues, Pollen Street Social is leader of the pack, one of the capital's most beguiling destination eateries, tucked away on a narrow back-alley off Regent Street, diagonally opposite one of its junior siblings, Little Social. The interior here is glossy and luxy, with raw linen napery and chocolate-brown banquettes, the hive-of-activity atmosphere maintained by a glassed-in pass to the kitchen. For all that Atherton's venues retain a high-tempo feeling of busy intensity, his concept is 'relaxed fine dining', the simple notion that there must be a ready constituency for eating high-end, innovative food in a less socially conflicted ambience than many top-notch dining rooms are imbued with. The Pollen Street lieutenant, Dale Bainbridge, interprets the house style with breathtaking panache, producing dishes that combine inventiveness with clean, crisp presentations that are complex enough to be exciting, but still full of direct, full-force impact. Provenance remains the foundation-stone of these dishes, as witness the starting salad of superb Colchester crab with apple and coriander, its elemental freshness and sweetness offset by black garlic, a serving of the brown meat on toast, with wafer-thin discs of crisp sourdough and the piercing note of concentrated lemon purée. Equally outstanding is an opener of Lincolnshire smoked eel with julienne of pickled apple, gnocchi and buttermilk froth, over which a light beetroot broth is decanted. Succulent meats such as Cumbrian beef, suckling pig and lamb and Goosnargh duck are given treatments that emphasise their inherent qualities, that beef rib for two coming with a whole panoply of macaroni cheese, truffle, roasted carrots, hazelnuts, and green bean and foie gras salad for an unforgettable virtuoso performance, while fish dishes retain all their intrinsic sea savour, perhaps for red mullet and sea scallop in seaweed butter served with bouillabaisse. To finish, there might be a blackcurrant take on Eton Mess, a neat timbale of cream, mousse, compôte and biscuit that's yours to mess, or perhaps intense orange marmalade cake with pain d'épices and sea buckthorn sorbet.

Opening hours

  • Closed: bank holidays
  • Days closed: Sunday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 2.45
  • Dinner served from: 6
  • Dinner served until: 10.45

Chef

  • Chef: Jason Atherton, Dale Bainbridge

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern British
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 8
  • Wines over £30: 800
  • Wines by the glass: 20

Price guide

  • Starter from 16.50
  • Main course from34
  • Dessert from11.50
  • Tasting menu from95
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 52
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 12
  • Off-site parking available: On street

Additional information

  • Seats: 52
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 12

Getting here

Nearest train station

Oxford Circus
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