Here are our favourite Mayfair restaurants. Some of the best foodie spots include afternoon tea at The Luggage Room and bottomless brunch at Hix. Check out our ideas for eating and drinking in Mayfair
Rüya, Upper Grosvenor Street
In a nutshell: Upmarket Turkish restaurant – the UK sister site of a Dubai outfit.
What’s the vibe? Fittingly swish for its Mayfair locale, Rüya’s interior is expansive and sleekly outfitted, with lush autumnal and jewel tones, metallic accents and pretty tiling everywhere.
What’s the food like? Though replete with Turkish flavours and ingredients (specifically those from the Anatolian region), chef patron Colin Clague’s immaculately plated, fine-dining fare is more of a riff on the cuisine – although you will find plenty of traditional dishes such as gözleme and lahmacun.
While some dishes didn’t hit the mark (the marinated monkfish with baby vegetables in a tomato and saffron broth underwhelmed), others impressed. A starter of burnt watermelon with sheep’s cheese, tomatoes and pine nuts was a delicate, summery plate, the light watermelon a perfect foil for the umami creaminess of the cheese. Our favourite was the 24-hour slow-cooked chilli BBQ glazed short rib, with unctuous, falling-apart meat and a velvety chickpea purée. Make sure you order a hearty side with this – we enjoyed our Turkish take on a chopped salad, but suspect the triple-cooked chips would have been a better choice.
And the drinks? Another reason to visit Rüya is its cocktail list, which is themed around different Anatolian localities. We liked its sweeter take on a negroni, with Turkish coffee-infused Antica Formula vermouth and tonka bean.
olive tip: If you’re looking for traditional – and bargainous – Turkish dishes then head to the restaurants along Green Lanes in north-east London. Try the manti meat dumplings at Hala.
Words by Hannah Guinness
Sabor, Heddon Street
In a nutshell: A buzzy regional Spanish restaurant tucked behind Regent Street, from Nieves Barragán Mohacho and José Etura, a pair that have been the driving force behind Barrafina’s success for the past decade.
What’s the vibe? With a friendly service style and nods to Andalucían tapas bars (colourful tiles, high tables), Sabor has the authentic feel of bars found all over Spain. Wait in the lively brick-walled bar area and whet your appetite with mushroom croquetas and cured presa Iberica. Charismatic José will then seat you at a counter overlooking the open kitchen, where conversation with the Spanish chefs is encouraged.
What’s the food like? Sabor means ‘flavour’ in Spanish, and there’s plenty of that in the restaurant’s small plates. First for us, camarones fritos – tiny shrimp, deep-fried, and served with a crispy, paprika-dusted fried egg, whose molten yolk acted as a natural sauce. Crisp, golden prawn croquetas were as good as any we’ve ever tasted in their homeland, and rich with that roasted shell, holiday flavour.
A crimson carabinero the size of an adult hand, its antennae tickling the edge of the plate, was tender and spankingly fresh. Table etiquette fell to the floor, heads were sucked. Chubby mussels ‘a la Bilbaina’ slurped up a light sauce of tomatoes, sherry, sherry vinegar and herbs.
Sobrasada, the soft paprika sausage from Menorca, came in a rusty rubble on top of lightly crushed new potatoes, bobbing in a garlic cream, which we learn is formed of thrice-blanched garlic (sweet, mellow and nutty) blended with chicken stock and cream. It was explicitly good.
Desserts ticked every box – chocolatey bombas, sharp and creamy rhubarb and mascarpone tartlets, and an inspired goat’s cheese ice cream with a liquorice sauce rounded off a perfect meal.
And the drinks? The all-Spanish wine list begins with txakoli, the lightly effervescent Basque wine that’s poured from a dramatic height. Our unusual bottle of rosé was fresh and zingy with a touch of red fruit and, along with a couple of saline fino sherries, were a welcome foil to the rich, fried food to come. There’s vermouth on tap, too!
olive says… To dine at the heart of the action at Sabor, you can’t book, and you can’t sit in parties bigger than four, but it’s worth any first-come-first-serve frustrations.
With New Delhi and New York before it, chef-owner Manish Mehrotra’s third outpost of Indian Accent is a lesson in diversification. In its previous homes, the restaurant won spots on the World’s Best and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant lists, and now in London its ambitious offering hasn’t dimmed.
Set over two floors, the décor has a restrained opulence – deep-green velvet banquettes, clothless dark wooden tables, parquet flooring, walls of smoky mirrors and accents of gold. It delivers its promise, too – a menu with a loud whisper of Indian flavours, breaking free from the confines of what diners might perceive ‘Indian food’ should be.
You can get a whisky or wine flight with your meal (we choose the latter), and things get started with a thimble of velvety pumpkin and coconut soup, flecked with garam masala, and a mouthful of blue-cheese naan. Buttery, full of flavourful hum, it leaves you wanting more. But fear not, there are far superior things to come.
A starter of Kashmiri morels are unlike anything we’ve tried before. A seriously packing mushroom marvel, the morels stood tall, stuffed with duxelle, dusted in walnut powder and baked, with an umami-rich cream and lacy parmesan crisp.
