No.5 Social, London W1: restaurant review
Try sweet native lobster, lamb-jus-soaked spuds and salty albariño wine at Jason Atherton’s latest opening
Looking for restaurants in Mayfair? Read our review of modern British restaurant No.5 Social, and check our guide for more places to eat in Mayfair here.
No.5 Social in a nutshell
High-end British ingredients are given the indulgent, comfort-food treatment at this Mayfair bistro.
After six years in operation Jason Atherton has closed his French bistro, Little Social, and reopened it as a modern British outfit, with Kostas Papathanasiou heading the pass. Previously senior sous chef at sister restaurant Pollen Street Social (located just across the road), he lists the likes of The Fat Duck and The Ledbury on his CV.
What's the vibe?
The dark-wood interiors of Little Social have been replaced with a lighter, softer look – the long, narrow space reimagined with duck-egg-green walls, caramel wood panelling, dusty-blue velvet banquettes with pink cushions, and statement rattan light fittings.
What's the food like at No.5 Social?
British ingredients take centre stage on the menu – Cumbrian beef, pork and lamb, Isle of Wight tomatoes and Orkney scallops all make appearances – and the kitchen has an enjoyably sumptuous approach to sauces. Tender beef tartare encased in a soft cannelloni lounged in a luscious foie gras sauce, while a creamy, silky artichoke and hazelnut sauce bathed buttery morsels of native lobster – the delicate, sweet taste of the shellfish complemented by whole chunks of artichoke, shards of hazelnuts and a bright, lime-spiked avocado purée.
Rich Herdwick lamb chop (its fat a touch less crispy than it could have been) and fall-apart braised neck were coolingly balanced by summer peas, mint and cucumber, and crushed Jersey Royals, drizzled in lamb jus, made for an indulgent accompaniment.
Dessert was a study in comforting sweetness – oat crumble with perfumed Richmond Park honey, milk ice cream and meringue. Petits fours of fudgy, salted caramel financier petit fours are not to be missed.
And the drinks?
The cocktail list has a garden theme – try the likes of rhubarb wine with sloe gin and rosehip cup, or cucumber gin with pea cordial, fennel and sorrel. The (old- world-heavy) wine list had plenty of choice by the glass. Spot-on recommendations from the sommelier included a salty albariño and an earthy sangiovese.
olive tip: While cheaper than its sister restaurant across the road, this is still Mayfair, and prices are at the higher end of the spectrum – if you’re on a budget, check out the prix fixe menu, which runs from Monday to Saturday and offers two courses for £19.50, or three for £24.50. No.5 Social also has separate vegan and veggie menus – dishes from the former include baby violent artichokes with Jersey Royals, peach and almonds, and pearl barley and garden pea risotto.
5 Pollen Street, Mayfair, London W1S 1NE