The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

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Better-known for its members’ clubs and high-end shops, Mayfair’s restaurants put the spotlight on classic white-tablecloth spots and sceney neighbourhood stalwarts.

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  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    PARK CHINOIS

    Inside Mayfair’s most lavish restaurant

    In the ongoing battle for the unofficial title of London’s most decadent restaurant, Park Chinois is up there. It opened in 2015 on Berkeley Street, surrounded by swanky neighbours (Nobu, Hakkasan Mayfair, Benares, Sexy Fish), and became an instant hit with Mayfair’s glittery jet set. The bar is the first port of call, lined with red-velvet stools and manned by handsome mixologists in tuxedos. In the dimly lit dining room, Salon de Chine, the walls are covered in thick swathes of red and gold silk and, in the evening, a jazz band sets up right in the middle of the tables. The tinkling piano and glamorous singer make the whole experience feel like you’re on an impossibly smart Twenties train journey where a murder could, at any point, take place. We suspect, though, the music also helps draw in Park Chinois’s long list of famous regulars – it’s hard to eavesdrop through supper over the sound of a jazz quartet. Downstairs, the members’ club atmosphere is taken a step further in Club Chinois, where each evening live dancers and gymnasts perform every few minutes.

    FOOD

    Dim Sum is the obvious place to start on the enormous, Chinese-inspired menu – the dim-sum platter has impeccably made, paper-thin dumplings filled with scallop, truffle or prawn. Beef ribs have been tea-smoked to give an earthy flavour and a mountain of salt and pepper squid is super crisp. The mains read like a shopping list of expensive ingredients: Wagyu rib-eye is stir-fried with Wagyu salami, roast duck is topped with Champagne and orange sauce and King Crab comes with 10-year-old wine. But we also like the simple-by-comparison sweet-and-sour Ibérico pork, which is sticky and has layers of contrasting flavours. A side of duck-fried rice is a must-order, while the Park carbonara is an Asian take on the Italian classic, made with udon noodles and added sea urchin. Pudding has to be the rich 85 per-cent chocolate fondant, served with glossy Rémy Martin sauce and topped with a gold leaf.

    DRINK

    Eating here is a full-on event, so book-end it with cocktails. Start with a drink in the ground-floor bar: the Cabane Choucoune is a light and zingy concoction made with tequila, Manzanilla sherry, peach and Matcha. Or try La Nouvelle – cognac, rhubarb and champagne. The wine list is 24 pages long, but there’s an in-the-know sommelier on hand to suggest some options. At the other end of the evening, finish with a nightcap downstairs in Club Chinois, where the heady mix of dim lighting and loud music might mean you leave later than intended. We recommend ordering the earthy and seriously boozy Umami Old Fashioned, a mix of truffle-infused bourbon, mushroom liqueur, vermouth, nigella, black sesame and house-made bitters.

    VERDICT

    This is not the spot for a casual Tuesday supper. But it’s a seriously fun, very bougie, money’s-no-object night out.


    By Sarah James


    Address: Park Chinois, 17 Berkeley Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8EA


    Telephone: +44 20 3327 8888


    Book online

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    DAVIES AND BROOK AT CLARIDGE’S BY DANIEL HUMM

    New York’s best restaurant lands in London

    Chef Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York was crowned Best Restaurant in the World in 2017. Since then, things have been busy – Humm split from his long-time business partner, Will Guidara, in July 2019 in the midst of opening his first restaurant overseas. And not just anywhere, but in one of London’s great landmark hotels, which also happens to be where Humm took one of his first jobs – he was a commis chef at Claridge’s aged just 15. This space was previously occupied by Simon Rogan’s Fera, which shut at the end of 2018, and it’s taken Humm’s team (largely transported straight from EMP) almost 12 months to get things right – from the various jenga-like wooden blocks made for delivering croissant-like bread rolls to the table to the mesmerising but bleak Icelandic landscapes by Roni Horn (find her photographs elsewhere in London at the Tate) that wrap around the walls to create an only slightly disjointed panorama, it’s easy to see that Humm is a perfectionist. He’s also enthusiastic in his attempts to make this white-tableclothed space as fuss-free as possible (despite the well-oiled carousel of waiters who move clockwise around the room like a discreet flashmob) with the seemingly simple plan of making every dish completely delicious.

    FOOD

    There’s a six-course tasting menu, but thankfully, unlike at many other restaurants of this calibre, it’s not the only option: simply pick and mix plates from the four-course menu instead. Cold starters include a perfect circle of carrot salad (I was dubious that grated carrot and alfalfa sprouts could taste exciting) but this one, with a sensational jalapeño chilli kick, had me eating my hat. A seabass ceviche is topped with shrimp oil and the finest of avocado slices, and marinated yellowtail is served with oyster mushrooms and crispy amaranth. And no one should forgo the caviar: served in a butternut squash on top of a mashed-squash ecrasse with a crème fraîche-spiked puree of more squash and miso butter. It’s truly inspired, and has to be the best thing on the menu. Next up, warm starters of poached lobster tail presented with a pencil-sharpener curl of onion squash and saffron in a bisque; or aubergine marinated in umami broth. When it comes to mains, everyone’s talking about EMP’s legendary duck (dry-aged for up to 14 days – if you’re lucky enough to get into the kitchen, you’ll see them hanging in neat rows behind a glass pane) flavoured with honey and lavender and glazed with beetroot. And new for London is a roast poussin with a hearty stuffing of Parmesan, fennel and lemon – simple flavours with bells on. Throughout the meal, the eager staff remind diners to save space for pudding – which is hard, given the surplus of those still-warm bread rolls – but Humm’s famed Milk and Honey doesn’t disappoint. It looks just like a mini meringue pie, made up of many different elements, including a swirl of bee-pollen tuile, a layer of fudgy shortbread and a satisfying runny honey centre topped with a perfect soft serve milk ice cream.