Soy keema – a veggie take on the street-food staple – has quickly become a signature dish and it’s certainly one of the best things we’ve tasted this year. So rich, so engulfing, so seemingly meaty and yet delicately nuanced with mustard seeds and fenugreek – it was lifted yet further with a creamy quail egg yolk to stir through and two tiny pau buns with kaffir-lime-leaf butter. A northern-Indian-style dessert of makhan malai was a cloud of saffron milk foam, bejewelled with rose petals, a rubble of jaggery brittle, almonds and gold leaf. Precise and elegant, and yet rich and intense, Indian Accent serves its diners well.
Words by Laura Rowe
Stem, Princes Street
In a nutshell: Following in the footsteps of Neo Bistro and Anglo, chef Mark Jarvis’ third venture focusses on seasonal produce and innovative cooking.
What’s the vibe? Plush purple-leather sofas hug the walls of the Grade II townhouse, marble tables are topped with delicate vases of flowers and Kilner jars of blood orange pickles and preserved lemons act as simple decorative touches. Chefs calmly putting finishing touches to the dishes in the small open kitchen nestled in the front dining room gives a sense of friendly openness.
What’s the food like? Mark Jarvis and head chef Sam Ashton-Booth (previously of Anglo) have created an intriguing yet approachable à la carte menu as well as an eight-course tasting menu. Crusty bread with lightly whipped butter washed down with a glass of refreshing lemon verbena fizz is a strong start to any meal, but save yourself for the chicken tortellini that follows. Delicate parcels of pasta filled with tender chunks of smoked chicken sit next to sweet al dente disks of leek, all bathing in a rich yet subtle earthy truffle sauce.
For mains, perfectly pink saddle of lamb with an intense basil purée came with sweet courgettes, both roasted and served in wafer-thin slices. Flaky pan-roasted halibut with chunks of peppery fennel and sweet slices of grapes came light and perfectly seasoned. Don’t overlook the side dishes at Stem – bowls of nutty Jersey Royals soaked generously in butter were coated in finely chopped pungent wild garlic, and we’d have happily welcomed seconds.
A succinct dessert menu has an obvious must-order for both appearance and flavour: smooth chocolate ganache topped with rich, malty beer caramel and sharp raspberries sat alongside savoury yogurt ice cream and shards of slightly citrussy yogurt meringue that gently fizzed on the tongue.
And to drink? An extensive wine menu spanning from Bulgaria to the Czech Republic and Greece offers wines by the glass, carafe or bottle. Try the dry Portuguese casa do arrabalde alvarinho with light, floral citrus notes, or the velvety-smooth el mozo rioja, which pairs well with a meaty main course. British beers, English wines and a concise cocktail selection are also available.
olive tip: If you really want to make the most of the wine menu, visit with a larger group so you can try some of the bottles, as only a few are available by the glass.
Words by Ellie Edwards
The Square, Bruton Street
In a nutshell:The Square has embarked on a light approach to French fine dining.
What’s the vibe? Think upmarket (if slightly chilly) minimalism – stark grey walls, mustard-yellow chairs and large-scale abstract art. Service is formal without being pompous, and impeccably attentive.
What’s the food like? Diners have the choice of either an à la carte menu or a seven-coursing tasting one. New chef Clémont Leroy’s cooking is classically French, but a little lighter – less butter and cream, and seasonal ingredients are treated with a delicate touch. Highlights of our meal included langoustine marinated in olive oil and citrus, lent zingy lightness thanks to pickled cucumber and tonic-water jelly, and umami depth from a langoustine consommé. A dish of red mullet was cooked by pouring hot olive oil over the raw fish, rendering the skin deliciously crisp and crunchy, and the flesh perfectly cooked underneath. Seared scallops came, unusually, with a coffee foam that proved to be a surprising hit, the sweetness of the shellfish pairing well with the subtle smokiness of the coffee. The only duff dish was a dessert of confit sweet potato with a honey cage and grapefruit compote, the shredded potato too dry and claggy.
And the drinks? Oenophiles will be impressed by The Square’s huge – if pricey – wine list. We enjoyed a crisp Cedar Grove chenin blanc, and a 2015 Cal Pla Priorat grenache, which had luscious dark fruit notes.
olive says… Fine dining at The Square comes with fine-dining prices, so if your budget is tight then visit at lunch, where you can enjoy three courses for £37, or a six-course tasting menu for £60.
Words by Hannah Guinness
Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Swallow Street
Richard Corrigan has worked in restaurants for 35 years and is now the chef-owner of Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill in Mayfair, which has been open for more than a century. World-famous for its seafood and shellfish, Bentley’s is also revered for its exceptional service – Richard says it’s all about reading the guest: “I think every diner looks for something slightly different in service. It’s up to us to set the tone,” he says.
“We have regular guests that the staff will treat like old friends, and then there’s folk who prefer a more aloof approach. The real skill is in reading each individual’s preferences. It’s an art.”
