Berners Tavern – London W1T

October 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

This grand restaurant bathed in candle light delivers a memorable evening of glamorous dining.

Jason Atherton’s newest restaurant is a haven from the hustle and bustle of London’s heaving West End. Stepping through the doors of The Edition Hotel is like entering a different world, a world of decadent, stylish glamour. The restaurant itself is stunning – the enormous dining room’s filled with ornate decor; enormous chandeliers hang from the ceiling, framed pictures adorn every inch of the walls, whilst burning candles add an intimate air of romance and atmosphere into an otherwise gargantuan space. Berners Tavern is the talk of town at the moment, and I can see why.
We enjoyed cocktails on arrival, me sipping on a Corn on the Cobbler‘ (£12.5) which was less unusual then it’s title suggests, before democratically electing three starters and three mains for us all to share. It must be said that both our waiter and sommelier were incredibly patient with us, returning umpteen times to check if we were quite ready to order.

First to arrive, the “Egg, Ham and Peas” consisted of ‘Deep fried Clarence Court duck egg, mushy peas and crispy Cumbrian ham’ (£8.5) – an inventive and creative twist on a teasingly-ordinarily named dish, although not my favourite of the trio.
For me the ‘Middle white pork and pistachio pate, spiced pear puree and toasted sourdough’ (£8.5) was far superior. The flavoursome and slighty salty pate, combined with the chunky pear puree was delicious. Whilst the ‘Braised Wye Valley leeks, Cornish crab salad, leek and potato vinaigrette and brioche crumb‘ (£9.5) was light and delicate and beautifully presented, offering a generous portion of the crab meat with admittedly slightly raw tasting leeks.  Not sure if this was intentional or not…

Mains swiftly followed and we were spoilt with three superb choices. The Blthyburg pork belly, hispi cabbage and apple “coleslaw”, capers and raisins’ (£19.5) was soft and succulent; the tang of the apple “coleslaw” complimenting the sweet pork belly.  The beautifully still-pink-in-the-middle Rack of Romney Marsh lamb, braised neck, spiced aubergine, apricot cous cous and hispi cabbage‘ (£24.5) was flavoursome and hearty although the real show stopper for me was the Pan braised Atlantic halibut, squid ink risotto, garlic squid and broccoli’ (£24).

The halibut was light and elegant, complimented by the rich and flavour-filled risotto, which had crisp garlic squids perched on top. This was a dish I could happily have demolished myself. Certainly the best of the bunch.

Having spent so much of the evening chatting, we were all of a sudden at the end of our 2-hour slot! So we were politely (but firmly) asked (several times) to relocate to the bar and thankfully seated at a comfortable bar table, which was ours for the rest of the evening. More cocktails were ordered as we perused the dessert menu.
Choosing to share the ‘Warm Almond Brioche, Ginger and Pear Compote with Creme Anglaise‘ (£7) and the ‘Cheese Plate’ (£8.5) for our finale, we first enjoyed the sweet, and finished our meal with the savoury. The brioche arrived in an oversized jam jar, which was theatrically unscrewed and the small jug of creme Anglasie poured over the top, soaking into the fluffy, fruit filled, sweet bread. Quite a conversation stopper.
Paul and Tom, as is their tradition, asked if the chef might sign the menu for them and he duly obliged. Whether this is actually the chef’s handwriting, or one of the waiters, who knows, but who cares…

My evening at Berners Tavern was a delight; the the food was comfortingly familiar with plenty of creative twists, the service was impressive and all in all the evening was wonderful (if perhaps a little too strenuous on the bank balance!).  Six hours after first rushing in, we tottered out into the late night Friday crowds of Oxford St. I instantly missed the soft candle light’s glow.

Dinner for two: £110
Drinks: Bottle of wine from £34

Nearby bars: The Edition Hotel Lobby Bar – London W1T
You might also like: The Delaunay – London WC2B

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