    DRINK

    The cocktail menu gives the classics a twist with the addition of house-made garnishes such as brandied cherries and candied walnuts for the Seasonal Manhattan. The Dirty Martini is inspired by anchovies on toast and made with butter-washed vodka, brine and anchovy oil. Elsewhere, seasonal specials include the Honey Cobbler, the Avocado Sour and the Yoghurt Fizz. The wine list focuses on Burgundy and the northern Rhône Valley vineyards with a nod to the USA – and while there are some rare and collectable bottles on the list, there are lots of carafe options, as well as affordable wine by the glass.

    THE VERDICT

    We’ve been waiting all year, and this place has crossed the line just in time to be one of 2019’s best restaurants. By Tabitha Joyce

    Address: Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair, London W1K 4HR


    Telephone: +44 20 7107 8848


    Book online

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  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    The Betterment

    Jason Atherton’s latest opening inside a smart Mayfair hotel

    Star chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton’s latest opening is certainly a symbolic one. It was here in leafy Grosvenor Square, 18 years ago, that he cut his teeth and launched his career at Gordon Ramsey’s Mayfair restaurant Maze. Since then, he’s gone on to open 18 restaurants and bars around the world, winning four Michelin stars along the way. And The Betterment has bold ambitions to become the beating heart of Mayfair hotel, The Biltmore , in which it sits – there’s a separate entrance for non-guests, and when we visited it heaved with the confidence of a restaurant that had been around forever, despite the hotel only having been open a week. In the mornings, breakfasts of lobster and truffled scrambled egg are served; later, there’s afternoon tea in the lobby, and in the evenings it’s zhuzzed-up, brilliant British cooking. It also has a real trump card: a huge, tropical-plant-festooned heated terrace open all year round – allowing diners to eat outside even on London’s chilliest evenings. Inside, the grown-up gold and leather interiors lead to a gleaming white bar, which is just as busy at 3pm as it is late at night.

    FOOD

    Atherton’s made a name for himself with his approachable cooking style; dishes are expertly executed (and Michelin-star quality) but not in the least bit pretentious. The main themes of the menu here are light, raw seafood and heartier meat dishes roasted over wood embers. Ingredients are sourced from the UK wherever possible; diced Orkney scallops are served with sweet pear, powdered scallop roe and a sharp, lemony hit of sorrel, while wafer-thin langoustine ceviche from the Isle of Skye is topped with creamy white miso. For mains, lots of the dishes are designed for sharing: blushing-pink beef tomahawk with fluffy beef-dripping chips and mushroom and truffle ketchup; whole roast chicken smothered in a rich velouté; and British Saddleback pork with a five-spice rub. Sides are made main stars too; a soft cured smoked egg yolk is muddled in with wild mushrooms, while raw baby spinach comes piled on top of a smooth cauliflower purée finished with a drizzle of citrussy vinaigrette. For pudding, the Victoria sponge cake for two has been getting lots of hype, but we tried a lovely light white chocolate and coconut mousse topped with tart burnt pineapple too.


    DRINK

    You could kick off an evening with drinks in the Biltmore’s low-lit Pine Bar – the wood and leather-lined space serves whimsical cocktails mixed by smooth waiters in red-velvet smoking jackets and stocks more than 100 different blends of whiskey. Or head straight to The Betterment for a pre-supper sharpener – the Orange American, a blend of vodka, triple sec, Campari and Cocchi Americano wine is finished with a tuft of pineapple-flavoured candy floss, in homage to a certain US President. The enormous leather-bound wine list has bottles starting at £36 and going all the way up to £11,000, but the sommelier can help with pairings. Roving Champagne and pudding wine trolleys add a fun – if dangerous – touch.


    VERDICT

    Atherton’s empire is growing at an unstoppable pace – and yet his latest outpost is proof the bar remains sky-high. By Teddy Wolstenholme


    Address: The Betterment, 44 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, London W1K 2HP


    Telephone: +44 20 7596 3200


    Book online

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Sabor

    Top-of-its-game Spanish from Barrafina’s former star chef

    Read the full review in our round-up of the best restaurants in London

    Watch Sabor’s founding chef Nieves Barragán Mohacho have lunch with Tom Kerridge, of the UK’s only two-Michelin-starred pub The Hand and Flowers

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  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Kitty Fisher’s

    The romantic Shepherd Market stalwart still has it

    Read the full review in our round-up of the best restaurants in London

    Address: Kitty Fisher’s, 10 Shepherd Market, Mayfair, London W1J 7QF


    Telephone: +44 20 3302 1661


    Website: kittyfishers.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    No. 5 Social

    A bright-eyed rebirth of one of Jason Atherton’s original London ventures

    Star chef Jason Atherton boasts quite the global empire. Today, his portfolio of 15 bars and restaurants spans seven different countries, but it was over on an unassuming Mayfair side street that it all began. First came Pollen Street Social – and then, when the site opposite came up for sale, Atherton’s French bistro spin-off Little Social was born. And it’s in this spot you’ll find No 5 Social – Little Social’s fresher, bright-eyed, younger sibling, and a lower-key alternative to the Michelin-starred big brother across the road. In 2019, it had a top-to-toe facelift and the installation of a new chef – one of Atherton’s finest protégés, pinched from Pollen Street Social. Gone are the dark-wood interiors and moody lighting, replaced with honey-hued wood panelling, rattan-wicker lampshades and duck-egg blue banquettes scattered with pastel-pink cushions. If you’re coming in a group, request the big table squirrelled away at the back; it’s cleverly positioned so you can enjoy private chit-chat without missing out on any of the main room’s palpable buzz – something that comes naturally to one of Atherton’s most intimate restaurants.