The oyster bar at Bentley’s is one of the things Richard is most proud of, and during the native oyster season from September to April, his staff will shuck more than 1,000 oysters a day. “There’s always an element of fun,” says Richard.
“Our staff love to chat and banter with the guests. They’re incredibly professional but don’t conform to a stiff and formal demeanour that you’d expect back in the day. I think the ability to maintain that professionalism while also moving with the times sets us apart.”
This sleek, intimate restaurant brings sushi and Japanese ‘tapas’ with a fine dining twist to Mayfair. Butter-soft scallops are a must if you’re a seafood obsessive; perfectly cooked, they came drizzled with an intense sea urchin butter so delicious we nearly drank it directly from the scallop shell it was served in. The soft, tender lamb with a bronzed, crisp ribbon of fat was another hit; the sour, refreshing oroshi a clever spin on a classic mint sauce.
A Mayfair institution has been given a slick, high-end makeover. Exceptional produce is a highlight here and the best way to sample a little of everything is to try one of the sushi platters; from plump slices of butter-soft, fatty marbled tuna and luscious scoops of sea urchin to (predictably good) slices of Kobe beef and creamy seared yellowtail.
The triumphant arrival of Simon Rogan at the prestigious space left vacant by Gordon Ramsay sees the highly seasonal, ‘new natural’ style of cooking embraced by the smart set. Plush, expensive and elegantly run, Fera serves a weekday lunch menu, £45, an à la carte menu at £85 and a tasting menu at £105.
Dishes include dry-aged Herdwick hogget with sweetbreads, cucumber, yoghurt and blackberry, and hake in caramelised cabbage with new potatoes, chicken skin and nasturtium.
Arriving early for dinner during the opening week at Magpie allowed us to get a table easily and we were warmly welcomed by the staff, who brought us drinks before showing us to our table. The concept is similar to that of dim sum, in that they bring round a selection of dishes that you can either choose or decline, staff then mark your choices on a card. The trolley concept encouraged debate and conversation between tables, contributing to the fun atmosphere.
he Luggage Room is a speakeasy-bar-cum-afternoon-tea-lounge hidden underneath the London Marriott hotel in Mayfair. The award-winning bar has won favour with tourists and socialites alike and the 1920s prohibition-inspired low tea menu, which, launched in March 2016, hopes to match this level of success and popularity.
Check out our restaurant review of Tokimeite in Mayfair, London, for high end Japanese food including tempura and wagyu, and sleek and sophisticated interiors.
Tokimeite, roughly translating as ‘anticipation’ or ‘butterflies’, is an apt name for this high-end restaurant from Michelin-starred Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata. Yoshihiro has collaborated with Japanese cooperative Zen-Noh Group to bring his washoku Japanese cooking from Kyoto and Tokyo to the heart of Mayfair, London.
Mark Hix’s Mayfair outpost is the destination for a leisurely weekend brunch cocooned in British elegance – white linen tablecloths, dark wood paneling and impeccable service make it extremely special.
The focus is on seasonal British produce: colourful Isle of Wight tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and balsamic, finely shaved Wye Valley asparagus topped with smoky cheese and a zesty lemon dressing, and Hodmedod’s green pea dropped scones with Black Coombe ham and a perfectly poached pheasant’s egg.
Go for a proper toastie for your main, filled with sweet brisket, Montgomery’s Cheddar and pickled cucumber. This brunch is a full three course affair, and desserts are worth saving room for – Bakewell tart has a crunchy base and a generous dollop of Cornish clotted cream, and 80% Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse is thick and rich with a strong hint of booze from soaked cherries.
Bottomless drinks: As soon as your glass begins to empty, a waistcoat-clad gentleman wheels over the elegant, marble-topped drinks trolley to tempt you with “more Champagne, ma’am?” Ask him to make up pokey bloody marys using creamy Black Cow vodka from Dorset, homemade tomato juice and crunchy celery. Bellinis are given a British twist with homemade seasonal syrups such as Wye Valley rhubarb.
Elystan Street, Elystan Street
Elystan Street is the latest venture from restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas and chef Phil Howard, who sold his restaurant, The Square in Mayfair, in March this year.
Open all day, it serves “delicious, clean, ingredient-led dishes, full of natural vitality,” according to Phil, in an elegant space designed by Clare Nelson.
It’s a 64-seat dining room with near floor-to-ceiling windows lining two walls, blue and soft salmon coloured chairs, and teal leather banquettes.
It was hot gossip when Le Chabanais, the eagerly-anticipated French restaurant from chef Inaki Aizpitarte and his partners at Le Chateaubriand, closed on September 1 after only four months of business. It was perhaps a spate of poor reviews that did the damage, and soon after a split between Aizpitarte and restaurant owner Valrun Talreja was announced.
But as a fresh season dawns, so does a fresh restaurant. 8 Mount Street keeps the same luxurious interiors as its predecessor – marbled bronze tiles that shine like mother of pearl; leather banquettes opposite Scandi-style wooden chairs; and a solid marble bar that runs the length of the room.