Possibly one of the most hyped restaurants to arrive on the London foodie scene at the back end of last year, I finally got around to dining on a jam-packed Saturday night.
Despite booking before Christmas, we could only manage a table for 10pm, however just like us no one seemed in the least put of by this and the restaurant was full to the brim with Russian socialites and young girls in tight skirts competing for title of most selfies taken in a night award.
Prior to our reservation we had a drink at the beautiful Lobby Bar. On a Saturday night you’ll be lucky to get a pew to perch on but on our previous visit we had stools at the bar, attentive service and complimentary bar snacks. So depends what vibe you’re after as to when you should go.. I’ll leave that to you.
Berners Tavern itself is a breathtakingly beautiful space in which I could spend an eternity staring at the hundreds of paintings which line the walls, the impressive back-lit bar and the glamorous people. If you told me this place invented people watching, I’d believe you.
But on to what really matters – the food.
The menu takes an all-day approach dishing up contemporary British cuisine from breakfast through to supper under Michelin starred Jason Atherton.
We recommend the “Egg, Ham and Peas” to start, the egg comes perfectly deep fried, the peas mushy and the ham crispy. A delicate yet manly dish.
Also superb was the Romney Marsh lamb breast. Not at all what I expected, a crispy lamb disk is presented with carrot tops and a side pan of butternut and pecorino fregola, lamb marrow crumble. Melt in the mouth moorish.
From the sharing section of the menu we ordered the whole slow cooked Irish ox, tongue ‘n cheek served with roast carrots and onions, bone marrow and creamy horseradish mash. One for the real meat-eaters! Priced at £40 this presented good value for 2 people.
Roasted south coast cod was served on a meaty bed of braised puy lentils, topped with a slab of pancetta and a delicately smoked leek. Beautifully seasoned, this was rich and hearty, delivering more so then you’d maybe expect from a fish dish.
Roast highland venison served juicy and pink with perfectly contrasting pickled red cabbage. Personally I found the potato fondant dry and disappointing, that being the only flaw throughout.
Also highly recommended are sides of duck fat chips & creamy mash.
Desserts looked wonderful and it was really tough to choose between Caramel apple and Calvados éclair with Devon cream & salted caramel ice cream, Chocolate filled donut with cinnamon sugar coating & almond sorbet or the coconut crème brûlée with malibu sorbet and pineapple. Obviously order them all – I can’t think what else you’d do.
If you are too full for dessert I’d suggest Cereal Killer, a cocktail comprising of Havana Maestro rum, Kahlua coffee liqueur, white chocolate, Coco Pops milk, chocolate bitters, served in a milk bottle with a candy stripe straw it certainly isn’t as innocent as it looks!