    FOOD

    Head chef Kostas Papathanasiou’s seasonal menus celebrate Britain’s best home-grown flavours: tomatoes are picked in the Isle of Wight, cod is plucked from the Cornish shores and beef is hand-reared in the Lake District. Start with native lobster on a bed of silky-smooth whipped avocado with a drizzle of chilled hazelnut cream; or an equally moreish dish of wild mushrooms swimming in a thick black-truffle sauce and topped with a sunshine-yellow egg yolk. You’ll want to make sure you save some of the warm cob of sourdough left on the table to mop up every last lick. For mains, there’s a thick côte de boeuf for two, served not with chips, but rather a flaky caramelised-onion tarte tatin (a savoury incarnation of Atherton’s favourite apple pudding) and a simple salad of cherry tomatoes in every shade. Halibut is paired with a rich celeriac beurre blanc sauce and nutty, purple-tinged artichokes, and we eyed up a rack of perfectly pink Herdwick lamb on the next table. Papathanasiou did a stint as a pastry chef at Michelin-starred Bacchanalia in Singapore, so puddings don’t disappoint; order the shards of meringue piled on top of sugary strawberries and a scoop of English breakfast tea ice cream – it’s light, dainty and sings of a British summer.

    DRINKS

    British ingredients are at the core of the short cocktail menu, too, and each one focuses on a seasonal ingredient, including the Cucumber; a muddle of cucumber gin, pea cordial, fennel, sorrel and a spritz of citrus. It’s a perfectly balanced blend of sweet and sour – and dangerously drinkable. Europe is the biggest theme of the well-considered wine list, and a good place to start is with a glass of the Pollen Street house white, an Anjou Chenin Blanc sourced by Pollen Street Social’s head sommelier from a low-intervention French winemaker. It’s a touch sweeter than expected, but stands up beautifully to the bold flavours of the food.


    VERDICT

    Relaxed fine-dining at its British best. By Teddy Wolstenholme


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    Address: No. 5 Social, 5 Pollen Street, London W1S 1NE


    Telephone: +44 20 7870 3730


    Website: no5social.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Momo

    A glitzy makeover brings this Moroccan Mayfair staple back to business

    Momo is back. Perhaps not quite to the heady highs of its A-list heyday, when Madonna had her birthday party thrown here by Naomi and Stella days before the hot spot originally opened in 1997, and you’d see de Niro, Tom Cruise, the Gallaghers, the Stones, Kate Moss, Damien Hirst, Damon Albarn et al lounging on its low-slung sofas on any given night. But back to the tune of the generally less debauched world of 2019, with a glossy, Gen-Z-friendly makeover.

    After 22 years as a Heddon Street resident, owner Mourad Mazouz (also behind sister restaurant Sketch – home to one of the best afternoon teas in London) and bartender Erik Lorincz (the man who brought the American Bar at The Savoy to the number one spot on the World’s 50 Best Bar Awards in 2017) have together added a fresh opulence to the re-design of the restaurant and underground bar Kwânt. Today the space is shiny and glamorous, with oversized oasis plants, gilded gold sandstone niches and Berber-esque patterns covering the pillars. With a fresh new look, the space channels a proper Moroccan medina, a haven away from its former looking self.

    FOOD

    The menu features traditional Moroccan dishes with a contemporary Mediterranean twist. To kick off, order the mezze, an ensemble of lemony-whipped humous, aubergine dip, Mechouia salad and fried filo triangles filled with a melted three-cheese filling. For the more adventurous, the octopus with salt-baked Beetroot and genevoise sauce is fresh and fat with flavour. The mains are Momo classics: the fluffy couscous is a must order alongside anything else. Opt for the steaming ‘Mechoui’, an 18-hour cooked spiced lamb shoulder that collapses with the brush of your fork. It comes with hearty vegetables and sweet hints of dried fruits. For a smaller portion, order the sea bream. A flaky piece of white fish accompanied by artichokes Barigoule (a Provençal citrusy dressing), and a spiced crab bourek. For dessert, be sure to try the riz au lait, a vanilla rice pudding with confit grapefruit and tangerine gel, or the traditional Berber pancakes, all to be washed down with a fresh mint tea.

    DRINKS

    The star of the show opens in April 2019. As a former members’-only club, the focus of Kwânt has now shifted to become a grown-up cocktail bar for those looking for a vibey night on the town. Lorincz will be overseeing the 19th-century-style space so attention to detail will most definitely be on the agenda. If the wine and drinks list upstairs is any indication, Kwânt will be a destination for serious drinkers.

