By coincidence the birthday dinner of a friend was organized at Berners Tavern the day after my visit at Little Social, both part of Jason Atherton’s growing empire. That’s the only common thing the two restaurants shares though. Berners Tavern offers more of a British fare as opposed to the French of Little Social. The setting is also notably grander. Berners Tavern is located inside The London Edition hotel in the calm neighbourhood of Fitzrovia. The restaurant was all but calm though. It was fully alive already early in the evening when we arrived. We were seated in one of the small tables next to the bar in wait for our dining table. I can see why it’s been so busy since opening last year. The food aside, which I yet had to try, the place was stunning. Walking into the dining room is an eye opener for the unprepared. The tall walls filled with a patchwork of golden frames embraces the spacious dining area beneath the ceiling of elaborate stucco.
I went against my intuition when I read the description of this dish: “Deep fried Clarence Court duck egg, mushy peas and crispy Cumbrian ham”. It was the ugly duckling among the starters considering the ingredients and how it was prepared (deep fried egg) but I decided to give it a shot.
It was a pretty good shot. The egg yolk was just about runny. The vibrant green mushy peas was on the dense side but worked with the crispy ham. In terms of texture it was quite a heavy starter but I quite liked it.
The wonderful smell of char-grilled meat reached my nose before the plate reached my eyes, but it was the sight of the thick cuts of pork chops that reassured me I made the right choice. The meat was slightly pink, cooked through evenly despite the thickness. It was a bit dry though and there was a lack of jus for the size of the chops. The mushroom added some variety on the plate since the chicory didn’t last very long. All in all I liked this dish although a bit more moist wouldn’t hurt.
This was the most photogenic plate of dessert on the table. Although not mine I couldn’t help but snap a picture.
The plating of the “Rhubarb and Custard” was surprisingly modest. It almost felt “East trendy” where most things are served in jars, just for the sake of it.
What was the most modest dish in appearance turned out to be the star of the meal. The mix of warm soft brioche, crunchy almond crumbs, sweet rhubarb and custard was heavenly. Each spoonful grew on me as I went through the layers in the jar.
Berners Tavern was a good experience in all aspects. The food don’t raise eyebrows but was well executed and brought out the best of British produce. The service went smoothly and they offered a small cake at the end of the meal for the birthday girl, a small but nice touch.
If the level of food and service is kept consistent I can see this restaurant keeping the same pace in a few years time. Next time I’ll come on a calmer time of the day, if there is such a thing.
For more photos from Berners Tavern, please visit my Flickr set.
The London Edition Hotel, 10 Berners St
London W1T 3LF
Tel. +44 (0)20 7908 7979