Mayfair

Kanishka: Give it a year…

Kanishka: Give it a year…

Restaurants come and go in London, with around half shutting within a year of opening. I fear Kanishka may well fall into this category. Maybe I was negatively prejudiced towards the venue, having never rated chef Atul Kochhhar’s previous Benares venture, but I have no specific desire to return to Kanishka. The décor felt brash, the vibe wrong, and the food not quite good enough to justify the inflated price tags.

Sketch: Top of its league

Sketch: Top of its league

The title says it all. Sketch may have been open since 2003 but it deservedly remains one of the best fine dining locations in London, its two Michelin stars thoroughly merited. A meal in its Lecture Room & Library was my culinary highlight of 2018, and a return visit there on a recent Saturday night reinforced how Sketch could also be in contention for the 2019 award.

Indian Accent: Talking my kind of language

Indian Accent: Talking my kind of language

London does not lack for competition when it comes to high-end Indian restaurants, yet there is always room for more. When Indian Accent opened just under a year ago, expectations were certainly high for the venture, given the plaudits accorded to the original in New Delhi and its first offshoot in New York. Choosing to locate yourself on the same street as London’s Gymkhana is also tantamount to laying down a challenge; we can do at least as well, if not better than you. A recent visit saw both my dining comrade and I highly impressed by Indian Accent…

Hide: Overrated

Hide: Overrated

Reputation and hype combined often breed excess expectation. At Hide, take a highly talented chef, an alleged £20m investment, a wine joint venture with nearby Hedonism and anticipation levels can quickly become stratospheric. Gain a Michelin star within a year of opening and you’re in a whole different galaxy. Reviewers need to be sceptical by nature, but not since Sexy Fish have I been so underwhelmed by a London venue.

Hawksmoor Air Street: Winning formula, every time

Hawksmoor Air Street: Winning formula, every time

Being a regular reviewer of restaurants has many privileges, but a combination of coincidence and premeditation has seen me visit three different Hawksmoor locations across London in the last two months. Regardless of venue (Air Street, Seven Dials and Spitalfields, in reverse chronological order), the formula has been not only remarkably consistent but also hugely successful. Put simply, this is about good meat in a highly convivial atmosphere.

Wild Honey: Sweet remains the honey

Wild Honey: Sweet remains the honey

The doors of Wild Honey have been open for 11 years during which time I have been a regular visitor. A recent lunchtime return visit to the venue reminded me just how good this place is and why it continues to pull in the crowds. Put simply, what Wild Honey does is offer impressively good comfort food in a lovely venue, albeit at Mayfair prices.

The Greenhouse: More stars on the horizon?

The Greenhouse: More stars on the horizon?

Esteemed London eatery The Greenhouse has retained two Michelin stars since 2004 – no mean feat. It now has a new chef, and with this, the ambition to add a third star to its collection. Based on a recent weeknight visit, it may well get there before not too long…

Ristorante Frescobaldi: In it for the long-run

The Frescobaldi’s have a long and glorious history, stretching back over 700 years. Throughout wars, changes in government and more, the family has continued to thrive, growing food and making wine in Tuscany. Their first restaurant offering opened in London in 2014. That it has survived 4 years is an achievement…

Titu: If gyoza dreams were not enough

Titu: If gyoza dreams were not enough

Any restaurant that adorns its windows and website with the caption ‘#gyozadreams’ risks setting itself up for disappointment. The bar is set high, with an implied suggestion that the chef has the temerity to be able not only to interpret, but also to fulfil, my dreams. The message is also a somewhat misleading one: the gyoza served at Titu did fortuitously live up to their billing, but the restaurant is about much more than this - overall Titu shows how good modern Japanese cooking can be

CUT London: Orin Swift wine night

CUT London: Orin Swift wine night

It seemed only fitting that even as a non-American I should at least mark the 242nd anniversary of US Independence by sampling a range of wines from one of the country’s most exciting winemakers. Although the occasion was enjoyed on British soil, the location was still auspicious, since CUT hosts the biggest range of American wines in London. No surprises then that the team at CUT have embraced the mercurial talents of Orin Swift.

Sketch – The Lecture Room & Library: Not just a meal, but an experience

Sketch – The Lecture Room & Library: Not just a meal, but an experience

Fifteen years is a long time, particularly for a restaurant in London. Yet, since 2003, Sketch has remained a unique venue, a cavern of opulence and decadence, which also serves exceptionally good food. It is no mean feat for Sketch still to be almost as trendy now as when it opened and the fact that it is only one of nine locations in London to hold two Michelin stars speaks to the quality of its offering. Diners should be prepared for an experience.

Le Boudin Blanc: An unwelcome step back in time

The last time is visited Le Boudin Blanc was a decade ago. It felt dated then, and even more so now. Clearly the place must be doing something right since it was packed when I visited on a recent weekday lunchtime, but to my mind the place demonstrates almost everything that is bad about restaurant culture.

C London: Opinion unrevised

Four years may have passed since my last visit to C London, but it seems little has changed: here, we are definitively in the world of moneyed Mayfair where the well-heeled and wannabee celebrities still come to dine. The food is excellent; the service somewhat less so. For mere mortals, prices remain eye-watering and undoubtedly better value (and experiences) can be found elsewhere

Roka Mayfair: Doesn’t rock for me (October 2017)

I first reviewed this branch of Roka not long after it opened in summer 2014. Since then, I have been back probably half-a-dozen times both for lunch and dinner, but on each occasion – and despite being willing to give the place the benefit of the doubt (again) – I have been disappointed. A recent weekday lunch did nothing to change my impression.

Aline: Over-priced and underwhelming (August 2017)

The title says it all. The restaurant has few redeeming features and serves very average Middle Eastern food at a Mayfair mark-up. Service was among the most gauche I had witnessed recently. And, the lamp fittings are so badly designed that almost every customer in the place seemed to bang their head on them.