    VERDICT

    This is a place for fun. Come with a group of friends, order bowls of steaming couscous and head downstairs for artful after-dinner drinks. On a sunny day, stick to the tropical terrace, nestle down with some fresh Moroccan mint tea and people watch passers-by. By Katharine Sohn

    Address: Momo, 23-25 Heddon Street, Mayfair, London W1B 4BH


    Telephone: +44 20 7434 4040


    Website: momoresto.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    GRIDIRON BY COMO

    Smoking hot arrival in the heart of glam-slam Park Lane hotel-land

    Back in the day, in the late 1990s, the Met Bar occupied a certain gilded presence in London’s nightlife scene and the tabloid columns – you hadn’t really made it unless you’d been photographed stumbling in or stumbling out of the bar, or at least blagged your way in to eyeball Kate Moss or the Gallagher brothers or the Appleton sisters, awash on a tsunami of Sea Breeze cocktails. But times change, and some of London’s best bars came and went, along with a roll-call of private members’ clubs, and now the Met Bar space has been reborn as a meat-searing, fire-starting open-grill restaurant, its DJ booth vanquished, the whiff of charcoal in the air rather than sulphur.

    It’s a supergroup restaurant – though more appealing than the Travelling Wilbury’s – with creative input from Hawksmoor’s Richard Turner and the Venning brothers, who run the excellent Three Sheets bar in Dalston. There are black and white drawings of kitchen utensils on the walls, and green leather on the bar stools. In many ways, we’re all paparazzi these days, sneaking up on plates of tastefully arranged avocado toast, angling our lenses at a not-entirely-unsuspecting lobster crumpet. And there’s plenty to put in the frame here.

    FOOD

    Carnivores are well provided for, with shorthorn onglet and hogget chop on the menu, along with an (in season) venison that’s artfully arranged on the plate to show off its colour. Other highlights are the fire-glazed scallops glooped with a rich bone-marrow sauce, and the turbot, which comes with a lovely chicken butter. But there’s also a strong focus on vegetables, with turnips or swedes baked in ash and burnt leeks with a nutty garlic sauce. Special mention goes to the bar snacks, which are worth coming for alone: Thai-style duck sausages with dipping sauce of olive and plum, oysters in a mignonette sauce and very scoffable pig’s-head-and-black-pudding croquettes. And the short-rib kiev may well be one of the dishes of the year – order at least two.

    DRINKS

    Wonderfully inventive, and familiar in approach to anyone who’s pulled up a stool at Three Sheets, with ingredients ranging from marigold to miso. There’s a witty take on Eighties classic Harvey Wallbanger, bringing green tea and mandarin to the party, a straight-up Gibson, beautifully mixed and presented, and new favourites such as the Panache – a subtle, more-ish concoction made with bergamot, peach and malt. And the Old Fashioned here adds pandan leaf and clarified milk to Woodford Reserve bourbon. 


    VERDICT

    Park Lane has looked eastwards for its inspiration, and it works – the area’s never been a particularly appealing destination for its restaurants, and this is a more accessible place than most. We recommend you sit at the bar and graze from there. By Rick Jordan

    Address: Gridiron by Como, 19 Old Park Lane, Mayfair, London W1K 1LB


    Telephone: +44 20 7447 1080


    Website: gridironlondon.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    BRASSERIE OF LIGHT

    A no-expense-spared new opening from the team behind The Ivy

    While most department stores are reeling from the troubled state of the high street, Selfridges has found a way to flaunt its confidence – with a whopping £300 million investment in the store. And it’s obvious that a hefty sum of that cash has gone into Richard Caring’s (The Ivy, Sexy Fish, Scott’s) Brasserie of Light – the store’s restaurant with its own dedicated entrance on Duke Street, which allows it to stay open long after the shoppers leave. It’s got all the components we’ve come to expect from Caring’s stable; eye-popping, dazzling interiors from design hotshot Martin Brudnizki, shiny Art Deco flourishes, a sweeping brass bar and round-the-clock comfort food. And staying true to its name, the space is flooded with light; huge floor-to-ceiling windows, glowing orbs suspended from the double-height ceiling, mirrored tables and sunshine-yellow chairs clashing with electric-blue banquettes. But you’ll have to look up for the standout feature here: an enormous, 24-foot-high crystal-encrusted statue of Pegasus designed by Damien Hirst, galloping and glittering over diners’ heads.

    FOOD

    Caring’s always been very good at reliably delicious, grown-up comfort food, and the menu here doesn’t deviate far from the norm. You’ll find many of his brasserie stalwarts: wicker baskets piled high with courgette fritti, crispy balls of truffle arancini and sirloin steak served with silver cups of fluffy chips. Start with plump scallops served on top of a thick, gazpacho-like red-pepper-and-fennel sauce, or order steak tartare served with huge parmesan crisps for mopping up your plate. For mains, lobster spaghetti comes with generous chunks stirred into a piquant tomato sauce, and there’s an excellent (and very messy) shrimp-and-avocado burger. If you’re mid-shopping, go for one of the lighter lunchtime options – crab-and-watermelon salad, tuna tartine or a rice bowl doused in truffle. But whatever you do, don’t skip pudding, huge, showstopping creations like the signature Pegasus Pie, which comes swathed in a pillowy coconut mousse ‘cloud’, and the chocolate orb, filled with rich dark chocolate, hazelnut ice cream, and sprinkles of wonderfully nostalgic popping candy.

