It was my friend (and event’s organiser extraordinaire) Caroline’s birthday last week and we decided to meet for lunch to celebrate and to view a prospective venue for my office Christmas party. It’s May, I know, but if you want somewhere good you have to start looking early! Anyway, the restaurant of choice was Berners Tavern at The Edition Hotel.
Berners Tavern is the 5th London restaurant by chef Jason Atherton. For regular readers of my blog, you will know that I have loved every single one of his London restaurants and this one has been on my bucket list from the day it opened in 2013. A lot has been written about the room, but let me just say WOW! High ceilings, beautiful cornicing, artwork covering almost every available piece of wall space. The chandeliers are exact replicas of the chandeliers at Grand Central Station in New York. It is just magnificent and completely different to any of the other restaurants in his stable.
The dining room was already buzzing at 12:30 when we were seated, there was a really wide range of people from shoppers that have just come from the nearby Oxford Street to families and even a couple of celebs. I imagine in the evening it’s an even more sophisticated crowd. We were promptly seated and left with the menus to decide what to order.
To start, I had the Jersey royal potato and wild garlic soup with Dorset snails, foie gras and morel Breville toastie (£8.50) I was surprised when the soup arrived a bright vibrant green colour, I don’t know why but I was expecting it to be the colour of potato. The plump little snails sitting at the bottom of the bowl with the morels were deliciously meaty and added a beautiful bite to the soup. I hadn’t had snails in a very long time and was nervous to try them again, but I needn’t have worried. The Breville toastie was a really clever addition and I loved the rich iron taste of foie gras and buttered toast. In a lot of restaurants it would be deemed uncouth to dip bread into your soup, but I did it anyway and enjoyed every mouthful…and no one even batted an eyelid!
I wasn’t feeling well, so really craved some comfort food and that’s the beauty of this menu. There are some really decadent dishes on there that sit quite comfortably alongside the likes of burgers, sandwiches and what I was to choose for my main dish…
Macaroni and cheese with braised ox cheek, brioche and bone marrow crumb (£20). I was little overawed by the portion size – generous to say the least! The cheese sauce was oozy and stringy and delicious. The braised ox cheek on top was tender and the brioche and bone marrow crumb on top added a nice crunch. It was this part of the dish that kept me going back for another mouthful even though I was beyond satisfied. (I’m a glutton and find it really difficult to leave food on a plate!)
Service was smart and efficient as you would expect with a Jason Atherton restaurant (they all seem to nail the professional, yet friendly brief) but if there was to be a minor grumble it would be that our waiting staff should’ve paid more attention to who was drinking what and ensuring our glasses were topped up. Like I say, only a couple of minor issues, but all in all we felt relaxed and could’ve easily spent another few hours there. If only we didn’t need to get back to the day job.
The total bill, for 2 starters, 2 mains, 3 glasses of Prosecco and a bottle of sparkling water came to £91.13 which is absolutely incredible value for the quality of the food and the surroundings. I would recommend Berners Tavern if you are trying to impress or even if you just want a really good meal in a beautiful room. It may just have moved up my list to be one of my favourite restaurants ever! I’m already longing to go back…
Until we eat again!