Stem: Bursting with potential

Stem is the third offering by the group behind the successful Anglo and Neo Bistro. Located in a Grade 2-listed Georgian townhouse in Mayfair, this is a more serious statement of intent, as evidenced by the deep purple banquette and predominantly white walls. It’s all about showing what the chefs can do here rather than being specifically on-trend. My comrade and I loved both the setting and the food on a recent visit. It’s just a pity that you can almost walk past the venue and miss it. Once Crossrail is finally complete and the Hannover Square area restored, then Stem should flourish. As with Anglo/Neo, Stem keeps it simple with their menu, offering around five starters and mains, with a broad homage to British cuisine and seasonal ingredients. Pricing is fair; albeit with a nod to the local Mayfair clientele, so expect to pay around £8 for a starter and up to £20 for a main. It’s certainly worth it and both our main dishes really stood out in terms of presentation and flavour composition. My duck breast with beetroot, grilled onion, cobnut and cherries was a medley of colours and contrasting flavours, all of which paired off superbly against each other. The duck was also perfectly tender. Beyond the food, the wine list deserves perusal and we were impressed with the originality. A Pinot Noir from Bulgaria worked both with my duck and my comrade’s chicken. With friendly service and well-informed staff, there is little not to like. Hopefully Stem will draw in enough punters over the coming months to survive.