    DRINKS

    It’s worth arriving early for a drink at the shiny brass-topped bar and ordering one of the signature cocktails: the Queen of Time (so called after the clock looming over the store’s entrance) – a flute of Laurent-Perrier, crème de cassis and lemon juice; or the Est.1909, a G&T zhuzzed up with a splash of Prosecco and elderflower. There are plenty of interesting takes on the classics, too; a mojito spiced with ginger ale, an espresso Martini sweetened with a dash of chocolate-orange bitters. The wine list is sensibly priced, with bottles starting at £19.75 – and although predominantly European, there are a few interesting choices on there, too, including a cabernet sauvignon from China.

    VERDICT

    A buzzy bar with crowd-pleasing food in a smash-hit location. By Teddy Wolstenholne


    Address: Brasserie of Light, Selfridges, Duke Street Entrance, 400 Oxford St, London W1A 1AB


    Telephone: +44 20 3940 9600


    Website: brasserie-of-light.co.uk

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Beck at Brown’s

    Casual Italian classics made with seasonal British ingredients

    Not to be confused with the tousle-haired Californian musician, this particular ‘Beck’ denotes chef Heinz, the German kitchen star who side-steps predictability by specialising in Italian dishes, and who’s most renowned for his three-Michelin-starred restaurant La Pergola in Rome. ‘Brown’s’, meanwhile, refers to one of London’s first hotels, open since 1837 in Mayfair. The restaurant space itself has undergone a delightful refurb, and colourful birds and tropical plants now soar and sway across the walls and over the wood panelling, while seating is a mix of teal-toned velvet banquettes and stripy, round-backed chairs. The whole feel is smart and fresh.

    FOOD

    Beck’s Italian dishes are as slick and comforting as a butter-brown Italian leather armchair. The most obvious menu choices would be the heirloom tomato salad with baked ricotta, followed by spaghetti with cherry tomatoes, lemon and burrata cream, and homemade ice creams and sorbets. However, if you do veer away from the culinary big boot, more diverse European options such as Iberico pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and fennel seeds are equally as satisfying. All look beautiful on the plate, with the pageant winner being the pan-seared Scottish scallops with green and white asparagus.

    DRINKS

    Perhaps the smoothest sommelier we’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering served up our meal pairings, briefing us in fascinating style about our bottle journey. Lay down the gauntlet with the seasonal sparkling cocktail, which will invariably be something reviving and mood-changing.


    VERDICT

    Albemarle Street is Mayfair’s buzziest address right now – and the newly revamped Brown’s is back in the game. By Becky Lucas


    Address: Beck at Brown’s, Browns Hotel London, Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4BP


    Telephone: +44 20 7518 4004


    Website: roccofortehotels.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    The Square

    French flair and a new look at Mayfair’s fine-dining fixture

    Scores of restaurants flit across London’s fickle foodie scene every year but this Mayfair address was a two-Michelin-star stalwart for almost two decades under top British chef Phil Howard. In 2016 he sold it to restaurateur Marlon Abela and now, after being closed for a couple of months for a revamp, The Square has opened its doors again with a new look and a new man firing up the ovens. And no doubt Clément Leroy, who worked at the famed Guy Savoy in Paris for 10 years, will be gunning to win back that second star (The Square currently has one) with his modern French cooking. The modern makeover has swept across the dining room too, with its grey brushed-concrete walls and statement pieces of contemporary art, including a surreal centrepiece sculpture of floating house coats by American artist Kevin Beasley. At first the low-lit space seems hushed and reverent. But it soon warms up when the Champagne corks pop and the well-turned-out guests loosen their collars.

    FOOD

    This place is so smart that the waitress puts on white gloves to tear individual rolls off the comté-and-sesame-seed brioche before deftly placing them on your side plate. When it comes to navigating the lengthy four-course menu, which is peppered with top-notch ingredients such as caviar, Orkney scallops and St Ives Bay lobster, let the incredibly dapper French maître d’ Jean Marie Miorada steer your choices. This could mean marinated langoustine with hibiscus and cauliflower (deliciously fishy with a fruity, blush-pink foam); melting parcels of comté agnolotti pasta in a tasty broth with crunchy baby turnips; red mullet cooked by a Japanese technique of pouring sizzling-hot oil over it so the scarlet scales crisp up and the flesh stays perfectly tender. For dessert, Japanese pastry chef Aya Tamura, Leroy’s wife, takes over. Her salt-baked pineapple is presented to you at the table with its spiky top sprouting from a board before it’s whisked off to the kitchen to be plated; it returns in salty-sweet chunks, almost boozy in its juices, alongside kombu, coconut and salted-butter ice cream – a brilliant end to the meal.

    DRINKS

    A hefty list of wines by the glass means you can switch it up for every course. Tell sommelier Maria Moaca you fancy a crisp white to start and she will recommend the refreshing Moreau Naudet Chablis; if you prefer something zestier, go for the Viognier with hints of peach and tropical fruit; the Nebbiolo from Piedmont is great with the lamb; and with that lovely red mullet, a South African Grenache is an interesting hit.

