Where to eat in Mayfair, London
Synonymous with wealth, not least because it houses Monopoly's most expensive properties, Mayfair's most desirable restaurants can be affordable too
Murano is the first and still the best of Angela Hartnett's restaurants. It serves up her light and sophisticated mix of dishes inspired by her Italian 'nonna' from Emilia Romagna and using the best seasonal British produce.
Angela's cooking always sings with flavour and is refreshingly uncomplicated. At lunch, there is a 3 course menu for £37, offering: Scottish girolles; porchini tagliatelle or cod brandade with poached egg and crispy ham; braised Cumbrian lamb shoulder, grain risotto, parsley, and carrots; or Cornish pollock with octopus & chorizo ragù; finishing with fig & almond torta or fig leaf ice cream. It is well worth splashing out on the full menu experience as well and there's a gorgeous, intimate chef's table to be enjoyed.
Scott's exudes glamour. Just step through those doors, marshalled by the most charming and smart concierges, and feel utterly transformed by the buzz. Who would have thought that it started life as an oyster warehouse back in 1851.
The seafood bar is magnicently spectacular and there's no better place to perch in London, especially if you're dextrous with your crustecea. Otherwise, the menu is actually rather understated with lots of oysters fresh and cooked, classics such as chargrilled bang bang (Thai inflected) squid, and nostalgic coconut bounty bar and bakewell tart for dessert.
It's a welcome antidote to all the glitzy dining options in Mayfair: a gyoza bar offering soft shell crab and Asian salads too. Still waghu beef and chicken with foie gras gyoza are hardly street food. Among the snacks there are spicy edamame and truffle chips.
It's a gorgeously decorated 15 seater restaurant and right in the heart of Shepherd's Market, convenient for Curzon Mayfair too.
Umu, which in Japanese means 'born of nature', is London's first Kyoto influenced restaurant. Chef Yoshinori Ishii trained at one of Kyoto's most revered restaurants and it shows in dishes of utmost purity and refinement.
As well as being an exceptionally accomplished chef, he is also a skilled fisherman, potter, and calligrapher. Ishii has a rare eye for artful display and flavour, incorporating his expertise as not only a chef but also a skilled artist into each dish. It is an experience unlike anything else in London and made all the more special by the discreet elegance of the surroundings.
A magnificient eighteenth century pub, until recently owned by Guy Ritchie, The Punchbowl serves robust British food in its bar as well as in a rather glamorous all-white dining room.
There's plenty of choice: leek and potato soup; terrines and mussels with tomato and chilli for under a tenner; plus ungreedily priced comfort dishes including milk poached cod with Welsh rarebit. It's a comfortable and civilised stop for fish and chips, or a proper burger too, and it attracts an intriguing crowd.
Saturday brunch Peruvian style with limitless cocktails: that's pisco sours, Negroni and tequila, plus a whole ceviche bar and a DJ too. Mayfair doesn't need to be sedate. It certainly isn't at Coya, and all the better for it.
Brunch is £75 a head and served noon until 3.30pm on Saturdays
Bizarre though it may seem, Heinz Beck is a German chef who's dedicated his culinary career to Italian cuisine at the highest level. His restaurant on the rooftop of Rome's Cavalieri Hilton has mesmerising views and 3 Michelin stars.
Brown's promised informal and approachable dining; it is, relatively speaking, though that's as long as you're happy with white tablecloths and white jacketed service.
The food is impeccable especially the cacio e pepe pasta with the decadent addition of lime marinated langoustine. Tiramisu affogato shows off Beck's creativity – it is rich, velvety and intensely memorable.
Haute French cuisine is fun and indulgent with Helene Darroze, and never stuffy. Diners are presented with a solitaire like board rather than a conventional menu to plot the ingredients they'd like to eat, and their bespoke menu evolves from there.
The most luxurious ingredients appear in abundance: caviar and truffles are almost de rigeur as accents to accentuate and intensify intricately layered, exciting flavours, not merely to flaunt.
Helene Darroze's cooking reflects her south-western French family background. Without divulging too much, there are plenty of wonderful extras to a meal at Helene Darroze at The Connaught.
At lunch, there's a £55 three course menu: combinations such as tuna, piquillo pepper, radish, yuzu followed by duck with spiced beetroot and buckwheat and a sensational chocolate dessert make even the value option special. It even includes wine, water and coffee too.
Theo Randall brought the essence of The River Cafe to Mayfair with his British Italophile food that's joyously vibrant and flavourful.
To celebrate Theo's love of impeccable produce, he has collaborated with artist Amber Locke, who makes geometric designs out of natural produce, to offer a menu that expresses his passion for coaxing uncomplicated, sublime flavours out of the best ingredients. 'Eat the Art' dishes include smoked eel with beetroots and fresh horseradish, seabream with Roseval potatoes, fennel, taggiasche olives, capers and parsley, and for dessert, Theo's definitive Amalfi lemon tart.
During the Autumn there is sometimes the rare treat of woodcock on the menu, to be eaten guts and all with the creamiest polenta.
It's the only restaurant set in its own gardens in Mayfair, and it is aptly called The Greenhouse. Its reputation is built on impeccable fine dining and a phenomenal wine list, with some stratospheric rare bottles.
Go only when you are in the mood to splash plenty of cash or if you are being treated. A certain rather famous and anonymous restaurant critic felt the staff were supercilious to a female group not ordering expensive wine, though our experience has been all charm (if a little haughty).
What's most endearing about new chef Alex Dilling, who joins from Helene Darroze, is that almost every dish hs several little accompaniments; a special bread, an infusion. There is infinite care in every stage of each dish and, of course, the truffle egg just has to be experienced.
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