    VERDICT

    Surprisingly unstuffy dining in a slick setting – The Square is not so square, it turns out

    By Grainne McBride

    Address: The Square, 6-10 Bruton Street, Mayfair, London, W1J 6PU


    Telephone: +44 (0) 207 495 7100


    Website: squarerestaurant.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Ella Canta

    Colourful Mexican fine-dining injects some razzmatazz into Park Lane

    Hotel restaurants can be funny old beasts, often suffering from being uncontentiously bland or unbearably fussy. Mexican chef Martha Ortiz couldn’t be accused of either. Provocatively straight-talking (with lines like: ‘To me chilli is like a lover: you need to feel its presence’), strikingly elegant in her fit-and-flare chefs’ whites and fiercely feminist, she is a celebrity in her homeland: star of Top Chef Mexico and chef-owner of Mexico City’s Dulce Patria (‘sweet homeland’ in Spanish), which ranked number 48 in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants List last year. She has arrived in London at the plum address of 1 Park Lane, inside the former Cookbook Café space at the InterContinental hotel. Everything about Ortiz’s new restaurant Ella Canta (meaning ‘she sings’) embodies colour and drama, from a menu that presents food as performance – listing dishes under Overture, Main Act and Final Curtain – to the waiting staff dressed in petrol-blue caped jumpsuits with Frida Kahlo-esque flowers in their hair, for girls, or burnt orange trousers and braces, for the boys. The space has been transformed by David Collins Studio (famed for the Wolseley), inspired by Mexican modernism, with gorgeously curvaceous carved walnut screens, intricate tabletops made from eggshells hand-laid into black resin and plenty of pinks, gold and greenery.

    FOOD

    London’s in the midst of Mexican love affair – Breddos, Borough Market restaurant El Pastor and Corazon have finally taught the capital what a proper taco is – and Ella Canta refines again the elevated taqueria dishes on its menu: a trio of crisp tostadas topped with delicate pickled salmon, avocado and chipotle chili; tacos el pastor reimagined with soft shell crab and pineapple purée instead of the traditional pork and fruit chunks. It mixes them with Ortiz’s colourful and creative takes on heritage Mexican staples, such as black mole – the rich cacao-infused sauce made from up to 50 ingredients – served with Gressingham duck, red rice and plantain purée. All are painterly pretty studded with edible flowers. Start with a favourite from Dulce Patria, the supremely smooth and fluffy guacamole topped with pomegranate seeds, crumbled ricotta and a golden fried grasshopper, and finish by enquiring whether Maria is available for dessert: the Final Act ‘Maria arrives from Mexico’ is perhaps the prettiest plate of all – cheesecake-like swirled through with strawberry, she’s dressed in a rainbow of flowers and edible green glitter. It verges on bonkers in parts but is ultimately utterly brilliant.

    DRINKS

    The cocktail list is almost indecipherable unaided, featuring a dizzying and dangerous line-up of mezcal and tequila shaken with curious ingredients such as tepache (a fermented Mexican drink made from pineapple rind) and Aztec chocolate bitters. It runs from twists on classics (the Ancho Negroni is served in what looks like a mini pottery urn, made with Montelobos mezcal, Mancino Chinato, Rinomato aperitivo and Ancho Reyes Verde chilli liqueur) to inventive original concoctions. Beers are all Mexican, take them michelada style – with spiced tomato juice, lime in a salted-rim glass; while wines run the length of the Americas, from Oregon down to Chile. Finish with a typically Mexican hot chocolate and feel that chilli’s presence to the last.

    VERDICT

    Sexy, dramatic, grown-up Mexican food in a deliciously designed restaurant. Go for the tenderest beef fillet with chichilo mole or most-melting Michoacán pork carnitas. For a high-low brunch in London, come back for the lobster tail tortillas and chilaquiles (with bottomless margaritas; this girl knows a good time).

    By Fiona Kerr

    Address: Ella Canta, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY


    Telephone: +44 20 7318 8715


    Website: ellacanta.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Sexy Fish, Mayfair

    Japanese seafood for Mayfair ladies and gents

    The latest restaurant from Caprice Holdings (The Ivy, J Sheekey) has caused quite a sensation, for its name and for its crowd: Rita Ora sang at the launch party, and David Gandy and Lindsay Lohan were some of the first through the doors. Sexy Fish has the feel of a New York brasserie and the kind of exquisitely presented sushi you might find in Tokyo. This Japanese restaurant doesn’t feel like Mayfair – and yet it is so Mayfair. All around are talked-about faces and statement artworks, including a glossy black croc slinking along the back wall. Look up to find an outrageous coral-inspired ceiling by Michael Roberts. The highlight? All the little things: koi carp taps in the bathrooms, baby-soft leather-backed menus, ridiculous marble floor all the way downstairs, Frank Gehry’s extraordinary fish lamps above the bar, edible flowers scattered on sashimi, it’s open until 2am.

    FOOD

    Generous skewers of melt-in-the-mouth pork belly complement a standout dish of meaty Bonfire-night-smoky eel with frozen foie gras and sticky rice. Sexy Fish Rolls are stuffed with vegetables, salmon and tuna (no carbs here), and while the octopus carpaccio is a pretty little plate, it doesn’t compare to the terrific robata-blackened fish dishes, including a handsome piece of miso-glazed sea bass with artichoke. Don’t skip dessert – it’s what everyone’s talking about.

    DRINKS

    Order a lightly spiced Mata Hari cocktail and sit at the golden bar next to Damien Hirst’s mermaid statue, and watch girls wearing red lipstick peer in through the water-feature ‘rain’ pouring down the windows. After dinner, rap on the door of Mr Fogg’s Residence on Bruton Lane for quirky cocktails and Victorian charm; the bar’s terrace is a jolly spot, even in winter.

    By Hazel Lubbock

    Address: Sexy Fish, Berkeley House, Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1


    Telephone: +44 20 3764 2000


    Website: sexyfish.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Isabel

    No favela-chic exposed brickwork or steely industrial ducting here – this is a coiffed, gold-and-blue TAG Heuer of an all-day restaurant, part Robert Palmer video, part Luc Besson fantasy. All in all, one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. The bar is made of Macassar ebony, there’s Dublin-green brocade on the walls, and the loos are clad in leafy, chinoiserie drifts of de Gournay wallpaper. A small fleet of catwalk hostesses in sci-fi tulip dresses by Johanna Ortiz are poised to escort you slowly to your seat. Just make sure that seat is at the four-sided bar, all the better for people-watching, set under the soft glow of 300 brass lamps designed to flatter skin tones. Isabel is the latest project from Chilean-born silver-fox Juan Santa Cruz, who designed all the interiors himself, not to mention the red menus and Napoleonic-blue waiter’s uniforms. A visible presence at Isabel, he’s clearly no stranger to bespoke tailoring or celebrity – various Delevingnes, Jaggers and Beckhams have all dined at his Notting Hill original Casa Cruz (it hosted Victoria’s OBE bash). And Argentinian A-listers are on first-name terms with his two Buenos Aires hangouts. This new Mayfair address has already lured Alicia Vikander, Michael Fassbender, Noel Gallagher and Sienna Miller into the paparazzi viewfinders.

    FOOD

    Smart, small-plate grazing food all the way, mixing market-fresh vegetables and superfoods with the occasional gaucho influence (a pot of lightly spiced corn, for example) all artfully arranged at the bar or table to avoid sending your glass of Montrachet flying. Much of it is lactose, sugar and gluten-free – after a pizzette or two (tingling ‘nduja, prawn and chilli), a plate of pocket-square-thin jamon iberico and just-right quail eggs, you can munch on an array of salads (watercress, courgette, pea, mint and lemon) and ceviches – though carnivores should make sure to order the excellent beef short-rib ravioli with truffle.

    DRINKS

    Take a flute of champagne outside to the roadside loungers to judge the deportment of guests tumbling in from taxis and limos, or head downstairs to the silk-walled restaurant-club Dragon Room below and order a brace of pudding-like signature Copper Martinis in handbeaten metal cups (Espresso, dulce de leche, Absolut Elyx) while the tag-team DJs spin vintage Talking Heads and 70s soul.

    VERDICT

    Pure theatre, with attentive Four Seasons-style service – this is Mayfair people-watching at its best and an all-day menu that’s proving strong competition for Cecconi’s. An Annabel’s for the clean-eating generation?

    By Rick Jordan

    Address: Isabel, 26 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4HY


    Telephone: +44 20 3096 9292


    Website: isabelw1.london

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Corrigan’s

    A big-hitting Modern British player that’s just raised its game

    Dublin-born Richard Corrigan took London by the balls in the mid-1990s, winning a star at Stephen Bull’s Fulham Road before opening the big-ticket Soho restaurant Lindsay House and shucking up Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill, a survivor from the Edwardian era. He’s a chef known for his deft, big-hearted takes on country cooking, using a poacher’s sack of game and tipping his toque towards France. Almost a decade after opening the hunting-lodge-styled Corrigan’s Mayfair, he reinvented it by inviting Ross Bryans – who headed up Pollen Street Social – to take charge of the menu, and NYC’s Dead Rabbit crew to shake up the bar. Corrigan’s son Richie, dapper in check jacket and Harry Palmer-style glasses, now runs the front of house.

    FOOD

    The table’s set with a simple crusty loaf, quartered on an iron skillet, and a bowl of leaves, beetroot and radish from Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge estate, but what follows is far more elaborate. The menu is still strong on game and British seafood (roast grouse, red mullet, sea trout with razor clams). A starter of Orkney scallops sits in a rock-pool brine of vanilla and cocoa, with coral-like sprigs of cauliflower; tender globs of lobster are decorated with whirls of turnip and fishnet crisps of dulse; a trio of succulent suckling pig is artfully arranged with squash and nettles. Puddings include a rich bar of chocolate marquise, and a delicate cherry cake and tarragon ice cream cloaked in hibiscus jelly.

    DRINKS

    Stop by the adjoining Dickie’s Bar, newly redesigned, whose cocktail menu is inspired by the fields and hedgerows of Corrigan’s country estate – the Professional Stalker is a wild, misty mix of whiskey with cognac, fig and bitters. In the restaurant, the sommelier will guide you around a wide-ranging list that includes a seasonal selection; wines by the glass include a lovely Grüner Veltliner and Chassagne-Montrachet, and the Lebanese Château Musar.

    VERDICT

    A place to linger in and cast the Fitbit aside, this has all the ease and expansiveness of a good raconteur, with an imaginative menu that’s aiming for Michelin status.

    By Rick Jordan

    Address: Corrigan’s, 28 Upper Grosvenor Street, Mayfair, London W1K 7EH


    Telephone: +44 20 7499 9943


    Website: corrigansmayfair.co.uk

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  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    StreetXO

    Star-quality sharing plates in an underground Mayfair madhouse

    Chef David Muñoz has had tongues wagging years with talk of a spin-off of his DiverXO, the only three-Michelin-starred restaurant in Madrid, opening in London. The mohawk-sporting chef found a place for StreetXO, down a flight of stairs on Mayfair’s Old Burlington Street. The subterranean lair compensates for its lack of natural light with clusters of bubble chandeliers and neon signs; music with a thumping bass and concrete walls scrawled with graffiti recreates the frenetic atmosphere of an inner-city street market.

    FOOD

    In the kitchen, Muñoz shows off his mash-up cuisine that’s set the standard for Spain’s new generation of chefs. Before opening DiverXO, the chef worked at Nobu, Nahm and Hakkasan, and his sharing-plates menu is a mix of Mediterranean flavours fleshed out with Asian and South American influences. Dishes are served on pieces of paper which mimic fish skins, and chefs wearing whites styled on straitjackets add the final touches at the table. Stand-outs include Pekinese dumplings with crunchy pig’s ear and strawberry hoi-sin sauce, milk-fed lamb shank with tamarind and Thai basil jus, and Iberico pork wonton ramen.

    DRINKS

    Cocktails are listed in the same manner as the food: an extensive description of ingredients. The Japo – Jerez, for example, contains smoked pea soda, shiso, miso, yuzu, sake and Palo Cortado sherry, and is served with flamed street shrimp. Although there’s a notable absence of puddings (for now, at least), there are delicious candy-sweet cocktails: Liquid Orange Pie is made with vodka, galangal, and Ecuadorian white and dark chocolate; and the Dry, Sweet and Sour!!! with cranberries and balsamic is sprinkled with popping sugar.

    By Tabitha Joyce

    Address: StreetXO, 15 Old Burlington Street, Mayfair, London W1


    Telephone: +44 20 3096 7555


    Website: streetxo.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Tokimeite

    Dressed-up Japanese drinking den in Mayfair

    Chef Yoshihiro Murata’s restaurants across Japan hold a total of seven Michelin stars. The first to open in Mayfair is inspired by bang-on-trend izakiyas, but super high-end, which is a bit nonsensical, but bear with it. ‘Tokimeite’ is the Japanese way of describing the feeling of butterflies in your stomach – and in this case translates into excitement rather than nerves.

    FOOD

    Order to share as you linger over drinks. Knockout starters include mackerel with fennel, spinach with toasted sesame sauce, lotus root stuffed with prawn and fish, and scallop with cauliflower purée and wagyu salami. Wagyu is the speciality here; keep it simple with the chargrilled fillet as a main. The vegetarian options are unusually artful and interesting: a salad of parsnip and carrot is the prettiest, most exquisite example of how dressings can transform a dish. If you’re still hungry (you won’t be), there’s a short sushi menu. Sit up at the bar to watch the pastry chef at work on wafer sandwiches of yuzu-flavoured marshmallow with ginger ice cream.

    DRINKS

    Sake. But start with one of the unique cocktails, all with Japanese spirits. The Okinawa Old Fashioned – mikkakoji, Antico Formula, kokuto sugar (from Okinawa), grapefruit peel, sesame, vanilla bitters – is smokier and even more lethal than the original.

    By Hazel Lubbock

    Address: Tokimeite, 23 Conduit Street, Mayfair, London W1


    Telephone: +44 20 3826 4411


    Website: tokimeite.com

  • The 17 best restaurants in Mayfair

    Emilia

    A posh Italian restaurant in London from the guys behind Quality Chop House

    Inside Bonhams auction house, hidden just off New Bond Street in the very quiet Haunch of Venison Yard, you’ll find Emilia. It’s the fourth restaurant from Woodhead, the team behind Farringdon’s restaurant-meets-wine-shop Quality Chop House and Fitzrovia’s Michelin-starred Portland. Taking over the space where Bonhams, the building’s eponymous restaurant, sat before it shut at the end of last year, Emilia is set across two floors. There’s a casual, teeny-tiny wine bar on the ground floor, and a quieter, sophisticated room upstairs with classic white tablecloths and views over the courtyard below. The space is small enough that you have the staff’s attention at every turn, and the interiors are incredibly simple – there are no neon signs or terrazzo table tops to distract from the food here. It’s named after the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, and executive chef Stuart Andrew (who started off at Woodhead’s third restaurant, Clipstone) is taking inspiration from this foodiest of corners of the country for his menu.

    FOOD

    Things kick off with hunks of warm, salty bread slathered with butter – make sure you hold on to some to dunk in the sauce that comes with the must-order courgette fritti starter, a luridly green wild garlic aioli that sinks into the bread’s dips and holes. Wafer-thin slices of prosciutto are delicate and sweet, and the white asparagus with clams is fresh and clean, served with pillowy gnocchi. Pasta dishes are reasonably priced, making this a corner of Mayfair where you could head for a plate of pasta and a glass of wine for much less than anywhere of the same quality within walking distance. When we visited, we tried the seasonal green tagliatelle with peas, zingy mint, creamy ricotta and purple artichokes – slightly nuttier in flavour than your regular artichoke. If you’re here for a blowout supper, opt for a main course too – the monkfish is firm, almost meaty, served with perfumed tomatoes and courgettes and drenched in a rich langoustine sauce. To finish, we recommend the fresh lemon and pine-nut tart – sweet and decadent without risk of a food coma at the end.

    DRINKS

    There’s a short but sweet cocktail menu if you’ve popped in for a drink and a bowl of pasta – the seasonal Negroni is a changing take on the classic (when we visited, it was a fruity strawberry and basil). Wine can be bought by the glass, and there’s an auction list, too – a selection of fine wines that’s been chosen in partnership with the head of Bonhams’ Wine Department Richard Harvey.

    VERDICT

    It felt a bit like we were the first people to find Emilia, but we’re glad we did – charming staff and affordable pasta in the middle of Mayfair. By Sarah James

    Address: Emilia, 7 Haunch of Venison Yard, London W1K 5ES


    Telephone: +44 20 7468 5868


    Website: emiliarestaurant.co.uk

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